My husband's 28th birthday is rolling around this coming Saturday. And I realized that this is the 10th birthday of his that I've celebrated with him. (This happens when you meet in high school. Feels kind of crazy that we've known each other for so long!) Out of all of those ten birthdays, I've never been so proud of Brian as I have been for number 28.
27 happened right on the heels of the church we planted having it's inaugural service. 27 came after a year of hard. We had moved states and then moved within Washington several times. We learned how to be a family of four, how to have our family's breadwinner be bi-vocational and work well over 40 hours a week, learned to live in the heart of a bustlin' city, how to seek out friendships...I know for both Brian and I, his 27th birthday felt a little shaky. It felt a bit like a finish line at the end of a marathon, where you can't believe you actually made it and your entire body is throbbing and you feel like throwing up, but still, you made it. Not that I've ever run a marathon. Or run more than three miles. But I assume someone running a marathon feels those things because that's how I feel after my most recent attempt at ab workouts.
By God's grace alone and all to His glory, this year we're rounding the corner to Brian's 28th birthday - and instead of a finish line, it feels like a delivery room. There's the acknowledgment that the work isn't over yet, not by a long shot, but the anticipation is evident and obvious. And there is so much hope. You know that you're not far from seeing what the pain and the hard work will bring, and that brings determination and hope. More on this in a minute. I gotta talk about my man real quick.
I am just so proud of this man of mine. He's about to turn 28, and this year, he worked so hard. He's shown up as a husband and as a Dad, he's rolled with the punches of several job changes and gone after it to provide for our family. He's shown up early on Sunday morning church and then been one of the last to leave along with our lead pastor's family. He's dated me, he's been a friend to his bros, and he's turned down guy's nights so that he can take our boys to ice cream instead. He's done some hard heart work, and he's walked humbly and boldly with the Father. Holy crap, I'm just gonna high five the air right now because I'm so proud of you Brian!
Back to the hope part.
It's a weird, sacred, sometimes freakishly hard, wonderful gift to truly walk alongside of someone else for a long time. I've already gotten to walk alongside my husband for 10 of his birthdays (some before we were married) - and it is a crazy joy to watch what Jesus has done in my husband's life. Maybe this is one of the icing-on-the-cake reasons that God intended us to choose a partner and stick with them for life: we see God's work, through the extremely difficult years where you're barfing at the finish line, and you weep tears of grateful joy together when you've walked through redemptive seasons together, seeing God's goodness played out in your partner's life.
Brian James, I'm so grateful that you're my guy, that you're that partner.
You da man. For reals. Happy 28th birthday, I am OUTRAGEOUSLY proud of you.
Let's go make out.