In the 24 years that I have known my husband, he has only truly surprised me a handful of times. I'm not talking about birthday surprises or Christmas presents. I'm talking about the big, shockingly uncharacteristic things.
In 2003, he decided to leave the company he had been with for over 10 years to open an insurance agency in Utah. People who are consistent and reliable don't typically decide on a whim to sell their homes and move across the country with no definite job prospect in sight. They don't typically leave a long term, profitable career with less than two weeks notice and no definite job prospect in sight. They don't typically do anything without a well thought-out plan.
But that's what happened at our house over Labor Day weekend in 2003. We had just had Mack in August. I was tired, overwhelmed with my fourth baby and the three little girls in the house competing with me to be his mom.
And I will claim until the day I die that I made my decision while not in a fully functional state of mind. I remember exactly where I was when my husband asked, "What would you think if we sold the house and moved to Utah and I started my own insurance agency?" But the rest of that conversation is a little blurry. I was barely coherent. And I think I said (as I was falling asleep), "Why don't we just put a sign in the yard and see what happens." We had a realtor at our house the following week. The sign was in the yard shortly after, and our house in Atlanta sold in 5 days!
By October 31st, we were packing, cleaning and loading the contents of our home into a moving van...all while we took three little girls trick-or-treating, managed a fussy 2-month old dressed in pumpkin jammies, and passed out Halloween candy at the door.
We spent Thanksgiving of that year (and the next two years after that) in the basement of my in-laws' house in Mendon, Utah. And in the seven years that followed, we endured snow, financial stress, knee surgery, snow, way too many part time jobs, snow, and the daily challenges of owning a business. But we learned things there that we could not have learned in any other place or in any other way. We have stronger testimonies. We have a stronger marriage. We have more resilient kids. So much of the time we spent there was difficult, but the perspective that comes with time and distance has helped both of us realize that it was absolutely necessary and totally worth it. Mendon, and every single experience we had there, holds a deeply personal place in my heart.
That one wildly uncharacteristic decision that my husband made changed our lives forever...
Today, another wildly uncharacteristic decision changed someone else's life. The details are extremely personal and much too long to write, but he was compassionate, selfless and courageous like I have never seen him before. And I have never been more proud of him or more honored to be his wife than I was tonight. I don't think it's possible that I will live long enough to deserve to be linked to a man as great as he is. I am grateful for the undeniable power of the Spirit that inspires those wildly uncharacteristic decisions in all of us and for a husband who isn't too consistent and reliable to listen and act on them.