Wednesday, August 10, 2011
A Milestone In Redemptive History
August 9th, 2011 marked our 15th wedding anniversary. There is a part of me that feels a little goofy about it, but we celebrate our anniversaries like crazy. I know lots of couples who say, "Oh we don't have the money" or "It's just too busy right now to celebrate." But for us, I would sooner skip celebrating Christmas or Easter. As I was thinking it over (and planning Robb's gift of 15 of his favorite cigars...not terribly original, but guaranteeing 15 times that he will be able to be still and think and relax Charles Spurgeon-style) I realized that I don't hold the day in high regard because I'm a spoiled brat, but rather, because our day really is a holy day for us. Our spiritual health and our marital health have been tied to each other for 15, maybe even technically all 18 years we have loved each other.
On that warm August Friday night, Doug Messerall married us. A good man, he has served faithfully in a church that would have made a lesser man fall apart years ago. He still serves there, as far as a I know. Dr. Rembert Carter gave the "charge to the couple" -a practice that was common in our circles- a short sermonette just for the couple. In Doc's case, that was 40 minutes and included a print-out of every mention of marriage and family in the Bible with notes. I didn't realize it was long at the time, but I only really remember the main idea....that our marriage would be a "milestone in redemptive history." In the time that has unfolded since that night, I have come to realize what that means in a much fuller and more beautiful way.
Marriage has seasons just like everything else. We've had lean years, hard years, as well as the more recent years of tremendous plenty and blessing. I had doubts at times in the past because I'm fickle and struggle to make commitments because I don't trust myself to keep them perfectly. But I have always been fully invested in the belief that together, Robb and I were impacting the world for good. We have fought through the illusion that going backward was better than going forward and came to a place that is richer, more mature, more complex, more fascinating than the dating and falling in love phase ever could have been.
Another dear professor of ours, Dr. Firmin told a story in class one day that he had been engaged before he met and married his wife. He said that if he ever had a doubt about his choices, he had only to look at their two daughters to know that he had chosen perfectly. I recall pondering this idea, perhaps in a season of doubt, thinking, "Well of course you would adore your children, but isn't it possible that you would feel the same if you married someone else and had different children?" It was an odd thought to me. But then my thinking came to a clearing. I have that kind of assurance when I look at my youngest daughter, Charleigh, who is adopted. In all the might-have-been-scenarios, Charleigh would have been no matter what Robb and I had done. And we would not know her if I hadn't married Robb. Adopting her was another milestone in redemptive history.