Today is my parents’ 19th anniversary. Since their wedding day on June 29th, 2001, they have constantly fought for each other, focusing their full and complete hearts on God and their marriage. Through this time, they have inspired many couples to live out a God-focused marriage, keeping the literal Center of the universe at the center of their marriage.
They are, without a doubt, the two most inspirational people in my life.
My dad was born on January 23rd, 1977 to Bill and Cecelia McFarland. Because he was born six weeks early, he had health problems from the earliest possible age, including a misalignment with his small intestine that caused milk to leak into his torso. To paraphrase an extremely long and fantastically God-filled story, he was eventually operated upon and sent home with a clean bill of health.
He grew up in a small family, having two older sisters, a business-owning dad, and a medically-challenged mother. Until the age of sixteen, his life was perfectly “normal”. He went to church on Sundays, owned a dog, went to a normal school, and played sports. But, after having his heart captivated by God, his life began turned around on its head.
My mom was born on November 22nd, 1980 to Jerry and Kathie Soen. Her early life quite resembled mine- two extremely strong Christian parents, a lot of siblings, and an education based solely on homeschool. After graduating salonist school and receiving a certificate to cut hair (making her a fully-fledged salonist), she went followed in her older siblings’ footsteps and attended Bible school.
The two met in Chicago at Moody Bible Institute. At the time, my dad was there studying theology, and my mom was finishing high school and salonist school. Starting as normal friends, the two eventually realized their affection for each other and, after almost two years of on-and-off courtship, they married in 2001.
Despite the extreme paraphrase I have attempted in describing their marriage, it is quite easy to understand that there are several main themes to their lives, some individual, but others encompassing both of them.
My dad’s theme would be “God’s grace”. By all rights, he should be dead several times over. He should have died as a baby to the misalignment of his intestine, but God, in His wisdom, placed the one doctor in the entire state of West Virginia that knew exactly how to diagnose and solve the problem.
My dad should have died in a truck accident in Georgia. He should have been raped and murdered in Johannesburg, South Africa. He should have died of meningitis when I was a baby… yet God said, “No, I want you alive.”
My mom’s theme would be “Total servitude to the Kingdom.” She set her sights upon Christ and never looked back. Originally, she was convinced she would serve as a missionary in China, even going on a few mission trips to the large country. Yet after meeting my dad and working with street orphans in Congo, they both knew their calling- they would be working with the fatherless.
Going from a middle-class, business-owning/highly-educated family is never easy, yet they both laid down their previous lives in service of the Kingdom. My dad is, quite easily, the wisest man I know, with the most unique (yet humble) view of theology and God’s word. He had the talent, wisdom, and education to teach at a high-level Bible school or successfully pastor a large church.
After all, aren’t these the American Christian goals for a man? To ascend to the highest levels of American ministry, make $100,000 a year, own a large mansion, and drive a Ferrari?
All of that, and more, could have been possible. But even as Jesus came for the meek and the poor, my parents laid down the glory and comfort of stable, American lives, and moved into a three-bedroom house in the bush of East Africa to help orphans.
Some called them insane.
Yet even with the calling of money, glory, and success, my parents kept one thing in the center of their marriage- God. One might think that such a focus on something other than your spouse might drive you away from your spouse, but the opposite was true for my parents. As the years passed, their relationship grew and flourished, becoming more beautiful by the day.
In my seventeen years under their covering, I have never heard them raise their voices at each other. I have never seem them “fight” (although deep discussions are quite common). Almost every night, they sit on their little couch and talk.
They are more than husband and wife. They are best friends and soulmates, both passionately pursuing a good God and doing their absolute best to serve that God where He tells them.
Now, nineteen years, six kids, two continents, and five houses after their wedding day, they look at the past with fond memories, and they behold the future with eager expectation, fully prepared to serve God until the day they die.
If I could impart one lesson to you, the reader, that I have learned from watching them, it would be this: Keeping God as the central, ultimate focus of your marriage, whether current or future, will solve most of the storms life throws at you and will give you a grounding point to bear through the trials that you cannot beat.
“Keeping God as the central, ultimate focus of your marriage, whether current or future, will solve most of the storms life throws at you and will give you a grounding point to bear through the trials that you cannot beat.”Tweet
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