Thursday, June 13, 2013

Anniversary Ministry

Diane and I have been friends since 1981. I remember the first time we met. We had recently moved to a new city and were looking for a church home. When we entered the foyer that Sunday morning I immediately noticed Diane. Her kind smile encouraged me to come over and introduce myself. It appeared that our sons might be the same age; they were. That was the beginning.
As our friendship developed I realized we had a lot more in common than our sons. We both shared a heart for ministry to women. Diane opened her home every week for a large women’s Bible study and even provided baby-sitters. What a gift! It was there that I got to know several women who are friends to this day. Thank you, Diane.
In 1988 our family moved away, with many good memories and enough commonalities to allow our friendship to prosper even from a distance.
Recently, I observed another fun fact about Diane and me--we are both prolific questioners. In many cases, Diane’s questions have helped me clarify my own beliefs. Those are good questions.
Diane’s heart for ministry took a quantum leap forward this past spring.
She and her husband Terry teach a Sunday school class full of the parents of couples with young children—about the age we were when we first met. Bill and I were attending the annual missions conference and Diane and Terry opened their class for us to teach that morning. During the announcements, Terry mentioned that next Sunday he and Diane had a surprise for the class.
If anyone had wondered about what the surprise might be, I bet they never guessed correctly.
In an above-and-beyond picture of marriage, Diane and Terry showed up the next Sunday morning (their 40th anniversary) in their wedding attire. Diane still fits into her gown! They ordered a wedding cake resplendent with raspberry filling and the cross that adorned their real wedding cake 40 years ago. They brought their pictures. Diane even prepared a brunch for the entire class (no small undertaking); the photographers and videographers recorded the entire morning.
But the best part was Diane and Terry talked through their marriage and what it looked like to commit to for better or for worse; for richer or for poorer; in sickness and in health. Their stories and vulnerability deeply encouraged all those in the class who are much closer to their 10th anniversaries. I wish we could have been there. I’m sure my eyes would have glistened as I applauded their hearts and their courage.

More than anything, Diane wanted to communicate the faithfulness of God. He has been faithful to she and Terry through the realities on two becoming one. He is also faithful to everyone who was blessed by their testimony that morning.
Our God is also a creative God. I love the way His creativity displays itself in the lives of my friends.
“Oh magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!” Psalm 34:3

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