1+1+God = 53

His father was a piece of work.
Selfish.
Abusive.
And addicted to alcohol.

Her mother was mentally ill.
Manipulative.
Needy.
And also abusive in a different way.

Human nature says that they should have repeated those patterns.
Become the sum of the nurturing they did not receive and the product of the harm heaped upon them.

And that probably would have happened.
Except God.

They both came to know Him as young people.
And not necessarily through the example of their parents.
His Mom sent him to church.
Her parents swung more to religion than to relationship with Christ, especially in those years.

But God.
He had a plan for them.
As He does for all of us.
If we will surrender to Him.
If we will yield.

I am very thankful that they did.
They met while she was in high school and he was starting out in the Navy.
A blind date.
Arranged by a human being, orchestrated by God.

And eventually they married.
53 years ago today, they promised to “love, honor and obey”.

They haven’t done it perfectly.
Not the marriage.
Not the parenting.
Not life in general.

Because they are sinners.
Just like you.
Just like me.

But God.

Long, long ago they committed to Him.
And then to each other.
God first.
Each other second.
My sister and I next.
And then everything else.

That was the goal.
And again, it wasn’t perfect.
But it was – it is – good.

Walking with Jesus for decades has not been an easy road.
Walking with each other for decades hasn’t been, either.
I remember years that were very, very lean as they made sacrifices to put us in private school, to work in ministries that couldn’t pay very well, to give generously to others.
I remember times when things were tense. When life got very hard. When the past came back with teeth bared. When they had to deal with the fallout of others’ choices – and their own.
And there have been many, many health situations over the years. Scary diagnoses. Innumerable doctors’ visits. Surgeries and procedures.

It has not been 53 years of “happily ever after”.
But it has been 53 years of glorifying God.
Of choosing to “trust in the Lord with all their hearts, leaning not on their own understanding.”
And that has led to 53 years of joy.

Perfect people?
Nope.
Perfect marriage?
No such thing.
Perfect parenting?
No. Again, it doesn’t exist.

But loved by a perfect God?
Yes.
Held together by His hand?
Definitely.
Choosing to trust Him day in and day out?
The only way they have made it.

Because life is hard.
Marriage is hard.
People in general are hard.

And it takes commitment.
And investment.
Trusting God in the storms.
Reveling in His goodness.
Letting Him heal old wounds.
And believing Him for great things.

So happy anniversary, Daddy and Mom.
Thanks for following the Good Shepherd and for teaching us to do the same.
Thanks for the lessons in commitment.
And the legacy you have built.
One day at a time.
One choice at a time.
One decision at a time.

I am more grateful than I can express.
For the model of “a long obedience in the same direction”.
For the introduction to Jesus.
For loving me. For loving us.
And most of all, for loving Him.

And that’s how 1+1+God = 53

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