We're Golden

Twenty five years ago today, on August 25th — which we are told makes this our Golden Anniversary — Susan declared before God and witnesses that she would be my wife until death or (implied) until King Jesus returns. As we reflected on our anniversary last night while reading together, we looked up how many make it this long. We discovered, if you can believe the Google, that only 35% of marriages make it 25 years. And as we continued to read, only 6% make it to 50 years (we were curious). 

On this 25th day of August, celebrating 25 years of marriage, and the grace of God to bring that about (!), it seems fitting to me to provide 25 things about my wife that I am thankful for. There is Biblical precedent for this, found in Proverbs:

28     Her children rise up and call her blessed; 
her husband also, and he praises her…” (English Standard Version, Pr 31:28)

Susan and I hiking in colorado with our best friends.

So, here goes, in no particular order.

1. She said “until death do us part,” and I have never doubted for a second that she meant it.
2. Her capacity for selflessness amazes me.
3. She is one of the most truly joyful people I know. And she doesn’t keep it to herself — she affects the mood of others by giving that joy away.
4. I love when she laughs. Let me be more specific: not that little giggle she has, but that really deep, all the way from the bottom of her tummy laugh that fills the room and makes her eyes sparkle.
5. I’m grateful she exercises that laugh at my continued goofiness and dry humor.
6. I’m continually stunned by how much she loves our children.
7. I love that she loves me more than she loves them (think about that one; it is biblical, and a good thing).
8. I love that she loves Father, Son, and Spirit more than all of us. Combined.
9. She is the most hospitable person I know, blessing countless friends, church members, neighbors, and college students through the gift of food and relationship.
10. She has made, conservatively, over 27,375 meals during 25 years of marriage. Over the last week, we had three new recipes. She never stops loving us through her expansive and varied cooking.
11. She is a reader. That is so sexy.
12. She is a theologian, probably one of the best I know. She wouldn’t call herself one, but she lives her faith in Jesus in extremely authentic, practical ways, and never stops growing in her knowledge of Christ. That, my friends, is a good theologian.
13. She is an encourager. And there is no word of encouragement as sweet as when I sit next to her after the sermon, and she whispers in my ear, “Good job.”
14. She makes me want to be a better man.
15. I want my daughter to be a wife and mom, just like her.
16. I want my sons to find a wife, just like her.
17. Her physical beauty has only grown with age. But the reason she is so stunning is because she has adorned the good news of Jesus very well, through the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.
17. Her children praise her every chance they get, because they see that true beauty in her on a daily basis.
18. Many know her as a fairly quiet women, but to mistake that for weakness would be a mistake. She is the strongest person  (not just woman) that I know.
19. She is submissive. But her wisdom and strength doesn’t translate that to mean she always agrees with me. She speaks her mind, and protects me from blunders (when I listen). She has always displayed respect and grace in her disagreements with me.
20. Her respect and support for me often make me feel like I could take on the world.
21. She loves other women, and has poured her life into so many girls who would testify to her impact on their lives, and now, their families.
22. She has embraced the adventure of five different careers, living in five different cities, the most challenging of both those things being the last in each category. She has done so with grace and joy, and is the main reason (under God) that I’m still in ministry.
23. She is an incredibly hard worker.
24. She makes our house a home.
25. She is a wonderful friend to the women in her life.

Is that 25 already? I can’t wait to get to 50 years, so I can share 50 things I love about her!

Thank you for saying yes, every day, Susan Ann Molesky.
I love you so much.

I Am What I Am

What would get D.A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, to say "That is invaluable…It understands Christian sanctification in one pithy statement better than anything I know"?

John Newton’s reflection on himself in light of Jesus, that’s what:

I am not what I ought to be.
Ah! how imperfect and deficient.
Not what I might be,
considering my privileges and opportunities.
Not what I wish to be,
God, who knows my heart, knows I wish to be like him.
I am not what I hope to be;
ere long to drop this clay tabernacle, to be like him and see him as he is.
Not what I once was,
a child of sin, and slave of the devil.
Though not all these,
    not what I ought to be,
    not what I might be,
    not what I wish or hope to be, and
    not what I once was,
I think I can truly say with the apostle,
By the grace of God, I am what I am.

Read. Meditate. Say it out loud. Repeat.

(Both quotes above are from Newton on the Christian Life, by Tony Reinke)

Sweeter to My Soul

How the Apostle Paul said it,

“The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness. (The Message, Php 3:7–9)

How John Newton reflected on it:

“Was it as easy to do as to say, I should be happy, for the Master has shown me how true peace is to be possessed, even by a simple reliance on his all-sufficiency and love, living upon his free grace, and sure mediation, and receiving strength continually from him suited to the occasions of every hour. O the happiness to eat his flesh, to drink his blood, to contemplate his glory, his faithfulness, his power, and the near relation he stands in to his poor children! Here is a fund of consolation suited to every case.
“The man who drinks deep at these streams will not thirst after other waters. When we behold Jesus and his love by the eye of faith, we may, with the Prophet of old, sit down by a barren fig tree and a failing crop, and still rejoice in the God of our salvation. I say, to talk of this is easy, but I find the experience of it not so easily maintained. With respect to this life of faith, I may say as Paul in another place, I delight in it after the inner man; but when I would enjoy this good, evil is often present with me — I have not yet attained; but blessed be God I am pressing after it, and I hope, through grace, he is, according to his promise, drawing me nearer to himself.
“I hope I do gain a more abiding sense of my own utter vileness, depravity, and helplessness; and that in consequence of this, the name of Jesus is sweeter to my soul, as I find I cannot without him take a single step, nor enjoy one glimpse of comfort. My heart’s desire is to love him more and more; to live still more entirely upon him, and to him, that he may be, as he well deserves, MY ALL IN ALL.”

(Newton on the Christian Life, Reinke, p. 260)

It is not often that I think that an increased sense of my “utter vileness, depravity, and helplessness” would be a good thing. But Newton prods my mind here. He shows me something, makes an important connection. Namely, it is as I see those truths about me in increasing measure the older I get, the hoped for consequence is that Jesus will be sweeter to my soul. Thus, fear not the increased knowledge of self’s darkness. For it causes you to love and long for the light more. And I do, O how I do! My heart aches to more sufficiently love my Savior, to be enraptured by my King. To see the unseeable, and grasp the inscrutable. 

I don’t want religion, spirituality, or even goodness. O how I want Jesus, to “find him, and with him, everything else thrown in” (C.S. Lewis).