The Macs » Blog

ten years {our love story}

I was going to post this yesterday…on our anniversary…but my internet was down most of the day. So here it is one day late. 🙂

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Ten years ago today I was getting ready for my wedding day. Ten years. We were just babies back then. Literally. I was a few weeks shy of turning 21 and Joel was 22. Crazy in love and ready to conquer the world as husband and wife. We had no idea the joys and heartaches that these last ten years would bring. I am so grateful that he chose me. What a blessing to be able to “grow up” with Joel by my side. He completes me and I cherish the ten years I have spent as his wife. I am praying for many, many more years together.

A few months ago Danielle asked me to share my love story on her blog. I thought today would be a good day to share my story here. So here it is…my love story…

My love story began in high school. My dad got transferred the summer before my sophomore year and even though I had moved around my whole growing up, a new school and new friends was scary. And as if moving in high school wasn’t hard enough, my parents moved us from a school in the middle of Kansas City to a school in the middle of a rural farming community. Talk about being uprooted. If only I would have known back then what a blessing that move would be in this journey that is my life. If we hadn’t moved I might never have met the love of my life.

I ended up being in a junior math class that year. Joel was a year ahead of me and taking that class too. I could tell from watching him that he was a major extrovert. You always knew when he was in the room. He was fun, and funny, and people were always smiling when he was around. Totally opposite of my introvert personality and probably totally opposite of the kind of guy I would have told you I was looking for. (Like I really would have known what kind of guy I was looking for as a sophomore in high school, right?!) One day in that same math class, Joel tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I would go with him to the winter banquet (like prom, but with no dancing). I didn’t know Joel very well at that point or probably even liked him (in a romantic way) but I was so excited to be the new girl that was asked to banquet by a cute upperclassman…and I said yes.

We dated casually throughout high school. After Joel graduated he spent his first year of college in Pensacola, Florida while I was in Kansas finishing my senior year of high school. Those were the days before cell phones and texting and email, so that year was filled with lots of letter writing and high long distance phone bills for Joel. We learned how to be really good communicators that year.

After I graduated from high school, Joel transferred and we both spent the next four years at K-State. We grew up a lot that first year of college. We got involved in a campus ministry and while we both already had a personal relationship with the Lord, we learned what it really looked like to pursue God with your whole heart as a college student. We began understanding a little better what it looked like to live out your faith. I saw Joel pursue hard after the things of God that year and knew that he would do the same in our marriage. That’s what sealed the deal…and maybe a little encouragement from my dad!

I am a rule follower…still am. I was sure that it would be the most responsible thing to wait until we both had graduated from college to get married. Joel has always been the rule breaker in our relationship…he didn’t think we needed to wait. 🙂 Anyway, my dad was talking to me one night and asked me if I really wanted to risk losing Joel and ask him to wait. I knew he was the man I wanted to marry and my dad convinced me that it was silly to wait just to be a rule follower. You were so right, dad. I think Joel would have waited for me (right, babe?) but instead he asked me to marry him…and I said yes. We got married the summer after my sophomore year of college. We spent the next two years in Manhattan, Kansas finishing college as newlyweds. Those two years hold some of our favorite memories together. I am so glad I decided to break the rules.

After college Joel was asked to come back and work on the farm he had practically grown up on with the intention to take it over some day. This was SO not in my plans. When I left that rural country high school, I told everyone I knew that I was never going to marry a farmer. And here I was, two years into marriage, about to become a farmers wife. But we both felt like God was very obviously opening that door for us. I reluctantly agreed and we moved home.

Fast forward through four years of Joel farming and me teaching kindergarten. Our first little girl, Cora, was born. We were so in love with our baby girl and I was excited to finally be able to be a stay at home mom. My dream. We were loving life and our little family. What we didn’t know was that our family and marriage would be rocked to the core eleven months later when Cora lost her short battle with cancer and we had to say goodbye to her here on earth.

All of a sudden it was just me and Joel again. That first year after losing Cora was a year of mourning for us. There were many dark days filled with many tears. We had to learn how to function as a couple and a family without our little girl. But my husband was a rock. I can’t imagine what it was like to come home to your grieving, sad wife everyday, but he stuck by me even during my ugliest hours…and let me tell you there were definitely days and days of those ugly hours that year! And while we would have never chosen that path for our marriage or family, those days drew us closer to God and closer to each other. I fell in love with my husband in a whole new way. God used him to comfort me, support me, and encourage me to keep clinging to Jesus even when life seemed so hard. I love him even more for that.

This month marks three years since Cora’s heaven birthday. Our arms are full again as the Lord has blessed us with two beautiful boys. Levi and Griffin have brought with them so much joy and I can’t tell you what a blessing it has been to have our house full of noise again. I loved watching the sweet relationship Joel had with our daughter and I love watching the relationships that are developing between him and his boys. There is something so special about watching your husband in his role as a father.

