Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fourteen Years Ago Today . . . .

My husband and I play this game. It's called, "Do you know what you were doing _________ years ago today?" Sometimes it goes by, "Do you remember where you were?" Or "What did you eat for dinner?" Or "What clothes were you wearing?" It's mostly him asking me, but I like it. It's a fun game.

Mostly because it helps me mark milestones in my life, and the sign posts can often be missed because they are so ordinary. But on special days, even the ordinary has significance. I remember fourteen years ago today waking up and trying to take a bubble bath in a hotel room with a fancy jaccuzi tub. For some reason I couldn't figure out how to make the plug stick, and all my bubbles kept running out. By the time I found a solution, all the hot water was gone, my bubbles had disappeared, and I had used up my time to leisurely enjoy a bubble bath tinkering with the drain on a crazy bath tub that required a PH.D. to operate. And I wanted my day to start out special because one of the most significant events of my life was getting ready to take place: I would marry Tim.

As a pastor I have learned to tell couples getting married, "Don't worry about what goes wrong; ten years from now you will laugh about it." I think that is one of the greatest lessons I have learned, laughing makes everything better. Rarely does anything in my life match the scenarios that I invent in my head. But time has taught me that life is good anyway. On the day of my wedding, the fancy tub didn't work, I took a cold bath, my hair didn't do what it was supposed to, the candles weren't lit for most of our pictures, and my dress didn't fit down the aisle. Yet despite all the pitfalls, we shared a lovely worship service with beloved family and friends. Tim and I sealed our promise to one another at the same place we began our relationship, the altar. I was walked down the aisle by one of the most precious men I have ever known. And my sweet father blessed our marriage as the one who performed our ceremony, preaching a beautiful message on the power of God's grace to overcome all obstacles.

The scripture for our wedding was Romans 8:35-39. It says:

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My Dad spoke of God's never failing love, and the power of the love of Christ to redeem everything in our lives, no matter what we experience, no matter what mistakes we make. In fourteen years Tim and I have discovered that to be true. Perfection doesn't exist in our lives, but grace is lavish. Through all the ups and downs, heartaches and heartbreaks, we have found a Love that holds us, even when we are too human to hold each other. And somehow that same Love gives us the strength to love one another better than we could simply in our own strength, amazing both of us sometimes.

I share all this as my celebration, captured in a very ordinary day, in remembrance of another ordinary day filled with significance. Today my hair didn't do what I wanted it to, my toe-nail polish is chipped and fading, I somehow got toothpaste on my shirt, I forgot to pick up something at church, my quiet time didn't quite happen the way it was supposed to, and I haven't gotten anything on my to-do list accomplished. But today is filled with significance. Because I am still in love with the man I married fourteen years ago. He is still the love of my life. And perhaps more extraordinary given my incredible self-doubt and insecurity, I know he loves me. Wrapped up in the craziness of my ordinary life is wonderful Grace, mysterious Grace. Grace that makes ordinary beautiful, expecially in its commonplace insignificance. I am so thankful for God's love that keeps me so much better than I can keep myself, and helps me to appreciate the best gift He's ever given me . . . . Tim.

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