Everyone, praise the Lord.
Let all the people applaud Him.
His great love has taken over our lives,
And His faithfulness endures forever.
Once upon a time, a little boy lived on a small island in the middle of a great big ocean. He looked around him and saw that his family was not like the other families on the island, but still it was home. At just five years old, he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: a daddy with a wife and family of his own.
Thousands of miles away, a little girl lived. The closest thing to the ocean she saw was a great lake. Growing up, she knew many things she wanted to be. First, it was either a movie star or a teacher. Later on, she considered entering medicine or perhaps law. By the time she was in high school, she knew she wanted to be a psychologist, or maybe a church youth pastor.
As the boy grew older, he suffered trials and pain, distracting him from his original goal. He also discovered the piano and the wonderful ability of music to soothe a restless soul. He left his island home to pursue his dreams. He gained entrance to a well-respected conservatory and began his study.
The girl was quickly becoming a woman, but still unsure about her future. She finished college and moved to a big city, unlike any she'd lived in before, yet it felt like home. She spent a few years working long and hard to facilitate the education and entertainment of others, but found she was missing opportunities to contribute to the greater good.
The man finished his time at college unhappily. He left school drained and confused about where life might next take him. He spent several years working, practicing and searching for something that would fill the hollow places inside. He began to attend church in his area. He heard a message of hope, trusting in God to fulfill the specific desires of his heart. The man gave God several years, as he prayed for a wife and child before he passed 30.
Finding a church home had not proven to be one of the woman's strengths. She visited churches occasionally, only to be dissatisfied with some aspect of the worship, the message, or the congregation. On one visit with her brother's family, she discovered a church unlike any she'd attended, well-steeped in tradition, but alive in the Spirit. After only a few months, she began to volunteer with several ministries, including the preschoolers' worship. For the first time in many years, perhaps her whole adult life, the woman felt content with her life, just as it was.
Time was passing quickly for the man. He'd become involved at church, volunteering with children's ministry and the prayer team. His 30th birthday was just around the corner and he was beginning to doubt God's desire to bless him with a family. He'd decided to strike out on his own seeking a mate. But his own searching was not as easy as he'd hoped. Months passed, and he had still found no one with whom he wanted to share his life.
The woman found herself unaccountably happy. She'd never before felt the presence of God with such strength. Her job was satisfying. Her ministry activities kept her busy while offering a challenge. Only one thing seemed to be missing: a family of her own. And she'd picked out just the man she wanted...if only he would show an interest in her.
Stuck. That was how the man was feeling. His job was unfulfilling, he wasn't finding a date, and one of his best friends was about to be married, for the second time. The day of their wedding shower, he was searching for somewhere else to be. An acquaintance from church invited him for coffee after lunch. He jumped at the chance.
Nervous. The woman was about to have coffee with the man who'd been invading her dreams. Would this mean something? Was he interested? What on earth would they talk about?
For nearly four hours, the man and woman talked. They shared stories from their lives and their travels, amusing anecdotes about eccentric family members, even ideas of what would make a perfect date. The woman left exhilarated, excited by the talk and the potential. The man drove away shocked, a bit afraid of what might be happening.
On a game night the next weekend, they met again and played Trivial Pursuit. Sunday lunch was shared with a large group of friends the following weekend. After lunch, they drove to a nearby park and hiked in the woods, talking for another seven hours. A dinner together at an outdoor concert, their first official date, came two weeks later. Only eight weeks after that, the two were engaged. Less than a year passed and the couple married. Within the month, they were expecting their first child. That fall, the man celebrated his 31st birthday.
And they lived (mostly) happily ever after.
Happy Anniversary, my love! I am so glad to be your wife. God has been incredibly gracious to me. Iau lala mámna iáu!