We’ve come to the end of the series and the only thoughts left to share are mine.
If you haven’t had a chance to read the other stories, I encourage you to go back and do so. We have so much to learn from one another. You can find them here:
Without further ado, here are my thoughts & a picture from our anniversary dinner on Thursday night.
When we got married, there was no Pintrest, no facebook & digital/lifestyle photography was just starting to break onto the scene. As much as I love all of that stuff, I’m so glad it wasn’t present for our wedding. It is already so easy for me to make small things into big things so I didn’t need to add any fuel to that fire. Even without the internet’s help we made lots of things by hand with the direction of my mom and the help of so many others. Those things are set aside as keepsakes but I don’t have pictures of the programs that she stayed up late printing for me, nor do I have any pictures on facebook tagged of our special day.
Regardless, we got married. We said our vows, we cut our cake and we celebrated with those who love us. The longer we have been married the more I recognize the fact that your wedding day is just that, a day, and what follows, a lifetime of marriage is where we spend our time doing the things that no one will comment on, like or re post.
It is within these moments, conversations and conflict that we have the chance to serve our spouse and the chance to grow. It is both exhilarating and painstaking at times to live with someone who is different than you are. Take Ryan & I. We are both two very different individuals who are trying to seek the same path together. Yet we find ourselves in unique friendships, conversations and many times, opposite ways of seeing things based on who we are.
As much as I give him a hard time for being too serious, I love the way Ryan thinks about life and is willing to take risks. Watching him has really taught me that anything worth having takes putting yourself out there, even if you are a little (or a lot) afraid. I’m reading Steve Job’s biography right now and there is a quote in there about people who change the world. Here is a portion of it that struck me:
Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
You can find the full quote here.
The longer I have been married to Ryan, the more I realize that he is one of these people. God is using him to push His kingdom forward. I have seen pieces of us bleed into one another’s personalities and ideas, almost to the point that we aren’t sure where the beginning is and whose idea it was first. What is happening is that we are changing and growing, me to be more open to crazy ideas and him to be more steady.
The one thing that thought I would be most secure in my adult life was a plan. We don’t have one and I am more at peace in this place than I remember being with a set map. It surprises me and miffs me and the only thing that I can credit it to is God. This road is proving to be more interesting and fulfilling than any road map both in our marriage and in the direction we take our family.
Seven years ago, we were two twenty two-year olds, set out on a course we thought would take us in one direction. Here we are, in the middle of who knows where and more aware of true joy that I could have hoped. That is something that cannot be packaged, framed, pinned or planned for.
I’m ever so thankful for Ryan, for being willing to ask questions and suggest turns in the road that seem scary to me. The truth is, the more time you go down an unknown path, the more times you find something beautiful waiting for you.Read More
It’s Sunday and we are coming to the end of this series but luckily we have a little bit more to share! Tomorrow I will be concluding the week with my thoughts and we will get back to life as usual over here at Thankful & Thoughtful. It has been really wonderful to read all of the stories and to hear from all of you that you are be blessed by them as well.
A warning as you read today’s entry. Have Kleenex nearby. The road that God has taken Steve & Rochelle on is one of joy and pain, mixed together with His hand all over it. They have taught Ryan and I so much about having faith in dark times and we have been blessed to be a part of their journey. We, along with so many others, stand in awe of the hope God has given them, in himself and ultimately in His plan for their marriage. Be blessed.
Today, Tomorrow & Always: Ten Years
Today, tomorrow, and always was our favorite quote 10 years ago today when Steve and I said “I do”!
Your wedding day is full of dreaming about the future as becoming one. You don’t think about the roller coasters you may be called to face, but you continue to walk by faith, hoping that will be enough.
On our wedding day, I sang the Point of Grace song called “We will never walk alone.” Part of the song that I love says:
“We will never walk alone as long as we have faith Jesus will be right beside us all the way, and you when you feel your far from home, home is where he is. He’ll be there down every road, we will never walk alone.”
I have goose bumps thinking about those lyrics and realizing how each part of life is a piece of a puzzle that is fitted just right at God’s timing.
After four years of marriage were blessed to become parents on June 21, 2006ne 21, 2006
English: World English Bible - WEB
Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja!
WP-Bible plugin. Our precious baby boy was the joy of our lives. Lucas Paul was and still is a very healthy and bright child who is always eager to learn. He has a heart for God and telling others about his love. We had the picture of where we thought we would be and life was going smoothly. After a few years God had laid it on our hearts to grow our family.
