Lord willing, my wife (Mary) and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday, June 22. Whew…time flies! What a wonderful blessing God has provided to me by placing this woman worth more that jewels…rubies, pearls, all of ‘em! [Proverbs 31] in my life.
I met her when we were grade-school age, although we didn’t attend the same school. Mary’s cousin, Bill, and I were in Boy Scouts as youngsters. Mary’s two sisters, would leave their bicycles at his house so they wouldn’t get vandalized. So did I. Bill’s two sisters, Mary and her sisters, and I would all walk to the swimming pool to recreate on a hot summer afternoon. I never thought much about that then. Little did I realize that meeting Mary at that young age would result in a life-long commitment of marriage.
As the next few years moved along, and we got into high school, Mary and I were in the same marching band at West High in Green Bay. She was a year behind me so I didn’t get to know her well until my junior year. She played flute, I played trombone. We lived only a few blocks apart. Now my walking her home became a chance to get to know her better. That shiny brunette hair and deep brown eyes attracted me…oh, and that pretty face. Yep, eventually we dated when I was a high school senior and on through our college years. I ‘popped the question’ in November of 1972…she said yes. And, we were married in June of 1974.
God has blessed us in so many ways. We had great employers, nice homes, fabulous friends, neat opportunities to visit places near and far. And the greatest of all blessings were three wonderful children…two sons and a daughter. It seems like yesterday we were attending school conferences to find out how the kids were doing in their studies. What! Now they’re in their 40s! How did that happen? And, our only grandchild is 16. Oh, no way! That’s crazy! I must really be old.
Mary worked full-time until our first child was born. We then made the decision that she would be a stay-at-home mom until the kids were in school full days. Even then, after returning to work, she worked part-time to be home for after-school care and activities.
Our faith journey has been so fun and very rewarding. My mother was Catholic, my dad was Methodist, I married a Lutheran girl, and I eventually ended up as Pastor of a Baptist Church. That road is another story, but through it all, this wonderful woman has proven to be a Godly lady and a magnificent wife. She’s put up with me! Wow…that takes courage!
It hasn’t all been easy. Our youngest child was killed in a car crash at age 23. That certainly put a challenge in front of us…weathering such a tragedy would not have been possible for us had we not had a relationship with God and His son, Jesus Christ. What a wonderful home heaven must be for Kevin. That still didn’t make it easy, but we were able to navigate the road ahead. And, as Romans 8 says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” We wouldn’t have known it 19 years ago at the time of the accident, but God now allows Mary and I to facilitate a GriefShare group through our church in Lakewood.
After pastoring a Baptist church in Antigo and stepping out of the pulpit, God has assured us that our service to Him is just getting started. Pulpit supply opportunities are frequent, law enforcement chaplaincy, and working with a company through Market Place Chaplains gives Mary and I the privilege of continuing to serve Him.
Remember the old song lyric? “When I am worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep.” Well, we’re not worried, but we do count our blessings. Thank you, God, for our many blessings…and thank you for my wife who is worth more than rubies!