This past Monday, my wife, Pam, hosted a Christmas luncheon in our home for eight ladies in our community. I hid out in my study still within earshot of some of their conversation. There was a ton of laughter which was invigorating for me. But three words from Pam really touched me. I heard her start a number of her sentences simply with “Rick and I…” Those words seem so simple and undynamic, but to me, it reflected the intimacy, the oneness, the bond, and the purposefulness that we share together.
Let me assure you that 20+ years ago, she would not have spoken about me in the same manner nor would I have about her. We lived in the same house with two very strong-willed daughters. There were often ongoing disagreements and arguments that I detested. I attempted to be the peacekeeper trying to smooth things over. This was not fun for me nor for each of the ladies in our home. Pam had her own job which dictated a lot of her attention. She was responsible for behavior issues in an elementary school, taught special ed, and ran the “after school program.” I was traveling all over the world for my job which took me to international locations often over 50% of the time. We had become married singles! Living in the same house but with different agendas and priorities. Our relationship had become a total mess. Candidly, only our faith in the Lord and our children kept us together.
Finally, we totally embarrassed ourselves while traveling three hours to watch our younger daughter play collegiate soccer. During the three hours of the trip, we screamed and cursed each other during each of the 190 miles. I was ashamed of myself and the sham our relationship had become.
We were past the point of needing help. Pam and I soberly recognized that we had gotten to the point of distrust, hurt, and bitterness without the ability “to fix us.” We were done. A little booklet came to my memory during those horrible days published by Campus Crusade for Christ called “Learning to Love by Faith.” Pam and I were at “rock bottom.” All we had was our faith in Him. We began the journey of asking Him to love each other through us. Neither of us could love or even wanted to love each other. As often said, you have to “get to rock bottom to start building on the Rock”, the firm foundation of God and His Word. We began and stayed there praying for each other and learning to stand on His solid foundation. Step by step, we intentionally started the journey placing Him first in our lives, not our jobs, not our kids, nothing but Jesus…He became our priority.
Matthew 7:24-27 says it best, 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Our foundation is no longer our own selfish agendas but God and His Word. We respect and adore each other based on the agape love of Jesus. And, I get to hear these simple but beautiful words often, “Rick and I…”