Fifteen Years

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As I write these words I am sitting alone in my in-law’s living room reflecting on my blessings. I feel happy and content after celebrating a delightful Thanksgiving with my wife’s wonderful parents.

I am grateful for them, but I am even more grateful for their daughter, my wife, Kelly. This Thursday we will celebrate our fifteenth anniversary. We met after my first marriage had ended in divorce three years earlier. Kelly also endured the heartbreak of a painful divorce and was looking for a new church home. God led her to the church I served as pastor. I was able to understand some of what she was feeling and became her pastor and friend during that traumatic period in her life.

Only after she began healing did I ask her on our first date. Soon after that both of us knew we were falling in love.

On December 2, 2006, as our St. Louis’ region was recovering from an ice storm which had left more than half a million homes and businesses with no power, Kelly and I stood before a smaller than expected crowd of friends and family committing to love one another “for better or worse.”

Since then, there have been times in our lives which were worse than we antic-ipated when we took our vows. We have had moments of frustration with one another. Times when we struggled to understand each other. Times when our children were navigating difficult journeys of their own and we were unsure how to help them.

However, there have been far more good times than bad. While our marriage will never be perfect, because neither one of us is, we rarely fight. Both of us are grateful because while we know the best and worst about one another, both of us feel loved and accepted.

Although life still has challenges, Kelly and I both feel supported and we fre-quently reflect on how incredibly blessed we are to share our wonderful life. We are not foolish enough to think the future holds only good things, we have both lived too long to naively assume that. But with God’s help and our continued to commitment to each other we will get through whatever challenges lie ahead.

As I reflected on the 15 years Kelly and I have shared, I immediately thought of a Bible verse which says exactly what I feel. “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 18:22 (NLT)

Kelly is an incredible treasure, and I feel wonderfully blessed to have her in my life. If you are married to someone who has enriched your life in more ways than you can imagine, let them know how thankful you are during this Thanksgiving season. Allow me to do the same. Sweetheart, thank you for 15 wonderful years. You are an incredible gift from God.

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