I had all sorts of plans for our lives. Jonathan was going to finish up his degree, and a nice church somewhere in the Okanagan region of B.C., or central Alberta was going to hire him to be a youth pastor. We were going to settle down and have three boys and a girl well before I was 30, because I refused to be an “old Mom.” We were going to be in youth ministry “for the long haul” because it wasn’t a “stepping stone” to being a “real pastor.” But of course, in this plan of mine, we’d start at a smaller church and work up to a larger one.
You might have noticed that a lot of that didn’t happen. It took Jonathan three years to finish up his degree, instead of two. We ended up serving for five and a half wonderful years in rural middle Georgia, and then the Lord took us out of church ministry. A year and a bit of odd jobs and learning humility and then the Lord brought us into Christian Education, which we love, but wasn’t even on the radar 12 years ago. (In fact, we didn’t even ‘believe’ in Christian schools back then.)
Over the last twelve years we’ve become best friends. We’ve grown together in our understanding of Grace, and our relationship with the Lord. We’ve struggled with infertility and miscarriage, low income, a cross continental move and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Lord has opened our womb twice, provided for our every need, given us a home and a calling.
When we made those vows at 3:00 in the afternoon on May 20, 1995, we didn’t know what they would mean. We had no way of seeing the struggles and the joys, and some of those things we would have seen as struggles then have turned out to be our greatest joys.
I wouldn’t trade anything over the last twelve years (even though in the midst of the bad I would have taken an quick out) because looking back I see the hand of God in it all.
Here is the promise we have seen worked out in the last twelve years, and know that we will continue to see worked out until the Lord returns or calls us home.
26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:26-30
So, lift your glasses (of water, sweet tea, coffee, wine, whatever) with me to another 50 or so years of marriage that gets better, and a walk with God that gets more sanctified. And praise the Lord with us that for the rest of our anniversaries, we’ll have a little girl to celebrate with us.