I was given a vision of a little girl big blue eyes and blonde curly hair and was praying for the day I got to meet, and hold her in my arms. In 2008 we found out we were pregnant again, and I was excited to find out that it was a girl.
After thirteen weeks the ultrasound showed that something wasn’t right and that we would most likely not carry this baby to term. It was a rare disease and usually your body recognizes that something is wrong and let’s go, but mine didn’t. Steve and I both knew that we served a big God and if He wanted her to live he would perform a miracle. We joined with others, and prayed for God’s healing. After her living in my womb for five months He decided to take her home. On May 9, 2008, Grace Lynn Dozeman met her Savior. It was hard to go through that trial and we were blessed to be surrounded by love ones to carry us through that hardship.
Looking back it was a blessing that our daughter did not have to suffer and now I see how God spared us from that pain. Through the loss, Steve and I continued to walk by faith and prayed for God to bless us with another child. I held onto the vision I had been given and continued praying for God’s timing.
A quick six months later we found out that we were expecting again and we were so thankful for the miracle that was growing inside of me. We appreciated each step of this pregnancy and prayed God’s favor as our baby was knit together in my womb. The pregnancy was uneventful and we found out that we were having another boy. I started to go into labor at seven and a half months and found out that my baby had passed away due to the placenta being fertilized. This kind of thing happens one in a thousand pregnancies! Kaden James Dozeman entered heaven on May 5th, 2009, less than a year after we lost Grace.
We were devastated and again had to rely on others to help carry us through this difficult time. Looking back I really can’t believe that we went through this. God truly carried us through and we are so thankful for his continual hand and provision on our lives, Steve and I both felt that God had placed it on our hearts to keep trying for a healthy baby and we continued to walk by hope and faith. I chose to lay the vision of the baby girl at God’s feet, and if it was his plan we would soon meet her.
Not long after the loss of Kaden, our son Lucas started to pray for a baby sister. The next week he told me that I had a baby girl in my belly, and sure enough we were pregnant with number four! We were all excited and had a peace that we couldn’t explain.
If you’re counting yes I was pregnant for 3 years in a row, and was thankful that I liked being pregnant. The pregnancy went beautifully and Lucas’ prayers were answered! We were blessed with a healthy baby girl on November 22, 2010r 22, 2010
English: World English Bible - WEB
Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja!
WP-Bible plugin named Ashlyn Grace Dozeman. She was the joy that filled our hearts and encouraged so many others people who had been journeying with us. She is an amazing blessing. We have grown so much in the past few years and we welcome this season of joy. He has given us beauty for our ashes. He has turned our sorrow into joy and our mourning into dancing.
We are excited for this next chapter in our lives. We had our family pictures taken recently for the first time of the four of us, and I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for the children he has entrusted us with. We had a few taken with a blue and pink balloon to represent our kids that are waiting for us.
As we celebrate our ten year anniversary and look forward to the next ten, I pray that we will continue to hold each others hands in the different seasons of life. We will always carry the scars of the past, but we are reminded that it is His story and doesn’t always go how we want it too. We pray that our story with encourage others to seek God Today, Tomorrow, and Always! Blessings from our family to yours.Read More
Wow, today’s entry is such a gift. The story of two talented, driven individuals with a heart for the Lord who just happen to be some of our very best friends. Meet the Wheelers:
Emily and I met eleven years ago in the halls of 2nd East Olson and have been best friends ever since. Both Ryan and I have loved Emily for years, and were our own little trio so when she met D, we were hopeful that he would be somebody that we clicked with. To understate it, we loved him just as much. Honestly.
Emily has written honestly and poignantly on this space before about friendship, I encourage you to go back and read that entry as well. Here is a little bit about Dennis & Emily as well as some valuable insight on what it looks like to have God weave together a new path for you as a couple.
How did you meet? We met while both working at Miracle Camp in the summer of 2004. It was friendship at first sight. I recall our first conversation taking place around the tether ball pole (Dennis claims to remember this, but he doesn’t☺).
How long you have been married? 3 ½ years
What unique gifts or ministry do you feel you have been given as a couple? Hospitality, refugees, creating a safe space for guests to breathe.
