Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Anniversary

Eight Years of God’s Goodness

Today Stacey and I are celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary. It is a great day for me to reflect on God’s goodness and kindness to us as a couple and as a family over these past several years.

In God’s Mercy I Got a Wife

I have frequently quoted Don Carson’s distinction between mercy and grace: ‘Grace is a loving response when love is undeserved, and mercy is a loving response prompted by the misery and helplessness of the one on whom the love is to be showered. Grace answers the undeserving; mercy answers the miserable’ (from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and Confrontation with the World, 24-25).

God clearly gave me a wife in mercy. I was miserable, pitiable, and helpless. I was eating A&W far too often to survive past the age of 30 till she came along. I was so reclusive that I probably would have made a better mortician (and I had thought about it!) than a pastor, but now our house is a happening place. Her strengths clearly complement my weaknesses.

God, in his mercy gave me not just any wife, but my wife in particular.

By God’s Grace I Still Have a Wife

Since our wedding day I have shown myself again and again to be undeserving of Stacey’s kindness and favour. And that’s not just humble-talk. I mean honestly and truly, I have sinned against her in horrible acts and words of selfishness that I had never envisioned saying to my wife (or to anyone!). But time and again she has embodied God’s grace and forgiven me.

Some time ago, when I was younger, I heard from someone that it would be foolish to marry a girl / guy whose parents are divorced. History repeats, as the logic goes. Well, happily, Stacey and I both ignored that advice and married each other. God’s grace overcomes such foolish human notions. The fact that we, as children from divorced families, can live together faithfully and happily is a testimony to God’s grace.

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An Open Letter to My Bride on our 7th Anniversary

Today is our seventh wedding anniversary. To celebrate God’s goodness to me in giving me my wife, I wrote the following letter to read to her in church (since it happens to be on a Sunday). There are a few inside jokes here (she hates when I try to be funny, and she doesn’t like my attempts at poetry), but I did write it for public consumption, so I thought I’d post it here. I’m so thankful to God for her. His wisdom and grace and kindness to me are manifest here, in my wife, more than anywhere else (apart from Christ, obviously). So here is the letter I wrote to her for our 7th anniversary.

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My Bride, my wife, my lover, my friend,

Don’t worry, I will try to keep this short. I will endeavour with everything in me to not embarrass you.

I will not try my poetry, I will not sing or dance,
I won’t try to be funny, that wouldn’t be romance,
for I know that a show is not what you would like,
and my trying to rhyme would probably seem trite.
And I would not make little of your love for me
because you’ve impressed me these four years and three…

Okay, I’ll stop. But I do want to publicly thank God for you. I remember the moment you appeared in your white dress at the end of the aisle in that little church in Welland. I think my heart actually stopped for moment. I was overwhelmed by God’s goodness to me. That was seven years ago today.

Bride & Groom

You have been a faithful friend, confidant, and support to me through seven years, five jobs, four houses, three children, two churches, and one argument. Okay, maybe more than that. But you’ve loved me, listened to me, supported me, challenged me in all kinds of good ways, and breathed God’s strength into me through your words of encouragement. We have been through much inconsistency these few years together, but you have shown me the meaning of consistency and faithfulness in your love for me.

According to Matt Chandler, Adam’s words when he first saw Eve in the Eden could be paraphrased as ‘She’s mine!’ After seven years of marriage I’ve never felt that more strongly for you. I rejoice at how you ‘fit’ me. You free me up for gospel-labour, you make my home a joyful place to be, you diligently and biblically mother my children, and you constantly remind me that I’m to be leading our family to Christ from a heart that genuinely wants me to lead. I treasure you for how God has made you.

I treasure your wisdom and joy, your humour and courage, your insight and truthfulness, your weakness, and the faith that overcomes it. I love hearing you pray. I love kissing you. I love calling you mine. I love that we think alike when it comes to just about everything.

The moment I decided to marry you was the moment I realized that you made me love God more. You still do. How could I ever thank you for that?

I can’t believe it has been seven years. I can’t believe you still let me hold your hand and call you my own. I can’t believe I’m still such a bad husband. I can’t believe God has given me such a precious gift in you. But I can believe that you are God’s gift to me. You are bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, the source of just about every single blessing in my life. And I praise and thank God for you.

What I thought I saw when you appeared on our wedding day was God’s goodness. What I’ve come to see every day since is that being married to you is a continual experience of coming to understand just how full of wisdom and grace God’s goodness really is. I had no idea then; I’m just beginning to see now.

I thank my God for the woman he has made you, for how you reflect him, and how you make me love him.

Thank you for being my wife,
With all my love,

Julian

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** I decided to post this letter here as a part of the series 30 for 30: Reflections on Life at My 30th Birthday. I cannot help thinking of my wife and how God has blessed me through her whenever I reflect on his goodness to me over the course of my life. **

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