I desired to be married for years, but did my best to wait patiently to meet the right person. Many referred to me as ‘too picky’ and often said that I ‘had too high of expectations’ for the right person. Well, I am so glad I didn’t settle or lower my standards. I waited and prayed and waited some more. I processed through many days of singleness with the Lord. As I waited, I found one verse that I put my faith in… Psalm 27:13-14, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” And I am so glad I did not accept the comments of others as truth because at the ripe age of 29, I (finally) met the love of my life who actually EXCEEDED those ‘high expectations.’ And it is a love story for the books…
Now, we are just 4 years into being newlyweds and one of our favorite traditions is celebrating our anniversary. Each year we go on a little getaway to spend time together. Although there is a yearly picture we take and share of us wearing our wedding attire while eating a cake saturated in rainbow sprinkles, we often do not share much more about our traditions. We take time to dance to our song (Crazy by Hunter Hayes, if you were wondering 😉 ), smile, and catch each other smitten. It really is one of the happiest days of the year!
The thing that we haven’t shared all that much is my favorite tradition of all. It brings us to a deep place of reflection, remembrance and vision casting for the year ahead. We have this huge roll of kraft paper that each year we unravel to add to. We look back at our memories from year one until the next. Our lists aren’t so much like a diary, yet we do include special or ridiculous things that happened. We start by reflecting upon the previous years’ dreams, hopes and desires and give any updates on them. Then we make a ‘God-did list.’ This is a list of how God provided for us that year, how we experienced his goodness in the good times, and the challenging ones, then finally, we dream together. We write little and big things that we want to work towards and pray for as both individuals and as a couple. We close it out by praying over our dreams and goals for the next year and finally, we take communion together.
To be honest, that’s probably why I haven’t shared it, because I feel like the entire day is so so sacred to us. There is so much to be found in remembering where we have come from and in dreaming about the future. On this day, we don’t just remember our togetherness, but we also remember where we were in the waiting. These are days that used to be a far-away dream that we are now living.
I hope someday when we are old and gray we can unravel it all and reminisce about our memories in a way that it shines a light on God’s goodness and faithfulness. I hope that we can share it with our children and perhaps even pass our traditions down to them or include them in it one day.
It’s easy each day to find a place for thankfulness, and there is such value in that, but when do we actually take time to remember and to reflect on a year to year basis? Each year when we celebrate, I tear up and feel all the more humble than the year before. God’s kindness is overwhelming, despite what challenges may face us. Every bit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control come from the Lord. Without his existence, NONE of these exist. Take a moment to read that again. Imagine a city without any of those things. It’s unimaginable, right? Now imagine a place where only those things exist. I’m pretty sure when we imagine that place, we have discovered the heart of God.
I want to encourage you, regardless of if you are single or married, to take time to reflect. Remember the places from which he has brought you out. Remember how you’ve felt his heart (through love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control). Remember what the Lord has done for you. Create a ‘God did list’ that you can pass down to future generations and reflect upon in the hard times. Take time to write down the desires of your heart and to DREAM. Finally, remain confident that no matter what you are longing for, YOU WILL SEE THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING. That, my friends, is a promise you can hang your hopes on.