A Letter to LeRoy

My Dearest ~

It was thirty-nine years ago this week that we had our first conversation. We still laugh about that one. How God must smile with us as we recount those early days of love. We couldn’t imagine then all the laughter, tears, melt-downs, dreams fulfilled, dreams lost, adventures, weddings, babies, grandbabies, joy, journeys, and unexpected challenges the next almost-four-decades would hold. We had a rocky start—and years of trying to figure things out. We almost gave up about fifteen years in, but I’m so glad we didn’t.

Today, we celebrate the anniversary of our wedding vows. And I’ve never loved you more. Things have changed drastically in the last two years, but you’ve remained the same steady, godly, trusting man through this long hard journey. Thank you that you haven’t given up.

Remember this picture? It’s from 2008, and was taken on top of Pike’s Peak. We were celebrating our wedding anniversary by taking a trip down the same roads where we spent our honeymoon days. We traveled through the Rocky mountains camping. Sweet memories.

Today, we’re not traveling to Colorado, but we’re taking time to recount God’s gracious work in our lives and remember together. And I want to take time to thank you.

Thank you for beginning each morning fellowshipping with your Savior and sharing with me what He’s still teaching you. Thank you that you spend time digging out treasures from the Word and, although you no longer stand behind a pulpit, you still faithfully shepherd me with the truths you study.

Thank you for faithfully praying daily for all of our little ones and their parents, for new and old friends, for churches and ministries, for people in need, and for those who are suffering. Thank you for praying for me in specific ways, asking God to provide the needed grace, and blessing me—as I hear you convey to Him your love for me in your prayers.

Thank you for telling me “Thank you” for any small thing I do for you. Thank you for acknowledging that the days are hard, that you yearn to carry the load I’m carrying now, and for blessing me as I care for you. Thank you for daily calling me your “beloved” and treating me that way.

Thank you for having the courage to press on—reaching for grace to endure—through each painful moment, as you seek to glorify God in this strange and difficult season. Thank you for living out your faith in front of me, by spending your days worshiping your Savior and blessing me, and those who watch you, as you run your race faithfully. Thank you for being a kind and gentle sufferer. It would be easy to use the pain as an excuse to vent, to get angry or mean-spirited, but you don’t. You remain the same tender man of God—just as you’ve been for decades. And you still can make me laugh at the most unexpected times.

Long ago, we adopted Psalm 92 as our hope for the final years of life—asking God for fruitfulness in ministry, hopeful that we would be used by Him to share the power of the gospel with whoever would listen—“flourishing and bearing fruit” in old age, that’s what we’ve dreamed for our final season of life. It just looks much different than what we thought.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

And although, we are not physically “flourishing” or even healthy enough to live a normal life, we still declare that “the Lord is upright; He is (our) rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”

Precious husband, thank you for not resenting the work God is doing in our lives now, the story He is writing, but instead, you are continuing to praise Him and walk in the stability of trusting in His providential care. This is not the way either of us would’ve chosen to spend our final years, but I’m so thankful that you never voice that—instead you view this as an opportunity to glorify God—just as you did when preaching, writing, or counseling. This opportunity looks much different than when you hit the road as just an eighteen-year-old kid, setting out in your old truck to preach wherever God opened the door.

Thank you for being a faithful man of God—no matter what position He puts you in to glorify Him. Thank you for being my man, my confidante, my encourager, and my wise counselor for almost four decades. I love you more with each passing day.