I always thought my love story would go a something like, “We met, fell madly in love, and the rest was history…” but it didn’t (smiling). Although each of those things is true, they didn’t necessarily happen in that order. Our story has been a winding road that started with a summer camp crush, grew into a deep friendship, and blossomed over time into a tender love. Throw two strong, independent wills in the mix, and you have our love story.
When I was dating Dennis, my greatest fear was losing sight of the goals and dreams I had set. It was those dreams that I thought defined me, and I was willing to fight for preservation. Turns out, my hubby-to-be also had dreams (imagine that), and unlike my expectations, they didn’t always line up with mine. As we entered into conversations about marriage and the future, I wasn’t sure what it looked like for our two spirits to come together as “one flesh.” And when we said, “I do,” we still didn’t have the answer.
Into our second year of marriage, we continued to wrestle through that question. Looking back, I think we were asking the wrong question; maybe too many questions altogether. Turns out I didn’t intimately know Dennis’ heart because I was too busy thinking about how to preserve my own….
It wasn’t overnight, but God started doing something in me. I started to watch my husband in his everyday life. I started to notice the encounters that made his heart come alive. I began to be aware of his gifts and strengths in a way I never had. Over time, I could feel myself moving closer towards him. His dreams were starting to become my own. Like my own dreams, they were worth fighting for.
Somewhere in this process of moving towards one another, we found ourselves ministering together. We started opening our guest room to young adults in seasons of transition, and realized our love for hospitality and discipleship. I started working with refugee youth full-time at World Relief, and Dennis began mentoring one of my students. We both felt God cultivating a heart in us to “welcome the stranger” into our lives.
We don’t know where our journey will take us, but we know that if we continue to move towards one another and seek to know the other’s heart, than our ministry will only be stronger. We are firm believers that God CAN and WILL make something beautiful out of two strong-willed spirits.
So I didn’t get the “rest is history” story. But I sure do love our story- because it is uniquely ours. And I realize more each day it is a sweeter love story than I could have ever written.Read More
Rebekah and I are selfish. We both want our own ideal for our marriage, and when these ideals differ and we fall short, we try to blame one another for the reality that we find ourselves in. We try to put everything on the other person, like Adam pointing at Eve and proclaiming, “She did it!” When something in our marriage gets exposed, we have a hard time taking responsibility for it, as we think it’s each other’s own shortcoming. We must protect our individual ideals for our marriage at all cost…even if that cost is a piece of one another.
Gen 2:24Gen 2:24
English: World English Bible - WEB
24 Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh.
WP-Bible plugin – “And the two will become one flesh.”
Rebekah and I hide. The best way to make someone vulnerable is by stripping him or her naked, both figuratively and literally. To be naked is to be exposed, and none of us want to be exposed, including Rebekah and I. We constantly hide in secret places; we hide from God, from one another, from our friends, from our spouses. We don’t necessarily try to do this; we don’t need to, because it’s unfortunately human nature. We don’t want to be vulnerable, because it will cost something to the person we are trying to create; The story that we’re each individually building.
Many days I long to take Rebekah back to the garden, not literally of course, but to a time when husband and wife were of one flesh and were naked and unashamed. In the beginning God created husband and wife to function in such a way that there would be absolutely no selfish agendas and vulnerabilities between one another. How could there be, “You are One,” God proclaims. “There is no longer personal agendas, pursue life together as one!” I think Rebekah and I would be so sure of our God-given identities and what we were created for, that we’d just constantly be affirming one another in this while giving each other high fives in the garden. Naked…vulnerable…unaware…perfect love high fives! We’d sit under the tree and discuss the story that God was telling in the world and how blessed we were to be a part of it together. We’d constantly be thanking God for one another and the richness we’re finding in our relationship. We’d be satisfied in our oneness, unselfish, vulnerable but unaware.
Gen 3:7Gen 3:7
English: World English Bible - WEB
7 Both of their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
WP-Bible plugin – “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
But we’re not in the garden. So, what do we do? Rebekah and I are still prone to being selfish and to hiding in our coverings, and to withholding those high fives from one another. Our 7th anniversary is coming up this Sunday and I’m amazed at the grace of God in bringing these two individuals together as one. I’ve always told Rebekah, and it’s been affirmed by personality profiles, that we’re complete opposites. The love of a particular hobby, a group of people, or a type of beverage, or a favorite restaurant doesn’t unite us…ever. So, what keeps two individuals together who are both selfish, in hiding, and are completely different?
