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.

Better AND Worse

I had the honor of conducting another wedding ceremony on Saturday.

It was a complex and challenging weekend full of travel and ministry and family burdens and laughter and silliness and argument and loving each other when we’re not all being nice. It was a microcosm of what Alex and Anna made vows to endure and embrace together.

After all of the wedding work was done—the ceremony concluded, the license signed, the cake consumed, the cleanup complete—we did manage to go for a drive down the coast for a little bit. We had about 30 minutes to just walk on the beach.

We took a few pictures.

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Pretty, isn’t it?

Continue reading Better AND Worse

Enduring… Together (Reprise)

The next few verses in this closing section of 1 Thessalonians 5 (vv. 16-22) contains what may be the most familiar verses of this letter to many of us. Here we are reminded of how we press on as family in the midst of a crazy, controversial, and contentious world.

This text is comprised of a series of very short, concise statements that have been preached, taught, memorized, and cited over and over and over again:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 These 5.16-22).

He urges us to rejoice. I have come to understand that joy is the awareness or consciousness of grace. To rejoice, then, is to stir up our awareness of God’s grace, to take joy once again. And Paul calls us to do so always. We ought always to be conscious of God’s great grace toward us.

Continue reading Enduring… Together (Reprise)