25 Years and Counting

Today marks a special day. 25 Years ago today I had the honor and privilege of marrying my best friend and love of my life. 25 days from today, I will walk our oldest daughter down the aisle. I’ll write more about that later.

We came to Martin’s Mill when I was in third grade. I was a pudgy, socially challenged redhead who didn’t quite fit in with the kids around me. But there was this one girl, I thought she was beautiful. Suffering from uncoordinated awkwardness made me a very unlikely candidate to get this girl to like me so I felt some ‘extra incentives’ were needed.

Every day my mom gave me $2.00 for lunch. Lunch was $1.80, leaving $0.20 per day for me to spend however I wanted … I was rich! Every Friday this twenty cent savings plan gave me enough money to buy this little girl a coke, which she gladly accepted. Even then I wasn’t above bribery to get her to like me.

That third grade year was great. She was my girlfriend and I was so stoked. I loved her. I knew I would marry her. Things were going well, too, until my mom found out I had been smuggling all my childhood stuffed animals to her in my backpack as gifts. I figured with a dude as ugly and strange as me, I would need to keep up the gift giving just to stay in the game!

Then, somehow, in a turn of events I can’t even remember, it was over.

That sophisticated eight year-old love affair had come to an end. I was devastated, but I never forgot about her.

When I was 14 I once again set my eyes on this young lady. I had no experience in the dating department, but I thought I had a chance. I mean, we had history. She was my first true love. Well, except for that girl in Kindergarten, and that other one in second grade, but you get the idea.

She was on the cheer squad and I played basketball. She was one of my best friends. Then, that fateful night on the court that changed my life, that glorious meeting of fate. Our real relationship started when I almost killed her.

If I remember, we were playing Lone Oak at their gym. It may have been a different school, but that doesn’t matter. What I remember is the hard hit she took to the head during one play. It was so hard they thought she may have had a concussion. That’s where I came in.

Like a majestic eagle descending from lofty heights I swooped in to save the day. I leaped at the chance to be the one to keep her awake on the bus ride home. During that trip she fell asleep on my shoulder. Sure, she could have died, but it was so cute and sweet, I just let it ride.

Shortly after we had our first date, attending the Homecoming dance as a couple. There have been ups and downs, but the rest, they say, is history.

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In the past 30 years, 25 of marriage, I’ve seen this young beauty grow into the gorgeous blessing God has allowed me to spend my life with. She has followed me and the Lord to west-central Texas, Iowa, and given up countless hours and comforts in our pursuit of serving the Lord.

We’ve moved more times than I can count (all early on), raised 4 biological children, adopted 3, and remained my rock and stay (other than Christ) for all these years. My feeble language fails me to bring to life the feelings I have for her, all would be inadequate.

I’ve seen her sit by hospital beds when hope seemed lost, rejoice when it was found, stand tall when the storms were darker than any light we could see. She has spoken wisdom, truth, and life into my soul as a faithful and trusted friend, lover, and helpmate. I know it is cheesy, but she really does complete me.

Sure, God could have just as easily used anyone to accomplish the task of blessing me with companionship, but I’m more than thankful He chose to allow her to be the one.

Life with me isn’t easy, but she handles it like a champ. Our schedule is crazy, the stresses unique, relentless, and wearisome at times. Through it all she brings joy, peace, and comfort to the very depths of my existence. When she is gone, I’m literally half a person. One flesh is no joke.

Today we aren’t spending our 25th anniversary together. She is doing what she does best; giving of herself to help care for and support her sister who is experiencing some very difficult health challenges.

It may be cliche, but my bride is a true Proverbs 31 woman. She is certainly far more precious than jewels, which is good because we can’t afford jewels anyway. She works withe her hands, with her mind, rises while is yet night … and makes me rise, too! She provides food for her house and packs their lunches, plans our meals, buys our food, invests in our future, stays up late at night to complete the tasks she must, keeps us clothed in clean clothes, lodged in a clean house, and I am known because of her. Everyone knows I married out of my station.

Her children, and I, rise up and call this lady blessed … she certainly surpasses all the noble ladies. I will let her works praise her in the city gates, but I also want to shout from the mountains how proud I am to stand beside her as my precious bride.

What a picture of grace and mercy that she would spend this kind of time and energy on a gangly lad with a bad temper, fierce passions, and an aversion to loneliness. What in the world did I do to deserve you, my dear? Nevermind, it doesn’t matter … I don’t, but I’m glad you are here.

Happy Anniversary. I love you more than you can possibly know.