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Every year in my family we go around our Thanksgiving table and say what we are thankful for. It’s a common tradition for this holiday that I’m sure many of us share. Every year I put a lot of thought into “that moment.” As kids we always dreaded our turn around the table. I like to kinda know what I’m going to say in advance. It makes me less nervous to say it out loud if I practice it a couple times in the shower first 😉
This year things are different, but I’m sure the tradition will carry on. So I’ve been thinking of what I will say on my turn. What am I thankful for this year?
While thinking about it I realized it’s simple. Almost every single thing I am thankful for this Thanksgiving goes back to ONE thing. And that one thing is my husband.
I have seen this quote many times and it is SO true. SO much comes from the decision in who we choose as our spouse. I am so, so thankful that I chose Zach. And, especially, that he chose me. And that we continually choose each other again and again and again.
I am such a totally different person today than I was when I met Zach in early 2004. Did he change me? No. But he gave me the tools in order to change myself. Through him I was able to know the Lord. Have a relationship with God that I do not know if I would have ever discovered on my own. I am a Christian. A believer. A worshiper. A child of God. I am able to grow and learn and be molded into the person He wants for me to be. I am so thankful Zach lead me by example. He showed me that it was possible to still be “cool” yet love Jesus. To not cuss or drink but still have fun. To take worship services seriously yet still be active in other aspects of the world too.
Being married to a man where GOD is truly the leader in our household is HUGE. Divorce rates are sky high yet I am confident that we will remain strong because we both keep our eyes focused on things above. My husband leads our family. He strives to be the man that God calls him to be. He is not perfect, but he recognizes areas in his life where he falls short and he actually works to improve on them. That inspires me so so much. How often do I apologize for the same thing again, and again, and again??? I fall in the same rut. Same pattern. Same routine. Same sin. Zach sees his faults on his own and is constantly striving to be better.
He was an awesome guy at 19. But he’s an even better person today. I have been so blessed to see him evolve before my eyes. To watch the Lord working within him. Softening him. Giving him better ability to put himself in others shoes. See that not all of us struggle with the same sins. Listen to others and try to understand their positions better. Biting his tongue when necessary. Resisting the devils temptations in this world. Trusting in God to provide and recognizing that everything we have is His.
I have had to lean on Zach more this year than ever before. Our relationship did not start off as a friendship. We were strangers then we jumped full force into a relationship. We kinda skipped the whole getting-to-know-you phase 😉 Our friendship is one that has changed with time and has gotten stronger through every obstacle we face together. I know how hard it is for him to see me hurt. I try to hide the hurt from him because I know how much it pains him to see it. He wants to fix everything. But sometimes there are simply things that cannot be fixed. And that’s tough for my husband to accept. He has done such an amazing job being my friend. Listening to me vent. Providing that comforting shoulder. Not giving advice. Not making me feel stupid. Not rushing me. Just letting me be me in that moment of weakness and reminding me that it’s all okay. That we have each other, no matter what. It’s through the struggles we have faced that we have continually gotten closer, our love has grown deeper, and we have become such wonderful friends.
My husband loves me. He supports everything I do. He is my biggest encourager. Biggest cheerleader. Biggest protector. He defends me even when he may think I’m in the wrong. He never speaks an ill word of me even when it’s deserving. He forgives. And forgives. And forgives. He may not always forget…but he continually forgives 😉 He doesn’t complain when the house is messy. Or when I burn the corn. Or when I forget to clean the leaves out of the pool. He does such a better job at letting me handle “my job” than I do at letting him handle his. He trusts me. He sees my strengths and allows me to utilize them in our home life. He does all the heavy lifting…and even the light lifting that he know I could do if I actually tried. He reheats my leftovers for me. Makes me grilled cheese and pancakes. Even helps clean the house when I’m stressed. He comes home from work everyday and immediately puts on his “Daddy cap.” He plays with our children. Loves our children. Disciplines them with such compassion. He IS the man I want Kye to be and the husband I hope Brittlynn someday marries.
