This is David & Susan Sifford's journal of what we pray is our sojourn of life (Hebrews 11:8-10) along the narrow way (Matt 7:14), even the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16), submitting to the Bible as a light unto both (Psalms 119:105). It is our prayer that these documented moments in our earthly time benefit whom God might choose to edify, but ultimately that God glorifies Himself through them.

Category: marriage

Marriage Marker – Our Sweet Sixteenth Wedding Anniversary

Today, Dave and I celebrate our sweet sixteenth wedding anniversary! (WOO-HOO!!) (Well, Dave says we have to wait until 1:30 p.m. Central Time before it’s official…..lol)

We are so very thankful to the Lord for granting us the time together that He has, and we always pray He glorify Himself in our marriage, and that He might draw others to Christ through us!

David & Susan Wedding Couple

To give a little background, Dave and I met at the church we both attended. We got “thrown” onto the same church softball team at the last minute. My name had somehow been placed on two rosters, and, little did we know it, our whole future was straddling between two pieces of paper. Our friend, Dorothy, was the one who made the decision to put me on the team Dave was on, so she holds the title of being our match maker πŸ™‚ I had played bobby sox softball in 6th grade but not much since then, so I was pretty rusty and insecure about it. At the first practice, Dave and I ended up being each other’s warm up catch partner. I will never forget how kind and patient he was with me. I was throwing the ball all over the place, and he was just steady and respectful and rolled with it. Over the course of the summer, we became friends, and then started dating, and got married almost exactly two years after our first date:

David & Susan Engagement Day

That summer as we slowly became friends, we made discovery after discovery of how like-minded we were, how our upbringings were extremely similar, how we went to the same church at different times growing up, how both of our families were very musical, and our shared love for, of all things, barbershop music. We had both sung in barbershop groups in our youth:

Susan's Barbershop Groups

David's Barbershop Group

And we had a roving barbershop quartet sing before and after our wedding ceremony πŸ™‚

Barbershop Group 'Q; at Wedding

The list goes on and on and on…..

Backing up a bit, I remember that summer on my 38th birthday, my family took me out for a wonderful birthday brunch, and one of my gifts was a gorgeous frog prince statue to remind me that my Prince Charming was out there, I just hadn’t met him yet. I was kind of discouraged, and this was a very thoughtful gift that reminded me “he” was out there! That very afternoon, I got a voicemail from Dave, my new friend on the softball team, asking if I wanted to go to the batting cages with him and his buddy. That was the start of a beeeeeeeeutiful friendship…..

On a side note, I recently found one of my journals that spanned that period of time. I had made the decision a few months beforehand to stop dating and looking for the right guy and focus on my Christian walk and on Christ. I believe God was drawing me to Himself and honored those months of diligently seeking Him and focusing on Him alone. In that journal, I had written down all of the qualities I was looking for in a Godly husband, and when I was reading it the other day, I realized that Dave met every single quality, and I had to laugh and thank God that He did such a better job at finding a husband for me than I could have.

Over the course of those two years of dating, the Lord brought us through some heavy-duty theological issues, and any one of them probably would have been a deal breaker for our relationship, but the Lord seemed to bring us both along and establish a strong, like-minded, Christ-centered bond. It was something I had not experienced in a relationship before, and we both recognized the precious, life-long value of it.

We look back and are astonished that God preserved both of us through a lot of self-inflicted detours and curve balls in each of our lives before bringing us together.

Our worldview had started to change over the course of our dating years, and we knew after we got married, all bets were off and we were probably on our way into uncharted territory. On our wedding day, we had the theme to the Indiana Jones movie play as our recessional, and after our fathers had pronounced us husband and wife (both of our fathers officiated the ceremony), they said in unison “Let the adventure begin!” Don’t believe me? Here is that wedding video clip!


And we have NOT been disappointed!

