Mike’s birthday is today, but he is in the Grand Tetons so I am hijacking the blog. He won’t even know this exists until next Tuesday sometime.
Since he is not around, I would like to reflect on these 50 years he has been alive. I do not really have any reflections on the first 20 years, as I did not know him. I can comment on the pictures I have seen. He has always been good looking!
The first time I ever saw him was in a Luther College chemistry class in September, 1984. I sat in the front, and he did not, so I watched him walk by every day. We did not meet until January of 1985, but chemistry is where I first noticed him.
This will probably not surprise many of you, but we met because I went up and introduced myself. I wanted to meet him, and it hadn’t happened any other way! He promptly forgot my name, but I reminded him what it was when he went through my food service line at supper the next week. I already knew what his name was long before I met him, so I had no such problems!
Finally meeting Mike was also good motivation to go to FCA, as he was one of the leaders. I had several friends on my floor that had been pestering me to go to FCA all year. I told them that I would go once if they would leave me alone. I went. And God grabbed hold of me a saved me that very first night! They left me alone, but I kept going every Wednesday night.
By the end of March we were dating. This time at his lead. I may have been forward in introducing myself, but not in initiating the relationship. I fell in love fast. Mike was handsome, a strong leader, kind, a man of great integrity, friend of everyone, a great athlete, and most importantly, a passionate follower of Jesus. I was whipped! And when he proposed on February 13, 1986, I quickly said, “yes!” and began planning for our December wedding. We were only 21 and 22 when we were married!
And thus began the journey we have been on together for almost 28 years. Those character issues that drew me to Mike in the first place have only become more refined as we have gone through the fiery trials of life. We went to grad school, were called to ministry, and eventually ended up back home in Iowa. Mike has grown in his roles as a husband and father. God gave me a good man to go through life with!
A person’s true character, and the depth of their faith in God, is revealed not in those times that are easy, but rather in times of suffering. When we made our wedding vows so long ago, we, like most young people, thought mostly about the good, the plenty, and the health. We never even imagined such things as depression rearing it’s ugly head time and again, a mother with early Alzheimer’s, losing an unborn baby, seizures, an AVM, brain surgery, heart surgery, long recovery, losing a job, or being out of ministry. If people thought of these things before getting married, they never would!
As I look at my husband as he turns 50, I see a man who still has all the same qualities that I was initially drawn to. But I also see a better man. I have watched as God refined him, refined us, over the past years. I have seen Mike show compassion on our children as they go through difficulties that all children have growing up. He is much more thoughtful in parenting than I am! I have been with Mike as he ministers to countless people in ways no one but the people involved and God will ever know. I have seen how Mike responds, or in many cases doesn’t respond, with grace during the hardships that come with being in ministry. I have watched Mike battle through rehab after losing the use of his right side and losing his speech. During this past extremely difficult couple of years I have stood by Mike as he has sought God and worked diligently to honor Him in all he has said and done. I know that I can always depend on Mike to encourage me, make me laugh, and be by my side no matter what happens. And I know that he is grounded in his faith, always seeking to be changed to be more like Christ, and always pointing our family to honor God in all we do.
So happy number 50 Honey! As I look toward the next 50, I am so hopeful! God has continued to do such amazing things in our lives. The past year has been a good one for the Evans family. God has renewed us and drawn us all closer together. Not long ago, Mike shared with me a Steven Curtis Chapman song called The Glorious Unfolding that I now think of whenever I am concerned about the uncertainty of the future. Here is a link if you would like to listen to it:
God has been faithful to us our entire lives, and will continue to be. It is with great anticipation that I wait to see what God has in store for us in the coming years! And am so glad that Mike is still here to experience the future with me! I love you, Mike!