Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer has been married for twenty-three years to her high school sweetheart, Paul. She is the mother of three children, Paul IV (22), Samuel (6), and Grace (6). She also has six babies residing in heaven. It is those six tiny souls who have propelled her into women’s ministry. She is a conference speaker and author of the book Nothing to Hold but Hope (one woman's journey through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility). Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.
I was a little bit of a crazy kid, and he matched my insanity. We started out two dramatic young teenagers whose names ended up synonymous before high school graduation, and only two months after I walked Pomp and Circumstance as an eighteen year old girl, I found myself marching to Here Comes The Bride.
Now that I’ve had children, its unimaginable to me what my parents must have been thinking when I declared, as a fresh faced seventeen year old that, yes, it was a diamond on the fourth finger of my left hand, no, I didn’t believe in long engagements, and, yes, I would be tying the knot promptly after high school graduation.
I recall hearing my mother on the phone with my father, they’re divorced, by the way, crying something to the effect of, “She’s going to ruin her life!” I was horrified and thought she was unfounded. If I had been in her shoes, I may have tied up my daughter, gagged her, threw her in the backseat, and drove fast and furious to a convent.
None of it made sense.
I was in love. The kind that makes your knees knock and your heart pound. There was no wrong he could commit and no right short of perfection. He was born for me and I for him.
I was so nervous on the day of, August, 16, 1991. The smell of my bouquet made me want to vomit. I took deep breaths while waiting for the ceremony to begin. My mother, after planning my dream wedding, gave me one more out, “Do you want to run?” I calmly shook my head no. I was sure.
Our decision seemed to lack wisdom to everyone around us. Our friends were headed for college to be young and free, hoping for future financial gains, and the power of a higher level education. Our parents never expected their children to have what could only be classified as temporary lapses of insanity. And no one, not even us, could explain the deep calling and persuasion of a God who kept saying, “Yes, I made you for each other.”
On our first wedding anniversary I was six months pregnant with our son. By our fifth, we suffered two miscarriages and a stillborn daughter. When our tenth rolled around, we were professionals at grief resulting from secondary infertility with one more early loss under our belts. We lived begging God for just one more baby.
By twenty years, we had sustained two more losses and a successful round of IVF resulting in, after quite a difficult pregnancy, healthy twins. We renewed our vows. I was ready to scream yes all over again.
If I had to, I would revisit every painful place we had already traveled just knowing Paul was there. I would, again, walk through any of those doors to find him because God said yes to us and gave me the greatest gift I’ve ever known, the best friend I’ve ever had, and a love that cannot be spoken in words, only lived.
We’ve been living love for twenty-four years.
Every moment we share is a hard fought, joy chasing, Jesus seeking, passionate pursuit of each other. We are as crazy now as we were then. We’ve never ceased dreaming, and I think it’s because we’ve never allowed our hearts to age. Though we have lines forming around our mouths and eyes, our hearts still beat young and hard awaiting the promises from our Creator. They are etched deep and burn hot with belief in new and beautiful things to come.
Friend, all things are possible with God. No matter what your particular circumstance is – maybe your struggling in marriage, child rearing, friendship, career choices, deep spiritual questions. Maybe you’re searching for hope – guard your heart. Demand it stay young and open to the God who says yes in circumstances which make zero sense to anyone.
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.
Happy twenty-four years to us!
Dear Jesus, please, just one hundred twenty- four, or forever, more…