This day, 25 years ago, I looked my beautiful bride in the eye and made a vow before God and men to have and to hold her from that day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part.
And I haven’t regretted a day of it.
“An excellent wife who can find?” said King Lemuel. “She is far more precious than jewels.” (Proverbs 31:10). They are a rare breed indeed. Yet God in his kindness blessed me with one. And how precious Francelle has been – not just for me, but also for our four children and the myriad of people – young and old, that she has been a blessing to over the years.
It wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, in the beginning I didn’t even give her a second glance. I wasn’t looking and neither was she. But then one night I saw her interacting with some young women; they were listening to her counsel attentively and nodding. I suddenly realized I was looking at no ordinary woman, but a precious jewel. I was transfixed. And the rest is history.
We had a lot of fun in those early years. We did some crazy things – like getting on a plane after our wedding ceremony for a 13-hour flight from LA to New Zealand (a really dumb idea). Then we hired a 25-foot yacht for a week in the Bay of Islands, which sounds very romantic, except that we got sunburned (not recommended for a honeymoon). We then traversed the length of the North Island in a ’62 EK Holden (bench seat with three on a tree). I think the top speed was around 80 km/h. But we were in no hurry. We were in love and ready for a life of adventure.
Well, it certainly has been that. And not all of it has been plain sailing. In fact, some of our “adventures” have been in rough seas battling severe gales. Serving Jesus in a full-time capacity isn’t easy. You’re a target for the enemy, who does his best to put God’s people out of action. There have been times when we both wondered whether we would even make it.
But we have. By God’s grace, we are still together, still serving Jesus and more deeply in love than the day we were married.
Thanks, Francelle for being such a great wife. You’re my best friend, my most faithful companion and (besides Jesus) my greatest joy. You love your family deeply and spoil us all rotten with your wonderful cooking, caring service and unswerving support. You keep us all on our toes, daring us to dream big and not be satisfied with an average effort in anything. You have had an indelible influence in our marriage, my ministry and our household. You have been a wonderful wife and mother. And I think that one day, you’ll make an outstanding grandmother.
Thanks for 25 awesome years. It’s been a blast.