I didn’t know I was looking for Zach when I found him. I didn’t even know I’d found him when I met him 😉 My whole life changed that night and I had no clue. I love to think about all the decisions Zach and I both made that eventually brought us together. How if we had changed one thing then we’d never have met. I so often think about how if we hadn’t met I would have never been able to find someone as perfect for me as Zach. I often feel unworthy of him. His spirituality, his attractiveness, his work ethic, his ability to do anything he wants in life and do it well, his natural confidence, his amazing abilities as a father…the list goes on and on and on. I thank the Lord so much that he put us on this path together. I truly have the “cream of the crop.”
I have spent much of our relationship doubting myself. Wondering why in the world he would chose me? I look at him and see so many amazing traits and it makes me doubt myself and what I bring to the relationship. Zach has taught me that I DO deserve it. I am deserving of love. The unconditional-no-matter-what kind of love. I’m flawed, yes, but he is too. When I have my little breakdowns he reminds me of his shortcomings. Of how much I still love him and admire him even though it annoys the crap out of me that he leaves dirty dishes in the sink. He reminds me that my shortcomings are just as small to him as his are to me. That he loves me. Admires me. Is proud of me. And that’s something I’m not used to hearing. He compliments me so often. Showers me with praise and affection. I don’t have his natural confidence, but, thanks to him, I’m finding my own in myself.
This year, more than any other year so far, I’m so so thankful for him. All of my eggs are in his basket. His family is mine. Our family is the most important thing in my world. I can count on him. Rely on him. Through thick and thin. Valleys and mountain tops. He’s never going anywhere. No matter what. Coming from a divorced home that’s a truth that’s hard for me to accept. I used to worry if forever really did mean forever. Would he leave me? Would I push him away? Would I ruin this??? I am far from perfect. Our marriage is far from perfect. But we ARE in this for the long haul. I can trust that he’s not going anywhere. That we WILL weather every. single. storm. together.
It is through Zach that I found my relationship with God. It is also through Zach that I am blessed with my beautiful, amazing children. Being a mother is my greatest blessing. Without Zach Kye wouldn’t be Kye and Brittlynn wouldn’t be Brittlynn. To me, there couldn’t be two more perfect children in the world (and the ones to come will be just perfect for us too!) better suited for our family. They are my hearts and to Zach I am grateful for them!
I love watching him with our children. Seeing him get excited over the little things they do. Hearing him read to them. Play with them. And especially pray with them. I love how passionate he is about being a good dad. How much he wants to do right by our children and how hard he strives to lead them through this crazy world in which we live. I’m thankful I was able to give my children a father who wants to be there for every moment. Who rushes home from work each night so he can see them and spend time with us. Who wants to buy them all kinds of random treasures when we go on trips. Who has pictures of them on his phone to show off to all the people he meets. They are so blessed to have him for their father and I know he will only continue to be proud of them as we watch them grow up.
Through Zach I am also so blessed with such a loving family. His family has become my own. Every single one of them has enriched my life in a different way and I’m thankful to be so accepted by people who don’t need me. They were just fine with it being Courtney, Zach and Casey. They didn’t need another daughter, sister, niece, grand daughter. But they have embraced me. Welcomed me. Loved me. Our bonds are strong now than ever before and I am thankful to Zach for blessing me with the last name Parker 😉
From our early days
To our beginnings as husband and wife
Through becoming parents for the first time
To becoming a family of four
And to where ever the future takes us…we have each other 🙂
So this year as we gather around the table I plan to simply say that I’m thankful for Zach. I do not want to start crying my eyes out and seeing as that’s exactly what I’m doing while writing this…I’m for sure going to keep “my turn” nice and short. But I hope that when Zach does get around to reading this that he knows just how thankful I am for him.
Many aspects of our lives right now may be in a valley stage…but our relationship is in a mountain top stage and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. I love falling asleep at night holding hands like we did back in the day. I love inching closer and closer on the couch together while we watch tv. I love our knowing looks of laughter at each other when Kye says something funny. I love our easy way of knowing each others needs without asking. I love our love and that is something I’m thankful for. Not just today. But every single day from now until forever 🙂
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you’re able to spend it with the ones you love the most!