I have no memory of her from kindergarten....or of kindergarten really. I do remember those bright blue and red nap mats - which I think must mean I really looked forward to nap time or I really hated it. Being a boy I would guess that I hated it....but knowing that my future wife was in class with me....anyway. I do have my class photo from kindergarten and my wife, Kimpa, is in it. Oddly enough, I'm not....apparently I was sick that day.
Why am I sharing this? Because tomorrow is my 26th wedding anniversary...and I'm thankful.
Thankful for the ministry of marriage that God has ordained and blessed.
Thankful that God saw "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man." Genesis 2:18-25 (New American Standard Bible)
At a marriage retreat two weeks ago I came to understand that in my wife, God has crafted and fashioned for me a perfect gift. Not that my wife is perfect - but that she is the perfect gift for me....from God.
Twenty six years. Almost married long enough to be "that couple" that everyone applauds for and has a shot at winning the gift at the end of the marriage retreat for longest married. Never saw that one coming....
Twenty six years. Years of growing in my understanding of love. My understanding being transformed from how my wife makes me feel....to how I can show her love sacrificially. From trying to get her to change the things about her that bug me to seeing those edges as places that God is speaking to me....teaching me....loving me.
Twenty six years - holding hands, looking into those eyes, hoping and dreaming, raising four children, pondering together who God is....where does He want us to serve....walking along side each other and cheering for each other. Comforting each other without words. Being more known and knowing another person more than I could ever imagine - and treasuring that.
And looking forward to continued transformation and growing more and more in our understanding in what it means to be married...to love another...and being excited by that rather than tired or afraid.
At our marriage retreat a couple weeks ago we were challenged to speak the following to our spouse...and it bears repeating here....
Father God, I receive, by faith Kimpa, just as she is today. I receive Kimpa as Your perfect gift to me for a wife. I agree with You that You have given me this person for my good. Kimpa...I receive you as my perfect gift from God, and I thank Him for you in my life. I receive as His gift to me those areas of you I have been rejecting. Thank you for being my perfect gift. Amen.
Bring on the next twenty six, baby!