Saturday, April 22, 2017

Love...Endures Through Every Circumstance

*I've been posting a lot of thoughts about my Dad on Facebook recently. I had some people message me to say that they want to read more "Joshua stories." That they "like those the best."  Well, as long as there's a "Fred," there will be stories, and I'm gonna get back to those soon...just not tuh-DAYYYY. 

As we were leaving my Dad's house, we took one last picture. It was Clara and my Dad...and Clara was holding Rhodes

Rhodes is my Dad's first great-grandchild. It makes my heart swell to see them together. There's about 81 years between them...that's a lot of life, amiright? In 81 years, you experience a lot of sadness, a lot of joy. A lot of moves, ministry, milestones, memories, ups, downs, in-betweens. 

A lot of change. 

After my Mom died, I would see *older* couples out at dinner, or at the grocery, or at a peewee football game cheering on their grandchildren...and I would wish that my parents had gotten to go through life together, you the end. Because I assumed, mistakenly, that the couples I was seeing had been together 40-50+ years. In reality, I had no way of knowing if that was true. 

If you saw my Dad and Clara out strolling, you wouldn't know that each of their spouses had died...and that they had found love again with each other. And that they had made the decision to marry, even tho they knew people might say they were too old; or that it was too complicated; or that there were too many obstacles. 

You know, the same things we tell ourselves when we make decisions concerning relationships, family, work, or finances. 

But these are the places where God shows up and shows out the most, because when we can't...He can; when we think we are too young or too old, God reminds us that men look on the outside, but He looks on the heart...and when we think things are too hard or too complicated, He goes before us to make the rough places smooth. 

And, you know, it might be hard...but the rewards can be great. 

My Dad said, "we aren't guaranteed tomorrow, and we want to enjoy the time we have left on this earth...together." 

And, "no matter how much time we have together, it will be worth it." 

I'm so glad they took that step of faith. Because he did, my Dad has been blessed immensely. And because he did, our family has been blessed immensely. 

My Dad not only got a partner for life, he got another family...with a host of people who love him and care for him. And we got a woman who embraced all of us, and our families. She supports us, encourages us, prays for us...and is the only grandmother on my side that our kids remember. 

At our last visit, I remarked to Clara how pretty everything was at their home. My Dad and Clara built their house, so they could have something new and fresh to start out their marriage. They furnished it with pieces from their pasts, as well as new things they collected during their time together. 

These next few years will likely bring great change for all of us. I hate to think that there may come a time when they might have to move from their home. Even tho I know it's "just a house," it's THEIR house...and it's beautiful. 

But Clara said, "well, when we built this house, we said we would be blessed if we got to live in it for 10 years...this April has been 10 years." 

Recently, I read a quote that pretty much sums up my Dad and Clara's marriage, and it applies to other marriages and relationships as well: "It is impossible to love deeply without great sacrifice." (Elisabeth Elliot) 

"Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." 1 Corinthians 13:7

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