Thirty-eight years ago God gifted me with the crowning piece of His reconstructive plan for my life. The Cornerstone of course came on January 3, 1973; it too was the result of a Christmas season, though one spent in a dark place, the result of three years of grief and confusion that I need not go into. That January night, I walked into my Dad’s house and through his prayers was welcomed back to my heavenly Father’s “place.” Redemption came into my life, setting off another journey that has been almost magical.
You see, as I later shared my January story at a dinner table with a teacher friend, shortly after returning to the classroom from our Christmas break, the story expanded even more and an eleven month journey began, which culminated in a wedding on December 23, 1973. This day marks my 38th anniversary with that friend. Through many dangers toils and snares we have already come, but grace…the beauty of marriage.
This journey has drawn us closer as friends; we have grown up together; weathered life and enjoyed a provision that neither of us fully accomplished. We have watched God’s generosity unfold as we have been stretched personally and professionally while honoring God’s great benevolence toward us with full service to others. I say this not out of arrogance but to give honor to the one who has enabled that service.
What a gift a help mate is, who will encourage even when the sacrifices they encourage cost them the most. What a gift, when their labor behind the scenes too often goes unrecognized, with some of the dreams they hold dear, being lost to better platform the life of the one to whom they are wed.
Now thirty-eight years later, my wife’s gift continues after countless hours spent alone during degree programs and career changes; special days forgotten in the rush of obligations to others, some naively overplayed by youthful ambition and the thought of “getting ahead.” The grace of her vital reinforcement when stamina was gone and future threatened by present failures. “Two are better than one and three cords are not easily broken,” the beauty of Christ in a marriage; and in my case, a Christmas Miracle.