Anniversary

The nation is officially 242 years old today! July 2, 1776 marks the day when the members of the Second Continental Congress actually VOTED their approval of declaring themselves (and, therefore US, the U.S.) as being a separate and free–Independent!– nation.

It was a long time coming, this vote, and two days later, they would finally sign a physical document making their vote something that England’s King George III could read for himself. While the 4th of July is what we celebrate now, back then, John Adams expected us to be celebrating every year on July 2nd…because THAT was when the commitment was made.

July 2nd holds a special place in my heart, as well, and not just because of what you’ve read above, but because a mere 26 years ago, I also made a commitment. My sweet husband asked me to marry him on a beach–when neither of us are beach people!–and with Roman candles that wouldn’t fire–right up until he took out a ring and put it on my hand. THAT was when the rockets finally went off and I made a commitment to be his bride for the rest of my life.

Maybe it should have been an omen, maybe even a warning–for both of us!–but the truth of the matter is that our commitment to each other wasn’t (and still isn’t!) dependent on fireworks or favorite location which, incidentally, is next to each other and not really place-dependent at all. We made a decision to love, honor, and keep each other for the rest of our days…and that’s still going on today.

Today…when he went to work late because he took me to see a doctor and made sure I was taken care of physically before he drove off to make sure we were taken care of financially. Today…when we remembered again that the commitment we made to each other wasn’t dependent on health or wealth or personal happiness, but understood that it brings all of those things to each of us, and so much more.

Some will say this is pointed and, perhaps even a little judgmental, to write these things out loud where the world can see them and publish it when marriage has become a temporary thing to so many, but that’s not the case, at all. Far from it.

THIS is a celebration of the two of us: of deciding the course that God had chosen was best for both of us and OUR decision to follow it through no matter what. THIS is a celebration of stubborn faith and a willingness to hold hands and face whatever God has sent our way together. THIS is a celebration of love that has brought far more TO me than it has ever taken FROM me. THIS is both a benediction to the One who brought us together in the first place and a blessing to the one who shares his life with me so well.

THIS is all about gratitude.

THIS is an anniversary of being committed and staying the course no matter what even before the vows were made official.

With more love and greater grace than I could ever have deserved, God gave me you, my dear husband! For the rings we no longer wear and the vows that we have always kept, I am grateful. For the daily choosing to be the best we can be together–and the knowledge that some days will always go better than others…and for being determined that we keep on trying to make the next one even greater–I am grateful! For all the things we know and have survived–and all that is to come, I choose to be grateful. For laughing with me–and AT me, on occasion, and allowing me that same privilege in return, I am grateful. Thanks for asking the question and for living out the answer every day of the last 26 years! Here’s to many, many more. ILYM&B!!

Grace and Peace!

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Annniversary

Exactly one year ago today I sat in front of my computer, took a really deep breath and started punching keys.  Because I’d rather punch a button and see what it does than read a whole series of instructions, it was some time before I got up again…but when I finally did, I had started a blog.

I didn’t have a long list of complicated reasons for doing so.  I mainly had just one:  God wouldn’t let me alone about it.

I wasn’t sure what He was up to and I really wasn’t sure what I was doing…except being obedient.

Being obedient hasn’t always been second nature to me.  Just ask my parents and a few of my teachers. (grin)  What I’ve found out over the years, however, is that loving God and doing what He says may be scary at times and it may lead you into some very uncomfortable places, but the reward—knowing that you’re pleasing Him—is worth every single second of the unknown.

In the past year, I’ve found that to be true all over again.  I’ve heard from people I never expected to hear from again, watched in amazement at the growing list of countries where people have checked in to read something I wrote, received feedback from people I’ve never even met and been totally astounded that it took so much time to write out even simple posts.  Again, it has been worth every single second.

I wish I could tell you that I totally “get it” now and I understand exactly what God was up to when He started all this, but that wouldn’t be true.  Sharing these pieces of my heart and my life can often seem a lot more personal than I would normally even share in person…and yet I write and I hit the “publish” button and seconds later, there it all is on display to the world…because that’s what He seems to want for now.

To those who join me on a regular basis, thank you.  Though they are simple words, the gratitude they convey is much larger than you can imagine.

To the many friends who have sent words of encouragement, mentioned this blog to others or shared it even once:  your generosity of spirit overwhelms me and I am always amazed at the grace God have given me in you.

To my husband, who has sat waiting to leave on so many occasions as I typed frantically and called out “just one more minute, please” and been kind enough to do so…not to mention being my very first follower!—ILYM&B!!!  ALWAYS!!!

And finally, to the God who gives me words and a place to share them, I am Yours.  Though the grace and forgiveness You have poured into my life are greater than words could ever say, I’m having fun trying and I love that You see into me and find ways to let me have fun doing what You told me to do in the first place.  May all all my ambitions–quiet and otherwise–come from You.

Now let’s see where it goes from here…

Twenty years and counting…

When the clock ticks 6:32PM (EST) tonight my husband and I will have been married for 20 years.

Twenty years ago, the church was packed with loved ones and the scent of gardenias and pink roses.  Our families and many of our friends were present to witness our commitment to each other before God.  We exchanged rings with a Scripture reference engraved inside.  In part, it says:

“They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way…”  Jeremiah 32:38-39a

God has been faithful to fulfill that portion of Scripture.  Because of His faithfulness, we do have one God, one heart and one way.

We do not always have one mind or one opinion.  (grin)  That’s ok, too.  Complete agreement on every single detail would soon become boring and redundant.  The past twenty years have been packed full of life and love, dreams and plans. Some happened. Some didn’t. Regardless of outcome, all of them were orchestrated by God.

As we celebrate this milestone in our lives, I’m also reminded of another portion of verse read at our wedding.  It, too, is still appropriate as we look forward to the next twenty years and counting…

 “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!”  ~Robert Browning

 

 

Seasonal Change and Faithfulness

Fall is on the way!  It may not look like it right now—the temperature on my truck gauge said “97 degrees” when I left work the other day!  It didn’t feel like it the other morning as I left home in the fog and asked God to send His Holy Spirit to cover me just like the fog that hugged the tree tops and softened my view in every direction, either, but that doesn’t change anything.  Even when it doesn’t feel like it, I know that Fall is on the way and it makes me smile.

I love the changing of seasons.  It reminds me of my unchanging God.  That might sound strange to some, perhaps, but Genesis 9:22 (NKJV), says, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” Because He is faithful throughout every day, every season and temperature—as long as the earth remains, God will be there, too.

A couple of weeks ago I stopped by the hospital at lunch to see a young man who is over 90 years old.  I say that he’s a “young man” because he keeps a young spirit.  While I was there, he received a phone call and another visitor.  On the way out, I ran into 2 more visitors for him.  Further down the hall, I saw his sweet wife being brought in by wheelchair for her visit with her ‘sweetheart’ of 68 years.  Yes, you read that right.  They were celebrating their 68th wedding anniversary that day and “Miss Madge” was arriving—and holding a cake!–to celebrate the occasion.

I can’t tell you how much that did for my day.  Such faithfulness!  Such life in these dear ones!  Their influence is amazing and yet, it is quiet.  Even in this twilight of life, they continue to reach for each other and their God and they bring us all closer to Him just by being with them.  Their consistent walk is a blessing—for years they have held hands at 1 PM every afternoon and prayed for an hour.  Yes!  An hour—how many days would it take for some of us to reach that hour on our own? 

Yes, the seasons are changing.  Fall is on the way, God is still at work and I need to get busy praying.