Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"For Better, For Worse"

In a few weeks Laurie and I will celebrate ten years of marriage. It's pretty hard to believe that a decade has already passed since we stood before the Lord and exchanged pledges and symbols of our undying love for one another. At the same time, I can't remember life without Laurie. The Lord has done a lot in our lives over the past decade. We have lived in four homes in three states. We've had three incredible children. I've finished graduate school and have now been working in pastoral ministry for over five years. We would like to think that the future promises only to bring more stability. But, we'll have to wait and see.

A few days ago we had the privilege of celebrating with Dick and Joan Rindfleisch as they reached a major milestone in their life's journey--50 years of marriage. Dick and Joan have been a part of the core group of NBBFC since its inception nearly seven years ago back in "the garage". They are the kind of people who you can just count on at any time. Joan is the "Queen" of hospitality here at New Beginnings. She is our own (better) version of Martha Stewart. It has been a joy getting to know them and serving as their pastor for the past three years.

During the vow renewal ceremony, I shared the following words with Dick and Joan:
Marriage wasn't meant to be perfect. Why do perfect marriages not exist? Because perfect people do not exist. Prince Charming shows up only in fairy tales; and if we are honest, the Stepford Wives were a little creepy. Marriage teaches us how to love an imperfect person perfectly...(From Rick and Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage)
The Scripture says, "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends..." (1 Cor. 13:4-8a).

When young people get married it's hard for them to accurately envision all that "for better, for worse" entails. Some people naively think that getting married will solve all their problems. In reality, marriage is, at times, very difficult. The life you think you're going to have--a life full of adventure and romance--can be turned upside-down by financial stress, relational stress, or health issues, just to name a few.

As I shared with those at Dick and Joan's party, "It is uniquely a Christian idea to suggest that any flawed human being--which, by the way, we all are--can learn to love selflessly, sacrificially, and completely, another flawed human being out of a motivation to please and glorify God, Who Himself is our great example and source of love...In a culture where approximately half of all marriages are ending in divorce, we need to honor and celebrate these great examples--not of perfection, but of perseverance." I know that Laurie and I have been so blessed and encouraged to see such amazing examples of marriage here at New Beginnings.

Congratulations, Dick and Joan, on this awesome accomplishment! May God bless you for many years to come.

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