I have relegated the book boxes there, and there are a lot of them. I unpacked half a dozen or so last week, and the books were still strewn and stacked in organized chaos on the bed.
I found a framed snapshot of our first dance at our wedding in the mix of the madness, and I decided to swap it for a cute postcard that had also emerged from the ruins. When I pulled the photo out, though, I found an older photo of me and Mr. Fantastic behind it.
I am 24. He is 25. We are practically still babies.
Since I was the one who framed the wedding shot (I remember it sitting in our first apartment), I have presumably seen this other picture before. But my memory has begun failing me recently, and I have no recollection of it at all. I don't know who took it, where it was taken, or how I got a copy of it.
It was manna, a "what is this stuff" soul moment, and I couldn't stop staring at it.
We look so... peaceful.
It isn't that we aren't "peaceful" now. We are more in love than we were the day this photo was taken. We are more whole than we were that day, too. We have seen mountains move. We have slain dragons together. We have climbed to summits and seen the glory and the transfiguration and lived the praise of the One True God with our hands held high and our voices triumphant.
But we have come to a new mountain this year. It hasn't been named yet, and we aren't sure what's up there. We are a little weary at this point in the climb. So much of our focus is funneled into fighting off the enemies of our souls these days: discouragement, fear, depression, challenging children, and nameless whispers that only the word of God can drive back.
We are up long after the day is done, holding hands, praying and loving the God who is our everything. We are awake before the children, before the sun, calling out to Him and declaring His goodness reigns.
Those two lovebirds in the photo had weaker arms and more shackles on their hearts, and they didn't know what we know.
Peaceful seasons are nice, but true love is unearthed on the battlegrounds of life. It spills out of our humble tears and flows from the sweat of hard work. The scarlet glory of the fight covers us through holy blood that flows from the worthiest sacrifice ever made on this spinning planet.
I won't lie. I'd like to live in that photo, with my arms wrapped around the only man I have ever loved. I would like to whisper lovely things in his ear and hear him laugh with joy. We shared a shiny, happy moment when that camera clicked.
But if I froze out souls there, we would lose the battles we have fought since then, and the victorious ground we have won. We would lose the birthing of souls too numerous to count, the lessons from mourning friends who left too soon, the joy gleaned from raising so many children so close together, the freedom we have both found in Christ, the healing of our bodies and souls, the church we serve and love, and the many years of trust that have strengthened and widened the flimsy foundation of the friendship and love we shared then.
Compared with all we know now, we knew nothing then. Imagine what another decade and a half of lifting our swords and roaring into the darkness will teach us.
I should hide another photo behind this one. A snapshot of the two of us in love and glorious, eyes bedecked by crow's feet and darkish circles, the mark of time resting securely on our appearance. When I pull it out in ten years, I will open up my mouth and roar over the waters of my life on that day, whatever they may be.
Because if there's one thing the last fourteen years have taught me it's this:
We are born to be victorious.
The Spirit of the Mighty God lives in us. He is the God who spoke light into existence, who parted the Red Sea, who lifted lonely Hagar from desolate places, who closed lions' mouths, demolished walls, sang over the souls of His people, and took on a body of flesh and was fully God and fully man. He healed the broken, opened His arms to the children, raised the dead, and He is coming back for all who worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Time and tragedy, problems and plights, they refine us so that the glory He has within us can shine forth in greater measure. The mountain we climb today is small compared with the God we serve. And the mountains of tomorrow don't stand a chance.
We are the children of victory. Nothing can stop His plans for us. Today, we roar.