Friday, May 22, 2009

I Still Do, Honey!

"You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever." Psalm 45:2

Tomorrow is our 17th wedding anniversary. I can hardly believe it. It seems like yesterday that we were planning our wedding ceremony and preparing for marriage. Blessed with family and friends, we had a bridal party of 24. My girls wore purple, which has been my favorite color since I was a little girl. Our precious mothers were escorted in by the song "How Beautiful" by Twila Paris. We played "Thank You For Giving To The Lord" by Ray Boltz when we honored our parents and our bridal party during the ceremony. "Bonded Together" by Twila Paris played while we took communion. (One very funny woman I used to work with once said to me, "Your wedding is going to be more along the lines of a concert." She was right! PS -- some of these songs are playing on Playlist for this post..turn up your volume to enjoy!) We spent months choosing scriptures, songs and special touches. Three of our treasured pastors participated in our ceremony. After we were introduced as "husband and wife", we played the Twila Paris version of "He Is Exalted" as we walked up the long aisle out of the sanctuary and into married life.

Through God's lavish love, grace and mercy, He gave me the gift of my husband, Jim. Only by His grace. Jim is an excellent husband and a wonderful father. He is not flawless and we certainly have our moments of disagreeing, but he is reasonable, gracious, patient and just. One of the things I am thankful for most about Jim (even though it annoys me at times, too!) is that he keeps me accountable before the Lord. Jim loves God. Jim loves Truth. Jim loves me. Jim loves our children.
We are two very imperfect people yielding our hearts to a completely perfect God. As one of our pastors says so beautifully, often our spouse is the sanctification tool God uses most if our lives. I trust my heart with Jim, because He wants to honor God. I trust Jim to be that sanctification tool in my life, whether I require gentle nudging or some serious re-molding. We like the book by Gary Thomas Titled: "Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage To Make Us Holy More Than To Make Us Happy" (click here).

Jim is devoted to our God and dedicated to our family. Along with working long days at a full-time career, Jim leads a Bible study in our home for some of his buddies. He leads a Bible study at work during lunch time every other Wednesday. He participates in our church's Children's Sports Ministry by coaching every sport our children play. He has led Family Life Bible studies (click here) and Love and Respect Marriage Bible studies (click here) in our home. He is a man of ministry. And he does it with excellence as unto the Lord.

God knew what I needed in a husband. Before Jim, I dated a few Christian musicians. I had been involved in the Christian music world for several years. I love Christian pop, gospel and worship music, and I seemed to blend well with musicians. God literally picked me up off a path that was not the best for me, and He plopped me down on His right path for me...and thankfully that included marrying Jim. Only by His grace.

Jim is an engineer. Oh, he played guitar a little bit while he was growing up, but he was more the chess club type. He's very bright (he can compose algorithms...I have to spell check that word for this post!). I am so proud of him and how he uses all the gifts God has given him to honor the Lord back with those gifts...whether at home or at work. He is a man of integrity and truth. I respect him genuinely and love him with my whole heart.

Jim is the perfect husband for me. God is so good. Jim keeps me level. He listens. He responds. He cares. He inspires me to want to live the best life possible by following hard after God. Our first dance at our reception was "I Will Be Here" by Steven Curtis Chapman. Jim has been here. Jim is here. Jim will be here.

I could go on, but I won't. Jim has planned an overnight get-away for I must go pack! I am looking forward to 24 hours of "us".

Honey, I still do. I'd say "I do" all over again. I still do love you and always will. I still say "I do" to the vows we made 17 years ago. Knowing now more deeply what those vows before our God mean, I still do. Knowing God is the anchor of our souls, our marriage and our family...I still do. Loving you even more now than the day we married, I still do. Happy 17th Anniversary!

Dear God, I know it is by Your grace, mercy and love that You have blessed me with this excellent man and two wonderful, precious children. I love you. I pray in some small way my life will bring honor to You.

"Take me away with you -- let us hurry!"
Song of Solomon 1:4

"Marriage should be honored by all..."
Hebrews 13:4

"A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
Ecc. 4:12


Blessed Mom of 8 said...

Happy Anniversary Jim and Sharon!

That was such a beautiful tribute to Jim!

Praying for your time of "us"!

Praising God for knowing the righteous man for you to spend life with!

Hugs and much love to you both!

Chatty Kelly said...

That was an amazing tribute to your husband! (Although honestly, I am glad for the few comments that share he isn't perfect..that keeps it real, especially for those who's marriages are less than perfect).

The thing I see most is that you are truly a cord of THREE strands. God was right there in the middle of your wedding, and he is right there in the middle of your marriage, making it what it is today. Alleluia! Praise Him!

I hope you have a great trip!

jim.sloan said...

Wow, honey. I have no words. I didn’t get through that one without sobbing. Had to get up and close my office door. You are too good to me, and it is your gentle kindness that leads me to repentance (as does the Lord’s) in those areas where I fail. You are the most beautiful woman I know, and you truly do honor and encourage me in so many ways. I am ever thankful to God for you, and it is my pleasure, my treasure, and my privilege to be married to you. Looking forward to our special time this weekend! You are forever my lover and my friend (Song of Solomon 5:16).

“I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk.” –Song of Solomon 5:1

Lori said...

I'm so blessed to have been a part of that wedding party of 24 and to have had your marriage as an example of what God intended marriage to be.

You both always write beautiful, touching tributes to each other and you are both a blessing to know and love.

Happy 17th Anniversay!!

With all our love to all of you,
Chris and Lori

christy rose said...

Happy Anniversary!

Wow! Your husband's response to your sweet honor and trubute to him made me tear up big time. How sweet to see such tender love for each other.

Sheena said...

I think I will like to play that song I WILL BE NEAR for the dance for my wedding too.Its so beautiful to know that God is part of your marriage over all these years and your love for each other is still very strong.Its an encouragement for me truly.You both inspire me.I look forward to be the Woman God created me to be for my future husband too.
Thank you
Sweet blessings
Sheena Jeremiah