14 years and counting...

Today marks 14 years since Jill and I said our marriage vows. Sometimes it seems like yesterday, when our officiant and friend Sean Sivils stole a line from Regis and Who wants to be a Millionaire and asked Jill "is that your final answer?" after she said  I do; catching her off guard and bringing a smile to her face. There are many great memories from that day, some planned some unplanned. Our candles were lit by my cousin Chuck's son Travis, who is now in High School, man we are getting old. My Grandfather Charlie, asking me just seconds before we walk down to start the ceremony" Randal Bryan what kind of gel do you use in your hair?" What gel I used that day was the last thing on my mind.  It was a great day that launched Jill and I into a life that we never could have imagined.

In September of 2000, Jill was working for a local home builder and I was teaching P.E. at Strickland School in South Austin and helping out with students at Hays Hills in Buda. Since that day our lives have changed a lot: We have moved a few times; we have added 3 kids; a dog, some fish and frogs have been our pets and "moved on";  now Jill works in the Preschool at Milwood, and we are about to embark on a new journey - Planting a Church. Honestly there are so many things that have happened over the last 14 years that I never could have anticipated. Lots of change, joys and sorrows, new friends that have blessed our lives and friends we don't get to see as much any more. As I look back over the last almost decade and a half of my life two things have remained constant - God and Jill.

God has remained faithful and good even when I have not been. I was reminded of the song "God is Good" from Dustin Kensrue recently and it has been on repeat in my head. Jill and I were naive when we got married. We thought that a good marriage would just happen, that we would know how to communicate, how to love each other and how to care for each other. But a good marriage doesn't just happen. God has been good to us, his grace has been evident and he has shown us how to have a great marriage through his Word.  He has remained faithful to complete in us the work he started when we gave our lives to him. I can say that both of us understand how important His word and the Holy Spirit are to our marriage now. 

Over the last 14 years of marriage and for the 5 years of our friendship before that, Jill has been a blessing to my life. She is a constant reminder of God's grace to me.  I prayed and hoped for a godly wife, but God blessed me more than I could have imagined.  Proverbs 31: 10-12 says

10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

"An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels." My heart screams amen when I read this, because by God's grace I am blessed with an excellent wife. She loves and serves God in a way that encourages me to do the same. She has the same mind of Christ that Paul speaks of in Philippians that "considers others more important than themselves." I could list a thousand ways she has blessed me and many others. She is truly and excellent wife and I am blessed to call her mine. 

Jill, thank you for loving me like Jesus. For the selfless way you care for our family and me. You are a great teammate in life , mother to our children and I love you. Thank you for spurring me to follow Christ and lead our family well. Thank you for being you. Happy Anniversary.