25 years ago, my dear Ami, took a risk of faith and love to become Amarilis De La Paz Melo de Thompson, and launched out on an unconventional path of following Jesus with me, in a call to the least reached, the places where other Christians don’t want to go, and to do work that others do not want to do.
As she has followed me (and Jesus!), and follows me still, living out of an unseen treasury, in numerous countries and in many ‘homes’, she has bravely and repeatedly faced ridiculous and impossible missionary (and other) challenges with grace and charm, lived in physical war zones, and many spiritual war zones, with quiet trust in God, and often challenged me to integrity and trust in God, and graciously submitted to my leadership in the family as I have tried to love her like Jesus loves the Church and bring up daughters who love, fear and follow their Lord and Creator.
She has stepped out with trust and abandon to God in all the risk and unknown of following Jesus into the battlefields of life and mission, leaving aside frequently what many wives and mothers would desire in a stable “nest”, and when “settling down” could have so easily been chosen and yet also, she knew, would divert us from our charted course.
And … there is no woman who can prepare filling meals so creatively out of nothing in the cupboards like my wife! We have some stories, don’t we?
Her forgiveness is quick. Her love … unbelievably committed and steady. Her amazing, self-sacrifice for me and for her children, especially during these latter years of health challenge, have been exemplary and constantly stun me for their depth of commitment and the deep living out of her life for others.
Many people, even those who know her, and even those in her family (me included) have no clue as to the burden and difficulty her health has given her day after day for so long.
This boy married late – ten years later than most of his peers – and I think it was to allow me time to get to the place (of maturity?!?) where I would recognise that the choice of Amarilis De La Paz Melo as my wife was the second best decision I ever made (after deciding to follow Jesus as Ruler of my life).
There were many who were used of God in my early twenties to keep me from pursuing others and from what could have been lesser unions – I am eternally in debt to you John Hymus and Dennis Wright for your courageous leadership of this lovesick teen – and a powerful sermon entitled “Relinquishing your right to marriage” that helped me at that time to deal with an unhealthy push as a single (for marriage), and to discover incredible peace and trust in waiting. Thank you Loren Cunningham for that teaching that brought me such freedom and to George Verwer for your moral purity talks, your integrity and the challenge to live a focused life.
I love you Ami and I am coming out to say it publicly that I do not deserve your love, nor someone like you by my side. I know you will probably kill me now for saying this on here, but at least I’ll die happy. I just hope this extrovert’s craziness will again charm your heart deeply and encourage you today to know that you are loved deeply by me and your daughters Alexandra, Jessica and Vania. We could not hope for a better wife nor mother than you. (And I hope that makes you cry today!). 😎
I hope that in reading this, if you are married, that you will love more, because this mad world needs to see it so much more clearly now: God-pleasing, biblical, godly marriages that are unshakeable because of a choice to love, and … if you are single, I hope that you will know that waiting His timing for marriage will be richly rewarded, and rushing on the marriage decision is unwise, even foolish! He is faithful and will do it!
The journey continues Ami and there is more adventure ahead! Here’s to the next 25!