I do. I still do.

by Heather Spring {Gilion}


Nine years ago I put on a white dress.
I was teary. You were too.
Joyfully we said, “I do.”
I still do. Tomorrow I will too. And the next day, and the next, and the one after that.

There are still days that I get overwhelmed that God wrote you into my story. Man, He’s a good writer.

You are my Boaz. My love. My best friend. A companion for the unknown road. You were “that guy from church” that mowed this widow’s yard. And then you became my guy… the one chosen to awake this Sleeping Beauty (as you like to say). Dallas, thank you for waiting for me, pursuing me, and giving me time to see what God was doing. I was a bit slow… but you didn’t mind. You learned more about patience—you’re welcome.

As I reflect on the last nine years, I am humbled. We’ve shared dreams and pursued those dreams. We’ve laughed and wept together. Words of courage, challenge, confession, and admiration have left our lips. We had a baby boy…


…and then another!



Our two little blessings!

We’ve moved houses. We’ve disagreed and then agreed… to disagree. You talked me into liking coffee and I grew out your hair. You smell like campfires and I smell like tanning cream. Remember that time I got mad at you because coffee is hot? Remember when you caught our neighbor’s fence on fire? Remember when I bought $200 worth of frozen meat from a drive-by salesman that we didn’t eat because it was inedible? Remember this morning when we opened our eyes and didn’t say anything but we just smiled? Yep, I do. I still do.

As great as you are, thank you for not being enough. Thank you for the times when you’ve unintentionally broken my heart. Thank you for being flawed. Thank you for being a work in progress. Because, Dallas, it’s in these moments that I’m reminded that you make a crummy God. Don’t get me wrong, you are my Mr. Wonderful, but it’s in your imperfections that I’m reminded to release my grip on you and come to grips with the reality that you do not, or will ever, complete me. You may not complete or be able to fix me, but as we allow God to do the completing and fixing and molding and shaping, we walk hand in hand, finding our security in His grip.

“We love because he first loved us.” {1 John 4:19}

It’s been just shy of a decade that I walked down the aisle with glassy eyes and a pounding heart and vowed to be your wife. I see ever so clearly God’s grace and extravagant love for me through your eyes. More than ever, I do. I still do.

So here’s to the next chapter. What will lie before us? Where will we go from here?


All I know is that there is still much to learn from one another. There are things in our marriage that need work, areas that need grace to abound, places that need attention… and your new motto is running through my head, “I can’t just speak things into existence, I’ve got to lead in the change.” I will gladly follow and pursue more for our marriage and our family.

When we were holding hands last night, I noticed our hands have aged! And you of all people know that I religiously apply my anti-aging products morning and night, but last night, I loved our aging hands. Absolutely LOVED them. Growing old with you is priceless! So… happy anniversary, my love! May our hands get old and our laugh lines grow deep. May our knees know wear and our vocal cords tire as we talk to God on behalf of one another. May our car’s odometer wrack up more miles and our tires lose their tread. May we lace up our tennis shoes, or strap on our snow boots, or sit on the beach as the water steals the shore. May we serve friends and strangers. May we model a covenant marriage to our boys. May we dream, flirt, steal kisses, and hug long. May our cheeks hurt from smiling all the days of our lives and may our hearts never lose the awe of God’s glorious Story.

May we continue to choose to love. My promise remains—I do. I still do.

Copy of wedding11052004 183

{Heather Gilion coauthored the book, Dancing On My Ashes. To learn more about her God-story go here. The E-Book is on sale through November!}



by Holly Ann

Have you ever been pegged as “high-maintenance” or “needy”? When I think of high-maintenance, I get a picture in my head of a modern day Fran Drescher from the 90’s sitcom The Nanny. (Have you got her laugh in your head, yet? You’re welcome!) If Fran is “high” on the maintenance-meter, I’m more of a medium-maintenance kinda gal. But am I needy? Certainly not. I’m a strong, independent woman… or so I once thought.

A couple of weeks ago, Aaron and I were relaxing in the living room after a long day and Ava walked in and jumped into Aaron’s lap, “I haven’t had my hug today.” Aaron pulled her in for a sweet hug and released her.  She gave him a harsh face and said, “Is that it?!” Aaron glanced over at me and said, “Well, she comes by that honestly!”

