That ever happened to me.
I married young, y'all, real young. Dan jokes with friends that he married me fast before anyone else could sweep in. Ha! I was head over heels from the first ice cream cone we shared at 17, socializing in the cafeteria with a bunch of eager freshmen, along with their supreme sophomore mentors, looking for extracurricular activities at Furman U. My extracurricular was d.a.n. Well, in between studying and reaching out to high school kids and, you know, socializing.
I knew after he walked me to my dorm and we stayed up till 2am talking about life and Jesus and what it meant to really follow Him. I knew that this guy had vision and faith and that he was funny...the funny is what really stole my heart.
And we've been together for going on 25 years.
This man lost his father when he was 12 years old. His mom was about my age when she put one foot in front of the other, went to work, and made life happen for a boy and his sister. He has known pain and loss. He awoke to sirens and a dad leaving home on a stretcher, never to return. How do you do that?
Here's how. You cling to God, like this boy did. You choose to risk it all in loving a reckless and silly 17 year old girl. You walk out on a limb and adopt not one, not two, but three lovely little ones from a communist country. You put it all out there. You live big.
This man doesn't cash in his chips when the odds are stacked against him. He doesn't fold.
He paraded through the living room in nothing but tightie whities on a steamy southern California evening in seminary days, a tall cold Bud in his hand, without a word, just to get me to smile when I was a super stressed out first year teacher working on report cards. And it worked.
He army crawled around our bed (after we viewed The Bodyguard together and I was freaked out by the stalker scenes). Why? To solidify my paranoia. Yeah. He likes to keep me on my toes.
He's earnest and loyal and faithful. He protects and provides for his girls and boy. He anticipates our needs. He stresses over writing big checks. He makes sure we have enough.
He doesn't complete me. He complements me. He compliments me too. That's the secret to a long and happy marriage in case you were wondering.
He's 43 tomorrow, and to me he's just now hitting his stride. He shepherds our planted body of believers , ushering us into a soon to be finished building to call home while admonishing that the building doesn't define us. He studies ancient medicine with zeal because we saw its healing power when we held our eldest and tiniest daughter in China. She was brand new to us and all 10 pounds of her were riddled with fever, gasping for breath. One tube of truly "ancient Chinese secret" medicine and she was healed.
So happy birthday to this man who cajoles me out of my moods, who holds me in high esteem, who
believes in me and makes room for my hopes and dreams...I love you DM. You really are the best thing that ever happened to me.