We got an Anniversary Party invitation the other day to honor a couple who have been married for 60 years!! Unfortunately we are unable to attend but I want to send a letter just to share what they meant to us in our college years and early years of marriage. (For their privacy I am not sharing their names or faces. Instead I shared a picture of the church my husband and I were married in.)
My husband and I met in Bible College and this is where we met E. (husband) and P.(wife). They were entering retirement and wanted to spend it serving the Lord. So, they were fellow students of ours. :) We had a good number of older men and women in our Bible College. They really helped the rest of us who were young and immature.
Often, as young eager students trying to "get it right", our whole world would start to revolve around the next test score. The older students brought perspective to us. They reminded us that life is way more than a test score and a test score or class grade certainly doesn't define our ability to minister to others.
E. and P. both had laid back, relaxed personalities. They didn't get ruffled easily, I never saw them angry or upset. Their marriage relationship was the same. They were loving partners and it was obvious to everyone. They had been through LIFE together. They loved Jesus, they loved each other. They were friends. They smiled easily and a lot.
Robin and I got married at the end of August, took one week for a honeymoon and then I was back in school and he was working. I was so exhausted that whole semester. One morning P. was in the lounge and I was just sharing that I couldn't understand what was wrong with me to be so tired. She said, "If you're a wife and you're not tired then you're doing something wrong!!" I thought, "Okay, I am not going to worry about it then! I'll just keep plugging along." And that defines what they did for us younger students. They kept us plugging along and kept us from quitting when it got hard.
Robin and I were really kinda poor financially. I found out later we could have been on food stamps and welfare for our income. We didn't ask for help, we just prayed (although my parents had committed before we married to pay for my college tuition so I could finish my degree). It was a faith building time for us!
That first Christmas season, E. showed up at our door with a small, maybe 3 foot high Christmas tree. It was perfect!! We had a tiny apartment in downtown Portland, Maine and couldn't have fit anything bigger. I loved that tree! It was such a wonderful gift... :) You see, they owned a farm and sold Christmas trees. :)
Another time, P. gave us a box of food from her church. It was a great blessing. Money was tight. Groceries were an issue. That help was so appreciated.
They were just...*there*...you know? Quietly, lovingly... They didn't condemn, they just encouraged. They didn't comment on our lack of money or on our tiny kinda dumpy apartment in an unsafe neighbor. They were just friendly and encouraging.
It's inspiring and an example of what my husband and I can be to others.
"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." Titus 2:3-8