20 YEARS

January 2001.

The beginning of a new century.

Harry Potter and the Socerer’s Stone, Monsters Inc and Oceans 11 were top movies to watch that year.

Friends was the most popular tv show.

They say the “Most Famous Real Person in America” was probably Angelina Jolie and “Most Famous Fictional Person in America” was likely Harry Potter.

1st Generation iPod was being sold at $400.

“Emily, Madison, Hannah & Ashley” were top baby girl names.

George W. Bush was inaugurated as President.

Rudolph Giuliani was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year (my how things have changed).

2001 also marked the biggest tragedy in America in my lifetime: The 9/11 attacks.

Arizona Diamondbacks were World Series Champs, Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl & LA Lakers were NBA Champs. 

Also noteworthy, Josh and Kristy got married January 27.

Twenty years ago. Two decades ago. It’s hard to believe that much time has passed, and yet I can hardly remember life before Josh. Our marriage, while imperfect, has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Having a husband like Josh is a gift straight from God and just the partner I needed to walk through life with. 

I took some time last summer on our early 20th anniversary trip to West Palm Beach to journal about our marriage. My mind was rested, my body was relaxed, the sun was beating down on the beautiful sand while I watched the ocean waves crash, so the word for each year came to me with ease. I thought I’d record that journal entry here to commemorate our 20 years together as husband and wife. 

2001: FUN. Newlyweds, new apartment in Florida, back to Georgia, just a good time all around

2002: CHANGE. Moved apartments, found a new church, met new friends, learned new city

2003: UNKNOWNS. Josh quit his first job, signed contract on new house, Josh got very sick, found out we were pregnant with Ruby, Josh started new job

2004: ANTICIPATION. Waiting on Ruby’s arrival, Josh growing into new job

2005: SURPRISE. Molly was born (only 14 months after we welcomed Ruby to the world)…we forget the rest.

2006: GROWTH. Pregnant with Mack, led a growing Sunday school class of young families, Josh continued to grow into his job in the commercial real estate field

2007: HARD. Three babies (2 year old, 1 year old, newborn)

2008: DRAINED. I hit an emotional wall at the end of this year, turned to God in all of my emptiness with nothing to offer but my tired, weary self. And He was faithful to meet me.

2009: EMPTY.  We built and moved into our “dream home” that sucked the life and money right out of us. 

2010: FAITH-BUILDING. As we let go of our dreams and plans and trusted God for His plans and purposes for our lives…

2011: GRIEF. Deb —Josh’s mom— went to heaven, leaving a hole in all of our hearts. Also, HUMILITY.  We moved back into our old house after selling the dream home.

2012: FREEDOM. From debt. From trying to be anything or anyone other than who God wanted us to be. From trying to carry out our own dreams apart from God. Freedom for Josh to take on another job in ministry, in addition to his commercial real estate work.

2013: THANKFUL. Loads of friends at church, homeschooling a 10, 9, 8 year old (sweeet ages!), went to Haiti as a family. Life seemed manageable and not as stressful as in recent years.

2014: STRETCHED. Josh’s two jobs stretched him in many ways. The ministry was booming. He was still teaching and leading a large group at church, his real estate job was going very well, but this year also provided a very stressful financial situation to walk through, not of our own doing. 

2015: RESTLESS. This was a busy, full year with many wonderful things going on in our lives, YET, we were both restless and couldn’t put our finger on what needed to change or what we were doing wrong. I had a vision of Jesus picking me up and walking away with me. I had no idea what that meant exactly but shared it with Josh and wrote it in my journal.

2016: BIG MOVE. Through a series of events, God made it clear that He was calling us to a new adventure — He just didn’t make it clear how hard it would be. We went to Africa in June with the ministry Josh served with and by July we were selling our house, buying a new home in Charlotte, NC for the job Josh would start Sept. 1!

2017: OVERWHELMED. Everything was new. Work was difficult. Loneliness threatened to take me under. I started counseling to have someone to process this with. Could not find our place in a church.

2018: PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH. Josh was managing his new role much better at this point. I began taking care of my physical and mental health and went from barely surviving to thriving during this year. 

2019: GRIEF AND TRAUMA. My mom took her own life. Horrible in every way. LETTING GO. The kids started attending a private Christian school, which was needed for them and for me in this season. God’s timing and provision could not be denied.

2020: WEIRD. COVID-19 entered the USA and turned everything upside down in ways only a global pandemic can. More disappointments than can be named….and yet, God increased intimacy with Him and strengthened our marriage and our family through the unknowns of a very strange year.

2021: We are only just beginning and only God knows what word will rise to my mind when I think about this year as it relates to our family and our marriage. But I have high hopes for less masks and less disappointments and more growth with deeper intimacy as we celebrate 20 years and pray for 80 more!

HAPPY 20TH ANNIVERSARY, JOSH! I LOVE YOU. You are a fabulous husband in every way, and I love and respect you so, so much.

1997: our first photo together, just friends sharing french fries at Huddle House
2000: dating several years, this was after UGA vs SC baseball game—he’s on the field and I’m in the stands cheering, very fitting for how I see our marriage
2001: rehearsal dinner
2001: wedding day
2020: our early anniversary trip to EAU Resort in Palm Beach
20 years together! relaxed, happy and more in love than ever

“I have found the one whom my soul loves.” Song of Solomon 3:4