As we approach August, my husband and I are anticipating the biggest celebration we’ve yet to experience during our entire time of knowing one another. Yes, we do have four kids and each of those birthdays was a celebration – but I only carried each child for nine months. This, this has been carried, prayed through, cried through, struggled through, cheered through and anticipated since two weeks after we met ten years ago. It’s been ten intensive years since starting this long journey (when neither of us knew what we were saying “yes” to) for my husband to become a family nurse practitioner.
These years have been filled with much life, much heartache, much celebration and much trial. We’ve moved four times, bought our first house, had four children, started homeschooling for our oldest kids, had job changes, finished one degree just to turn around and start the next, had family struggles, had money struggles, and had a lot of loneliness. So many good and hard aspects of life have happened in these ten years but as I look forward to the next two months, I see so much worth celebrating.
I see my husband, his dedication to schooling, and his heart for being able to serve others in a wholesome way in the health field. I want to celebrate that beautiful vision, determination, and strength to follow what he felt called to. I see my children who are understanding life in deeper ways because their dad is amazing at devoting special time to them. I see their hearts yearning for more of that, the day coming over the horizon when he won’t have to spend endless days studying at the local coffee shop. I want to celebrate their great attitudes, perseverance, and that they are almost there, too! I see my days of solo parenting changing and looking differently after August. I celebrate having my partner coming alongside me in fuller ways as we work through many more of our parenting years!
I see both our family time and our bank account being less stretched. I am celebrating the idea of less stretching and more of the fun family outings that my adventure-seeking family thrives on! I see so much good in store for us after these long 10 years of often painful hard work, taking the next steps in obedience and waiting for the graduation date to near. But just as my time always came for childbirth, there will be a day arriving soon where the intense schooling is in the past, where we can hardly remember any of the pain and struggle but only the celebration of graduation day.
John 16:21 “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”
So, when those friends and family ask what we’ll be doing in August when he’s done – despite conflicting feelings of “is it silly to celebrate a college graduation when you’re 32?” or feelings that after so much isolation from schooling, he may not even really have friends anymore – I eagerly tell them, “we’re going to celebrate!”
Yes, we are going to celebrate. I don’t know much else about what we’ll be doing aside from that, but I do know we are going to call up all our friends and family and gather everyone who has been on this journey with us and we are going to celebrate this long and hard season coming to a close. We are going to celebrate what the Lord has set out before my husband to accomplish. We are going to celebrate that we have seen blessings even in the trials of this long season. We are going to celebrate lessons, hard work, and perseverance that we have been taught as a whole family. We are going to celebrate that we’ve never lost hope in His plan because God has given us all strength and endurance.
All the while of anticipating and preparing for this celebration time, the verse that keeps coming to my mind is Psalm 34:8a, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.” This Psalm is an invitation from David to trust in the Lord. To celebrate in what the Lord has done for us.
My family has waited, pursued and trusted in a calling from the Lord. And now? Now we are so eager to celebrate what the Lord has done for us, to give thanks to Him. As we get near the end, we are getting a taste of what life will be like on the other side of graduation and there is no doubt, the Lord is good.