Ever wish you knew someone who had a rich, raw, witty humor that kept you in stitches for hours? Have you ever thought how cool it would be for that same friend to be able to share authentic conversation with you about life’s deepest struggles and yet leave you with a sense of hope, forgiveness, peace and comfort that could make you feel as hope-filled, warm and cozy as the caramel-drizzled latte you held in your hands?
Well, now you do.
Meet Angie Smith. If you don’t already know her, you most certainly should. Her rich words of wisdom have touched a generation of women – some of whom have experienced emotionally devastating circumstances and have been comforted by grace and healing from God’s hand.
Angie knows. Her life is as deep as it is wide. She and her family have been through it and have lived to tell a story that is changing lives one at a time. Her study of the Word and her love for the Savior is contagious through her work in ministry but also through her life as wife, mother and friend. . .
. . .the kind of friend you want to share a latte with one sip at a time.
I’ve somehow managed to get a bloody nose in the midst of trying to get ready for bed. My hair is in a towel, my face is splotchy-red from the shower, and I have toilet paper shoved into my nose. I sit cross-legged in front of the mirror, plucking my eyebrows and staring into what I’ve become.
At that moment, Todd opens the door and walks in. I look at him, straight-faced, and say, “So, be honest. Isn’t marriage everything you dreamed of…and MORE?” He smiles. We laugh. I untie the towel and start trying to comb out knots with my fingers.
“The girls took my brush again.” I explain.
He’s putting away clothes behind me, and I realize he knows where all of my things go. Tank tops here, speaking clothes there.
I blow my nose, smooth moisturizer over my cheeks, and tell him I’ll meet him upstairs in a few minutes. He nods, reaching high for the socks, and I’m grateful for the truth that hides deep in this moment.
We’re still standing.
And for all the Instagram-worthy, blog-post-destined moments we’ve had over the years, nothing compares to the tenderness of our invisible, everyday life. He knows I spoke too soon when I told him I was angry, and he knows it comes from fear. He knows exactly how many seconds lie between a bowl of oatmeal that she’ll eat and one that will send her into teary despair.
It’s deep and hidden and pure, and it stretches as the years pass. It has walked through hospitals, through cemeteries, through the frayed edges of “for better or for worse.” And for all our wild dreaming about what this life would look like, I never knew it would be the steady rhythm of “us” that would trump fantasy.
We pulled out our wedding video for friends recently (on VHS, thankyouverymuch) and we got lost in the memories for a little while. I’m happy-as happy as a bride has ever been-and Todd looks like a kid in his dad’s tux. We didn’t go into it with unhealthy expectations or ignorant misgivings about how hard it would be. I think we knew it was part of the deal. But anticipation and experience are different, and we’ve had to brave it together.
I watched us looking at each other as we left the church, and it struck me that we did that. Everyone was cheering and the doors were wide open ahead of us, but our eyes were locked on each other.
And as I watched, something in me wanted to tell the “us” in the video they had found the secret, and that they would hold tight to it even when everything shouted and pulled. When the earth gave way, we’d be hand in hand, clinging to the same thing we did that day.
I’m yours, and you’re mine. All the rest of it will fall where it will.
Thirteen years outside those church doors, and our fingers are still looped together believing for the best.
I laugh, not because I think we’re doing it exactly right, but because we’re doing it at all. The beauty of this life is in the moments that never make it into a scrapbook-the moments when, if you were being honest-you would say, “We almost gave up right there, but we didn’t.”
It won’t make Facebook, that’s for sure, but it didn’t go without notice. Mascara-stained cheeks and words I wish I had swallowed before spilling. No. It’s not glamorous, but there’s truth that could stand to see the light of day.
And the times we did let the sun go down in our anger. I know, that’s a no-no. I read it, too.
But we’re sinners in desperate need of grace, and we’re going to continue to make decisions we shouldn’t. In the midst of it, we reach for Him, and we ask Him to speak mercy over our brokenness. And we commit to each other over and over again, and the words echo like they did in an old church so many days ago.
For better, yes.
But also for worse.
And we’ll take what comes because we believe in the One who knitted us together. I love this man who knows where my socks go, and he loves me in spite of my counter-sitting habits.
That moment, and thousands more remind me what it really means to be in love-it’s as much about “being in” as it is about “in love.”
Today, I smile like I did when he lifted my veil, because I know his hands and his heart better today than that day.
And the best part?
I’m still saying “yes.”