As we come up to Mothers day in just over a week, I’m going to take the opportunity over the next little while, to reflect on the ways that three women in particular have shaped my life
I find myself at another point of transition. Transition isn’t easy. I wasn’t expecting my life to be so full of change when I left home as a 17 year old.
When I was 21 I met someone who would become my partner on this crazy journey, and she has been the person, by far, who has had the biggest influence on my life.
We started our journey together with long talks about what we wanted our marriage to be about. As I look back I know that we didn’t have a clue what we were talking about.
We did agree on one thing though, we wanted Matthew 6:33 to define our relationship, and ultimately our family. While we haven’t always got it right, that verse, which we had engraved on our wedding rings, has continued to be our foundation.
Last year I was ordained (that’s what they call it when you are recognized by a Christian denomination as someone who is called to ministry in the church). Before coming to Canada the thought of working in a church had never entered my head, so that ceremony was a big deal for me, and for us.
The morning of the ordination ceremony Leeanne gave me a present that I wasn’t expecting. It was a big wooden plaque with our verse on it. It meant a lot. We held on to that plaque while the elders of the church along with Marty Woods from Fusion and David Williams from Taylor Seminary prayed for us.
22 years earlier Leeanne had walked up the aisle, thinking to herself “Ok God, I’m up for the adventure.” There is no way we had any clue what trying to live from that verse would mean, and Leeanne certainly didn’t have any idea what she was signing up for.
There is a photo that captures why I love my wife so much.
It is of our young family in front of our van and trailer on the day we left Tasmania to move to Victoria in 2005.
Just a matter of months earlier we had been prepared to move, but to Western Australia. We had agreed that’s what seemed right.
We purchased our trailer with the intent of taking what we could to our new home and had booked the kids into school in Perth.
We were both looking forward to me having less responsibility and being able to be home more often. Then everything changed.
I was asked whether I would consider moving to Victoria to be the Fusion State Director, one of the the eventual implications of which meant that we would end up living in a community that cared for homeless teenagers for five years. Despite the obvious complications we both knew it was what God was asking us to do.
In all of that change I glimpsed something that I have come to love very deeply about the woman God has given me as a partner on this adventure.
Leeanne doesn’t like change, and on many occasions, like the decision to go to Victoria, my wife has made a conscious choice to stick with her decision on our wedding day despite how she was feeling. In the face of an emotional world that longed for consistency and stability, my wife chose the adventure. She is the bravest person I know.
What defines an adventure is the element of uncertainty and even danger. Adventure isn’t a comfortable thing. Adventure is much better, though, when you are not alone.
I still vividly remember the moment when I realized just how profoundly important Leeanne’s company was for me. We had been married for about three years and I was facing a big challenge that I was very unsure about. I looked at my wife with our baby daughter and I realized that no matter what happened, Leeanne would be at my side when the sun came up the next day, and somehow that made everything ok.
I was pretty immature when we were married and there were lots of times when I didn’t see what my wife was managing. I hurt her, I took her for granted and I misunderstood her. We have both grown a lot over 23 years, and while I can still be an idiot, I have grown to appreciate just how fortunate I am to have a wife who is a partner on the adventure like Leeanne is.
On the back of the wooden plaque, Leeanne wrote a note:
After 23 years my wife is still up for the adventure, and we are still trying to live out Matthew 6:33.
I don’t know where the next 23 years will take us but I do know who I will be sharing the adventure with… and I am grateful for her company.