Eleven is the number of years that I have been married to Natalie Rae today. It simultaneously seems like forever and no time at all.
Natalie may seem like a series of dichotomies. She has a gentle exterior but inside she is a worshipping warrior. She may seem quiet or shy on the exterior, but she is a wealth of knowledge if given the opportunity to share. She is a quiet, strong, worshipping warrior of wisdom and determination. When I first met Nat, she stood out because she emanated warmth and was a very welcoming person. She passionately and unashamedly would worship God, with no care of who was there and what they might think; that was the first thing that attracted me to her. The second was she liked a couple of bands I did not. Lol. While not a fan of the music, I was a fan of the fact that she wasn’t afraid to like music that a was different (fortunately there are some bands that we agree on, otherwise road trips would be quite miserable lol).
Our first date was a bit of an accident. We were both heading to David Crowder Band concert at Ruby Diamond Auditorium and decided to meet up. I was going to meet her and a friend but Natalie’s friend canceled on her. We ended up there “together.” Afterwards, we went out to Denny’s (when it was on Apalachee Parkway still). It was nice... although I’m sure I embarrassed myself (and I think I had a huge pimple... ugh!). One of my classmates happened to be at the concert that night and took a photo of us singing side by side. After seeing it that night, I had a pretty good idea that Natalie was a very special person.
As life is wont to do, it has dealt us a series of blows before getting married and of course after. Through it all, Natalie has persisted.
When she had our firstborn child, I could finally physically see how strong this woman I married was; her physical, spiritual, and emotional strength. Sometimes she doubts herself; her strength and who she is. But even then, she still persists in her strength, without even realizing it. I believe there is nothing Natalie cannot do if she truly wants to.
Half of our marriage now has been raising children and Natalie is an amazing mother. She loves our family day in and day out without thinking of herself (despite my attempts to encourage her to be a little more selfish of her time on occasion).
Natalie, I love you. I look forward to the road ahead; walking together, loving and encouraging one another, depending on God, I believe the rest of this trip is going to be a wonderful journey with you by my side... regardless of whatever life throws our way.