You see, I have developed a little reputation with my husband when it comes to hugs and goodbyes.  Back in June, Aaron took a quick trip where he would be gone for several days. The sole purpose of this particular getaway was for some uninterrupted time with God. As we were saying our goodbyes, he gave me a kiss and hug with some quick pats to the back. I now would like to pause for dramatic effect and emphasize: pats to the back. This is a pet peeve of mine when it comes to a hug shared between a husband and wife. A good pat on the back during a hug is what “bro’s” do. I collected myself in this moment and acted as if I were not hurt and waved goodbye.

A few minutes later, an alien force took over my body and through tears; I began to text Aaron to communicate how I was feeling. Three words seemed to sum it up: “Your goodbyes suck.” (Ok, not my finest moment and in shame, I share this with you.) He responds with, “Are you serious?!”

I would love to report that I bounced back right away and realized the error of my ways, but that’s just not the case. I was an emotional wreck. I realized I was way out of line, but I couldn’t understand why this particular goodbye affected me so strongly. Thus began some SERIOUS soul searching and MAJOR apologies. What is wrong with me??? Why am I so NEEDY? Why was this goodbye not good enough?

After a couple of days of having a good old fashion pity party, God began to open my eyes to an area in my life that needed correction. I started to retrace many previous goodbyes between Aaron and I. There was a pattern of meltdowns almost every time he would leave for consecutive days. But why?!

Almost 13 years ago, Scott Nesbitt (my first husband) walked out our front door with a kiss and quick goodbye. He was scheduled to return home in time for dinner, but I never got to see him walk back into our house. I never got to see him kiss our sweet daughter again. He was killed in a drowning accident about an hour after he left me.

I now realize that I have a deep seeded fear anytime Aaron leaves for a trip. What if I never get to see him again?

Here are the facts:  I AM NEEDY.

But God, in His great mercy, reminds me that it’s OK to be needy, but I’m not being “needy” about the right things.

1.     I Need HIM!

What if I never realized my need for Christ? What if I thought that doing this life alone in my own strength was enough? I fail every day. My security can’t be in my husband, my church, my job, or my family, but in Christ alone. When I am needy, His eye is on me – looking out for me.

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap. – Psalm 113:7

But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay. – Psalm 40:17

2.      We Need EACH OTHER!

My sweet sisters, I need you!  My heart breaks just like yours. I make mistakes on a daily basis. There are times when I find myself to be incredibly selfish, fearful, judgmental, insecure, etc. I need you and you need me! There’s something so special in friendships where you can totally be yourself – friends that you can laugh with, cry with, and unravel with. But ultimately, I need friends in my life that call sin what it is and point me to Christ and His abounding grace. TOGETHER we are something special.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you! – I Corinthians 12:21

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. – I Corinthians 12:26, 27

3.      We Need to PERSEVERE!

When we get our eyes off of our Jesus—our ONLY genuine, bonafide NEED—we shrink, throw fits, and at times attack those we love because we fear our lack of control. But setting our hearts on the One and Only that fills us up and meets our neediness, then, and only then, we can persevere through anything! A determined living that sets our hearts at peace, through anything big or small.

When the kids have destroyed your house over summer break and your dog continues to get into your bathroom trash…PERSEVERE!

When you’re having a bad hair day and the wrinkles on your face are getting more pronounced…PERSEVERE!

When your husband forgets how much you loathe “bro” hugs… PERSEVERE!

When you feel forgotten, alone, and afraid…PERSEVERE!

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. – Hebrews 10:36

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8

Friends, don’t think for a moment that we can make it without the Lord. Does that sound cliché? Well, this “cliché” is oh soo true! We NEED Him every hour of every day. We don’t need the perfect hugs from our spouse, or even the promise that they’ll always return home to us, we NEED HIM! In Scripture it says,

Few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be take away from her. – Luke 10:42

Mary chose to be in the presence of Jesus.  She realized her need for Him was greater than any other thing. As I write this today, God Himself is reminding my heart that I need Him. Let’s choose His presence. If you have another moment or two, listen to this song and make this your heart’s cry today.