August 7, 1993 was the beginning of the rest of my life. Other than my decision to follow Christ, this day marked the solidifying of the biggest choice I had ever made or would ever make. Nineteen years later I am amazed that God has brought us this far. Today is our wedding anniversary.
The last nineteen years have provided us many opportunities to press in hard to the heart of God. Karen and I have grown together and learned together. I could never have written the story of our lives in such a Masterful way. I call the story Masterful because our marriage has been one that has been protected by the Master. Moves from ministry to business and back to ministry have allowed us to find each other's strengths and weaknesses over and over again.
Karen is the fun part of our marriage. When she walks into a room the entire atmosphere changes. She has been working with the children at our church on Wednesday nights, but this summer she has joined the adults in our Mid-Week Prayer Meeting and Bible Study. The first night she came in was just one example of what happens when she enters the room. The room was subdued, and a few people were talking quietly. I was waiting for a few more to arrive, and that's when it happened. Karen came in and saw one of our senior adults who lives in an Assisted Living Facility coming in for Prayer Meeting. When Karen saw her she immediately called her name and sprinted (that's my girl) to see her. I cannot explain the joy and excitement that filled the room. Somehow I think that's how the midweek service is supposed to be. A breath of fresh air when the Spirit of God fills the room.
Three of the biggest joys in our marriage are gifts we have received over the last nineteen years. On February 11, 1998, the Lord gave us a son. Daniel has been a blessing in our lives and continues to teach us about what it means to pursue life with reckless abandon. Then, on May 29, 2002, God gave us a daughter. Caroline has the independent spirit that many of us long to have. She loves to dance - a reminder to us that life is a dance meant to be enjoyed and savored with every passing day. Our third gift arrived on September 19, 2007. His name is David. With curly hair and a personality that never stops he keeps us busy trying to stifle laughs and to be firm all at the same time. Now that's a tough assignment.
These three gifts are an important part of our marriage, but they are not the most important part of our marriage. We have been talking a lot lately about the necessity for Jesus to be the most important part of our marriage. We have always known that Jesus is the most important part of any relationship, yet with the busy days and challenges of parenthood we have also been guilty of spending so much time raising children that we might have occasionally forgotten to fertilize the relationship that we have with each other in Christ. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 5:22-33 that marriage is a symbol of God's relationship with the church. He talks a lot about God's relationship with His bride. Scripture teaches us that raising children is what we do together. Our marriage is who we are together.
Over the next year, as we anticipate 20 years of marriage, I pray for an even stronger bond in Christ. I pray that Karen will continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. I pray for our children. I especially pray that the three of them will see a marriage that honors the Lord so that one day they can find a mate who is committed to the journey, no matter where the journey may lead.