Ten years ago, as the assault on marriage was growing, I asked WORLD readers, “What in your marriage should lead people to make up their minds to wed, in due time?” Several hundred readers who had been married for at least 20 years wrote in, and my columns in June 2003 quoted responses.
One of the moving letters came from Jeanne Damoff, who wrote, “Almost seven years ago, our oldest son nearly drowned at 15, leaving him in a coma for two months. [Now] he remains dependent and may always be. God has preserved our marriage through these and many lesser trials. As we’ve clung to Him and to each other, we’ve seen our faith grow and our love deepen. For every sorrow borne, we’ve been given far greater measures of joy and delight.”
I recently wrote to Jeanne asking for an update: She responded, “I can report to you with great joy that there’s nothing I would change about my former statement. I would only underscore it. We’ve seen God work in remarkable ways over the past 10 years. At 31, our brain-injured son still lives with us, and we expect he always will, but we don’t resent that. On the contrary, he is a treasure and delight.”
She continued, “Our other children, who were 19 and 17 ten years ago, are both married to precious Christians and joyfully serving the Lord. Suffering with their brother and seeing God work in and through his life helped prepare them for the inevitable challenges to their faith. Everywhere we look, God has worked all things together for good and done immeasurably more than we asked or imagined. … Last year we bought a house across the street from my parents, who still live in the house they built when I was 6 years old. Mom has Alzheimer’s, and we are walking with my father through this long good-bye.”
Her conclusion: “It’s hard on all of us, but as I watch my husband serve my parents, pray for them, and love them unconditionally, I understand again, for the thousandth time, that God’s best gifts come in unexpected packages. … If I could give any advice to young couples, it would be this: God really is sovereign, loving, and good, and He is working out plans formed long ago with perfect faithfulness. Nothing you would choose for yourself could ever surpass the beauty and wonder of the gifts He has prepared for you.”