But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
On Monday we looked at the “Believer’s Betrothal” and God’s eternal commitment to each one of His children. Today, I want to pause and look at the “Boland Betrothal” and God’s commitment to Kim and me in the holy covenant of marriage.
What started out as “I do” and has continued with “I still do” is simply a testimony to the unmerited, unwavering, and unending grace God has poured out upon us in these past 26 years of marriage. I think back to the marriage counseling we received from Dr. Evans at the Church-By-The-Sea when we knew Jesus only by name, and I can see God’s loving and patient hand upon us. When I recall those sessions and when we watch our wedding video, it never ceases to amaze me how Gospel-centered and Christ-saturated were the words that Dr. Evans used in both preparing us for marriage and in performing our ceremony, and I am reminded of the words of Steve Brown: “God knew you and took care of you before you knew Him.”
Two-and-a-half years after saying “I do,” God gave us the gifts of repentance and faith, which enable us both to utter the two most important words any person can say: “I believe!” I am convinced that without those two words of life, the first two words would have been exchanged for “I don’t!” But God had a perfect plan for our imperfect lives, and He continued pouring out His grace and mercy upon our marriage—not only daily, but moment by moment as we worked together in the field of health and fitness.
Then, in December of 1996, God gave us the gift of parenting our first son, Brock. In September of 1998 He gave us the second gift of our first daughter, Jenna. During the next four years, God moved us out of the field of health and fitness into Christian teaching, and then He gave us our third gift in October 2002: our second daughter, Katie. And in March of 2004, God filled our quiver with the gift of the Tank. It is truly hard to believe that Brock will be graduating college in May, at which point Jenna will be at the half-way point, and Katie and Tank getting close to entering college! Soon Kim and I will be empty nesters.
I think back to March 2012 when God called us to be church planters. I’m sure some people thought we were crazy at my age, but after much prayer, preparation, and the commitment to do this as a family, we launched and our Lord has continued overwhelming us with His unmerited, unwavering, and unending grace these past seven years.
Kim, I really do not have the words to say what I truly feel in my heart for you. All I know is that I could not have pastored our church these past seven years without you by my side. You have sacrificed in every way to fulfill God’s heavenly purpose in marriage, both as a wife to me and a mother to our children. And you’ve done it for the glory of God. You surrendered to His will and submitted yourself for the good of your husband and your beloved children, and today I want to thank you in the best way I know how: with the word of God –
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
Happy 26th Anniversary to a Proverbs 31 woman . . . to my best friend and my true love.
I love you and I’m praying for you.