I would have never dreamed that time would fly by so fast. 20 years ago today, Sonya and I exchanged vows. What an amazing journey! We were 19 years old. Too young to realize that we were “too young” to get married.
Through these years we have been through many valleys and we have even spent time on the mountaintop, yet through the years we have grown. It has always intrigued me how God created such a thing as love and then gives us the capacity to learn to love and then to grow in that love. Certainly, there have been challenges in our years together, but through it all we have grown closer.
Now, after 20 years, we say the things that the other is thinking. We respond to one another, knowing what the other one needs. As the years have passed by, we have learned what it means to become one. God’s intention for marriage was that the two would become one flesh. He didn’t say that would happen overnight. Love is cultivated by sacrifice on the part of each spouse. It is learning to make concessions while also knowing that, sometimes, you receive much more than you deserve.
That is how I feel with Sonya. I have received much more than I deserve. She has made many concessions in this marriage that resulted in her becoming a pastor’s wife. I wasn’t called to ministry until 2 weeks after we were married. She didn’t sign up for life in ministry, but she has embraced it with poise, grace and sacrifice. She has shared me with others in crisis. She has graciously encouraged me to participate in ministry needs, even when it meant it would cut into family time. Sonya has been a counselor to many and a friend to all. She has ministered to people and served in ministry for the last 15 years. Always willing to pick up the slack and be all things to all people. She has kept silent, when it would have been much easier to “speak up” and defend herself or her husband. God could not have created another “helpmeet” that would be able to walk in this life of ministry with me.
Taking that a step further: As we raise our 17 year old and 5 year old, she tries hard to balance ministry and her family needs. Sonya is a wonderful mother to her children and will sacrifice everything to make sure their needs are met. When we were married 20 years ago, I would have never dreamed that she would be so selfless and giving to her children and her church.
Cheney, I love you! Here’s to another 20 years!