“Love is patient, love is kind…” – 1 Corinthians 13
As we wrap up family reunion week, one image stands out to me that I just keep thinking about, and that is what spectacular human beings our children have turned out to be!
Andrew and Naomi are not only kind, genuine, good people of character, but they are followers of Jesus who keep their faith front and center in all that they do. They work hard, they love life, they live like they mean it, they pour everything into their relationships, they make the most of the opportunities they have, and they value excellence – Andrew always brings creativity and commitment to all that he does, and Naomi applies imagination, faithfulness, and dedication to everything from making her home with Craig to raising a family.
Then – and this struck me one day this week when I saw them together – Andrew and Naomi work hard at honoring the gift of life and taking care of themselves; both of our children are lean, strong, purposefully active, and physically fit.
Finally, and this leads in to Part Two of today’s post, we don’t have two children anymore, we have four, and the same words of pride and affirmation apply to Craig and Alicia, the wonderful people our children married.
Happy 10th Anniversary!
Ten years ago today, in front of a couple of hundred enthusiastic witnesses at First Presbyterian Church in Brandon, our beautiful daughter Naomi married Craig Campbell, her best friend and the great love of her life.
There are several reasons we can celebrate these ten years today, and not look back (as so many young couples do) with sadness and regret – and I want to write about just a few of these this morning. So this is a short 10th Anniversary letter to my children.
Dear Naomi and Craig:
You already understand that it’s not simply a fortunate circumstance that today is happy. There is no luck, good fortune, chance, stardust, happenstance, or magic in a great marriage. If you’re among those couples taking stock after ten years and realizing how blessed and happy you are, then there are a few key facts that got you there… and even more truths that you will need to reference if you intend to be this joyful after twenty-five.
- Intention: The first is that word, “intend.” The best marriages are framed by intention. Intention means that you don’t just “hope for the best,” instead, you deliberately move forward, together, in a purposeful partnership.
- Commitment: Having intended, such intention is honored in terms of commitment. The application of commitment, not “how I feel today” is the cornerstone of real love.
- Faith is a kind of glue that holds things together. Not only faith in the decision you made to make that initial commitment ten years ago, but faith in the substance – the truth – of love, faith that love is something real, and solid, and worth fighting for. Faith, too, in the God who not only created us, but who perfected love (in Jesus), and who continues to teach us how to love (through Jesus).
- It’s not about the children! You got this far because – even though you have the most amazing children – you understand that this marriage is about Naomi and Craig, not David and Beks, and that the very best you can do for your children – always – is to love one another with increasing strength, and commitment, and creativity.
- Faithfulness is not only a physical fidelity, it means incorporating trust, and authenticity, and honesty into the deepest places you inhabit. So I’m encouraging you to allow yourselves to be vulnerable, to love even more completely and without reservation.
- Community: You are celebrating your tenth because you understand that you are a part of something bigger than just two kids falling in love in 2006. You will have such great stories to tell at your twenty-fifth for the same reasons: Your family of four; our family of eight; the greater family we’ve been celebrating all week; your church; the community of faith; the communion of the saints….
So here you are, and these words from my favorite biblical writer, Paul, are just as important looking forward as they are looking back: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13).
I pray – we pray – that this next decade will be not only challenging, but full of deepening, and strengthening, and evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in all that you are.
– In love, and because of love – Dad/Daddy/Derek
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.