5 Wild Years

Our StoryJoanna Zuidema1 Comment

Today marks our 5 year wedding anniversary.

If you had asked me on our wedding day if I could be any more in love I would’ve said that simply wasn’t possible.

I also would have confidently believed that our future was going to be entirely butterflies and rainbows with any ‘tough times’ primarily consisting of arguing over who had to do the dishes, an inevitable trip or two to the ER, or who was going to play ‘bad cop’ in the parental discipline dance.

Life has proven me wrong on both accounts.

In our 5 years there have been too many wild and fun moments to count: drag racing, road trips, staying up so late we watch the sun rise, spur of the moment adventures and so much more. We have had more fun than we ever thought was possible. Best of all, we grew our family to 3 and had our fierce little Norah Mae!


But we’ve also been handed some of life’s toughest experiences.

Last March, we watched helplessly as our sweet girl died in our arms (16 months ago today, to be exact), her precious body later lowered into the ground in a tiny white casket that shouldn’t even have a reason to exist. We’ve since had to navigate our new normal as invisible parents to a daughter growing up in heaven.


Then in February, we watched as the word ‘cancer’ stole the last breath from my mother’s lungs, taking her life just months before she was set to retire, leaving us with yet another empty seat at the table and another grave site to visit.

In thinking about how marriage, and life in general really, is this wild and unpredictable adventure, one of my favorite stories comes to mind. (I first heard it at a bridal shower, and have since shared it with many others as they start their married life. This isn’t word-for-word, but is based on memory)

The bride was given a beautiful, unglazed vase and the gift giver shared the purpose behind the present:

"Right now this vase is blank, raw clay, with a few imperfections, molded by the hands of its maker into its current state. In the state it’s in now, it’s beautiful but hasn’t quite reached its full potential. This vase is a blank slate, ready for all sorts of colors and designs to be added. Simply adding the color to the vase will not make it complete, however. You see, this vase will not reach its full potential until a glaze is applied and it is sent through the firing process. (In ceramics, the firing process can be over 1000 degrees, so it’s not just any little boil.) Only once the vase has gone through the fire will the glaze be hardened, and only then will the vase be strong enough to hold water.  

This vase, in its blank, raw, imperfect condition, is your relationship. You two were brought together, each individually formed and molded by God, perfect in your imperfections. Your relationship, your marriage, is this vase. Right now, you are a blank slate, ready to be colored with all of life’s great experiences. But remember that in order to make your marriage stronger, you will have to go through fire. Be it a death, family conflicts, or anything else, something will happen at some point along the way that will test your relationship harder than it’s been tested before. When this happens — Stop. Pray.  

You can and will get through whatever fire He puts you through and your marriage will come out of it more beautiful and so much stronger than you could’ve ever imagined. Through the fire He is putting the glaze on your marriage – sealing it, perfecting it.

Now keep this vase in your home as a reminder of this little tale for those moments when things get difficult, because honey, they will. Never forget the beauty that can come from fire.”

Our marriage today looks nothing like it did 5 years ago.
Our love today looks nothing like it did 5 years ago.

God has transformed it into something so much greater than we could've ever imagined.

And it's all because of the fire.