August 16th is (was) a big day around here. It marks both my wedding anniversary (15 years) and Noah's birthday (6 years old!). Photos will come soon (I hope), but what I would really like to share is the surprise anniversary gift I received.
When Toby and I got engaged, we spend 9 months of the year before our weddding separated by several thousand miles and 5 time zones. He was finishing his last year at college, and I was on my second year. We spent that year calling (the phone companies loved us!), emailing (still fairly new then), and writing letters. Oh my, did we write letters! We've always saved all those letters, but I don't think we'd ever looked at them since we've been married - for the past 15 years they've sat in a box in the attic. But they are there no longer...
As an anniversary gift, Toby organized all those letters by date and inserted them into a scrapbook for ease of reading and preservation. He's also taken all the tapes we sent each other - tapes of music, us reading stories to each other, banal chatter (from me, mainly) - and converted them to MP3 files so that we can listen to them on the computer or our phones. He presented these to me on the morning of our anniversary, and of course I immediately got weepy. It's one of the most romantic gifts he's ever given me, and I love it.
I've been steadily reading through these letters over the past few days, and I'm about a third of the way through. It's amazing how I'm freshly reminded of that time and just the simple desire we had to be together, and how difficult it was being so far apart. I'm also blessed to remember God's grace in our lives and how He kept us during that time, and also for the grace that He's shown us since then. Fifteen years and almost 6 children later, our desire is essentially the same: to serve the Lord, together. Toby is still the person I most want to be with, and I am so thankful that feeling hasn't changed over time. I am grateful that I can not only look back over the last 15 years with joy over God's faithfulness in our lives, but also look forward in anticipation of all the adventures He still has for us, knowing that He will continue to keep us, just as He has done.