True Love--50 Years in the Making

I just got back from Destin, Florida, where my siblings and I, along with their spouses and children, celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary; it was a house full of cousins and aunts and uncles and parents and grandparents and laughter and LIFE. As I observed, as well as participated in the beautiful chaos of 26 family members, I found myself overwhelmingly thankful for my parents' true love.

What is true love anyway? Well, I can tell you what it's not: it's not merely fluttering hearts, pretty or handsome "packages", or the right chemistry. You and I both know what happens when the flutter flies off, or the package starts to wrinkle and roll, or the equation no longer sparks. 

True love happens over time… just like the formation of a pearl in a sealed, protected shell. As I quietly watched my parents and thought of their years together, I saw the priceless pearl emerge...

How many times has he brought coffee to her bedside in the (very) early morning? How many times has she been his faithful companion to habitual restaurants, in watching football games, in serving others at home and abroad? How many walks have they taken together? And how many times have they prayed over their family, mentioning each one of us by name? These are a few of the "small"consistencies in my parents' relationship. But while watching them, I thought of the big picture of marriage as well.  Their 50 years is a living testimony of the true love found in  I Corinthians 13:7:

Love...bears all things. 
 True love looks at the vow "I do" as a holy proclamation made before the Lord; and then the two become one flesh, and they both strive to protect this sacred vow all their life-long days. It's a joint decision between God, man, and wife.

Love...believes all things. 
True love begins with a faith in God that cannot be shaken. When this is the case, husband and wife can declare wholeheartedly in unison, all things work together for good to those that love God and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) They keep in mind, when man fails, God does not.

Love... hopes all things.
True love looks eagerly forward with great expectation of God-things to happen (not impatiently holding out for the world's "good things"). In doing so, husband and wife can rejoice in the beautiful transformation of their own hearts, as well as the individual hearts that they have influenced over the years. 

Love...endures all things.
True love perseveres through trauma and trial, through heartache and brokenness. During these times, husband and wife cling tightly to the truth that Jesus will once again save the day; for He is their Healer, their Defender, their Peace, and their Redeemer. 

I want to thank my parents for their true love--50 years in the making. Have they lived their days out together perfectly? Well, that's humanly impossible, even for the most "righteous" ones among us. What my parents did do was better than that: they set their marriage before the Perfect One, and allowed His true love to come in. 

So within the walls of a not-so-put-together-house in Destin, Florida, a ragamuffin family united. Rooms were filled, games were played, movies were watched, jokes were told, food was devoured… and true love was celebrated.
 the cousins
a painting of the current "golden child"
the ladies of the bunch

mother and her girls


beach football
the first grand "baby"
true love

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