For the past fifteen years, God taught us that love is kind and patient; love is not jealous, does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, does not seek its own, is not provoked, and does not take into account a wrong suffered. We learned that love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
We also learned to rejoice in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope has not disappointed us.
We built our house on the rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, because its foundations are rooted firmly on the Lord. He is our refuge, in whom we rest and hope. Because he renewed our strength, we mounted up with wings like eagles; we ran and did not get tired; we walked and did not become weary.
He made us lie down in green pastures and led us beside quiet waters. He restored our souls and guided us in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. We walked through the valley of the shadow of death, but we feared no evil, for he was with us; his rod and his staff comforted us.
God was close when we were brokenhearted and crushed in spirit. As righteous people, many were our afflictions, but the Lord delivered us from them all. Yes, the Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. As the deer pants for the water brooks, so our soul pants for God. We drew near to him, and he carried us in times of distress. We learned to delight in him, and he gave us the desires of our hearts.
We concluded that we are more than conquerors; that he began a good work in us, and will carry it on until the day of Christ Jesus; and that our circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel. We learned to wait anxiously for our blessed hope: the appearing of the glory our great God and savior, Jesus Christ. On that day we will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye, and we will meet our children again; Luana and Victor, glorified. Everything will make sense. God will wipe away our tears. Death, sorrow, separation and pain will be no more.
Dedê: your worth is far above jewels. Julia rises up and calls you blessed; as I also say, “many have done nobly, but you excel them all.” Thank you for fifteen wonderful years, for being my better half, my suitable helper. Your faith inspires me. Your devotion motivates me. Your meekness makes me want to be your imitator, as you are an imitator of Christ.