Today is July 21, 2009. On a moonlit night in Mettler, California, on July 21, 1971, I proposed to a teenaged young lady named Sondra Elane Langdon. I was 21, she was 18 and had just graduated high school. We had been dating for about a year and a half by this time. Four months before this marriage proposal, I had been drafted and was serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era of hostilities in Southeast Asia.
On that night 38 years ago, I got down on one knee and asked her to be my wife. She said yes, and I gave her an engagement ring. Going into her house later to ask her dad's permission, he jokingly said, "Are you sure you want to do this?" Years later, I am reminded that that is a fair question to be asked, even if in jest.
It is important to know our honest thoughts and intentions and life goals. Whatever would lay ahead on our journey of life, I wanted Sondra to be a part of all of it. Now, many of you know we have had some bumps in the road. But that is life. That is part of the journey, to make right decisions and hard turns and march forward together in love and unity.
This past month, I was reminded of how important it is to give honor to our mates. When making a decision to be gone three Sundays in a row at church to take vacation, I had a hard time making that choice. My devotion is to the church, and yet it is also to my wife. She asked me to take the time for an extended vacation. I struggled with that.
If I said yes to her request, was I compromising my devotion and attention to the ministry that God has given me? Through much prayer and deliberation and insight, the Lord was gracious to show me that I was not compromising my time between my two highest priorities. I was giving honor to the one that came first. My commitment to Sondra came before my commitment to The Vision Plus Church.
I began to feel a peace. I was giving honor to my wife by choosing to take the extended time. I was not neglecting one for the other. God had (and still has) his hand on the life of our church, most of all by bringing wonderful individuals to take the places of responsibility for the work of the ministry.
It was the peace and contentment that I needed. I showed and gave honor when it mattered. There is no compromise when honor is shown. I hope others have learned this lesson far sooner than it took for me to learn.
Today is July 21, 2009. On this date 38 years ago, Sondra and I promised to love each other to the end. And the end has not yet come!