20 Years: Happily Ever After

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by Kristena Tunstall

Marriage. Those of us who are married, or have been, know it takes more than just love to make one work. You need good communication and complete trust in one another. It’s what makes a marriage special because when you have these two key ingredients, your love deepens with each passing day, week, month, and year that goes by. It strengthens with time.

Today I celebrate being married to the man I love and who has become my other half as we celebrate our 20 year wedding anniversary. That’s right 20 years. I can look back and I’m amazed at what we’ve been through to get here. From my childhood and the abuse that happened, to both of us being in the army when we got married (they gave us 6 months at the time; I guess we blew that out of the water). To having infertility issues. To my husband becoming a full-time recruiter in the U.S. Army. To having a child diagnosed with severe classic autism. And the culminating event where the greatest test of all happened when tragedy struck us hard when we lost our only child, our beloved little girl, Mariana. She was 8 ½ years old when she left for heaven on July 16, 2008. I was a stay-at-home mom who’s world completely revolved around our daughter.

Time and time again my husband and I have been able to beat the odds and stay strong together. We never gave into the temptation to give up on our marriage. Have we come close? Absolutely, especially after losing our daughter. However, did we make it through all of this because of our own strength, our own determination? No, not by a long shot. We both know that God has been with us the entire time getting us through. He’s been our rock, our strength.

Would I be where I am today if not for having Jesus Christ as my personal savior? I have no doubt that it would be a big resounding ‘NO.’ I can’t imagine having gone through what I have in my life and not having the power of God in it and behind me. He has slowly but surely transformed me over time. I’m so blessed as a child of God.

The Lord has given me one of the greatest gifts of my life. Never in a million years did I think I’d become a writer. Yet, He had different plans for me. Every single thing He’s allowed to happen in my life has been preparing me to become a writer. I can’t explain it, but I just know this in my heart. I’m able to understand so many things that so many have never or will never go through. I can somehow put into words emotions that others understand, can relate to. My words actually touch them. I mean, how special is that? I know this is totally a God thing and I’m so thankful for this gift of writing as it’s become a very special part of my life. I love doing it and will continue to use it to glorify Him.

Kristena TunstallKristena Tunstall began to write after the tragic loss of her only child, her eight-year-old daughter, Mariana. As God guided her through this tragedy, He slowly revealed the gift of writing He gave to her. He laid it on her heart to write through her grief journey and dedicate a website in her daughter’s name called MommysAngelInHeaven.com. He further placed on her heart to write a nonfiction book about the journey which lead to losing her daughter as well a Women’s Fiction book. When the time is right, both books will be published. In the mean time you can find her still writing on her daughter’s dedication site as well as her author blog.

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