As I sit on this little porch in a lovely house in a village tucked up in the highlands of western Kenya, as I look over the tea fields, cluster of banana trees, crops of maize… all seemingly choreographed to the sounds of a perfect African morning… Cows mooing, roosters crowing and that loud distinct African bird… I sit here among the peaceful sounds of Africa and I’m thinking THIRTY TWO YEARS???????
I knew I would marry Randy within days of our first date. THIS was a good man! I won’t say I was madly in love, gushing with stars or even feeling I couldn’t live without… I just knew… he was kind, gentle, and thoughtful, loved his family… and somehow, at the naïve – think you know it all – age of 18… I knew this was a good man.
Within 6 months of our “I do’s” – we found out I was pregnant!!!! I can close my eyes and recall every detail of emotion and excitement as I sat at the reception desk of my father’s office and received the call from my doctor’s.
Randy and I were thrilled and the day our first child was born, I felt a love for and from Randy I had not known before.
I wish I could write that I held on to that love and contentment all the way up to this morning.
Let’s talk about “bliss”. The dictionary defines it as supreme happiness, utter joy and contentment, complete happiness. The second definition describes bliss as heavenly paradise. Well, baby, you’re good, but you’re not THAT good!
Let’s see – 32 years, 2 or maybe 3 near divorces, a good amount of silent days and nights, we’ve had money, we’ve had NO money, we’ve experienced serious health issues and we’ve enjoyed being in great shape. We’ve parented in harmony and we’ve been nose to nose in opposition. We’ve wondered what we would do without each other and… we’ve daydreamed of ‘freedom’ apart.
I remember looking at each other one time – and both of us were done… ready to walk… and Randy says, “Well, we don’t have any choice”. What he meant, was we didn’t have that choice – the choice to ‘walk’. We were followers of Christ and HE had said, that THAT was not an option. This was likely the wisest thing my husband has ever said. We were young and young in our walk with Christ but he knew that being obedient was the only option.
So – 32 years – wedded bliss???? I think not. But – what I can say is that for most of that 32 years, the ones we’ve followed Christ, the ones we’ve trusted HIM, the ones we’ve purposed in our hearts to obey HIM, those years have been the foundation of where we are today.
Young marriages, even older marriages need to be reminded that it’s NOT easy. But – it’s so so worth it!
As I think of this man who plays games with the children in this village, despite language barriers, connecting with them at a heart level that few can do….
As I think of this man whose gentle strength will grip the hand of a man walking down the dusty road in a village on a hill in east Africa and somehow communicate that he cares and he loves through a simple greeting….
As I think of this man who will sit in the other room and talk with his mom on the phone, miles and miles away, sharing with her all that God is doing, asking her about her days, loving her from so so far….
As I think of this man that loves his family, his children and grandchildren, Love that stirs a joy that literally flows out as he speaks of them. This man who beams as he talks of and tells of this gift of family he has… who prays for and thanks God for them every day! This man that, despite his never ending, deeper than deep, unmatched love for our children and grandchildren, would be willing to pursue a call so very far away….
As I think of this man who loves his God… As I recall looking out the kitchen window last night and listening to my husband share about Jesus with our little friend Derrick, this man that despite disappointments and frustrations has repeatedly stood on the fact God sent him here to share the Truth of God and disciple and that is what he will do. When I think of this man who has a depth of understanding, wisdom and knowledge that only is God given…
When I think of this man I’ve been married to for 32 years and see who God has made him, when I remember where God has brought him, and me, from, when I think about the countless what ifs, what if we had.. if I had… given up any one of the many times I thought that was what I wanted… what if I had missed seeing the man I love today? What if I had forfeited the blessing of seeing God’s faithfulness and workmanship in our lives? What if???
So – this morning – 32 years after I said “I do”… I thank God with all my heart for somehow impressing on a couple of young 20, 30 something’s – that pushing through, pressing on, obeying God, trusting God was worth it. This morning, I can not imagine my life without this man I love and respect so very much. This morning, as I sit on this porch over looking the beautiful African morning… I’m thinking…
Happy Anniversary Baby – I’m so glad you are my man!
Thank you for this. Our fourteenth anniversary is in less than a week, and I can relate so well to the experiences and feelings you’ve shared. Miss you guys.
What a wonderful message!! So heartfelt, so honest, such a great “witness” for everyone else. Great for young marrieds to let them know if they are feeling frustrated, ready to walk, that it is completely normal but trust in God and Obey the commitment and see what happens! Good for “old-er” marrieds, that it is normal to have felt those things too but “hey, look we trusted in God, prayed and followed him and now look where we are”! Love this, love you all, miss you and Happy Happy Anniversary!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Happy Anniversary! Brian and I will be celebrating 10 years this September. We have gone through major struggles the past few years but we are also walking faithful to our God and looking forward to the healing ahead! Love you! Pam
Absolutely beautiful ! What testimony to the glory of obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!!!!
Oh my darling Kari. I am wishing you more dazzling moments with Our Lord and your loving husband. Thank you for sharing what many of us have felt in our years together with our spouses. Ron & I have just celebrated 28 years and having Jesus in the center has held us together thru trials and victories over the trials. I realized just this past weekend how much Ron’s love for me shows and how important he is in my life. I also thank God for the one He picked for me. Amen!
Happy Anniversary Randy and Kari!! Kari thanks for being so transparent. Love you both Val
Happy Anniversary Kari and Randy. May our Lord grant you many more years together. Thank you for being so honest and I know it will help so many young couples who might be struggling with circumstances and feelings. You two are a blessing in more ways than one and to so many people. I love you both and I miss you. God Bless and Keep You Both.
Happy Anniversary and wow…what a testimony to the rest of us!
Congratulations!!! I love your updates. Such raw honesty is what I expect and you never disappoint. You are a true role model and my hero. Faith prevails and in that there is…bliss…the true kind 🙂
Congratulations to you both!! I look forward to your updates because you write with such raw honesty.. You are the most real person I have ever met and a huge inspiration! Thanks for sharing how faith in Him brings contentment, sufficiency and yes….even bliss…God bless you!!!
Beautiful testimony of TRUE love that only comes by making THAT commitment to struggle trough the hard times, rejoice over the good time, ALWAYS standing by those words “till death do us part”. From someone who is working on 51 years (both age 18), it is worth it all to be able to stand by my man and say, “I love you more today than yesterday”.
Thanking the Lord!!
Thank you for sharing! Happy Anniversary!
We have served on the foreign field too.
God bless you both as the Lord continues to enable you to bring his love to others.