8 Years of Marriage

Today we celebrate the exchange of our wedding vows, the day we entered into the holy covenant of marriage. By the grace of God, our marriage has endured and is stronger and more lovely with each year.  And last night as we crawled into bed, we reminisced about our wedding day. It was a joyous occasion, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. As much as I loved us then – the 21 and 22 year old versions of ourselves, newly graduated from college, completely naïve to marriage, full of excitement and hope and young love – I like “us” even better now. I love who we’ve become, as a married couple, as a ministry couple, as unique and ever-evolving individuals.


We have grown up together, Kevin and me. From those first days of college, 17 and 18 years old, we have come a long way. Our strong personalities are opposites on the Myers-Briggs (ESFJ and INTP) and we’re both first-borns. It seems we may have “broken” all of the rules about how to marry someone with whom you’re most compatible. But this marriage is a God-thing. Each of us is a strong personality, with fiery passions and peculiarities that hardly overlap. But it is because of those differences that we grow. We balance one another out in a way no one else could.

It is because of our marriage that I often ask dating or engaged couples, “How does he/she make you a better a person?” We were not created to be static beings. Rather, we should always be in pursuit of the holiness of God and to discover more deeply the person He made us to be, living out our unique skills and giftedness with passion and fervency.

As Kevin’s wife I have become more fully me. He calls out the best in me and sees gifts I try to shut down out of fear. He is not afraid to let me lead or to insist I develop a personal opinion (when I’d rather say, “whatever you want…” in the most non-committal sort of way).

I know he would list the ways I’ve helped him to grow, as well. It’s no secret that we’re a rather intense couple (in fact, some people get a kick out of watching us interact!), but we wouldn’t want it any other way. And we shouldn’t be surprised, then, that our little daughter is already a fiery individual. She will give us a run for our money, but she’ll stand on her own two feet in this world and prayerfully bring God’s Kingdom truths to those around her.


So today, on our 8th anniversary, I reflect on the charge given us during our marriage ceremony.

Kevin and Melanie, I charge you both as you stand in the presence of God to remember that only a covenant of love will avail as the foundation for an enduring household. Let Christ, in his perfect love, be your example. If you keep this steadfast love ever before you and, remaining faithful to each other, resolutely endeavor to fulfill the vows you now make, God’s blessing will be upon you, and the home you establish will endure through life’s every change.

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God’s blessing has surely been upon us, in sickness and in health, in infertility and in childbearing, in joy and in sorrow, in ministry and in marriage. Our lives have endured many changes in just a few short years, but surely this home shall stand firm on the covenant made before God and upon the foundation of Christ our Lord.


Kirsten Grace – Month 4

My dear girl,

I’m already behind in your monthly posts, but let it be known that my tardiness is no reflection of my love for you. I can’t even come up with a specific excuse; I’ve had this post on my to do list for days now. Perhaps it’s being too busy or too stressed or too much of something. But in some corner of my mind I had decided to let myself off the hook of my own expectations, to give myself grace.

I pray you learn the art of grace-filled living. I have much to learn from you.

This past month has been so much fun with you, Kirsten. Your dad and I are constantly taking turns saying, “She is so cute!” Your personality, your squirminess and screeches, your eyebrow raises and big gummy grins have us just smitten.


It’s no secret that you’re well-nourished, my dear. Those chubby cheeks are just irresistibly kissable, and each time someone comments on them I am thankful all over again for the success we’ve had in breastfeeding. I still complain about the crazy strong let-down and over-filling I have to deal with, yes four months in…, but I realized the other day that this is a precise answer to my prayers. I prayed specifically for a few aspects of labor and delivery and for a healthy breastfeeding relationship with you. Not all of my desires were met, but this one has…let’s say…exceeded my expectations. So, thanks God.

It has just occurred to us that may, in fact, be an intense baby. We’ve never thought of you as colicky or high needs, but maybe we just didn’t know any better. We’re getting to be around other babies your age and hearing other friends’ stories and holy smokes I think we’ve had ourselves a strong, fierce, headstrong little girl. At first I think, “Oh man this is going to be difficult parenting a strong willed child.” And yes, it will be, I’m sure. But then I think, “We prayed for our child to be bold and confident, to be a force for the Kingdom of God, and gosh darn it I think that’s exactly what we got!” (Plus, how could we expect any less from the offspring of two first born, type A, strong willed individuals?)

You are loud, so loud. You have a voice and you know how to use it, for better and for worse.

Your smile is glorious and your pouty lip is powerful.

You live on a rather rigid, self-regulated schedule and we love knowing your rhythms.

You are such a people person and quite the charmer when you’re in a happy mood.

You get over-stimulated and over-tired rather easily so watch out.

We adore you, Kirsten – every quirk, every peculiarity, with all of your passion and joy, and despite those glimpses of a sin nature already peaking out. You are so loved, by us and by so many.

This month’s milestones:

  1. Slept in your big crib in your own bedroom for the first time on April 29th, just a couple days after your 3rd month birthday. You’ve done beautifully in there ever since. (Mom survived her personal nervousness thanks to the video baby monitor.)
  2. Started attempting to roll over on April 1st. You still have not rolled, and I think it’s because you just don’t really see the need for it yet.
  3. Fought your first cold on April 6th. It was so sad hearing your congested breathing. It was scary to discover your first low-grade temperature. Thankfully, one dose of Tylenol, and a few days of saline drops and nose-suctioning did the trick. We now keep the humidifier going in your room.
  4. Sat up unassisted for the first time on April 25th – just a day shy of your 4 month birthday. It was so exciting!
  5. You’ve been actively grabbing at the dangling toys on the activity mat since mid-April and have since expanded to grabbing clumps of my hair, my glasses, and every piece of fabric you can get your hands on.
  6. You seem to be teething, but no signs of teeth yet. You are gnawing on things like your life depends on it.
  7. You’ve gotten good at self-soothing, only occasionally sucking on your thumb (which is adorable), and doing well with keeping the pacifier in your mouth (when you’re not screeching for the *fun* of it.)
  8. On May 5th you had your 4 month appointment with Dr. Aza. She still says you’re beautiful and in perfect health – what more could we ask for!? You and I both survived your second round of immunizations.
    1. 14 pounds 7 oz (65%) up from 7lbs at birth
    2. 24 inches (only gained an inch this month putting you in the 32%)
    3. And that head circumference of yours is in the 83% – wow!
  9. You’ve been working on “happy baby” pose the past week and today you actually got your toes into your mouth!
  10. Baths are still your favorite thing!
  11. You’ve shown some signs of being ticklish, giggling like crazy for brief moments.

Kirsten Grace Month 4

We love you, Kirsten Grace. Keep on growing in grace and knowledge, in flexibility and tenacity.