About two years later and after much prayer and consideration, we left our corporate jobs in Silicon Valley and moved to Texas to start our own homestead and live near like-minded Christian families. Our first two years together in California were like introducing our two rabbits, Buttercup and Derbie, and watching them get used to living together and bonding and having a ton of fun together. Yes, it really was a life of bunnies and lollipops. Well, bunnies and Cold Stone Creamery ice cream, to be exact πŸ™‚

Buttercup & Derby

After moving to Texas it was like throwing Buttercup and Derbie into the path of a predator and watching them cling together for dear life. LOL! I say that partly joking. But the next fourteen years have proven to be the hardest, yet most precious and spiritually rewarding years yet. And I am in awe as I have watched my husband cling to Christ in times of heartache, difficulty, trial and testing. You talk about throwing monkey wrenches into newly married life. We went from a life of ease and uber-convenience to:

  • Living off grid (we lived for 10 years in our 5th wheel trailer before moving into our house, and its amenities actually did help us transition)
  • No piped-in running water
  • No grid electricity, only solar
  • No air conditioning (well, just a smidge the first 1 or 2 summers πŸ™‚ )
  • Learning to live and get along in a close-knit Church community with many different personalities
  • Texas weather!

And we have cultivated trying to find God’s working hand of providence, and maybe some humor (Dave makes me laugh all…the…time), in just about anything to keep things in perspective.

In the years we have lived an off-grid homesteading life, Dave has amazed me by rolling up his tech-geek sleeves and truly building a homestead from scratch. And I mean scratch. He is one of the most hard working people I have ever met. He has built a wonderful home for us (with God-sent assistance thoughout), including all kinds of clever inventions to handle all of our quirky farm needs. He never, ever ceases to amaze me. There is never a Honey-do list because as soon as I mention something, he’s on it! My mother and father-in-law did a wonderful job of bringing up both of their sons as kind, responsible, resourceful gentlemen. I love my in-laws dearly, as well.

Most importantly, God ordained for me a husband who would lovingly and patiently be my catch partner in life. A man to speak to my struggles and weaknesses and help me in them, to encourage me and walk alongside me into the unknowns of life. Don’t get me wrong, this lifestyle can definitely bring out the worst in us, but, I have seen the Holy Spirit slowly and consistently, with all grace, mercy and love, sand away those raw edges in Dave, increasingly manifested by:

  • Consistently modeling Christ to me, loving me as Christ loves the Church
  • Leading me in family worship every evening
  • Choosing charity (love) every day
  • Choosing forgiveness and praying for God not to hold an offense to someone’s account (that is a hard prayer)
  • Trusting more and more in God’s sovereignty
  • Helping me set boundaries to keep my carnal man in check

Dave makes it easy to submit, as I am called to do as his wife. He helps me want to be a better help meet to Him, and we help each other put on the full armor of God each day.

Dave has been and continues to be the biggest gift in my life, after Christ. I am eternally grateful for the one whom my soul loveth in this life. This sixteenth anniversary is so very sweet, indeed!

All thanks, praise and glory to God!

Susan

Marriage Marker – 15 Years

Fifteen years ago today, the Lord granted Sue and I be married. Our fathers performed the ceremony, we appreciated our family and friends participating with us, and it was a joyous day!

For me, our marriage has been joyous, and Sue has made that possible. She is a godly woman. She is the most considerate person I know. She evidences God’s graces in her all the time, and she would be the first to acknowledge those are none of herself, and loathes her own sin.

I marvel at her cheerful and uncomplaining willingness to serve others and me, especially in bringing her out from a life of comfort to something of a wilderness, with mud and poo everywhere, often on us. πŸ™‚ She never complains when hauling a heavy 5-gallon bucket of feed up to the goats to go milk them; she never complains when having to haul four 6-gallon water containers up to them in a wheelbarrow; she never complains when she has to carry two of them by hand from the cistern to the house to fill the Berkey and indoor elevated dishwater tank.

We have a ton in common, in beliefs and principles, and even had similar life paths growing up. For instance, we both had sung in barbershop quartets before. What are the “odds” of that happening? (100% when it’s part of God’s plan! πŸ˜€ ). We even grew up in the same general area, and attended the same church but at different times. We often wonder if we had ever crossed paths at any time. And then God brought us together in His perfect timing. By God’s graces, we get along extraordinarily well, and she makes our relationship easy.

She has forebeared much with me, and has been a great help. I am ever thankful to God for her, and other than having been given God-fearing parents, she is the best temporal gift I have received in my entire life. If God could have designed a wife/help-meet in perfection for me, she was it!

We have always viewed each other as gifts from the Lord to each other, and in fact, this was the theme of our wedding:

Jam 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

It is how I felt when I asked her to marry me, and still do today.

I considered it so much so in late 2002, with anticipation of asking her for her hand in marriage (after graciously receiving permission from her parents), that I wrote for her a song to God about her as that — a great gift from Him!

