6 lessons learned from 6 years of marriage

Sarah & Justin

A lot has happened in 6 years!  We’ve added 3 girls to our quiver, moved to a different country, and have lived half of our marriage in the bush of Africa. Our world is radically different from that day 2,190 days ago in Battle Ground, Indiana.

Marriage is school. It never stops. My subject of study is my wife Sarah (1 Peter 3:7). Here are some lessons I’ve learned the past 6-years with her.

1. My wife gets more beautiful each year.  I have rarely seen Sarah put on make-up.  She doesn’t need it. She is a natural beauty.  This is so mushy, but I simply like looking at her.

2. My wife has become my bestie.  I have had many good good friends, but Sarah is the best best friend I have. She knows my junk.  She is patient and loving with me.  She helps me become a better man.

3. Compliment the food even if it wasn’t a home run.  This has taken me a few years to learn.  My wife is a great cook.  In Chad, she doesn’t have a lot to work with, yet she finds a way to knock most out of the park.

4. It is loving to listen.

5. Praying together grows intimacy. Enough said.

6. It’s worth the wait. I was 29 years old when I married. I would wait another 29 if I knew it would be for a woman like Sarah.

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Bella

This is a movie review:

The name Bella means beautiful.

As one watches this movie they find two characters whose lives are anything but beautiful. First, there is Jose is a scruffy character that hasn’t been the same since a tragic accident that ended his promising soccer career. He becomes the head chef at his brother’s fancy restaurant. People worry about Jose—especially his family.

Second, there is Nina, she is a waitress at that same restaurant. She is young, unmarried and discovers she is with child, but does not want to be pregnant. Her morning sickness and consecutive late arrivals to work get her fired. No one worries about Nina—except Jose.

Jose is drawn to the troubled woman and offers his help. She doesn’t want his help at first. Nina has decided that if her life is ever going to be normal again she must abort her little girl.

The movie follows these two characters one damaged by the past and the other afraid of the future. Beyond friendship and caring for others, abortion and adoption are the two big themes in Bella. It is interesting to note that the Bible talks a lot about adoption. Without a relationship with Christ we are all orphans without a Father. One of the most comforting passages is when Jesus promises, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [Jn.14:18] He will never leave us or forsake us as a Father. And when we come to Him He adopts us into His family for all eternity [Romans 8:15-17; Gal.4:5],

True, there are no direct mentions of God in the movie, but one is given the strong impression that Nina is struggling with not just a physical and emotional decision, but also a spiritual one. At one point in Jose and Nina’s discussions about the baby, she asks him, “Do you think this is all there is?” Jose says, “My grandmother used to say, ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.'” And as they walk the street of New York City they meet a blind man who’s sign reads, “God closed my eyes. Now I can see.”

Bella is an intelligent film that reminds one that you can be impacted by another person’s life, even save, by love and time.  There are threads of grace, faith, redemption and the sanctity of life woven into the fabric of the movie. The cast is not constructed with A-list stars or built on a multi-million dollar budget. Eduardo Verástegui, who is Jose and producer of the film, realizes his film will not bust box office numbers, but stated,

“This film is for the Ninas of the world. This film is not for the people who already agree that life is personal and has dignity. I want to touch the girls who come from broken families who don’t know anything about all these important issues—and next thing you know they find themselves pregnant and they think it’s fine to just go and have an abortion because that is what they have been taught. I want to reach them and embrace them and love them through the film and then by that they can choose what is best for them, which is to have their baby.”

In the end of this movie we truly see how beautiful life is.

I recommend Bella for any occasion.

high gas prices

What is a few bucks spent on gas, when you have a lifetime of memories from one road trip?

Over the weekend I traveled down to wild and wonderful West Virginia. I packed about 2 weeks worth into 5 days. I had many refreshing conversations with longtime friends while marinating on Gods rustic mountains.

A spectrum of feelings: I was refreshed by the glory of God’s creation. I was overjoyed to see moco feo, Ray & Tiff over good pizza and talks about God. I was embarrassed by a fender bender with “The Don’s” getaway vehicle. I was encouraged to be among the worshippers of Hilltop. I was stuffed with good eatin’ at Bob & Elva Jean’s. I was blessed to spend quality time being enamored with the most wonderful woman, her name is “beautiful.”

High gas prices can’t stop me from these memories.