Yesterday, Today & Forever - Celebrating 21 Years!!

Years ago, at a social gathering, Chris and I sat across the table from an older couple whose tender embrace and warm smiles led us to believe that life had been “smooth sailing”. 

It wasn’t until our conversation drifted from small-talk into more personal topics that we considered the possibility that they were as close as they were because of the hardships they had endured together. At one point the husband laughed and said to his wife, “Remember the 70’s? Those were some rough years.” “You’re telling me,” she said with a sigh as she leaned deeper into his embrace. We weren’t sure if he meant the 1970s or their 70s, but either way, it was clear that he was referring to an entire decade. As we drove home we talked about this couple’s obvious love for one another and jokingly wondered how old we’d have to be before we too would start chunking our life into decades.
Prior to missions, Chris and I considered our marriage to be exceptionally strong. Although we recognized that we had some “issues”, they went unaddressed. Not only did our hectic schedules lack space for long, difficult discussions, but it also seemed unnecessary to make a mountain out of a molehill, as it were. “Every couple has issues, so what’s the big deal?” we'd say to ourselves as to avoid doing what really needed to be done. When we entered missions the distractions of our life disappeared: home improvement projects, music lessons, karate, homeschooling outings, family vacations, friends, family members, social engagements and everything else. Metaphorically speaking, the rug had been yanked away and every little thing hiding beneath it lay unexpectedly exposed. We could no longer deny the issues that existed, nor could we ignore the impact that they were having on our marriage and our kids, but where could we start? What should we do? As to continue avoiding the seemingly impossible task of repairing what had slowly deteriorated over the course of two decades, we chose to dive headfirst into the mission and focus on helping other people with their problems instead of worrying about our own. The “issues” didn’t go away, of course. Instead, they grew into real problems that were starting to destroy our marriage. Although it was really, really hard, Chris and I accepted the fact that we would need to leave Peru and return to the United States to receive the professional help that we so desperately needed.

The details of our healing journey are too many to recount, but there is one particular moment that stands out in my mind that I want to share. Last year, Chris asked me to watch a video with him on the sacrament of marriage. It opened with a collection of testimonial clips; couples whose relationships were albeit over until they surrendered to Our Lord and begged Him to “make all things new” as He promises in chapter 21 of Revelations. As I listened and watched my heart sank even deeper into the pit of despair because I was certain that our story was different, that it was somehow worse. In fact, I had fallen for the devil’s lie - that our marriage was beyond hope. Staring past the screen, I tried to imagine us snuggled together on a couch, like the couples in the video, explaining with twinkling eyes that our relationship was better than ever. I couldn’t even imagine us sitting close together, nonetheless joyfully proclaiming victory and thanking God for restoring our love for and commitment to one another.

On August 15th Chris and I celebrated 21 years of marriage and I’m SUPER DUPER grateful to say that our excitement to snuggle on the couch together has returned and we’d gladly share a bit of our testimony. As ironic as it may seem, I think I would probably start by explaining how much better our marriage is now than ever before. Like the wives in the video, I would give all glory to God for the miracle of healing and restoration, and insist that others who are struggling seek the Lord. Of course, our marriage isn't perfect, nor will it ever be, but with the Lord’s grace we’re able to accept the things we cannot change, we have the courage we need to change the things that need to be changed, and daily, we beg for the wisdom that we need to know the difference! Chris and I continue to celebrate the victory that we have obtained through Christ, but we also understand the importance of remaining vigilant. After all, "our opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) We are committed to keeping our marriage as our top priority and hold each accountable for making intentional decisions that will build us up and breathe life into our relationship.

On our anniversay, Anna gave us a small bunch of flowers that she picked from a bush close to her dormitory. They have the most beautiful aroma, but that isn't what made them so special. Unbeknownst to any of us, the name for these flowers translates to "Yesterday, Today and Forever." There is nothing that could have been more perfect!!

Chris and I are SO appreciative of all the prayers that have been offered these last couple of years for us. We know how powerful prayer is and doubt that we would have made it through without the loving support of so many. 

As a small token of our appreciation, we're dedicating this upcoming year to praying for others who are struggling in their marriages.  Each morning Chris and I spend about an hour praying together. We’ve decided to use a portion of that time for intercessory prayer. Daily, we’ll petition the Lord for His help in restoring what has been lost in your marriage or perhaps the marriage of a loved one. We know that Jesus wants to “make all things new” (Rev 21:5), but we also believe that He waits for us to invite Him into our difficulties. If you'd like us to add any married couples who are struggling to our prayer list, simply send us an email with their names:
If you include a brief explanation we’ll know what specifically to pray for, but it’s not necessary. We promise to hold any/all information we receive very close to our hearts in complete confidentiality.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for anything and everything you've done to help us arrive at this joyful celebration of 21 years together. We're looking forward to 21 more! 
God bless you, Karen

Our 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of All time