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Ten Years With Gina Smith

I am guarded when I write in this space. And I think that’s mostly good. This is not the place for words baptized in my hot tears. This is not my private journal, or my family scrapbook.

So how to express my gratitude for my wife of ten years? How to say to God and everyone who reads here how thankful I am, how humbled I am –how astonished I am at this gift I’ve enjoyed for ten years?

Some rare, open words…and (grateful) tears that you can’t see.

Gina has been beside me in the very worst hours of my life. It was very early on in our marriage that we went through what was to us, a nightmare (a long season of great difficulty centered around my health problems). I think we both expected that it was very possible she would be a widow early in our marriage. Those were very dark days.

But there she was and here she is. She is constant.

Out of those horrible days we, like everyone, have had many other more ordinary challenges -many involving sickness, discouragement and upheaval in our families, church, home…you name it. We have not suffered like some have suffered, but we have suffered –many know about some of that and many don’t. It’s not my goal here to focus on that, but merely to acknowledge it. I sometimes think that some people (who don’t know us well) think we “have it together,” that we live a charmed life. Maybe I contribute to that by not expressing much in the way of our challenges in this place.

But out of a very rough start we feel like we, by God’s grace and mercy, weathered a terrible storm together.

We were given a hard providence, but emerged loving each other more and clinging more closely to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by which we stand.

I admire Gina for increasingly, over time, leaving less and less room for bitterness. For moving toward contentment and simplicity. For not letting evil times produce a resentment and selfishness in her heart.

I think we feel more humbled by our experience with pain. We feel less inclined to be certain of ourselves, but more certain of the promises of God. I hope that aids us in future suffering, which is pretty certain (for all of us).

So far this has been a heavy telling. Isn’t this a time for joy? Yes! But isn’t sorrow and pain often where deep joy is rooted? It is with us.

I am deeply thankful for my bride of ten years. We have had such tremendously happy times together! We have been blessed far past anything we deserved.

We have had more joy in a year of our life than many millions of people ever experience in a lifetime.

I feel like we have been given, from God, a joy in life that is rare. I believe he has answered our deep longings again and again by his good gifts.

He has been so merciful to me in the wife he provided. His grace is heaped up on me every day that I have her.

I won’t exhaust her virtues here. But she has been what I have needed. A hardworking, home-centered, beauty-adding, life-giving helper to me. God has called me to many things, and has called Gina to be beside me. She is wise, understanding, humble-hearted, content, merciful, industrious, beautiful and faithful. She really is those things. I thought about each one and say each carefully. Truthfully.

I’ll add one more, and this has actually been a great gift to us in some of the hardest times. We really love to be together. We get along well. We like each other. We laugh at each other. Gina is hilarious and fun to be around. We like a lot of the same stuff and have learned to love things we didn’t love before. I trust her and she takes care of me, even when challenging me (a very cautious, fearful person) to expand my horizons. (She has really added so much appreciation to my life in the area of food, for example.)

We both stumble in many ways and I know a lot about her sin, just as she knows about mine. Our list of failures would challenge yours, I’m sure.

But the theme of the story of my life with Gina has been the mercy and grace of God to me and to the children he has given us.

I cannot imagine how my life would be without her and am overwhelmed with gratitude to my Father –a giving, loving Father.

Many women do well, she excels them all.

Cheers, for Ten Years!

14 Comments

  1. Awww. Very sweet, my dear. And what’s a BLT without the T?! Without me, you may never have known…and that would have been sad. XO

  2. I’m so glad you found each other. You guys are a great example to me. I have learned much from your wife and the way she loves you. Here’s to ten more!

  3. It is not common to see such wisdom in someone of so few years. God has given you special insight into His Love. Only He can open your eyes to see the things you speak of. Only He can give you that kind of peace & understanding. Only He can give such a wife as GINA. God knowing how He made you, made her for you. Only He knows just what you need. Only He is the great I AM. Bless his name. Thank you Father for their lives together. Continue to bless them & their little ones. May they grow old & gray together & KNOW that you are “GOD”. In JESUS name. Amen
    We love you both,
    In His Grip,
    Uncle Roger & Aunt Carolyn

  4. Congratulations on ten years, Sam and Gina! Reading these words, I see God’s intent for marriage in action. The point has never been to couple with another person and expect them to make life perfect. I think this says it all:

    “I think we feel more humbled by our experience with pain. We feel less inclined to be certain of ourselves, but more certain of the promises of God. I hope that aids us in future suffering, which is pretty certain (for all of us).”

    That *is* the Christian life. We don’t grow in gratitude or dependency on Christ until we’ve ran into trouble and usually reacted by first trying to “fix it.” Sometimes, that happens over and over again, adding up to years of unnecessary struggle. But hopefully we eventually, as believers, learn what we’re doing wrong and give up our panicked efforts to get back to some place good and instead heap it onto God. He’s faithful to iron out the mess. And increasingly we see how much easier it is to just do that from the get-go.

    There is a supreme beauty in understanding that no person was ever given the equipment to “complete” another person. God and God alone completes who we are and fills the voids that we so very often give our marriages – and other relationships – the duty of filling. That recipe for disaster breeds resentment, bitterness, entitlement, blame and all sorts of ugly things. It seems to me in reading your tribute to 10 years that you’ve got that figured out and that is precisely why others think you guys have it all together. Y’all know your struggles, your shortcomings, but that’s not what you wear on your sleeve. What you wear is God loving Sam through Gina and Gina through Sam. If it never progressed passed the scrawlings of “Gina L’s Sam” on every square inch of a notebook, then neither would have gone onto that higher plane of “more than in love.” We all have an embarrassingly limited capacity to love other people. When we realize (and I don’t mean “discover,” but to actually see it come to fruition) God’s desire to love others through us, it starts becoming quite obvious how non-entitled we really are to God loving us through such a spectacular person. I have no doubt that is a recipe for a lifelong, rewarding marriage and, Sam, you and Gina seem to know that. Congratulations on making it, against all odds, to the double digits.

  5. Sam, I have a lot to learn from your bride. I glean insights from her blog, and wish I could weekly sit down with her and chat about how to be a better wife/mom/friend/woman of God.

    Your post makes me realize just how great a role I have in making my marriage do more than just succeed. I hope I can look back 7 years from now on my 10th and see joy in sorrow, and triumph in spite of little failures.

  6. Thank you both for the exhortation. Sam, one of these days — whether here or in glory — I’d like to buy you a beer (or whatever happens to be appropriate).

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