June 9, 1984

Thanking God for twenty four years (and still pushing a stroller)

Allow me to be a little personal and sentimental today. This isn’t about adoption, or HIV, or homeschooling, but in some ways this post is about all of those things. Tomorrow is the 24th anniversary of the day Russ and I were married.

Yesterday we were blessed to attend the wedding of the daughter of some friends. Sweet Pea was a bridesmaid and the other eleven of us were guests. We took up two pews in the tiny church where we sat in the back row as far away from the photographer and videographer as possible. Witnessing the wedding of a young couple yesterday brought so much back to me about our wedding when we stood at the altar, at the mature age of twenty, and had no idea what life was going to hold for us.

It isn’t the wedding that I really want to write about, but the man that I married. Marrying Russ was without a doubt the second best decision I have made in my life, second only to my decision to live my life for Jesus Christ. When we stood at the altar and pledged our vows to each other, they seemed so simple and obvious, but we had yet to live out “better or worse”, “plenty and want”, or “sickness and health”. Now 24 years later, we have lived through all of those circumstances and we are still faithfully loving each other.

There was a span of years when I struggled with a severe autoimmune disorder which, at its worst, threatened to take my life. I would like to say that I had great courage in the worst crisis, but in truth, I was scared–really, really scared. Russ faithfully loved me through that time and the months that followed. He carried the burden of taking care of me and our children while still working at a very demanding job. I remember lying awake at night unable to sleep, talking to him about all of the things I wanted him to know just in case I didn’t wake up the next morning. This was living out our marriage vows in a way that we never anticipated.

We weren’t surprised to find ourselves living “in want” during graduate school, but even a good sense of humor and Russ’ ability to lead us in frugality were not always enough to make it pleasant. At times the grind of constantly counting our pennies overwhelmed me, but we made it through. Five and a half years after he began, Russ graduated with his PhD and four children, just before he turned thirty. I look back on those years with fondness for the blessings and challenges we faced and gratitude that in the end our marriage was stronger than when we began.

Most of all I want to say that Russ is an amazing man. I admire and respect him and I thank God that He was so kind to me when he blessed me with my husband. I am in awe that when we were 42, Russ took a great leap of faith with me and began the process to adopt the first three of our four Ethiopian children. It wasn’t so hard for me to leap because, honestly, I leapt with my heart. Russ had to leap with his heart, mind, and all of his faith because the weight of our success or failure as a family rested with him. He had to hold us together spiritually, provide for us financially, and support me emotionally – and that was only in the first month after we sent in our application!

Marriage is the best thing that has ever happened to me and has produced incredible blessing in my life. Thank you God, thank you Russ, and thank you to the children that are the fruit of our life together.

~Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Andrea
    June 8, 2008

    Happy Anniversary!
    Don and I will be married 15 yrs on the 12th! I too am blessed!
    Congrats to you both!!!

    Reply
  2. Anonymous
    June 8, 2008

    Congratulations on the anniversary of your wedding! 24 years! WOW! A very rarity in the days we live in. Praise God for your example and devotion to the vows you two made ~ not only to one another, but more importantly, to God.

    I have enjoyed reading your blog since meeting you at Walmart so many months ago! Praying all will go as the Lord plans for your next adoption!

    In the love of Christ,
    Brandi

    Reply
  3. darci
    June 8, 2008

    happy happy anniversary. thanks for sharing such a beautiful testament. it is so GOOD to see someone a little farther down the road who is living out their faith, living the for better and for worse, and still in love. darci 🙂

    Reply
  4. Anonymous
    June 8, 2008

    Congratulations! That’s wonderful! Hope you have a lovely anniversary!

    Kathrin (Germany)

    Reply
  5. Adrielle
    June 9, 2008

    That made me cry! You and Uncle Russ have always been a inspiration to me of what a blessing and joy marriage can be and now I am married to my most wonderful man in the world and look forward to spending the next many years with him!

    Reply
  6. Raskell Party of 8
    June 9, 2008

    You are such an inspiration to me. You are my friend and mentor. I can’t wait to see you again soon! I will call soon. Love you!

    Reply
  7. Laura
    June 9, 2008

    What a wonderful testament to marriage and how persevering through the difficult times only makes us grow and appreciate the good times even more. Isn’t amazing to have been married this long–it does not seem to be 24 years!

    Reply
  8. Andrea
    June 9, 2008

    Happy, happy Anniversary Lisa and Russ. That is really awesome, 24 years. Funny thing is you haven’t even aged. Must be the love for each other and of course your precious children.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous
    June 9, 2008

    What a great day to get married. Congradulations on the anniversary. My husband, Tim and I are also celebrating today 35 YEARS.

    Debbie

    Reply
  10. Melinda
    June 10, 2008

    Happy Anniversary Lisa! What a wondeful legacy you are leaving for your children. 11 kids in 24 years is pretty awesome. Glory to God!
    Melinda

    Reply
  11. Sherry
    June 10, 2008

    Congratulations! What a lovely testimony of marriage and it’s trials and triumphs. Here is to the next 24 and hoping they are filled with love and happiness!

    Reply
  12. Lisa & David
    June 11, 2008

    Lisa,
    Beautifully written. What a wonderful family you have. The commitment you ALL have with raising your family and standing strong together is something to admire. Happy Anniversary you two. Russ sounds so sweet. I love hearing about men who love their wife and family like Russ

    Reply
  13. Nathan A.
    June 21, 2008

    Wow. Don’t know how I missed this one. That was beautiful. I value your family’s friendship so much. Thanks for setting a godly example.

    Reply

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