How blessed I am to be celebrating this birthday with you together, for the first time, and as your wife.
I thank God every day for you.
B, remember how I used to fear marriage because of the common perceptions about marriage. Many would speak about its challenges but rarely its blessings, and often time making marriage sound like a burden, a chore, a noose around the neck, maybe. (Haha) It was not because I didn’t appreciate the hard facts about marriage (or life) but the way some would speak of it in such a bitter and cynical manner made me fear if those things would happen to me.
You said this to me –
“I’m glad I have you. You bring out the best in me. And you make me want to be a biblical husband to you. I never imagined I could be so ‘good’ and that it would be so easy and natural.
That’s why I know when we finally get together it will just be so beautiful. It will give me all the chances to show you that I’m your man. Then I can finally prove to you that it’s not just words. That I truly love you. And that you are truly beautiful in my eyes. And that I truly think the world of you.
… And I would lay down my life for you. It will be much deeper and meaningful. I promise. The world says it will deteriorate. Don’t believe them. Believe His word. It will be all the more beautiful and alive and real. I will love you with all my heart. As myself, and more than myself. Rachel, be my wife. I love you. <3″
-March 25th 2014, 8:03am
When you asked for my hand in marriage, you told me that this would be the start of many new beginnings, but there would also be many deaths.
When we wrote our vows, we had that at the back of our minds.
You promised that as a couple and family that we would love others as we would ourselves, and more than that, as God has loved us. We would lay down our lives for others, that they may come to be called God’s friends. (Mark 12:30-31; John 13:34-35; John 15:9-17)
You promised that we would seek God’s Kingdom first and His righteousness, holding nothing back for ourselves and of ourselves for His name’s sake and for the gospel’s, resting in His salvation, His love and His promised provision. (Matt 6:33, Luke 14:26-33, Mark 10:29-30; Rom 8:31-39)
You vowed that we would live as strangers and pilgrims on this earth, setting our minds and our hearts on the heavenly Homeland. Wherever He sets us to dwell, we will dwell. His people will be our people, and He shall be our God. We will die in the place and manner in which He appoints us to die. (Heb 11:13-16, Matt 6:21, Ruth 1:16-17)
You vowed that we would be obedient to Christ’s conmand to go and make disciples of all the nations, inviting others to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, that the Lord’s name be great among the nations. (Matt 28:18-20; Matt 22:1-14, Rev 19:6-9; Mal 1:11)
I promised that I would help and support you, and make your work and vision my own. I vowed to follow you to the ends of the earth, wherever our Beloved King would send us. I promised to not shirk from discomfort, uncertainty, opposition or hardship but welcome them, looking to Christ, longing to share in His sufferings and lose my life for His sake. (Matt 28:18-20, 1 Peter 4:13, Matthew 10:39) I promised that I would no longer live for myself, my own dreams, plans or desires but I would learn, by His grace, to lay down my life for you and the people He has called us to serve.
We did not enter marriage with rose-tinted glasses. We were prepared to lose our possessions, any form of security, our health, our comfort, our lives and even each other.
But He has been good to us.
We see His faithfulness in the daily provisions we receive and the roof we have over our heads.
We find joy, so much joy in doing life together – in the mundane and routine, and serving together as a couple on the fields.
God has been so good to us and He has been so good to me, my love.
Thank you for the man that you are to me. A man that loves God above all else is worth more than all the gems of the world. You have taught me so much. I have learned so much just by being your blessed wife. Your humility and patience is a gentle rebuke to me when I need it, and far more effective a response than harshness or impatience.
Your love for the people here is not a full and perfect representation of Christ’s love for us, but your sacrifices, your willingness to be unknown and unappreciated speaks a lot about who you are in christ.
Thank you for being my role model, my inspiration.
I do not look to you as the perfect man who will never fail nor disappoint because that would be an impossible demand.
But I know I could not have asked for more.
Thank you for being my husband.
Blessed 31st birthday,
With all my love,
Your most blessed and happy wife.
Photo by Mun Keat Photography.