Those are the words Scott included in his prayer, his blessing, yesterday at Bonefish Grill as we began celebrating our one year wedding anniversary a day early. You know us! We celebrate the day before, the day of and the day after! :) But seriously, Scott can pray the most beautiful prayers. I often tell him following his prayers how beautiful they are. He reminds me he just prays from his heart. But yesterdays? It was special . . . very special.
As we sat there, outside enjoying the weather and beauty of the day, with a bit of a breeze (we even pretended we were at Wrightsville Beach), we began reflecting and talking about our first year. And as Scott described it, it has been “victorious!” And you know what? He is so right. This last year has been full of challenges, some more devastating than others, but through each one we came out victorious! We have endured, we have been encouraged and most of all we realize the love we have, and the life we live are everlasting.
Among the gifts Scott has given me in celebration of our one year anniversary, is a necklace with matching earrings and a bracelet symbolizing the Tree of Life. When I think of the Tree of Life I think back to the Bible to the tree in the Garden of Eden, which yielded food giving everlasting life (Gen 2:9; 3:22). Plus, it stood in the center in the Garden of Eden, reminding me God should be in the center of my life.
I also can’t help but think of the Tree of Life at the Animal Kingdom at Disney, the centerpiece in the park. The backstory tells us “once upon a time, no vegetation would grow on Discovery Island. There were no trees, no shrubs, no flowers, nothing. It was a barren piece of land. Then, one day, a tiny ant planted a seed and made a wish. He asked for a tree to grow – a tree large enough to provide shelter for all the animals. Magically, the ant’s wish came true and a tree began to grow -- and it kept growing until there was room beneath its limbs for all the animals from A (ants) to Z (zebras). And as the tree continued to reach for the heavens, the images of all the animals that took shelter beneath its shade appeared on its trunk, roots, and branches.”
But to me, the Tree of Life celebrates, life. And today, I celebrate my life, and thank God for sparing my life and allowing me to be victorious in the battle of breast cancer and to celebrate my life and one year wedding anniversary as the wife to Scotty Teague, my God-given love. Today, I celebrate my life as the mother to Austin, who continues to grow and become the man I pray he will continue to become.The three of us have endured many adversities during the past year, but they have strengthened our faith and trust in God, as well as made us stronger, unshakable. We realize more than ever God’s love will sustain us and remain with us no matter what storms of life are sent our way.
Through our storms, we have been encouraged by His word, His promises and by the prayers and acts of support of our family and friends. And during our time of suffering, we realized we were “comforters in training" so we can comfort and empathize with others. The Bible tells us “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (Corinthian 1:3-4). To know God has a bigger plan for our lives than what we ourselves have in mind has been an incredible amount of encouragement when we have found ourselves in the darkest of valleys.
And finally, Scott and I know our love is everlasting . . . as children of God, our lives are everlasting. In order for something to be everlasting, you must have trust. And trust is what we do because of the faith we have been given. Love is meant to be experienced, not just understood. A hug, a kind word makes us feel good. Through our faith, we believe there is a reward for those who diligently seek Him, “Our ultimate reward is the revelation of our Father's everlasting love for us” (Hebrews 11:6). And for something to be everlasting, remember . . . it is never failing nor has an end.
Today as we celebrate our one year wedding anniversary I am grateful for “my” Tree of Life, as well as the year we were given . . . a year of endurance, encouragement and a confirmation of everlasting love and life.