Reflections on My Parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary

Cyndi's Pictures 748 This past weekend we celebrated my Mom and Dad’s 50th Wedding Anniversary! What a special occasion. My parents hosted an anniversary dinner with many of their closest friends and family members. One of the couples was celebrating their 50th Anniversary on the same weekend!
As part of the celebration, I was given the honor of officiating over my parents renewal of their wedding vows. They each shared vows that were perhaps even more meaningful after fifty years of marriage than when they first gave them. No marriage survives fifty years without it’s share of challenges, disappointments, hurts, and pain. But, God has given my parents so many wonderful gifts over the years. Many of those gifts celebrated with us that evening.

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One of my favorite parts of the evening was listening as each of my siblings shared some thoughts about Mom and Dad. I was so proud of each one of my brothers and my sister as they shared what our parents’ marriage meant to them.When I spoke I had a chance to share something that I shared in a sermon that I preached many years ago entitled, “What My Parents Did Right.”I didn’t get a chance to share all 24 of these with the guests, but I wanted to share the complete list with you. Hope it’s a blessing in your life today.

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What My Parents Did Right
 1.            They were the same people at home as they were in front of other people.2.            They lived what they believed.3.            They loved each other and showed affection every day.4.            They went on dates.5.            They spent time with God.6.            They communicated and demonstrated their love to us every day.

7.            They prayed with us and for us every day.

8.            They listened before they spoke.

9.            They set boundaries and stuck to them.

10.         They stayed up until we came home.

11.         They took each of their children on a date at least once a year.

12.         They knew our friends and invited their families over to our home.

13.         They made our home the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights.

14.         They didn’t sweat the small stuff.

15.         They didn’t show favoritism.

16.         They made sure we had at least one vacation a year.

17.         They loved their parents.

18.         They didn’t fight in front of us.

19.         They didn’t embarrass us.

20.         They didn’t expect us to be perfect.

21.         They made sure that our family was involved at a church that ministered to their children.

22.         They always made time to bring us to church events.

23.         They attended our games, plays, events, etc.

24.         They invited missionaries, pastors, teachers, and Christian role models into our home.

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One of my favorite shots of the night.

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I never thought I’d get a chance to say this, but, “Dad, you may kiss your bride:)”

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I had to include a picture of my family with my parents. We are so proud of them.

How Do You Help Walk Your Kids Through Tough Times?

I’m speaking on the topic of “How Do You Help Walk Your Kids Through Tough Times?” tomorrow night at Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. I want to encourage all parents to come if you are in the vicinity. The speech will happen from 6:45-8:15 in Wooddale’s Hillside Rooms as part of their Parents InTUNE ministry. Here is the introduction to the presentation, which will include 13 helpful ways to help walk your children through the difficult times of life.

When I first saw her, I knew that my world would never be the same. I was so in love. The location was a hospital room in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the occasion was the birth of my daughter, Breanna. My wife Cyndi and I married so young. We were babies having babies. Just twenty-one years old when we stood at the altar, we had a “five year plan”. Our idea was that we would get married; both work for about five years, make lots of money, explore the world, and have lots and lots of fun before we had children of our own. God had different plans. And, just sixteen months after we said, “I do,” our precious Breanna was born.

The moment I saw her, my heart melted. I didn’t expect her to be a her. She was supposed to be a he. At least in my mind she was. I had all sorts of grand ideas of being the father of a major league baseball team. We were going to have nine boys who all played different positions. The first was going to be my all-star pitcher, the oldest son with the golden arm. I even have a cassette recording that I made on our way to hear Breanna’s heartbeat while Cyndi was still pregnant. On the tape I say, “Hey buddy, we’re going to hear your heartbeat today. How’s my little guy doing?”

But, that sight of her – those perfect little eyes, her cute little nose, those tiny little fingers – she was so delicate. I not only fell instantly in love, I wanted to protect her from any harm that could possibly come her way. When people would come visit, I watched them with the eyes of a protective father. Were they holding her just right? Were they being too rough? Were they paying attention to what they were doing?

It wasn’t just protecting her when she was in the company of others; I just didn’t want to let her go. Cyndi and I have a photo of me holding Breanna in my arms while I brushed my teeth before I left for work. I would hold her until the last possible minute and as soon as I’d get home from work, I’d pick her up again. I never wanted my daughter to go through any pain in her life. And then it happened, the doctors told us that they needed to give her a shot. The vaccination would protect her from serious diseases. But, the vaccination would also cause pain. Knowing that it was best for her, I consented, and held my daughter as the needle went inside of her leg. The scream was awful! The look in her eyes was awful too. With her little baby eyes she stared at me as if saying, “You allowed for this to happen, Daddy! Why Dad?”

And then more and more pain came into her life. There were scrapes and bruises that we paid prompt attention to. There were disappointments. There were failures. There was bullying. There were mean girls and mean boys. There were arguments, and sometimes I had to say, “no,” which made me the direct cause of pain in her life.

Any of you who are parents in this room today know what I am talking about. As much as we would like to protect our children, somehow shielding them from the pain of a cruel world, it is impossible. Pain is a part of the human experience. And you know that, or else you wouldn’t be here tonight. Our topic for this evening is, “How Do You Help Walk Your Kids Through the Tough Times of Life.”