eight: years and counting

oldie but a goodieEight years ago I married the man of my dreams. I couldn't believe my luck---cause you know I believe in that sort of thing---I found a man of God who loves me and loves the people of Africa. It doesn't get much better than that! Our marriage has never been easy. I blame that on the fact that we work alongside each other in ministry every day and are from completely different cultures. And because I'm not the easiest person to live with.

Our marriage has always taken work, but so does everything else that I love. Every passion I have takes effort. My marriage is no exception.

And it's worth every ounce of relational sweat.

Right now, Niel and I need to work extra hard. For reasons that are unnecessary to share, we're in a place of needing to dig our heels in deep, and fight. Not each other, but together. For our marriage. And we're both committed to doing whatever it takes. Whatever it takes.

We looked each other in the eyes and committed to put our marriage first.

straight talk to men

Men---all few of you who read my blog---can I talk to you for just a minute? I'll be quick, I promise. The way you love your wife shows her the way Christ loves her. What?! Too much pressure for a fallen man?! I didn't say it; God did. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church..."

Your wife will believe and experience Christ's love for her only to the degree that she believes and experiences your love for her. God can miraculously work in anyone's heart and life, and women with very ungodly husbands can certainly still experience intimacy with Christ. But God puts the responsibility on you to show your wife how much God loves her.

Help your wife believe that Christ thinks she's valued, treasured, and adored today.


I'm pretty excited right now. As I type, Niel's on a flight to America. I'm sure he's cramped up in his tiny seat, jamming his knees into the back of the poor soul sitting in front of him. I imagine he's enjoyed (?!) at least one Pepto-necessitating airplane meal and climbed over his neighbor at least once to use the way-too-small bathroom. I bet he's watched a movie or two, slept a bit, and sorted out 1/4 of the world's problems in his brain (he's just amazing that way). He's most likely looking at his watch right about now, counting down the hours till he exits that flying tube of steel. Did I mention that the flight from Johannesburg to New York is 17 hours long? It is.

But that's not why I'm excited.

I'm smiling so big my eyes close because I'm going to surprise Niel when he lands in New York tomorrow morning. He's catching a flight out to Orlando just a few hours later, but I'll get to steal a quick kiss (maybe a not-so-quick kiss) and a long hug (that's the best part right there...).

There's a long story behind the "why", but the short of it is that there are 7 Thrive Trippers on the flight with Niel. Because they took off from South Africa almost 3 hours late, the kids will miss their domestic connections. They've been rebooked on later flights out of a different airport. So I'm going to meet their flight, make out with my husband, shuttle 7 kids I've never met before across the city to LaGuardia ("Hi, I'm Alece! What's your names?"), get them checked in and through security, catch a cab back to JFK, and then drive back to Long Island.

And all this starts with my alarm going off at 6 AM.

Seeing Niel makes that totally worth it. And if you knew how much of a morning person I am not, you'd know what a big deal that is for me.

The bestest part? Since all of this was arranged after Niel boarded the flight 7 hours ago, he has no idea about the excitement that is going to unfold at 9:00 tomorrow morning.

I wanna bring Niel some tangible love. Considering I can only bring things I can find around my house, what do you propose I bring for him?