Happy Anniversary – 23 years and counting.

August 14, 1993

On August 14, 1993 at 1:00 p.m., church bells chimed in a rural Pennsylvania church. As they ceased, there was a holy pause, then doors swung open to reveal a bride ready to be walked down the aisle to her groom. That bride was me, and I remember being happy. I remember being certain. And I remember feeling immense gratitude to God for you.

Today we turn 23.

Happy Anniversary, dear husband.

You and I both know the miracle we are.

Today I celebrate you.

As my gift, I am giving you this post as a public proclamation of my continued commitment to you and our marriage. Included here today is a list of what I am thankful for, a list of your gifts to me I have loved most, and instructions for where to find your anniversary gift.

August 14, 2014

Things about our marriage I am most thankful for…

  • Our children. Without you, I wouldn’t have them. Wouldn’t trade them.
  • Our stepchildren. Without you, I wouldn’t have them, or our grandchildren. Wouldn’t trade them.
  • The adoptions we have been involved in besides for our son. Each of those children, and the families to whom they now belong, are incredibly important to me. You share that with me. We do that together.
  • You let me love Jesus. You let Him be my first love. Letting me do that means you get loved better. Smart move. πŸ˜‰
  • Autonomy. You do not hover over me and check everything I do. You trust me and I have a lot of freedom about how I live my life.
  • You let me write a book and you still let me still run Oaks Ministries even though I have only been paid once for speaking and my book hasn’t been a best seller. May Jesus reward you in heaven when you see the results of letting me serve God even in such underground ways. You will see Kingdom grandeur. You watch. I am trusting Him for it!
  • You accommodate my job life. I don’t make a lot of money but you support whatever schedule I have each semester without question. And I appreciate when you say, “Thanks for working so hard.”
  • Letting church attendance be a priority in my life and our children’s lives.
  • The hours you work to provide for this family. Thank you for every dollar that has been deposited into our account. You give it all to the family. You spend nothing on yourself, even apologizing for buying work clothes. So unselfish with your dollars.
  • You are the best cook in the world. I like no one’s cooking more than yours (sorry mom). How you enter a kitchen with no food in it and serve up a delicious meal 30 minutes later is beyond me. It’s simple fare, but delectable. Yum.
  • Those sick years. Those really, really sick years. You never left my side or complained. (I thank God for the healthy years that have followed. A miracle.)
  • Every night — through thick and thin, through richer or poorer, through sickness and health — you have kept coming home to me. I cannot thank you enough for that stability…for me and our children.
August 14, 2015

Gifts you have given me that I have most appreciated…

  • Ireland. I will never, ever be able to thank you enough for letting me take my parents to Ireland so my dad could visit the home his great-great-grandfather helped build before coming to America in 1850 with a note in his pocket. This of course only narrowly edges out the prior trip to Ireland where both of us found the part of the globe from where our families both originated.
  • My wedding bands. Our marriage started with me not thinking I needed a wedding band, so I didn’t get one. Then it bothered me that people couldn’t tell I was married so I changed my mind. You then had a band custom-made to fit my engagement ring and gave it to me on our first Christmas. After all that, you didn’t get mad at me when just a few months later I changed my mind again and asked for a completely new wedding band toΒ  wear alone in place of my beautiful diamond-band set. Thankfully, the third idea was the charm and I have worn that wedding band ever since. The diamond was too glitzy for me. Thanks for rolling with all of that. I still love my wedding band with the initials of our seven children inside.
  • My cuff bracelet. Like my wedding band, it is constantly worn. Like my wedding band, it has the initials of our seven children inside.
  • The telephoto lenses on my camera. Still using the ones you bought in 1997 and I love them. They changed my photography life.
  • A proper washer and dryer. A new set changed my life. Big enough to actually put a dent in the laundry pile. Powerful enough to actually dry in one cycle. Go figure!
  • A GPS. I didn’t even ask and you got me one. Changed my life to know I could always find my way home.
  • My hair. The pictures in this blog reveal some hair colors that you have tolerated quite well. Thank you. I don’t feel pretty unless I like my hair and you have never ONCE griped about the only thing I really spend money on.
  • I never felt pretty my whole life. Never liked my textured hair, my crooked teeth or my glasses. You not only let me maintain fun hair, you gave me Lasik and braces in my early 40’s. These gifts were invaluable. Thank you, thank you, thank you for each time I have looked in the mirror since and felt like my outward appearance reflected who I am on the inside too. Priceless.
Your birthday, 2016
My birthday, 2016

Your anniversary gift…

Last year I had to buy you an alternate wedding band for work so you wouldn’t wreck your original gold band with inset diamonds. In addition to the new band, I had your original band repaired.

