Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nine Years Later: The Vows Remain the Same

I am a "rocket scientist" but I didn't have to be one to know a GOOD thing when I saw it! Nine years ago today, I married the lovely Laurie Gates-Ward.  Surely, one of the smartest choices a guy could make!

I am thankful that God, through means of technology like the Internet , at the right time, bought the two of us together.  We lived near one another earlier on when Laurie served in Calvert County and could have met then—but we didn't. We may have passed each other on the highway as strangers.  We had mutual friends that could have introduced us—but they didn't. I suppose it wasn't time yet...  one or both of us wasn't ready for someone else in our lives.    

But then, on July 4, 2002,  thanks to a system called e-Harmony, the time was right, and we did meet.  And it was good!  A year-and-a-day later, on July 5, 2003, we got married.  And that was the start of our adventure together!

We certainly had a wonderful beginning that day, but as those who are married know, the real story of your marriage is written in all the moments in between—in the ordinary days that follow after the wedding and in those extraordinary moments that life dishes up without asking our permission.  If you were there that day you may remember that we danced to Stephen Curtis Chapman's "I Will Be Here".  It sort of went along with the theme of the day.  We promised to follow each other on the journey; we made vows that said we were in this for keeps—not just while the going was easy.  We committed that we would "be here" for one another—no matter what!

If you've been following our story, you know we've lived through some TOUGH STUFF these past nine years.  We've had moments when the "rubber hits the road" and we both had to look down deep and decide if we really meant what we said to each—and promised God—on our wedding day.  In our case, despite challenges that have stretched and challenged both of us, we've stuck together.  There has been no white flag above our door, and I think we've even grown stronger through it all.   I'm convinced the "glue" that binds us together is God—that invisible, but very real, third strand that is strong when one or both of us isn't.  

My wedding band is a cord of three strands and serves as a daily reminder of the commitment the three of us (me, Laurie, and God) made nine years ago today.  It also reminds me of God's promise to be the strong third strand in our marriage—as long as we make room for God's presence in our lives.  I believe that promise has been essential to helping us endure all that we have lived through, continues to this day, and will help us face the whatever may lie ahead for us with confidence and strength.  

God has walked with us through both the trials and triumphs of the past nine years as he promised, but God has also been walking ahead of us preparing the way for a future that, although sometimes just beyond the horizon that we can see, promises to be good. 

And now we come to a new chapter—the dawning of our tenth year of marriage, and, just last week, the start of a new chapter of ministry for both of us.  I am looking forward to writing the next chapter of the story of us here in Waldorf at a church called Good Shepherd!

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