We got egged last night!
Thanks–Jack, Simcha, Josh, Abi, & JoJo Gilbert. We appreciate the love and encouragement!
Happy anniversary to my wife, best friend, ministry partner, and lover. 39 years is too short a time to be married to your best friend.
39 years ago today, we stood before God, family, and friends and pledged ourselves to each other with the simple words, “I do!” Who knew the twists and turns our journey would take? Who knew where God would lead us and what he would do in and through us?
We’ve gone from SoCal to Western MA, with stops in Dallas, TX; Anaheim, CA; Wheaton, IL; Moreno Valley, CA; Bellevue, WA; Redmond, WA; Sammamish, WA; and now Chicopee, MA. We’ve served Christ at churches small, big, and in between in Wheaton, Bellevue, Seattle, and Chicopee. We’ve ministered to children, youth, adults, men, and women. We’ve traveled up and down the West Coast, across the States, visited London, Oxford, Edinburgh, and New Zealand. We’ve led ministry teams to Toral and Malaga, Spain; Moscow, Tsibanobalka, and Anapa, Russia. We’ve celebrated graduations and weddings, mourned at funerals, seen our children grow to maturity, and encouraged each other through rehab. We’ve ridden the roller coaster of “richer and poorer, in sickness and in health.” We’ve experienced, benefited from, and enjoyed the grace of God through the ups and downs and twists and turns of life over the years and across the miles.
May God grant us many more years to serve him together!
On Thursday, Carol & I, Jonathan, Caitlin & Andrew drove to the Santa Monica Pier, the end of historic Route 66. We also drove through Venice to see the canals, and then went to the In-N-Out Company Store in Baldwin Park. We ended the day with dinner with Russ & Nancy and Wendy, and Carol’s parents, Tom & Barbara. A very good day.
25 years ago, my wife began a tradition which has become the favorite part of my birthday celebration. In 1994, Carol purchased a journal. Each year, she and our three children—Jonathan, Amanda, and Caitlin—write a birthday greeting. Some years, there were also greetings on Father’s Day as well. Occasionally, our pets—hamster & cat—would send their greetings through one of the kids’ handwriting. It might be a “thanks for playing tennis with me,” “thanks for walking home from school with me,” “thanks for supporting me in college, marriage, etc.” or a blessing for the coming year.
When Carol started, the kids were 7, 5, and 3 years old. They wrote their thoughts in pen and pencil or Carol transcribed their thoughts for them. Now that they are adults, they email their greetings to Carol and she cuts and pastes the sentiments into the journal.
This morning, I read through 25 years of greetings and memories. It was a fun and encouraging trip down memory lane.
I am deeply grateful for what God has done in giving me a wonderful wife, son, daughters, and sons-in-law. Thanks be to God for such a tremendous blessing. And thanks to my wife and kids for my favorite birthday present.
The most valuable lesson my father taught me was that God can be trusted. During the last four years of his life, my dad lost his eyesight due to a blood clot behind his eye, regained his eyesight, his car was hit by a train at a faulty crossing guard, recovered from a broken shoulder and hip, was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery twice, and died eight months after the initial diagnosis.
Two months before his death, I sat in the car with my father and asked him, “What do you think God is teaching you through these trials?” He responded, “I have no idea. But I know he can be trusted.”
Trusting God’s promises is a lesson that General Joshua passed on to the leaders of Israel. After seven years of fighting to conquer the Promised Land, the statement is made,
Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass (Joshua 21:45).
Approximately twenty years later, Joshua restates his confidence in God as he nears the end of his life.
And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed (Joshua 23:14).
Over the course of their lives, my dad, Joshua, and countless others have learned firsthand that God can be trusted to keep his promises. That is a legacy I want to leave for those who come after me.