It’s Our 9th Year Anniversary!

When I said “I do, I meant that I will….”

This was our wedding song 9 years ago on May 11, 2002. I was 22 years old, a recent college graduate, I had a new job, I wasn’t sure I would be able to bear children, we lived in an apartment,  I “liked” Jesus but wasn’t anywhere close to where I am today in my relationship with Him. Geoff was 23 years old, also a recent college graduate, was starting a new job, was hopeful to have a family and didn’t know Jesus much. When I look back on our wedding day I want to change the words to “our song” to “When I said I do, I meant that I have no idea”.

If I would have known then what I know now I would- without any doubt- marry the same man. I just love him, cater to him, and would do anything for him. He’s my best friend. We are so different from one another, but he makes me laugh. I may not “get him” all the time, but he’s a loving husband, is so supportive of my ministry, an amazing dad, a sweet little league baseball coach, a hard worker, intelligent, putty in our little girls hands, devoted, and sincere man. I am BLESSED.

If someone were to tell me on my wedding day that I would have 3 beautiful children, a beautiful home, our own successful business, a ministry, an amazing church, wonderful friends, and a very loving relationship with God…I would have jumped for joy!!! YES!!! Sign me up for THAT! Wohoo!

But, if I were to sign on the dotted line under the long list of things Geoff and I would have to go through to get to this point, I would have been less excited and more fearful on my wedding day.

3 jobs losses…preterm labor…bed rest…post-partum depression…deaths…suicide in the family…illnesses…young baby needing surgery…no money…electricity turned off..starting a business…Geoff and malignant melanoma…my mother-in-law fighting cancer…worry…what if’s…the list goes on…ugh.

The thing is, when we got married…we really didn’t know what we are saying when we said “I do”. We didn’t know what the Lord would put in our path. But, what I believe by faith is the Lord did whatever it took to grasp ahold of our marriage…my husband…and me. Our marriage is better today than it was on that first day because we invited God into it. It wasn’t the happy moments that “got us” either…it was the storms that brought us to our knees.

“Because the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as His son”-Hebrews 12:6

The diagram below is the best mental image I have of a successful marriage. The closer two people get to God at the top of the diagram the closer they get to one another. This is true in our marriage today. I have to admit that it wasn’t always that way. We have had “success”, “reputation”, and “money” at the top of our pyramid before and it didn’t bring us happiness. It isn’t always easy…we fail all the time…but the holy spirit convicts us and keeps leading us back. What a blessing it is to have a Christian marriage. I am already praying this on our children.


When you said “I do” what were you signing up for? Is God at the top of your pyramid today? If not, what is? 

Happy Anniversary Honey! I love you!!!!!! 

Love to you,



  1. The Every Day Extraordinary says:

    Hope you have a wonderful anniversary and that God continues to bless your beautiful union: )

  2. Clare@peak313 says:

    love it love it! Beautiful

  3. Happy Anniversary to you two!!! And let me just say you guys chose to get married on a fabulous date, because today, we are celebrating our daughter turning 7 years old today! What a fabulous day for many celebrations!!

  4. Happy anniversary! We just celebrated our 6th last weekend, and I gotta say, reading your post today reminds me of the vows I made to my husband, and renews my desire to be the wife God desires me to be. Thanks so much for your words of wisdom, it's just what I needed to hear today!

  5. Tracy @ Hall of Fame Moms says:

    Great testimony, Janelle. Thanks for sharing. My hubby and I will be married 9 yrs on May 18th. Must have been a good yr and month,huh?! 😉 By the way, I live in Canton and met Courtney at Relevant last yr.. And she may have told you, a friend of mine found your recipe for Horsefeed Salad and her husband renamed it "Crunchy Fun" lol. Its delicious, btw!

    happy anniversary!

  6. Happy Anniversary! I like your diagram. It definitely represents marriage for us too!

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  7. Ann at eightacresofeden says:

    Happy Anniversary Janelle and Geoff – yes marriage does get better when we invite God in and therein lies the secret to a happy marriage – to invite God not just to be present at the wedding when we make our vows but to invite Him home – to what is after all a sacred place where we live out those vows!
    I have been married 21 years and I was blessed with two weddings – to the same man of course! – one in England and a second ceremony for Brett's family in NZ. At our NZ ceremony we made what I call our 'hospitality vows' based on Philippians 2 1-10 we declared we would have the same love, be like-minded and look out for the interests of others. That is when we decided hospitality was going to be a ministry that we would pursue with passion and we began to invite people home that very week. Sorry for the long comment – I thought you would be interested to hear about our hospitality vows – I should write a blog post about them perhaps!

  8. Priscilla says:

    Happy Anniversdary and lots of more blessings for you and your hubby!!!

  9. Happy Anniversary!! This year is Jeff and my 9th as well! We also have been through many life trials and it certainly does make you feel blessed to be where you are today!! Wishing you many more happy years together. 🙂

  10. Happy Anniversary! You have a beautiful family. Time goes by so fast…I can hardly believe my husband and I have been married for 19 years. I actually had to count in my head to make sure I was giving the right number, lol! It really doesn't seem that long. Our nine-year anniversary seems like yesterday…as does the day we got married. =)

  11. Courtney (Women Living Well) says:

    Awesome post – I love when you share your heart – your trials – your truth. And get this – the first time Keith and I ever did a devotional together – he drew this triangle and said – we need to keep growing closer to God so we can grow closer to each other!

    We have good guys :-)! Keep shining girl!

