The Story of Us, part 2

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our 2-year wedding anniversary is this Thursday, December 22.  I have been wanting to share our story for some time, but always find reasons not to.  I figured our anniversary week was as good a time as any!  Without further ado...the story of us. part 2:

{Read part 1 here}

Seeing those two pink lines on that pregnancy test, and knowing deep inside how accurate it was, proved to be one of the hardest moments of my life.  I was scared; scared of how much my life was about to change, scared to deal with the consequences of our actions, scared by the idea that there was going to be a baby and that we would be wholly responsible for it.  Max was about to leave for boot camp and I was getting ready to graduate from college with dreams of working in Africa.  I was unsure of so much, and life seemed so intense, only intensified by pregnancy hormones.  

Not only were there hormones, uncertainties about being able to raise a baby, and unknowns about the future, but there was intense guilt over our actions and a fear as to how our family and friends would react.  You see, I grew up learning and believing that sex before marriage was not ok; that sex within a marriage was a beautiful thing, but outside of marriage, it was wrong in the eyes of God.  I grew up knowing that I was going to save my virginity for my husband.  And yet, somehow, I lost sight of that.  I began pretending that I could pick and choose God's truths for my life.  And all of a sudden, there I was, with a baby growing in my belly.  There would be no more hiding from those around me; the truth of my actions was soon going to be as obvious as my growing waistline. 

God was teaching us that we had to be real.  It can be so easy to hide our mistakes or our sin from those around us.  We don't want others to see the broken, scary, real pieces in our lives. But God calls us out into the light from the darkness, and that is exactly what He was doing with Maxwell and I.  And it was hard.  Very, very hard.  

The day we went to my parents house to tell them that I was pregnant was probably the hardest day of my life thus far.  I thought I was going to throw-up, pass out and pee my pants, all at the same time.  I couldn't breathe, and I was scared.  I knew my parents loved me and would love me, but to have to be honest with them, to own up to our actions, was super scary.  I had always been the rule-follower, the one who made the "right" decisions, and I knew what we were about to tell them would shock them to no end.  Which it did.  They were stunned.  My mom made Max leave (he waited for me in a parking lot near the house).  There were tears.  There were words; some not very nice and some very deserving.  But I left that night, knowing that my parents indeed still loved me, and would help us however they could.  

Max and I decided to not rush out and get married simply because we were having a baby; we wanted to be certain that we were supposed to get married, to make sure it was right.  He left for boot camp April of 2009.  I graduated in May, and moved back in with my parents, getting a part-time job at Target.  Within a week or two of Max being at boot camp, and much fervent prayer, I knew without a doubt that I was meant to marry him.  Those three months apart, with only handwritten letters to get us through, were our first taste of military life.  And after having spent almost every day together for the year before he left, the time apart was an adjustment!  I missed him like crazy!  

His boot camp graduation, which I flew out to San Diego for, was a very exciting milestone and reunion.  I was so proud of him, and what he had accomplished.  And he was excited to see my growing belly and feel the baby kick.  We also found out then, that we would be having a little girl - I had asked the ultrasound technician to write it down and seal it in an envelope, so that he and I could open it when I saw him.  We spent about a week together after boot camp, and then he headed back out to CA for more training and school.  We both knew that marriage was what we wanted, but he wanted to propose to me, and was saving money for a ring.  

Our daugther, Eliana Cathleen, was born October 18, 2009, with my mom and a few dear friends in attendance, while Max watched from CA via webcam.  It was an exciting, scary day for me.  Exciting, because we were welcoming a sweet baby girl that God had seen fit to entrust us with.  Scary, because we were now responsible for a little baby , and I felt entirely unprepared!  Max was able to come home the following weekend to meet L; it was the first time he had ever held a baby, and he quickly fell in love with her.  He was able to spend two days with us before returning to finish school and receiving orders to be stationed in NC.  I made plans to fly to NC with L, who was 5 weeks old, to visit him for Thanksgiving.  It was there that he proposed to me, and asked me, officially, to be his wife.  We were standing on a bluff, listening to the waves quietly lapping against land, with L wrapped snugly to my chest, when he dropped to one knee.  Of course, I said yes! 

