More Than Ever

For 29 Valentine’s Days, she’s been my very own.

28 years of marriage, six kids birthed and raised and launched, several others by fostering and accepting and encouraging, 11 different homes, 12 vehicles, 8 church families, a few epic arguments, buckets and buckets of tears and a whole lot more laughter… and counting.

To look back at those wedding photos, it’s clear we were just kids. We were so excited to launch into this life together and had no idea what was in store. I thought I loved her then, but now more than ever.

She came across this song today and shared it and I listened… and cried.

(If you know me at all, you’re not surprised. I’m a cryer. It is what it is.)

It’s by a duo known as Out of the Dust. It says so much about where we are in life. You just need to give it a listen.

A marriage is intended by its Designer to be a place of absolute vulnerability and familiarity…

Darling, here we are
You know every strength and every scar
You’re seeing every part

It’s not a place that is found and fueled by feelings. It’s a decision to daily choose what is best for your partner…

Feelings change but that’s when love will say
Now more than ever
Write it on my heart for when it’s hard and we forget
Through joy and pain love will whisper
Now more than ever

But there’s so much more here.

This marriage thing (as I seem to be writing over and over again) is not simply a thing people decided to do. It’s not a societal construct or a cultural feature. It was the very first human relationship and it was created with a deep and powerful purpose—beyond procreation and comfort and companionship.

Marriage was made to show us our deep, deep need and God’s grand and glorious provision…

It’s still a mystery
That heaven fights through hell to help us see
There’s more than you and me
Our love is prophecy
It shows a broken world how it could be
It speaks through you and me

This indescribably precious gift that is my marriage is a vehicle through which God shows me my need for His redeeming and transforming grace, through which He shows me my need to live for someone beyond myself, through which He shows me how much He loves me.

It is my deep desire that everyone that knows us will see these truths in our marriage, that you will hear the song that we were made to sing…

Now more than ever.

To Spend And Be Spent

Some things are simply spent when you use them. Other things you can re-use. We would probably be wise to pay attention to the difference between the two.

Some things, when they are spent, are simply translated into other things, other resources, or other economies.

A couple of weeks ago, we took our huge family to Kansas City to see a play. In one sense, there was a lot of money spent that will not come back to us. But, in a much greater sense, those funds were translated into memories and priceless time together. Every dime was invested in relationships.

I have found myself on many occasions thinking about the example of Paul the Apostle as he wrote to the Corinthian believers, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” (2 Cor. 12.15)

I have known people that modeled that sentiment, who continually spend their resources and their very lives pouring into, caring for, and looking after others. And, though I have tried to follow suit, I am still wrestling to overcome my own self-centeredness. Continue reading To Spend And Be Spent

When “Thanks” Won’t Cut It

I want to say “Thank you.”

I want to, but I want it to be bigger – huge, enormous, monumental – but it’s still those same little words. “Thank you.”

I have been on the receiving end of some of the most generous and even exorbitant kindnesses over the years from folks who saw that I had a need – even sometimes that I didn’t see – and were moved to give. How do you express gratitude for something that seems so far beyond anything you could ever do for someone else?

It’s good to send a thank-you card. I try to do that.

It’s good to try to express it in words. I try to do that.

But, all in all, it’s best, I think, to just BE GRATEFUL. To live with a grateful spirit and speak from a grateful attitude. Say “thank you” and MEAN IT!

As so many of us learned alongside Junior Asparagus years ago, a thankful heart is a happy heart.

But it’s also contagious.
Continue reading When “Thanks” Won’t Cut It