  12. Janelle Nehrenz says:

    Thanks for the well wishes! Chels..a great day indeed! Jen, we all need reminding, don't we? It can be so easy to get off track…but God is so faithful it is even harder not to follow Him. Tracy…lol! Horsefeed salad IS crunchy fun!!!! haha! love it. Ann….oh yes, I love those hospitality vows…a very chris-like union…please write a blog on that! Nicole, so glad to know that trials have brought you closer too…it is a wonderful thing. Tanya..19 years! It sure does go by so fast…but what a blessing! Courtney, what a wise man Keith is…you are such a beautiful couple. Your compliment means a lot to me, you are our marriage girl! lol! Love to you, Janelle

  13. April @ The 21st Century Housewife says:

    What a wonderful, meaningful post! Thank you for being so honest about your struggles, as well as your happiness and successes. Congratulations and many blessings to you and your husband on your wedding anniversary!

  14. Marcy Rachiele says:

    Happy Anniversary! Hope you both had a wonderful day together! Wishing you many more blessed anniversaries!

  15. Keri On says:

    Happy Anniversary!

  16. Don and Shelly says:

    A very happy anniversary to you both!… and what a lovely bride (you haven't changed a bit)! I can't imagine having a wonderful marriage without the love of the Lord to guide us all. We hope you both have a wonderful day!!


  17. Happy Anniversary to yall.. God is good.. Faithful and giving.. Many yall be blessed for many many and many more years.. Have a wonderful day..

  18. Happy Anniversary to yall. God is good, faithful and giving. May yall have many more blessed years together.. God bless you and your family…Have a wonderful day..

  19. Anonymous says:

    Very nice my Dear. How blessed you are and you know it. It sometimes takes years to learn what you know today. God is Good, all the time. Bless You.


  20. Marelie says:

    Happy Anniversary..a beautiful bride and a handsome husband and now you have three lovely children..such blessings from God.Marriage is a working process in the hands of two loving people.Congratulations and keep counting more!

  21. Janelle Nehrenz says:

    Ladies, thanks for all these sweet comments…what a blessing they are to me! We had a great day. Love, Janelle

  22. Ann at eightacresofeden says:

    Dear Janelle,
    I did leave you a comment and wish you a happy anniversary but I guess it disappeared when blogger went down so I am returning to wish you a belated Happy Anniversary and I'm so pleased you had a wonderful day.

  23. Janelle Nehrenz says:

    Ann..I remember reading your sweet comment! It looks like a few are not up? My blog has been acting up this week. Thank you again my friend! Love to you, Janelle

  24. HeatherAnne says:

    What a beautiful post that is so true. My heart echos your words for the marriage that God has blessed me with my dear husband. I know this is a bit late, but happy anniversary!

  25. Janelle Nehrenz says:

    Thank you HeatherAnne!!!!

  26. Janelle,
    I love your marriage triangle picture. That is always how my parents taught me how marriage is supposed to go growing up. My husband on the other hand didn’t grow up that way. We knew that coming into the marriage, and we have fought hard for it. My husband is a man of the Lord and wants to show his kids how it is supposed to be, as I saw growing up. I saved the marriage triangle picture. It is surely a picture that speaks a 1000 words.

    • Thank you Sarah- What a blessing your husband found the Lord! It really is so important..I have to pray and focus daily on this….it can be very easy to get off track with a young family. But, God is the most important and everything else gets taken care of when we know that truth…Amen Sister! Love to you, Janelle

  27. Julianna says:

    Janelle, your post is extravagant to me….I love the way you exspressed your relationship throughout your years with your love…I met my true love in 2004 and like your diagram shows; God is first!.

  28. Beautiful post! Happy anniversary and many more blessings on your marriage and your family!

  29. Janelle,
    I realize you wrote this over a year ago, but I have to tell you how much I needed to read this now. My husband and I have been married less than a year, and we have already faced a potential job loss and are now facing my husband’s cancer diagnosis. Reading this post has been such an encouragement to me to keep pressing on and to seek God even more through this difficult time.

    • Ohhh Amanda, I am SO sorry to hear this…..I know what you are going through. You are NOT alone. Prayers and hugs going out to you this very moment sweet girl. Love to you, Janelle

  30. Hi Janelle!

    I just came across your site- and this article-, thanks to Pinterest! After double-checking your post-date I realized this article was posted over a year ago but I really wanted to say THANK YOU for writing the good and the difficult (trying to avoid using the word “bad”) about marriage in such an encouraging way. God’s work in your life and marriage is truly apparent through your writing. Your article was particularly encouraging to me personally as I am getting married in just over a month (October 13th!!!!). Since being engaged it has become more “real” to us than ever how much we NEED God to be the peak of our pyramid.

    Thanks again!

    • Awww, thank you so much Abbey!!!! God bless your new to be marriage!!! It is a wonderful, wonderful thing designed by God….keep Him first and you will be SO blessed {even through the difficult times} Love to you!

  31. I love this post! I say this all the time. I feel so blessed that I have an amazing husband and amazing marriage, but not really because I knew so much before I got married or I feel like I made a great choice. It really was because the Lord chose to bless us. We’ve been through a lot too, in just 5 years, but I am thankful the Lord has kept us together and grown us. Such a blessing. great post, loved it!

  32. Janelle, I am just reading this post for the first time, and I really appreciate it! This year my hubby and I will celebrate 10 years!!! Little did I know when we married at just 20 years old the numerous trials we would endure this first decade. I had NO idea. Thankfully, we serve a Redeemer who lives, and does just that in our lives!! Therefore we have a testimony that blows out what our was 10 years ago! I love seeing other happy families love each other and God despite trials of life! 🙂 you’re a blessing to follow, and I know if the chance were to come we would be “real-life” friends, too!

Speak Your Mind