With this birthday, the man of my dreams has officially entered into a season of life known as his late twenties. Twenty-seven years ago, a little baby boy was born, and I can now emphasize with his mom wishing that he'd never grow up. I can also emphasize with her protection over him each time I hurt his feelings, made him mad, or crushed his heart, because I am already fighting my lady killer tendencies and Braxton isn't even a year old yet (lawd help me). I've been by his side for nearly half of his birthdays, and each new year reveals countless new things to learn about him as he continues to grow and change. Out of all the things that I adore about this birthday boy, these two pictures capture the one thing I love, appreciate, and praise God for the most.
He spends the majority of his time, energy, and efforts selflessly serving the people his gaze is fixed on (while wearing a goofy grin, might I add). He does everything he can to make sure that we are provided for and taken care of, and he expects nothing in return. The thing I love most about him is also the thing that drives me the craziest, too (funny how that works, huh), because he tends to get so wrapped up in doing, doing, doing for others (especially B + me) that he forgets to simply be, be, be. The newest member of our family has heightened his responsibilities and pressures to do, do do, which has heightened my responsibilities to serve him in love (Galatians 5:13), speak truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and submit to his leadership (Ephesians 5:22). His character is being shaped by circumstances and situations that are strengthening and solidifying his faith while also teaching him how beautiful it is to surrender His family + their well-being to the sovereign God he serves.
Marriage and parenthood are both sanctifying, and if you've ever pursued holiness then you know how trying and difficult that road is. Last year on his birthday, we were talking to an unborn baby inside of my belly and begging him to kick his daddy's face as a birthday present. This year, we are chasing a mobile ten month-old who takes more from us than we sometimes want to give (real talk, people) while still trying to be diligent in making time for just the two of us. Life has changed significantly in the past year and has brought out sides of each other that we never knew existed, and I wouldn't trade the way things are now for the way they were for anything in the world. I had no doubt that TJ would be the best daddy, and I'm thankful that he hasn't let this new role of father take precedence over his role of husband.
I'm proud to call this birthday boy my tag-team partner, the pusher of all my buttons, the pursuer of my heart, my baby daddy, and my trustworthy confidant. He has grown + changed more in this past year than I've ever seen him grow + change, and it has made me love him even more. Brad Paisley was right, y'all...I am constantly thinking about how I thought I loved him then.
Happy birthday to the who brings me life-altering joy, can cause uncontrollable frustration to well up inside of me at any given moment, and has created irreplaceable memories alongside of me for the past thirteen birthdays. Mmmm, I love my Teesh more than words could ever say!
"What I can't see is how I'm ever gonna love you more, but I've said that before."
*photos taken by our sweet friends, Rebecca Bagwell and Sarah Ellen Edwards, in support of Hope Vision Ministry*