You then lost the original band…or was it me that lost it? It’s been a mystery. Either way, the band I put on your finger 23 years ago today has been missing for a few months.

I found it in the lap drawer of my desk. (So that probably means I lost your wedding band?)

Go get your wedding band, honey. Bring it to me, and let me put it on your finger again with the same happiness, certainty and gratitude I had on our wedding day in 1993.

August 14, 1993

Happy Anniversary.

Thanks for marrying me.

This is my man.

Β© 2016 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.



16 Responses

  1. All these years later and you’re still AMAZING. Happy Anniversary Baby. I wouldn’t rather be doing this thing called life with anyone else but you.

  2. To my amazing parents, I wouldn’t trade either of you for the world. I wouldn’t trade this life, our home, our status or our family for the world.
    Happy 23rd anniversary to the parents that have shown me what commitment, sacrifice and truly ‘lay down your life’ love looks like. I love you both more than I am ever able to physically express (our whole family knows that πŸ˜‰) but the love that I have for you both & for our family is eternal.
    Celebrate each other today. Through the seemingly more bad than good times, you haven’t left each others side & that is a celebration in itself.

    1. Yes, the fact that we haven’t left each others side is indeed celebration in itself. Thanks for understanding that. I love you dear daughter, even though the picture isn’t you. πŸ˜‰ Gotta love technology.

  3. Dear Laurie,
    What a beautiful, God-honoring, husband-honoring post! I have known you since you were 19 years old. You were beautiful then with your crooked teeth, brown hair, glasses, and those gorgeous Celtic freckles. You are beautiful today inside and out. Lord, please continue to empower Laurie to empower and encourage others in their walk with Christ!
    Congratulations John and Laurie!
    I love you all!

    1. Ah, from someone who has known me long and well, your words are most meaningful. Yes, God made no mistakes with my physical appearance. I know that. You fell in love with Jesus through the freckle-faced friend who shared Him with you. Magnificent stuff. We’ll be slack-jawed for eternity over what He started in the dorm.

  4. Happy Anniversary!!!
    Thank you for being such a strong example of a Christ-centered marriage. Thank you for loving me as your own flesh and blood. Thank you for teaching me about Jesus! It has certainly changed the trajectory of my life, as well as Kyle’s and our children. We love y’all so much!

    1. YOU are a miracle. YOU are an example of the explosive things God does with the tiniest of my efforts done in faith. It is true. I have loved you as my own.

  5. I absolutely love this! What a remarkably beautiful testimony of your loving marriage and commitment to each other. What a fabulous example you are for your children. What a tremendous blessing you are to all who know you. I am truly thankful to have the opportunity to catch a glimpse inside your life for the past 23 years. You have blessed me deep down on the inside this day!!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING!

    1. Fabulous to hear from you! So nice to know you are out there somewhere and cheering me on. I am so glad to hear the blog post “glimpses” are stringing together into something that can bless you deep down. Thank you dear woman. Be blessed EVERY day and shine on for Him.

  6. What a beautiful, precious, honoring tribute to the man in your life!! I haven’t known you very long, Laurie, but enough to be thankful to have met you and to know how passionately, energetically, and authentically you live for your Sweet Savior! You are contagious!! Happy Anniversary to you and your dear husband!!!

    1. Thanks for embracing me as a friend so quickly. Your commitment to teaching women how to be good wives has already been part of my inspiration.

  7. Happy Anniversary to you and John!! I love you both! Your honor for John, not just in this post, but every day, encourages and blesses me! Thank you for modeling a marriage of honor and respect through thick and thin. Marriage really isn’t all about “us,” it is all about God, and when we do marriage God’s way, he gets the glory, and we get the peace and joy that is sure to follow! I wish you many more Happy Anniversaries! I Love You!

  8. Happy Anniversary, John and Laurie! It takes 2 to marry. It takes 2 to stay together. And you keep doing just that. That’s a gift back to God, to each other, to your children, grandchildren, and the world.
    PS Love the hair, Laurie!

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I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes growth.

1 Corinthians 3:6

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