“You have captured my heart, my sister, my bride. You have captured my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.”
Today is one of my favorite days of the year. Today marks the beginning of one of the greatest journeys of my life. It has been going on now for 16 years and I can’t wait to see what the next 16 and beyond will bring. Today is the day the woman i love more than any other said, “Yes.” Today is the anniversary of the day I married my beautiful bride. Today is a special day.
As good as today is, it really had its start 17 years and two months ago, not merely 16. That was the day I got out of a van and nervously headed for the door of the dorm I’d called home for the six weeks on the campus of Spalding University in Louisville, KY as a Bible study leader for Passport youth camps. Before I could even reach the door, it burst open and the leadership staff already there came out to greet us for the first time. I don’t remember much else about that day or even that moment, but I do remember the beautiful girl who captured my heart with one glance of her eyes. Just that, and I was hooked.
It took a few weeks for me to convince her I wasn’t just your average nerd. It didn’t hurt that in a skit the staff performed all summer one of the lines was, “Yes, but you’re my nerd, and everyone needs a nerd.” But eventually, I wore her down. A little illegal matchmaking by our assistant camp director who was fully on board with the blossoming relationship we weren’t even supposed to have finally put us on the same page just before the summer’s end. From there, it was a whirlwind of cross country trips between her home and mine, lots of hours burning through cell phone minutes (remember when cell phone plans weren’t all unlimited?) and wearing out our fingers on AOL Instant Messenger (there’s a blast from the past for you), and graduating from college before we could start our life together.
The journey since has been one of a few challenges but far more joys of every sort. There have been things I haven’t gotten right along the way, and she has been more than gracious more times than I can count. I’ve learned far more than I could have ever imagined about how to be a husband, a father, and a man. She has been with me every step of the way, confirming again and again and again just how good the decision to marry her really was.
Lisa is amazing. There’s just no other way to put it. Besides being breathtakingly attractive, she is smart. Really smart. And incredibly talented. She’s got a mind for administrative details like no one else I’ve ever met. Our family would quickly and easily fly apart into chaos without her doing the things she does. More than that, she is wise. She has a strong sense of what is right and a drive to pursue it. She can look at a situation – whether hers or someone else’s – and know quickly what is the right way to go. More even than that, she is willing to share it with humility and graciousness. If I am at all a good man today, she has more to do with that than anyone else in the world. If I have been a successful pastor in any sense, she has played the most profound role in every part of it.
Not only is she an amazing wife, but she’s a superb mom too. We have three remarkable boys who are growing into fine young men. It is a true delight to watch her engage with them to give them all the gifts and wisdom a mother was designed to give on a daily basis. They will be a gift to the world and she has a great deal to do with that.
When I proposed on the morning of New Year’s Eve sixteen and a half years ago, I woke her up and recited the words to the Ben Folds song, The Luckiest. Sixteen years later, I can still say with absolute certainty that I am. Lisa, thank you for being the wonderful woman God created you to be. Thank you for never giving up on me or us. Thank you for showing me the love of God each day in ways I’ve never experienced by any other means. I love you, and more every day. Happy Anniversary! I can’t wait to see what comes next.