Monday, November 7, 2016

Remembering 2006: A Trip Down Memory Lane

It’s good to remember.

Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

We remember the finished work of the cross. We remember God’s faithfulness. We remember the miracles. The challenges. The storms we’ve weathered.

We remember all that He’s done for us.

Our remembrance leads to gratitude: a thankful heart for all we’ve been given.

I’ve been thinking about memories lately, about how important it is to remember.

Yes, we can’t go backward.
Yes, our best days are in front.
Yes, let’s be present.

But sometimes, it’s good to remember.

Howell and I started dating this month—ten years ago.

Howell's birthday (and one of our first pictures together)  

My birthday that same year :) 

We met on October 23, 2006. Our first date was on November 11. And we were officially ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ on December 7.

I must confess that Howell is the one who remembered all these dates. After we were first married, maybe a little over a year, he snuck up behind me, wrapped arms of comfort around me, and said, “We met today.”

I couldn’t believe he remembered. I had forgotten.

Well, I guess if I’m confessing, I should admit that I don’t actually remember meeting him on October 23. In my mind, we met a few days later—maybe on a Thursday, when Ann brought me over to “the guys’ house” for some games and a movie. (I didn’t know it was all a ploy for a second encounter.)

That night, Howell and I sat—just the two of us despite a house full of college students—at his kitchen table, talking about the Lord. (We were so spiritual in those days. :))

That same night, or maybe the next hangout, we sat side by side on his worn-down loveseat as he attempted to teach me how to play an X-Box video game.

A week later, I was informed by some of our mutual girl friends that he liked me—and asked, did I like him too?

On our first date, I think we talked non-stop for four or five hours. There was no movie, no entertaining distraction like bowling or putt-putt.

We ate dinner and sat at the park and drank coffee at my apartment—and we talked and talked and talked.

I’ve been sentimental about our story this month, maybe because it’s been ten years and that feels like a big mile marker.

I remember those dating years—my initial intrigue. I was so attracted to Howell’s heart, his goodness, the easy way we could be together and talk for hours, the comfort and calmness he held.

But once it got even a little bit serious, I stepped into fear. I pushed and pulled and ran and escaped.

In fact, I did a lot of up and down for a long time.

But Howell was constant.


He never once stopped pursuing me.

If you think I’m exaggerating or mis-remembering, if my characterization is too flat, too heroic, too perfect—I’m sorry. I can’t characterize him any other way.

I used to hate our story, our beginning. I hated that I couldn’t remember meeting him. Isn’t that a necessary part of your meet-cute?

I hated that I was so mean to him. My parents would tell people about our dating years and how awful I was—especially the first few times I brought him around my family.

He was so great, and everyone loved him, but I would pull away and ignore.

When my parents would share those beginnings, those memories, I would get defensive in my heart.

Our story should have been a love story with a perfect beginning and dating years of bliss.

I should’ve been the heroine, the rescuer, the saint. That’s the character I wanted to play. Isn’t that the role I’d always played, by dating guys who needed to be saved?

But Howell didn’t need to be rescued. I did.

I embrace that now, not to shame myself but to remember how awesome and humble and loving Howell was to pursue me still.

My heart needed to be healed from the fear I felt. My heart needed to be opened, to be placed securely in my Heavenly Daddy’s hand instead of gripped tightly in my own.

I had a lot to learn about love.

But He knew. And Howell knew.

When I remember our beginning, my heart is filled with gratitude.

I thank God for His gift to me, for sending me just what I needed.

I thank Howell for his love, for his pursuit, for his faithfulness even now.

10 years later: October 23, 2016

Married friends—it’s good to remember. Remember where you’ve been. Remember the years of bliss. Remember the times you’ve overcome.

Let your heart be filled with gratitude. Let your heart be re-kindled with love for your spouse. 

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