The Ripple Effect of First Dates (Rebekah and Derek)

I thank my God for you every time I think of you

Philippians 1:3
– 1977

First, let me say this: All anniversaries are worth celebrating. Over the years, Rebekah and I have done a pretty good job of remembering and being thankful for just about every August 18, October 7, March 26, July 18, June 20, August 22, and February 15 – Wedding, engagement, my birthday, her birthday, our children’s birthdays, and Citizenship Day for me.

Then there is February 4, our first date, the sweet cherry on top that got all of this started.

It has been forty-five years since two twenty-year-old college kids walked across campus together (with a group of other students), to take in a rowdy basketball game before walking back to Conrad Hall without any talk at all about the possibility of a date #2.

But what an amazing spring that turned out to be! And what an epic road we have travelled over forty-five years!

I am more than a little bit bummed that we are well over seven thousand miles apart for this particular February 4.

So my gift for Rebekah, on the sweet anniversary of the beginnings of such a beautiful journey, is the following paraphrase of Philippians 1:3-9. With, of course, my apologies to the Apostle Paul.

My first thought, every time I think about you, is to say “thank you, thank you, thank you” to God. And when I pray for you my heart fills up with joy, because your witness constantly encourages me to embrace the Good News in new and innovative ways. There is beauty, authenticity, and honesty in your faith, and your belief makes me so sure of God, and gives me such confidence that I know you will continue to grow in grace, and in light, and in love. Being with you literally animates my heart, and I feel so sure and so filled up when it comes to us. What we have experienced together, as people who love Jesus and love each other, is nothing short of epic. You make it easy to stand up for the Good News, and the way I feel about you has deep roots in the kind of love Jesus has for us both. So this is my prayer, that your love will continue to grow – along with your wisdom, your insight, your discernment, and your eloquent passion for Jesus.

Philippians 1:3-9 – author paraphrase

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