Everything changes when you have a child. Everything.
Suddenly, there is this third person in the house who is always there. They watch your every movement, they let you know when it's time to wake up, and they don't have any clue that you wanted to read that magazine before they ripped it up. But oh, how they smiled and giggled and your heart melts when they ripped it up.
The woman you are married to is now a mother. And oh, my God, how things change.
There are so many ways this can go. Every parent is different, every child has different needs. But, most importantly, God prepares the situation and every waking - and barely sleeping - moment is an opportunity to pour out love to the new expanded family unit.
When I first met Ashley, it was at a LifeWay camp called Centrifuge. That week she came to my hermeneutics class, quoted Shakespeare to me, and was the most beautiful woman I had met. I called home that very week to tell my parents I found the woman I wanted to marry.
But... that's just part of the story.
The truth is, even in that first week, I knew she was the kind of woman I would want to raise a family with. I knew that she would love and care for her child, because I saw the way she loved and cared for the youth group she had brought. I knew she would seek to raise a child in the ways of the Lord because I could so easily see how she loved our God.
Today is our anniversary of 8 years of marriage, and we now have a wonderful son who is 10 months old. My God, I thank you so very much for granting me a life with this beautiful, loving, self-sacrificing woman who has become such an amazing mom. Things have changed so much... they have changed for so much good.
It has been a complete and utter joy to watch my wife grow into an amazing mom who loves her husband and son so much. She has sacrificed so much the past few months in order to nourish our son and support me through a very hard year; no words I could write would do justice to how amazing she has been. All the while not having a decent night's sleep.
Seeing her care for our son, hold him while he plays piano, reading him books and rushing to him when he falls... it is all so beautiful and amazing.
I could never tell her enough how cherished she is. The adventure of life is discovering who someone is through whatever each day brings us; I am so glad that God brought us together for this adventure. I am so blessed to discover that Ashley is the kind of mother I dreamed about my children having. I am humbled that each and every day she chooses to love me.
Happy anniversary, Ashley. Thank you for being so lovely and wonderful and all the other words that might express how I love you. I love you.