In August we will celebrate ten years together. I have lived a lot of life with Joel. Our marriage is not perfect. We have our ups and downs just like everyone else. We have struggles, we don’t agree on everything, we argue, we get frustrated with the quirky things that we each do on a daily basis, and I fail so many times as a wife. Thankfully, we aren’t in this marriage thing alone. We daily rely on God’s grace to love each other well. Joel does such a good job of that. I am one loved lady and I am so thankful that I get to walk through both the joys and sorrows of life with Joel. This is just the beginning of our love story. I can’t wait to live out the rest.

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Happy Friday! Make sure to check back later today for a giveaway. It is another good one! 🙂

  • Michelle from Australia - Beautiful Jess. Just beautiful. M xReplyCancel

  • Kristin - THAT is an incredibly sweet love story of the two of you, and of all of you as a family. God bless 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Ceri - Happy Anniversary! 10 years fly’s by so fast doesn’t it? I to got married at 20 almost 21. 3 years and 6 months before you. 🙂 Hope you did something fun or get to soon. My hubby and I did something simple for our 10 year. I had seen all these crystal beaded necklaces at the antique stores that were crazy spendy so I ask him to make me one. So we went out to lunch, and then to a bead store. He let me pick the beads out I liked and then he strung it and made it for me. I wear it all the time and it is so pretty. 🙂 This year we did something similar to that for mothers day with my little guy. My 2 most favorite pieces of jewelry besides my wedding ring that is.ReplyCancel

  • Beth Ann - Happy Anniversary! I love your sweet love story. My hubby and I are high school sweethearts as well. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Emily - beautiful story! happy anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - That is a beautiful love story & what precious gifts you have been given.
    I enjoy your posts so much!ReplyCancel

  • Nichole Duenke - Happy anniversary to you both! I loved reading your story-it’s precious and what a blessing to have each other. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Meredith - What a wonderful love story. Thanks so much for sharing it! I hope you and Joel celebrate 100000 more years of happiness together.ReplyCancel

  • Toni :O) - Happy Ten Year Anniversary…such a lovely story and what a blessing by God you found each other. Here’s to many, many joyful more! Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Diane Taylor - I had tears running down my face reading your wonderful love story – congrats to 10 wonderful years of marriage!ReplyCancel

  • Allison P. - Beautiful! Happy ten year anniversary!

    On a side note, I just realized I was at your HS graduation! My good friend, Rachel R., graduated with you.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Thank you for sharing your love story! It’s an amazing testament to trusting in God’s timing and provision. I don’t think anyone could have planned for it to unfold the way it did, except God. So neat! Happy anniversary, and here’s to many more!ReplyCancel

  • Shae - This is a beautiful love story. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • S - I’ve commented about this before, but we share the same anniversary! Different years, though, as we just celebrated 4 years of marriage, although we have been together as a couple for 10. I also have two little boys, one born just a few weeks before Levi and one born a few months after Griffin, so we are experiencing a lot of similar things as mamas of two boys! I can relate to a lot of your posts about that! I love your love story- read it the first time you posted it and enjoyed reading it again. I’ve been reading your blog since right after you lost Cora and have definitely been inspired in many ways. Thank you for that!ReplyCancel

  • Kayla - What a sweet story! Just so happens my hubby was the class clown and I was one of the shyest girls 🙂 Funny how it works out that way!

    Also, have to represent Manhattan, KS! I’m actually about to fly down there next weekend to bring my husband home from the military! I am so excited to be there again, it holds a lot of great memories for us also 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Rachel B. - You all are such cuties! Isn’t it amazing how fast time goes!? Happy Anniversary! God’s best to you and your family!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah W. - Of course you’d go and make me cry.
    Beautiful love story.
    Happy 10 years.ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful God Story. He is so clearly interwoven into every part of your story. Thanks for sharing!! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Jody - Happy Anniversary! I loved reading your love story again. I’m still waiting for my love story to begin, but reading stories like yours & Joel’s reminds me I do want to wait for the best that God has planned for me.ReplyCancel

  • Jamie - Happy Anniversary!! Loved your love story! Great post! Here’s to many more years for you two! 🙂 love your family picture-cute family you have!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea Deel - Beautiful story and beautiful family! You are such a wonderful examples of Christians. May God continue to pour His blessings on you.ReplyCancel

  • melissa @jonahbonah - i first started reading your blog through beki…when she asked for prayers for sweet cora.

    i have enjoyed following these last three years. your family is such an inspiration. your faith in christ is encouraging.

    thank you jess for not being afraid to share your faith.ReplyCancel

  • Esther - Happy Anniversary to the both of you. I have been following you for a bit now and maybe have commented once. Today, I want to tell you that I love you, your kids, your family period! You are so inspiring to us all. I am a mom of 3 growned children and a grandma of 4 grandblessings…and I just love how much you love your family and the Lord! You have a wonderful hubby too. Blessings~~~ReplyCancel

  • Dana - Happy Anniversary! This is a beautiful post. I pray that you all have another blessed year together!ReplyCancel

