One day, a minister asked me if I took the young woman standing next to me as my wife, to love and cherish, in sickness and health, for better or worse, as long as we both would live. That warm July day, I said I do.
Fast forward thirty two years. The woman is no longer young. Neither am I. We have been through both health and sickness. There have been times when things couldn't have been any better, and there have been other times when things seemed as if they couldn't be any worse. That day in July, neither one of us could have predicted all that was going to happen as we journeyed together. I know Jan had no idea what she was getting into. We have been through moves, jobs gained and lost, and have raised two children to adulthood. There have been disagreements and arguments. There have been many changes in our lives.
There are a couple of things that have never changed. The first, and most important, is the love that our Father has for us and the grace he has shown us every day. There have been times we couldn't have made it without God's grace and love. He has been faithful to provide for us all along, many times in ways we could never expected. While we have never been wealthy in terms of material things, we have been rich in the things that can never be taken away. We have always had the love of friends and family and the knowledge that our Papa would give us exactly what we needed at exactly the right time. He owns the riches of heaven, and we have learned to trust him as he takes care of us.
The second constant had been the fact that this woman who stood beside me thirty two years ago has always stood beside me. Jan has been my support through all I have done, whether teaching, coaching, or teaching others about following Jesus. She has been right there when jobs disappeared and new jobs were slow in coming. She has comforted me in times of sorrow and grief, and been extremely patient with me in my failings and struggles. We have been a team through these years. After all these years, it still boggles my mind to think of how wonderfully God has blessed me. He has given me a treasure that I can't even begin to fathom. I am one of those men who definitely married up.
I cannot adequately express the depth of my love for you, Jan. Words don't do justice to my gratitude for all you have been to me. I can say one thing though. I still do.