25


I was expecting a wintery mix of rain and snow today, but when I looked out the window this morning there was about 4 inches of wet snow on the ground! My PTSD (Post Traumatic Snow Disorder) kicked in and my grumbling began. I guess I was not paying close enough attention to the weather forecast.

I went out to clear the drive way. Probably too wet and dense for the snow blower (which—go figure—was giving me trouble starting anyway). I got out the shovel and got to it.

Snow.
Unexpected snow.
Shoveling said unexpected and unwanted snow.
My grumbling deepens.

After the driveway was cleared, I made myself an ice coffee, slumped into my chair and my morning meeting with the Father began. There is no point in putting on a mask with Him—He sees me better than I see myself. I have been learning to be as transparent and honest with Him as I can.

“Ugh! Father, why did it have to snow today? After last winter and its 8 feet of snow I was really hoping for a reprieve. I know that it’s winter, but is Your sovereignty really proven by making it snow in winter? Why not make it 60 again? It’s my anniversary! Why did it have to snow on my anniversary?”

He reminded me that it snowed that day too.

True…And it was a very good day.

Truth be told I was kind of in shock for most of it. I had asked the girl of my dreams to marry me—and she said yes! So I understandably wore this kind of dopey endorphin fueled grin on my face after she willingly said “I do” twenty-five years ago.

She is a constant reminder of God’s grace and love for me. Like God she has always been there,
In good times and bad,
when we were richer and when we were poorer,
and whether we were sick or healthy.
I get the distinct feeling from her that that is not going to change either.
She is a blessing from Master Jesus, reminding me of His love and presence. A love that is not based on performance, or expectations, or successes, or fortune, but because God gave her a love for me.

Mandi and I have been through a lot. We have lost loved ones. Gone through the pain of a miscarriage. We have struggled with the pain of depression, cutting, and thoughts of suicide in one of our own kids. I could go on…but I have found that Mandi, like wine, just gets better with age, and adversity—by the grace of God—has made her stronger. Life is no bed of roses—and marriage is no exception. Marriage takes work, commitment, tenacity, and truckloads of humility and grace. Mandi brought all that and more.
She has been knocked down, but never backed down,
tired, but never lacked will to keep going,
frustrated, but has never given up,
hurt, but always been full of hope.

With Master Jesus at her side, she has never lacked what she needed.

I have seen marriages crumble and fall in less time and under less pressure. But instead of becoming sour and bitter, she consistently grows deeper, fuller, richer, and sweeter. Yes, every morning I wake up to a better woman than the one I went to bed with. The more I know her, the more I want to know her,
The more I want to give her,
The more I want to be for her,
The more difficult it becomes to find the right words to express my deep and abiding love for her.

Now as I look out the window I see things differently. The winter storm reminds me of that day when this adventure began. My PTSD subsides. I am grateful for my Father and to Jesus for being willing to love me where I was but not content to leave me where I was. This snow—much like any of life’s challenges—will come and go. But this is certain, as long as Mandi is alive on this earth I will be walking with her as her husband. That is a fact.

After 25 years…
There is no woman I would rather be with,
No person who is a closer friend,
No one I would do more for,
No one I cherish more,
No one who knows me better,
No one who has shown me more grace,
No one who I love more,
And no one I would love to spend another 25 with.

Happy 25th anniversary Mandi!

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