Today my husband and I celebrate thirty years of marriage. Wow, we made it. Was there any doubt? Well . . . doesn’t every couple wonder at times?
Marriage is an amazing thing. God takes two sometimes very different people and yokes them together. They create kids, a family structure and a home that becomes unique in its own right. You learn to celebrate happy moments, make memories, adapt to each other’s idiosyncrasies and forebear and forgive each other’s faults.
The line in our family is that Jack stole me off the mission field. That is true. I had dedicated my life to seeking God’s will in foreign missions or outreach. Jack wanted to be a bible college professor or local pastor. The central question we kept asking ourselves was can we serve God better together or better apart? It took me awhile but I realized that God could use me more effectively when joined with this man than trying to do life and ministry as a solo act.
Last night, as we celebrated over prime rib and New York strip, Jack asked me what I would have done had I not married him. “Probably teach home economics at Cookson Hills Children’s Home,” I answered. While I love the work children’s homes do for the hurting and wounded children in our society, I am so glad I did not go down that road! As a twenty-five year old with my childhood baggage, I was far from ready to minister to hurting children. Instead, the Lord has allowed me to work with my husband in six different states. We’ve raised two beautiful daughters who love the Lord Jesus and are serving Him on their own mission fields of the U.S. Army and the public university campus. Over the years, I’ve cultivated the dream buried deep in my psyche—to write. Without Jack’s encouragement and confidence in me, I don’t think I could have done any of those things.
I’ve learned also that just being a Christian family who honors God and tries to actively live out our faith is a testimony in and of itself. Yes, Jack and I are partners in ministry but we’ve found that our commitment to living out our faith as a family unit has been an encouragement and witness to others who are watching. We’ve had people describe our home as a house of peace and our family as one who knows how to have fun together. We are not perfect by any means as those closest to us can attest and I’m sure both of us have wondered if we could live another day with that person in the same house. But through our marriage, we’ve honed each other’s faith, love and commitment to Christ and we’ve both learned how to be better people.
God intended marriage to be symbolic of our relationship with Him. It’s a joining of two unlikely entities, the Holy Spirit and sin filled us, to bring forth a new creation. God and me, working within me to bring about good in the lives of others. Just as I realize my life would be so different without Jack’s presence and influence, I cringe to think of where I would be today without Christ in my life. He is my Hope, my strength, my song, my joy, my confidence and so much more.
Happy Anniversary, Honey, and here’s to many more. Thank you, Jesus, and here’s a forever life with You.