20

Because Rob and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. And because everyone loves (and needs!) a good love story. I share this with you today to honor this man of great character and integrity that I am blessed to call my husband:

Our very first meeting. Bethel College cafeteria. I sat shyly across from an old friend of his from Ohio, Janet Seeker. She was a resident director in a dorm that I hadn't even been placed in, but she was trying her best to make all us wide-eyed freshmen feel at home and connected.

He came up to our table to say hi to her. I looked up to find a  pair of warm, intelligent brown eyes, a mischievous grin, and a friendly nose marked by a huge, angry red gash right between his eyes. "Hi" to Janet. "Hi" to me. 

"What happened to you, Rob?" Janet wasn't about to let something like a head wound slide. 

"An iron fell out of my closet." 

I didn't laugh, but I may have smiled really big. And I would never forget that meeting. Who could forget that? But it certainly wasn't a chance encounter.

A couple weeks later, we found ourselves not by chance on the same missions team preparing to serve in Trinidad. I had signed up, because Amy Baron stood confidently behind the sign-up table and assured me that if God wanted me on that missions trip, then He would provide the money needed. I signed my name on the paper. I wonder if God smiled knowing what I didn't, that Rob's name was just a few spaces above mine. My teeny tiny faith, probably smaller than a mustard seed, would give me the courage to write my name just a few inches underneath the one belonging to the man who would one day stand beside me and make promises to both God and me, that our time served in ministry together for those short two weeks would set in motion thousands of tomorrows seeking to serve God together in whatever season we found ourselves.

I came home from that missions trip and told my mom that I'd met the man I was going to marry but that he didn't know it yet. 

We were friends. That's all. Friends that started dreaming together. Friends who began collecting shared experiences of going to school; cheering for our friends at soccer games; slipping out of our four-hour Thursday night class two hours early to watch women's volleyball--"Exploring the Christian Faith" with professor Tim Erdel. So sorry, Dr. Erdel; volunteering as camp counselors at the same church camp that he attended as a youth, consequently the same church camp that our children now attend. We began to see glimpses of one another's face in our future.  We talked quite frankly about the possibility a long-term future, yet we held our cards very close to our chests, not wanting our own desires to influence the other, but for God to reveal His heart to each of us at the right time.

On the one-year anniversary of the first time we hung out together and popped in a movie--because we never had a dating relationship, I can't call it a date--he took me to our church in the evening. We walked up to the altar, and we prayed for God to bless our blossoming friendship and deepening relationship. He excused himself and slipped away in the back. When he came back to the front of the church, he carried in his hands a basin of water. He knelt down in front of me and he washed my feet. 

I cannot imagine a more romantic and Christlike gesture. Forget a boat ride among swans in the rain in "The Notebook" or climbing the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day "Sleepless in Seattle" or walking through a foggy field in the early morning dew in "Pride and Predjudice." Romance is assuming the posture of Christ. He has done that in some way every day of our marriage. Even the hard days, and every marriage has them. 

He pulled out a ring and asked me for the rest of my tomorrows. I was so surprised and delighted and completely and forever wooed.

God never stops wooing you and me. Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians is all about God's perfect love for us. We can never measure up, but we sure try to make our hearts and actions line up as best we can, and let the Holy Spirit make up for the ways we fall short. Rob would tell you that he isn't the least bit romantic, but I disagree. Hollywood has ruined what romance even means. Just because he doesn't call me baby or trot around the car to open the door that I'm so capable at this point in my life of opening myself does not mean he isn't romantic.

Love is patient. Like when he waited to share our first kiss until after we said I do.
Love is kind. Like when he gets the heating pad out because my back is hurting. And happily keeps the kids so I can run an errand alone. Or asks me if I need anything. Or shares something funny just to make me laugh. Or anything he does to let me know that he is thinking of me.
It does not envy, it does not boast. Like every time he rejoices in my successes and walks with me in my failures without a single eye roll. Like the way he counts his success as our success.
It is not proud, it is not rude. Like the way he makes himself vulnerable, allowing me to accept all of him, weaknesses and strengths.
It is not self-seeking. Like every morning when he wakes up before the rest of us and goes to work so that we can do what we do and have what we have. Like the way he lets me shlep my horse from one duty station to the next and doesn't even blink at the $$$ that slip into the wind, because he knows I love her.
It is not easily angered. Like when he lets kitchen mishaps slide, or doesn't complain one bit if I serve something that isn't his favorite. Again.
It keeps no record of wrongs. Like the way he forgives me for jumping in and taking over or for procrastinating over an unsavory task.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. Like the way he sharpens my faith and encourages me to take risks for Jesus.
It always hopes, always trusts, always protects, always perseveres.  Like the way he shows me he still believes in me and my dreams--by gifting me with a new laptop to make it easier for me to write, process photos, and manage our kids education! Yay!--the way he guards my heart; and how he never gives up on us.

I feel like I've won the lottery with this guy.

Thanks for being God's gift to me, honey.

Twenty more years of adventure here we come!












Comments

I love this story! And I love how you put 1 Corinthians in prospective.
I also remember so well how that Rob kept calling the house until we got home late so he could ask your Dad permission to marry you before that evening. No Cell phones at the time then.

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