Happy 29th Anniversary Cheryl
Today, June 29, 2013 is our 29th Wedding Anniversary. It’s also our daughter’s Bridal Shower for her wedding in a few weeks. I know you’re exhausted and spent. Today would be a good day to hide-away up in Chicago, get some custom pie at Bang Bang’s, peruse the used books at MyOpics, and take a gentle bike ride along the lake front. But . . . another day.
This is my Legacy Letter to you, the one that I committed to write as part of the Art of Marriage seminar that we attended earlier this year (presented by FamilyLife). I’ve been waiting for this morning to write it – here it is.
Since God created marriage to be a motion picture of the gospel, the more that I learn to give my life away to you, the easier others will believe that Jesus gave his life away so that his bride will live. I know that my love for what Christ has done for me will determine my level of sacrifice for you. The more time I spend enjoying the gospel in my heart, the more of me I will give to you – without too much grumbling. Grumbling is what sinners do – I have contributed to the noise, yes. Please forgive me. I’m a work in progress. But after 29 years together I am still committed to learning what it means to put your happiness before mine, and in doing so, discover true happiness. It’s not easy, in fact, apart from the grace that is mine in Christ, it’s impossible to believe that my joy is found in losing my life for you. It’s so anti-flesh sounding and can feel like self-hatred. But the Lord says that we are one flesh. And since no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it, then to abstain from nourishing you is my loss of joy – he who loves his wife loves himself! He who does not love his wife, does not love himself and does not want to be happy – not really (Eph. 5:28, 29). Wow!
To believe and apply this is beyond me. But when I look at Christ it all makes sense. I love it that Jesus did not love himself apart from me, withholding his body from the cross. But he voluntarily surrendered it to me, not just because he loved me, but because he saw in the long run, a delight and a joy that makes the cross worth it – he saw an eternal dance of laughter with his wife (Heb. 12:2). I therefore choose to believe the gospel for my own husbandry – I choose to believe the gospel and apply it until you are safe in the arms of the one who loves you more than I do. This is my legacy to my family that I aim to give. No money, no Time-Share condo, no sacred material collection of coins or nick-knacks, and no earthly awards on a mantle can provide a legacy to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren like the one that I am resolved to bestow.
Sin seems so powerful at times that one more ounce of bitterness, misunderstanding, harsh word, or moment of indifference, could just crush our marriage under the massive weight of the curse. At times, it seems that our inability to move forward will cause us to fall backwards; it’s so easy to fall and so hard to climb! But when I look back over the years and see where we are, I can believe that whatever is next to come, grace will be there when we get there, and not any sooner. Not to say that there is no grace for today – there is! Bunches of it! But only to say that I, we, need not fret about our tomorrows as if we’re on our own. God will provide enough grace for us today, and tomorrow.
Cheryl, I love you sweetie – you’re the love of my life and my best friend for life. I promise to love you to the end. I promise to not bring disgrace and shame upon you by loving counterfeit gods of joy and fulfillment. Which means, I promise to keep on repenting of personal sin and to keep my eyes upon Christ. Let us both believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that neither of us can do for the other what Christ alone can do. This is our legacy to give.