I beg your indulgence in this blog to write about my personal saga. As I pen these words today, Pam and I are celebrating fifty years of not blissful, but certainly blessed married life. On her card to me Pam wrote in part:
“I never cease to thank the Lord for bringing us together even though at the time I didn’t realize the ADVENTURE that was in store for us.”
That adventure included a variety of unforeseen endeavors including five years of graduate school when she earned the bread, six years planting a church, eight years of teaching counseling at Covenant Seminary while running a counseling center, five years as a seminary president and the past eight years as Pastor of Counseling and directing a D.Min. program in biblical counseling. In the midst of these professional activities we engaged in building five houses and recently the building of an extensive model railroad layout.
Over the years, Pam worked as my administrative assistant for four years, joined me in conducting family life seminars for more than twenty years, and performed as an outstanding mother. She has proof-read dozens of articles and several books. She drew upon her speech training to critique my preaching. She taught Sunday School for children, her least favorite ministry opportunity, and was my full-fledged partner in seven years of youth ministry. Interwoven into this busy life she invested with me in the task of caring for my parents in our home including seven years of my father’s Alzheimer’s disease.
Pam has traveled with me to conduct ministry on five continents. She taught beside me and she made sure that I kept all my “ducks in a row.” In Korea, she captured the student body with her humor and joined me as the lone woman at faculty dinners. In Japan, she encouraged both missionaries and our Japanese hostess. On our several trips to Australia, as Pastoral Associates serving our denominational missionaries, Pam in her intentionally casual manner counseled with wives and families. I remember on one of those trips she planned a day to “tag along” with each of the missionary wives. While she was never designated as counselor, she has been the epitome of the lay person functioning as an instrument in the Redeemer’s hands.
Yes, it has been quite an adventure, these fifty years. God has been so gracious to me. The mentors he provided have enhanced my personal development and my ministry. These include the likes of Jay Adams, John Bettler, Jim Baird, Wilson Benton, Paul Kooistra, and Harry Reeder. But the array of mentors also includes many peers, students, businessmen, professors, and counselees.
As we chatted this week, we reminisced about the many people to whom God has allowed us to minister. We rejoiced over the lives we have seen changed. We rejoiced over our children and grandchildren—all of whom have responded to the Gospel and in accordance with their ages are walking faithfully.
So why write this blog? First, we desire to give God the glory that our lives testify to His faithfulness. Second, we desire to rejoice in the ministry of biblical counseling which has been the major thrust of my ministry. Third, we desire to encourage all those who read this to reexamine their relationship with their spouse and determine to join us in the circle of those who celebrate 50 years of a joyful marriage and the “good hand of God” upon them.
Join the Conversation
What testimony could you write of the grand adventure God is directing in your life and ministry?