May 28, 1977 is a special day in my life. As a nervous groom, I was trying to capture the wonder of being where I had witnessed so many who went before me. In a few moments I would be standing in front of God and witnesses and I would be married to the love of my life.
That vivid memory was 38 years ago. Since then we have shared adventures of graduating from a rigorous graduate and postgraduate academic programs, wading through the challenge of numerous pastorates, being blessed with the joy of three amazing children, living overseas, active in making disciples of men and women for decades, filling our tiny home with people just to shower them with hospitality, facing the rigors of ministry travel, challenges and troubles, adding friends around the world and laughing over a myriad of life moments.
Together we held on to each other while going through the hardships of loved ones who have died, sadness when difficulties visited those we loved, betrayal by people we served, financial crisis when what little we possessed was stripped away, transitions from one place of familiarity to another place where God wanted us to go, and moving with boxes, memories, and weary bones. But, those dark times pale in comparison to the joys of life, joy, loyalty, blessing, discovery, a growing family and loyal friends. Our vows and God’s grace were with us throughout the various and strange ministries to people.
Now, we have shared more together than we have lived alone. Our conversations are deep with meaning, long-lasting friendships and loving family moments. News from near or far bring smiles to our faces as we recount years and decades of love from special lives that are permanently a part of our realm of devotion, service, care and encouragement.
When I think about how long 38 years really represents, I sigh deeply, marvel with a smile and shake my head with unbelief. Thank you, Yvonne, my bride of so many decades. You have followed me to parts unknown, put up with so much inconvenience and lived with so little.
We still have so much more to experience and adventures to share. New chapters open every day while we count our blessings from the years gone by. His faithfulness has been our watchword and it will continue to be for all of the days and years that He graciously allows us to continue our pilgrimage together.
photo credit: Kristin Bailey photography