Five years ago today I said “I Do” to my bride in an old worship sanctuary in the church where we first met.  We had grown up just miles apart but were separated in ignorance until we had both graduated college.  Through several twists and turns in the journey, I ended up with a college degree and returning to a town I swore I would never live, doing something I swore I would never do–serving as a youth minister.

But God had other plans.

And I am thrilled that he didn’t allow me to live out mine.  I know that sounds weird, especially given that we live in a day of narcissism and “self-actualization” (spiritualized as Your Best Life Now); but it was beyond my comprehension to ascertain how God was orchestrating each step of my life to a place where my footprints would be in sync with another.  Those were the steps of my soon-to-be wife, Dusti.

I still remember that day distinctly–the incredibly hot temperature, the annoying videographer, and the wonderfully eclectic group of groomsmen who were more idiosyncratic than even myself.  I remember looking into her eyes and saying those solemn words which seemed all to easy to recite were it not for the tears of joy that caused the words to stumble as my voice went to a higher pitch.   Looking out amongst my family and friends, I knew that July 19th would be much more than an anniversary but a day to recall God’s faithfulness and kind providence in giving me a precious bride to love, serve, and honor.

Much has happened in these five years.  We have moved twice, struggled through four years of seminary life, and starting a family together (Nolan turned seven months yesterday!).  During this period of time, I have experienced the grace of an understanding wife who has helped shape me into more of a man of God.  She has supported me as I have sought God’s will for us, even when it has required of her great sacrifice.  I am aware more now than the day I first say “I Do” that the gospel must drive our marriage as we daily believe in Christ and repent of our sins and failures.

My wife normally doesn’t read my blog (except when some of you guys write mean things about me or some controversy potentially gets me in trouble :)), and I suppose that is a good thing.  Blogging tends to bring out a false perception in people.  I mean, how many people blog about the sin in their lives?  But my wife knows them all.  She knows my heart while most people know my words.  She sees me for who I am in the closet while other may see me for what I say via a hyperlink.  Three years of blogging can lead one to think they are somebody.  Five years of marriage leads one to think they are nobody apart from the grace of God.

So this anniversary I rejoice with the wife of my youth for all that is and continues to be as my partner, best friend, lover, and co-laborer for the glory of God.  May the Lord strengthen my affections to love her more deeply and inflame my passion to give myself to her more sacrificially.  When the song of life is over, I pray the sweat on our brow and the joy in our hearts reveal that we danced well!