The picture above sits on my desk in a frame, representing a fond memory to me. It was one of those times Terrie agreed to spend time with me in the outdoors for a few days of hunting. Really, Terrie is a city girl, but she tells me that the Lord placed on her heart to be my “recreational partner” 🙂 and that includes walking through the woods once or twice a year.
The picture says three things to me every day:
- My wife is the most important person in my life. The church is Christ’s bride; Terrie is mine. I love my church family and count it one of the greatest privileges of my life to be their pastor. But before I was the pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church, I became the husband of Terrie Chappell. I love her, I thank God for her, and on our wedding day, I vowed to make her the most important person in my life.
- Marriage is a gift to be stewarded. When I first saw Terrie, I knew I was in love. When I married her, I didn’t think life could get any better. But was I ever wrong! Our marriage is sweeter and richer every year. Of course, this didn’t “just happen.” As wonderful as Terrie is, I’ve had to read lots of books on marriage, schedule lots of time to spend with her, and, mostly, ask the Holy Spirit to change me to know how to fully appreciate her and express my love. (And I think she might tell you the same thing about me.) I’m thankful to the Lord that we celebrate our thirty-second wedding anniversary this month. I count every dollar, every date, every hour invested in our marriage as very well spent. I’m grateful that we’ve worked through the good and the difficult times and that, through both, our relationship has grown.
- Marriage and ministry need not compete for success. I thank God for a wife who loves the Lord, loves me, and genuinely loves ministry. It has been our joy to serve the Lord together for thirty-two years. Sometimes I meet people who ask how to balance marriage and ministry—as if the two are competing forces for a man’s attention. I actually don’t recommend you balance them at all, but that you integrate them. There have been many times when Terrie and I had to work hard to carve out time to just spend together, but honestly, we love to spend time serving the Lord together. Marriage in the ministry is not a losing proposition—it is an exciting, joyful adventure!