Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Monday, February 25, 2013

Our First 33 Years Together

I've been married to my wonderful wife and the greatest blessing of grace I've ever received for 33 years today. Our children are next in line, as far as those blessings of grace are concerned. But having Kelly in my life is such a clear example of something I have not earned nor am worthy of, she has become my definition of God's unmerited favor. Sometimes I think He placed her here, so deep in my heart, just to remind me of what grace was all about. 

We've learned so many lessons along the way. There have been bumps in the road, times when all we saw were storms on the horizon and even more times when my naivete and self-centered attitude threatened to bring the whole house of cards down. Somehow, in His strength and by His power, patience and presence, it all held together. 

Using Christ as our foundation and His word as the guidelines for our relationship (read Eph 5:22-33 and 1 Cor 13:4-8 carefully, they work!), our love for each other and our commitment to Him grew stronger, little by little, each year.

I think the turning point, the point where we began to go deeper and our foundation became firmer, for both of us, was the realization that the things we read in the Scriptures were meant for "me", not for "him" or "her". When we began to hold ourselves up to the standard of Scripture and stopped trying to impose them on each other, a whole new world of love and devotion opened up for us. We began to see a godly love rise up between us, a love that grew stronger and firmer with each passing moment. 

That was truly when the Lord began to inhabit our relationship  That was when He, instead of ourselves,  became the focus of our love. That was when we got our first peak at sacrificial love, God's way, not ours. 

Ironically, that was a gift of grace as well. All it took on our behalf  was a devotion to doing marriage by the framework we saw in the Bible. The Holy Spirit counseled and convicted us the rest of the way. In all this, we found the key to a successful, godly relationship; the more more we decided to love the way He tells us to, the more in love we became and the easier it was to love each other!

We are far from perfect in any of this. Some days, I am acutely reminded of how much I have yet to learn. Some days I revert to old habits and patterns of behavior. My beautiful wife remains patient with me through those days, keeping her focus on our Father instead of my bumbling behavior...and I am reminded of His grace once again, a humbling experience that brings me to my knees in repentance and thanks. 

Yes, there is much to learn.

Still, In these first 33 years, God has given us a clear enough peek at what life can be like with Him as our foundation, that the next 33 years becomes an exciting adventure in learning and loving in a new way. 

I love you, honey. I love the fact that you're more beautiful than you have ever been. I love the fact that it is Christ in you that brings that beauty. I love the truth that His grace has blessed us with a love that goes beyond understanding. I love the idea that we've been together for 33 years...and we're just getting started. 

May He continue to guide us, bless us and keep us for the next 33. 

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