Ten years ago last night I was awake next to my sleeping wife with a notebook and pen, writing a sermon on grace that I would be preaching the week after our honeymoon to my hometown church in Girard, KS. I wrote, and later preached, about the fact that Alicia was an expression of God's grace in my life. I talked about how I had already made mistakes and goofs that she had had to forgive during our courting, and that God's grace operates in the same way.
I don't remember if the sermon wowed anyone. I guess if I don't remember that fact then it probably didn't. Surely I'd remember awesomeness, right? Anyway, the point is that I understand more now a decade later than I barely knew in that sermon when I wrote it.
It's not a cute little afterthought that my wife is the expression of God's grace in my life. I suppose that's true for every man, and like all humanity, I've tested God often. I look around at all of these marriages that are failing and I wonder why. Was it that one was tested further than he/she could bear? Or did one just decide not to be an expression of grace to the other? I wouldn't expect them to be in an unbeliever's family, but you and I both know that many of the divorcing couples are Christians. So why is mine still together when many don't make it past year 5?
God's grace. Alicia may be the expression of his grace in my life, but the fact is his grace is bigger than any expression. It is his grace that first forgave me so that I could see forgiveness from Alicia. It is his grace that carefully orchestrated my deployments, the birth of our children, and our moves to put us in places he knew we needed to be in to protect our marriage. It was his grace that brought us together in the first place!
I grew up believing that God's grace trumps everything. I believe that today. God's grace trumps the believer's sin no matter how grievous the sin. But God's grace is also for daily living, not just for the afterlife. Each day I depend on God's grace to live, and in many ways I depend on Alicia every day as well.
She is still a wonderful expression of God's grace to me. She will always be that. In ways that grace is impossible to understand, Alicia makes it clear just by being here. I don't mean to talk about her like she's an intangible concept, but that's what makes her the expression she is. Like a living parable.
Thank you so much for these ten years, Alicia, and thank you Father for the years that are still to come!