24 years ago today I walked down the aisle to meet my husband and to say, "I do". I said that I would take him to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part."(A picture from when we first started dating.)
Vows made in love but without a full understanding of what the years together would bring. We've been through a lot together.
*Living as the only missionaries in our town, at least most of the time we were there. Some days were pretty lonely. Some days the burden of the work was pretty heavy.
*Watching our kids struggle with serious asthma attacks (Suzanne) and grand mal seizures (Daniel)
*Learning how to help our friends and neighbors who had nothing....and the stress it brought to not ever be able to help enough
*Exhaustion brought on by the emotional and physical strain of the work.....total exhaustion that resulted in a near nervous breakdown
*Seeing demon possession up close....experiencing the hold it has on people
*Helping our neighbors deal with their health crises...tetanus, severe anemia, typhoid, malaria, injuries. Using our truck for both the ambulance and the hearse.
*Helping each other through some pretty serious malaria
*Dealing with an enervating climate
*A crazy man coming in our house at 3 in the morning and another one getting in our truck with me and two small children and trying to drive it away
*What would appear to be failure in ministry as people turned their backs on Jesus
*Yanking up roots every four years or so and changing location. We're doing it again tomorrow.
Things have been good, too.
*We have friends around the world
*We love our jobs
*We've been blessed to minister cross-culturally
*We have the peace that comes from obeying God even when the going is tough
*Our kids love the Lord
*Our parents always have been and continue to be great examples of how the Christian life should be lived
I'm so glad we haven't had to do this alone. God has been with us every step. "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
No, we didn't fully understand what keeping those vows would entail. But today our love is deeper than we ever imagined. God has been good and we give Him the praise for keeping us together all these years.
Here's to another 26 years (or more)! (That brings us up to 50.)