  • Debby Graber - What a blessing! I have loved watching you both. I can still picture seeing the two of you in highschool walking into a ball game together. We wondered about this country boy and city girl and I just smiled because Al and I were kind of odd balls too – me, having seen the world and Al just a Kansas farm boy who didn’t know what was beyond the state. It has been fun growing “old”er with Al, not only in our age, but in Christ. The love just deepens the longer the journey. You are always in our prayers!!ReplyCancel

  • The Hanzlicek's - Happy 10 years!! By the way – LOVE your new blog look!!!ReplyCancel

  • Christy Ann - Happy Anniversary 🙂ReplyCancel

  • creole wisdom - Beautiful story Jess! It’s evident that you and Joel were made for each other and God has walked closely with you throughout the past decade. You and Joel share an anniversary with my mom and stepdad, I’m so proud of them for the time and dedication they have put into their marriage. It’s a great example for sure!

    Thanks for blogging and letting us readers get a great glimpse into your sweet life 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Sadie - Loved this post! I had to giggle b/c you guys look the EXACT same! Seriously! Love that last pic of you all. You have a beautiful family and an amazing relationship with the Lord. What else is there to ask for?! NOTHING! CONGRATS! My 10 years is in May, so my love story will come then. Mine is not quite the same in the beginning, but at the end, it is!ReplyCancel

  • Lynda - Happy 10th. What a wonderful story (even with it’s ups and downs). Your family is very blessed and a blessing to others.ReplyCancel

  • Susy - God bless your marriage and your family. May God continue to guide you in this thing called Life.ReplyCancel

  • erica - I’ve never posted on here before, but your story reminds me so much of my husband and me. We were married 10 years ago (july 20) at ages 20 and 22. We were high school sweethearts (emporia high) who grew up in Kansas and now have a daughter and two sons. We live in utah now, so reading your blog always makes me feel a little less homesick. Your strength, courage, beauty, love for family, and faith in God are such an example and inspiration to me. Thank you! And Happy Anniversary!!!ReplyCancel

  • amy jupin - i so enjoyed reading this today jess!
    it’s so fun getting to know the story behind the scenes…
    and oh my goodness did you guys look young in those early pictures!!ReplyCancel

  • Tina - Congratulations! Our story is very similar to yours. We were high school sweethearts. Married in 2002 (June 15, 2002) and we too have two little boys. You’re story is inspiring and I’m grateful that you’ve shared it with us. It makes me more humble everyday. I hope you enjoy your special anniversary!ReplyCancel

  • amy jones - A friend of mine had Beki make her a necklace stamped with “True Farm Wife.” I joked that I should have Beki make me one that says “Reluctant Farm Wife.” 🙂 Our stories are somewhat similar. We’re 3 weeks into being “home” now, but it doesn’t feel like home. We aren’t officially on the farm yet, but those days are coming. I’m hoping I can handle it with as much grace and style as you have. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Mary Ann (Auntie EM) - Congrats on your anniversary. I hope you have many many more!! You have an adorable family and I pray for the Lord’stender mercies are with you always. You are very blessed to have married such a good man.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon - It is a beautiful love story! Thanks for sharing it with us and Happy Anniversary to you and Joel!ReplyCancel

  • Wendy Harmon - Hi Jess,
    Just wanted to tell you I have been reading your blog since Cora died and I saw a prayer request on Kelly’s Korner and have been checking your blog every week since then! Your sweet Godly family makes me want to be a better Mommy & Wife – THANK YOU!! My daughter, who is almost 4, loves her Cora Tu-Tu we ordered from you right afetr Cora died and I tell her that was bought from a very special little girl who is with Jesus now – my heart aches when I see her twirl in it and I think of you every time!! But your faith in God through everything has been amazing – THANK YOU!! Your boys are SO precious – maybe the cutest boys ever (next to my son of course! HA!) and I just thoroughly enjoy your blog! I live in Atlanta and just love all the farm stuff – so foreigh to me but looks so calm and placid there – great place to raise a family! Just wanted to say I am a huge fan and will continue to follow your blog and your witness of God’s faithfulness does not go unseen!

  • Alison R - What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing with us. Congrats to you both on 10 years. You are so humble in how you speak about Joel. I just know you are an amazing mama, and farm wife as well 😉

    P.S. I’m so glad I found your blog again, as I didn’t realize you moved! Your family is my favourite to follow.ReplyCancel

  • Nichole - Well I first want to say your boys are gorgeous. What a wonderful family you have!
    I first found your blog looking for 1st birthday ideas for my son and came back to find out more! (I am totally doing One Year in a Flash!) I just read your love story and read about your daughter Cora. I want you to know that your strength gives me strength and courage as a parent. I can’t imagine what you and Joel have gone through over the years but seeing where you are now is a testament to a great relationship and foundation. I do wish you and your family nothing but the best and I look forward to reading more of your blog in the future!

    God Bless,