3 Years and One Step Closer
When I was in high school, I used to carry around tiny pocket-sized notebooks to keep track of my thoughts in. My first one was blue and I wrote “Be Kind” on the front in Sharpie. Jake used to call them my “playbooks”.
I’m grateful for these little records of high school revelation and experiences.
On the last page of a notebook from 2015 I wrote, “Be Worthy of the Person You Want to Marry”.
Growing up I remember doing activities where we made lists of qualities or attributes we wished to see in our future spouses. We would write things like "tall" or "handsome" or "good with kids". This can be fun and help you see your priorities, but overall, I always felt a little funny doing the exercise. I didn’t want to limit my future companion with a list I made before I even met him. The attributes of a future husband was something I couldn't really "order" like items on the dollar menu.
In this little notebook I decided to make a list a qualities or attributes I wanted to see in myself to be ready for an eternal marriage. That was something I could control.
Without knowing the Lord’s timing or what the future would hold, I decided to prepare for my eternal marriage. ]
Here’s what I wrote:
-Be a tough disciple
-Use and hold a current temple recommend
-Daily scripture study/prayer
-Love the Lord the most
-Be cute and ready
-Be close to the Holy Ghost
-Sing Hymns the loudest
Jake woke up at about 2:30 this morning to wish me a Happy Anniversary. He said he wanted to be the first one to say it, and if he waited until we got up for work, he risked forgetting in all the morning tasks.
As I think over the past three years, I’m reminded of a note from Jake I keep in my desk at school. He wrote it to me last year in the middle of cancer treatment. It says,
“We are one step closer. Closer to beating cancer, closer to God, and closer to each other. I love you more. -Jake”
Our fight with cancer is over and as I look over these three years, “one step closer” seems to be a good title for it all.
Jake is my best decision and a walking miracle. I love him more every day. He has helped me become the best person I have ever been.
In all my preparation for an eternal marriage, I didn’t realize that all the attributes I worked so hard on in myself, would be present in Jake. He is so special and the greatest blessing I will ever receive.
Three happy years behind us and many more happy years to come. I love you Jake.
About a year and a half ago we were looking for a place to live. I picked a paint color before we found our house.
I came across a Behr paint ad picturing a beautiful living room with nearly shimmering, barely off-white walls. The paint color was called “soft focus”. I ordered a sample and added a few 5 gallon buckets to my online Home Depot cart and we kept looking for a place to live.
As we looked for houses, I had a few things on my “list” that I wanted.
A cute front door and a porch you could see from the road.
Enough space between me and my neighbors so we wouldn’t feel too crowded.
The house hunt was becoming a little discouraging. Despite our best efforts, nothing felt right.
As the end of the summer approached, we were feeling a little desperate. We needed a place to live.
One night a small townhome popped up on an email list we had subscribed to. We made an appointment to look at it the next day.
When Jake and I walked in it felt like home. On an end table there were 11 business cards for other realtors who had already been there with families looking at the house.
We put in an offer right then and were told shortly after that the offer was accepted. We were elated!
The house we found was in a little townhome complex. The homes were close together and the front door and porch was hidden by our garage that faces the road.
Somehow it was still perfect though.
When we went in the first time our eyes met varying shades of green walls. Forest to lime green was splayed across nearly every wall in every room.
All I could think about in the sea of green though was “soft focus”.
Our parents came over after we closed on the house and we covered the green in no time.
It’s funny how the Lord prepares you to make the right choice. Sometimes He helps you choose a paint color before you find your house.
Sometimes He requires a “soft focus”. You move forward with what you know, doing the very best you can, and He’ll lead you in the right direction.
Jake and I passed the same gas station in Primm, Nevada this week where we stopped a year and a half ago to open our offer letters for our jobs. My hands shook as I held our phones side by side and read the emails to see if we got hired.
We did and our lives changed.
I’m learning that following the Lord’s path in our lives will take us to bigger and better things than we have ever imagined, but we have to be willing to pick out paint before we have a house.
Every day I wake up with my sweet husband in our sweet home. The walls are nearly shimmering, barely off-white.
I think that’s what faith is. I think that’s why we’re so happy.
My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!