This weekend my husband and I spoke at a ladies retreat in Tennessee.
He strummed his guitar and sang praise and worship songs and I stood on stage and squeaked along with him and wished I would have brought a tamborine.
…..it was an amazing experience.
After the singing finished, my husband squeezed my hand and walked off the stage.
And then in front of an audience of some of the most incredible women I have ever met and a pair of twinkling brown eyes….
….I started to speak.
I started at the beginning.
I told about our first date with the Christmas lights and the prairie skirt and Snow White and the Seven dwarfs dressed up as elves.
And how his eyes twinkled.
And how he held my hand.
I spoke about dating and long-distance and driving and college and how he enlisted in the navy and how we broke up.
And I walked away.
Only to realize in the middle of a dozen brownie sundaes and seventeen pounds later….
…..how wrong I was.
I explained how the phone rang six weeks later and I picked it up and I told him I loved him thirty-seven times and that I was so wrong and what was I thinking and that I had been eating brownie fudge sundaes to get over him and could he save me and my waistline by getting back together.
And told me he knew I loved him all along.
And that he loved me.
And could I come to his boot camp graduation?
I continued on with my tale of how I immediately gave up brownie fudge sundaes and planned the most perfect go-see-your-boyfriend-at-military-graduation-looking-extraordinarily-patriotic outfit with door knocker earrings and Lee-Press-On Nails.
And how that weekend he asked me to marry him.
And the story continued as eight months later we stood in front of God and our parents and a room full of guests and promised to love each other forever.
And he held my hand and his brown eyes twinkled and he sang his heart to me at our reception.
And I knew that I knew…..that I knew this was going to be the point in the story where we rode off into the sunset together to years and years of wedded bliss and a white picket fence.
Isn’t that how the story is supposed to go?
Except it didn’t.
There were good years.
Wonderful, incredible years full of joy and laughter.
And there were not-so-good years.
I told the story of the challenges we faced and the valleys we went through and the days and weeks and months of sadness.
Days when I wanted to give up.
Days when his eyes weren’t there to twinkle and the mountain we were climbing felt overwhelming and too much to handle and how I almost broke except for a faith that sustained me and lifted me up and carried me through.
And so it was that all these years later I stood in a room in front of a group of ladies and shared my heart.
And told the story.
Every. Single. Chapter.
When I finished I walked off the stage and slowly made my way to the back of the room to where my husband stood with his eyes twinkling at me with shared joy and and outstretched arm to greet me.
And I knew.
Right then and there.
I knew that I knew that I knew…..that I knew.
I would walk each and every one of those chapters again….
….holding onto his hand. 🙂