I can honestly say that it’s the belief that we’re both a part of a greater story being told (video). We both call one another to this story, and to living within it together; a story of selflessness, vulnerability, service, and love that was written into creation. When either of us is pointing at one another, we slap one another’s finger down. When either of us seems to be hiding, we go and rip back the bushes in order to expose one another. When one person is high fiving themselves, the other reminds them that not only does that look really stupid, but that we’re only awesome together. It’s a mystery how it all works, but I know that it wouldn’t work if Rebekah and I lived for our own stories. It’s God’s story that unites us, that makes us choose love. We choose to represent who our God is and what he’s like by fighting for oneness, by wrestling through our selfishness, by exposing those places we’re vulnerable, and by high-fiving one another in the streets for another 50+ years while proclaiming, “God and his story is so good.”Read More
We met Dana and Tim first through a class Ryan was teaching at our church on Strengths and How to Study the Bible. They were open and intentional, people who were trying to figure out what growth looks like in a practical sense. Since then, I have had the chance to spend more time with Dana, talking about writing (catch her daily thoughts here), life and continuing to develop ourselves. She is always articulate and funny, ready to share what she is learning and what she had to say about marriage is no different. Enjoy.
How did guys meet? I had just returned home from a difficult six months of working in Switzerland as a nanny, and was a bit lost. I was looking for a job, my college friends had scattered all over the country, and I was back living in my parent’s house. One night I accepted an offer to join a few friends at a rodeo in downtown Grand Rapids. I wore my favorite pink cowboy hat, and afterward, found myself sitting across a table from a tall guy with a big smile. I went home and told my parents I met someone I hoped to date and the rest is history.
How long have you been married? Nine years
What unique gifts or ministry do you feel that you have been given as a couple? We both love teaching, whether it be our own children, students (Dana is a middle school English teacher), or others that we have the chance to interact with.
Putting on Love:
Tim and I grew up in the same small town, but had never met until that night. We’re thankful that God waited until then to introduce us, because we’re quite sure we wouldn’t have been ready for each other any sooner.
In hindsight, it’s easy to see the intentionality in God’s plan for our lives — He knew when we needed to find each other. It also seems that one of the major lessons God continues to teach us through our marriage is to model that kind of intentionality.
In Colossians 3:12-14Colossians 3:12-14
English: World English Bible - WEB
12 Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do. 14 Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection.
WP-Bible plugin, Paul talks about clothing yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, and putting on love. This was our wedding passage, and I remember our pastor telling us there would be days we wouldn’t wake up and feel any of those emotions naturally — but we can fake it until we make it; we can make a decision to model God’s unconditional love, even when our human nature leans toward selfishness.
One of the ways Tim and I have learned we need to “put on love” is to be deliberate about setting aside uninterrupted time to be together — time away from our kids, our computers, our to-do lists. I love my husband dearly, but I think our date nights remind me that I still really like him too. A co-worker once remarked to Tim that the money we spent on a trip together might have better spent on a new TV, but Tim told him that we made an investment in our marriage instead. I can honestly say that I’ve never had buyer’s remorse when paying a babysitter.
Speaking of investments and intentionality, another lesson we’ve learned is not one of romance, but it’s changed our marriage for the better. We budget together.
When we were dating, Tim sent me an email with an Excel file attachment. I opened it to find a spreadsheet filled with numbers that meant little to me. When I called him to ask for an explanation, he explained that it was a long-term financial projection of our lives together. I took it as a clue a proposal was coming. (Aren’t engineers romantic?)
Tim’s brain gets numbers. They give me a headache. I’d just as soon close my eyes and trust that he’s got our money figured out. And we tried this for awhile. But, when I needed to buy new socks, I felt like I was asking my dad for money. Most of the times we’d discuss money during our first few years of marriage, it would end in tears.
Our church held Financial Peace University classes, and Tim and I enrolled together. It was this class that gave us a platform to discuss money, to understand our families of origin, and to hash out our true priorities. The process taught us a lot about communication, and helped us to appreciate each other’s strengths — not to mention that it significantly cut down on Kleenex costs.
Since our marriage money makeover, Tim has also been led to mentor other couples and teach Financial Peace classes. We are not, and do not claim to be experts, but God has shown us that our financial priorities are a very accurate picture of our spiritual health.
For us, “putting on love” is a decision we make each day of our marriage, and in that decision, we hope to be a reflection of God’s love.Read More