We found out, around the same time, that his unit was set to deploy in February of 2010, so we started planning our wedding, setting the date only 3 weeks after our proposal, over his pre-deployment Christmas-time leave block.  Those 3 weeks were packed, as we arranged venues, set dates, found a dress, sent out invitations and planned details, all the while Max was working in NC!  He came home to MN for leave, and we were married December 22, 2009.  Although we planned our entire wedding in less than a month, it was absolutely lovely, and we couldn't have asked for anything more.  

After spending a few weeks with family and celebrating Christmas, L and I joined Max in NC for 6 weeks, to soak up as much time with him before he deployed.  He left February 2010, for a year-long deployment.  I headed back to MN to stay with my parents for the duration of the deployment.  About a month after he left, I went to the doctor for a random visit, and ended up finding out that day that I was pregnant again.  L was only 5 months old, and I was already 8 weeks pregnant with a baby due right after L's 1st birthday.  

Max called as much as he could, which was typically every 3 weeks or so in the first half of his deployment, and I definitely remember waiting for him to call so I could tell him he was going to come home to another baby!  He was pretty surprised, but was also excited.  Our family was expanding quickly!  L and I hung out in MN;  she was spoiled rotten by family, and a new little one grew in my belly.  He was due October 26 and Max was due home for R&R two weeks after that.  We were so blessed and surprised when the baby came late and Max got to come home early.  He was able to be present at the birth of his son, Ezra Maxwell, on November 3, 2010.  We enjoyed two amazing (and tiring!) weeks, as a family of 4, before Max headed back to finish up the final months of his deployment.  

When Ezra was just a month old, I headed down to NC with the kids, to move into our house and prepare for homecoming.  Max finally came home February 2011 and we were thrilled.  It was our first house, our first time living together, our first time as a family.  It was an adjustment, for him, for me, and for the kids.  He had never lived with us before, or taken care of kids.  We had never had him around (other than R&R), and I was used to doing everything on my own.  Even though it has been a transition, and has taken work and discussion, we wouldn't have traded it for anything.  To finally be together, as a family, is an amazing feeling.  

I don't think that Max or I would have ever imagined ourselves here, in this place, with these circumstances, if you would have asked us 3 years ago.  But here we are, and we feel blessed and incredibly thankful.  God is so good, and although we have had and will have struggles and challenges to work through, He has taught us and is teaching us so much.  It has not always been easy, but it's been good, and God is faithful and always provides, even when it doesn't look like what we expect!

And so, tomorrow, we celebrate 2 years of marriage.  We will remember the journey that brought us here.  We will renew our commitment to one another and to God.   We will reconnect, as we celebrate our marriage and the covenant we made before God and witness.  And we will look forward to whatever adventure awaits.

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  1. Yall are quite the newly wed couple, then. Awe-inspiring story of making things work WITH God's plans. Now, what about Africa?

  2. It sounds like you guys have had so much happen in such a short time, but you've managed to get through it real well!

  3. That is such an awesome story. Congrats of 2 years of marriage! (I just realized that my anniversary is only 2 weeks after yours!) You two have such a gorgeous family, and I hope things just keep getting better.

  4. happy anniversary. i love how much grace is all over your story. God redeems and creates beautiful things despite any of our mistakes. He is so faithful and good - i see that in your story!

  5. I couldn't agree with Carissa more!

  6. Kaylee-Boo,
    You probably wouldn't be surprised that I had tears in my eyes as I read through this. Good stuff, keep trusting in God and relying on him. God can reclaim, restore and revitalize all of us, in spite of our messy lives. He loves us regardless.
    papa d

  7. I meant to comment on this earlier - What a beautiful story you guys have. It isn't perfect, but it is perfectly yours. I agree with another commenter: I love how much grace is all over your story. Beautiful!



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