This week 10 years ago, I was standing face to face with this long haired 20 year old bass player student. With over 300 people watching, I said the words ‘I will with Gods help’ and I knew at that moment this would be the best adventure I would ever undertake. We were an unconventional kind of couple. We dreamed many dreams together – not the typical dreams of what house, car or holidays we would have, but ones that involved risk, poverty, adventure and a bucket full of faith. I knew this was the man I wanted to marry when we talked late into the night about church planting, about God’s Kingdom, His word, and His call to reach the broken and the marginalised. When we talked about having a home full of kids and adopting more with whatever space we could make. When we prayer walked around our town dreaming of times where God would stretch our faith and go on to make us more like Him in order to bring His love here on earth. We laughed together when we discovered our hearts were the same when it came to not caring where we lived or what dinner set would be in the cupboard. I knew this was it. I was in love.
I am thankful that the last 10 years were not what I thought they would be. Crazy, adventurous, difficult and good fun. We don’t stay friends all the time, and we certainly don’t agree all the time but I am glad that whenever I said ‘I will’ it didn’t just mean ‘I will…..become your wife’ but more I will join with you and you with me and I will get beside you and get involved in everything that God is going to do in you and through you. I will let you into my dreams, my desires, my passions, my fears and my life. I will want you to encourage and support and help me be the best I can with all the gifts and talents God has given me. I will want you to push me further than what I think I can go. Pursue all I can be, with all that I have.
There is no other person I would like to do my life with and I am thankful that from the very beginning we have worked as a team dong what God has called us to do. We push each other on, reminding each other not to settle. Reminding each other that we live in a broken, fallen world and because of God’s mercy we get to play a part and see God’s faithfulness over and over again if we just keep giving away what we have been given. Every day is a school day. That first year of marriage we ministered together, we spoke at events together and we did all we could with all that we had. We have some of the best memories of that first year together. I was the youth worker, he was a Bible student. We had no money and our two weddings rings cost £150 together and it still is the only piece of jewellery I care about. Life was not conventional. Even when our first baby came along it didn’t seem to restrict us, she just came along. I remember being on a youth weekend when she was just 6 weeks old and she slept in the same room as me and three other leaders and that’s when God whispered that life was never going to be normal for the Mitchell/O’Rorke team.
I am reaching 40 in the next few years and I am glad I found someone to run this race with. Marriage is damn hard. I was single for a long time before I had to share my house with a boy. It took some refining, it took honesty, hard work and a whole lot of Jesus. Now 10 years in, I am more in love that I have ever have been. I am still me, in fact more me because I live with someone who has chosen to put his hand next to mine and made me get up when days are hard, or makes me pursue and become all that God has intended, he champions me when I get it wrong and celebrates and embraces the crazy excitement when I get it right. I laugh and cry the most in his arms.
We now dream dreams about what is next, how we can be pursuing God more, what does He want to do next through us? We pray, laugh, fight and enjoy each other all the more now.
We still need to work at our marriage, its real and messy but then show me two friends who have stopped working at their relationship. All of my friendships single, married, male and female in my life mean so much to me, spending time with them is a precious and needed part of who I am, I am glad I met and married someone who knows that deeply about me. He loves me.
I sure am glad we said ‘I will with Gods help’ and I wonder what the next decade will bring.
(photo credits Ruth Kelly. ruthkellyphotography.tumblr.com)