Well, on this day 26 years ago, I said “I do” to my wife Mandi. I am just as in love with her now as I was then. We met at a Christian summer camp where we both served as camp counselors. It was hate at first sight. She thought I was a crass, loud-mouthed jerk. I thought she was a stuck up priss who thought she owned the place. Three weeks later we were looking for excuses to see each other. By the end of the summer we were the hawt couple! We were engaged the next summer and married December 29, that same year.

There are a lot of things I would like to change in my past. Decisions that didn’t work out. Things I said that I would give anything to take back. Dumb things I have done. But one thing I would not even consider changing is marrying Mandi. That decision is in my mind one of the best things I have done. Daily God uses her to strengthen me, encourage me, direct and redirect me, comfort me, challenge me, grow me, and remind me of how much God loves me. Of course she does the same for our three girls. She is the best mom I know. The way she gives herself to them. There is nothing she wouldn’t do for them. I have seen that first hand.

My marriage has taught me a lot about love.

Love is not a feeling. It is many feelings: joy, grief, desire, longing, anger, fear, and gratitude.

Love is also about commitment. Love is what drives you to suffer long, to be patient.

Love moves you to act in mercy, grace, compassion, and forgiveness.

Love takes you to places you would never go otherwise. It drives you to fight through the dark, the pain, the suffering, and the mess of life.

I am so grateful for the way that God has graciously and wisely used Mandi to help me to be learning these things. They are some of the most valuable lessons I have been learning.

So here’s to you Mandi my love! I am so thankful for the last twenty-six years, and I am looking forward to the next twenty-six.

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    1. Thank you your Grace. Yes, marriage is a wild delirious breathtaking and life-giving enterprise. It is hard to describe. Not to mention the bewildering fact that Mandi said yes and then stayed around without me having to use drugs or restraints. That’s a miracle of grace right there.

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