YouTube has several versions of this song, but when I hear it I’m reminded of the commitment I have made as a husband. I suggest you watch/listen to one of them before reading this post.
Clint Black/Lisa Hartman \”When I Said I Do\”
Can I be completely honest with you about my marriage?
Cheryl and I both are in our second marriage. Most people in our church know this, because I have shared it numerous times. If you don’t know, listen to the podcasts. I certainly don’t share it every week. If it bothers you for me to be a pastor there’s not much I can do about it now and I will not try to convince you I should be one. I know my calling. I also know that my story is my story and I can’t change it. The purpose of this post is not to defend my qualifications. I know what happened in my situation and where I stand with God. His grace has been more than sufficient in my life and I wouldn’t be who I am today apart from the experiences of my life, good and bad.
All that said, one of the greatest miracles I have known is how God brought Cheryl into my life. Each of us having been deeply wounded by our past, probably never expected life to be so good again. As a single man, so many people attempted to “hook me up” with females, and while I was fully interested, (I know a pretty girl when I see one) I never sensed God allowing me to date. At one point I began praying that God would bring someone into my life again. An aunt of mine had called about 6 months earlier with Cheryl’s name. I wrote it down at the time, laid it on my desk with the other “suggestions” and waited for God to release me. After a season of asking God daily, one day I sensed Him saying, “It’s time”.
Top on my “stack” of suggestions, and the one I had prayed about most frequently, was Cheryl. After a little private background search (seriously) I called Cheryl and asked her to lunch that week. That weekend we went to a movie and dinner. (I asked her if I could kiss her goodnight.) I never dated anyone else. After a year and half dating, we married.
I never imagined how well God could complete me, especially in my ministry role. Cheryl is the perfect pastor’s wife. She is sweet, kind, intelligent, giving, and loyal. She’s my best friend. Her unconditional respect for me (Which is all men’s greatest need by the way) astounds me, knowing the person I am sometimes.
Lately life has been full of stress for both of us. The church is growing faster than we could have imagined. I am always doing more than I should. Sometimes it seems I never have enough time in my day. I work at least 6 days a week, many weeks 7 days. Cheryl is equally busy. She is a professional accountant. She is a conscientious employee and goes beyond the call of duty in her work. In addition, the demands as a pastor’s wife are overwhelming at times. On top of all that, we, of course, want and need family time with each other and our two boys. Frankly, a lot of people expect us to be everywhere. (I took some time over the past week to plan some getaways for this year, including this next weekend, because we need it!) Our relationship gets stretched as with every married couple.
Every week I watch marriages fall apart. I understand, more than most pastors, the pain of divorce. When God says, “I hate divorce”, I believe I know His heart. I am so thankful for a wife as committed to us as a couple as Cheryl is. I want you to know Cheryl, that whatever it takes, I’m in this for the long haul.
I love you sweetheart. When I said I do, I meant I will. Forever.
Can’t wait for this weekend together!