After the one time of singing it to her, the song has just been in my head all of these years, with a little help from some handwritten notes and the lyrics saved on the computer, and so for this fifteen year anniversary, I wanted to surprise her with having recorded it and putting it out in a blog post with my thoughts about her.

But, then I thought, you know, she’s the only person who has ever heard this song before, and perhaps she would like to keep it as special only to her. And so, I surprised her with it the other day, and asked what her thoughts were about sharing it as part of our fifteenth anniversary blog post, and she agreed.

To get to that point though, we thought we’d share a little about the engagement day on February 8, 2003…

We spent the day in Carmel, CA, visiting the shops and then planning to end up at the beach later. Little did she know that two of my best friends at the time, Bob and Jeff, were running around purchasing dinner, and getting a table and chairs and table cloths and flowers and a cooler of food and a piano-type keyboard set up on the beach for us…

A couple of funny anecdotes:

At one point, Sue and I went into a shop that had mood rings. She’s like, let’s try them on. Well, hers was all blue, which means relaxed and emotional, and mine was black, which mean nervous and anxious. I thought, ahhh, this stupid ring is going to blow the whole surprise! πŸ˜€ Sue did wonder why I wasn’t relaxed and romantic like she was. πŸ™‚

And then, it was time to get down to the beach. Once there, Sue went into the restroom, and right then my friends came out of their restroom and said “It’s not set up…we need more time!” I was like, ok, I’ll try to stall her, and they disappeared before Sue came out. Whew!

And so, Sue and I walked down the beach the “wrong” way for a bit, and then started moseying back the “correct” direction, slowly as much as I could.

Well, as we got closer to the spot, I spied that my friends had completed their covert operations, and we headed toward the dinner table.

My friends video-recorded basically the whole event, and we took a few stills from the video:

Dinner time:

Engagement Dinner

Song time:

Engagement Song

Proposal time:

Engagement Proposal

Putting the ring on her finger after her saying “yes”:

Engagement Ring

And right about then, we turned around to face the sun, and this is what it looked like, setting over the ocean! Wow wow wow! What a gift of timing from God!

Engagement Sunset

Then, Sue and I hung out on the beach for a while drinking sparkling cider, and left when it was darker, and my gracious friends, besides setting up everything and filming it, sat there until we were done and cleaned up everything. It was a wonderful time, and we thank the Lord for it!

To Bob and Jeff: I will forever have a debt of gratitude to you both for what you did that day, handling all of that, filming it, and just waiting there until we left, and cleaning up everything. A guy couldn’t have asked for better friends!

What follows is the song I believe God specially granted me to write (besides that we can do nothing without Christ, I have never written a song with those kinds of chord progressions before). In it, I wanted to acknowledge God as God, thank Him for His many gifts, and then for the gift of Sue (my Love) specifically, my prayer for myself toward her, specific ways He used her to help me in bringing her to me, my prayer for us as a couple, and then bringing all to God’s glory in the end.

These are our continued prayers. May God glorify Himself through us, and may we be godly servants of His and others! I am forever grateful to the Lord for granting me the gift of my Love, Sue!

(Click the play button on the inline player right below the title to listen to it. It was only recorded using the laptop sitting on a pillow on the piano, and I have a slight verbal fumble at the end which I wasn’t going to re-do the whole song over after many takes, but you should still get the idea. πŸ™‚ If you don’t see the inline audio player, you can listed to it by clicking this link.)

The Gift of My Love


Verse 1
Father, may You be praised
Here and now and in the heavens
Father, exalt Your name
Here and now and forever

We bow before You, holy Lord
Singing praise and worship at Your throne
Be magnified, oh Holy Lord
Praying humbly before Your throne

Verse 2
Father, I want to thank You
For Your many blessings to me
Father, Your endless love
Is shown each day to me

You give so generously
Beyond any of my dreams
You give so ever freely
Above all of our dreams

Chorus
And so I thank You, Lord, for the gift of my Love
I thank You, Lord, for her
I thank You, Lord, for the gift of my love
Please bind our hearts together

She’s beautiful, gentle, wonderful, so special
A blessed gift of grace from You

Verse 3
Father, You gave a love,
A gift who sets my heart afire
Father, she’s far beyond
My deepest hope and desires

Her beauty’s endless as the sky
I melt when I gaze into her eyes
Her smile’s as bright as the sun
She’s come to me from above

Chorus

Break
May I cherish her, this Love of mine
May I honor her through the end of time
May I love her as You love your own
Thank You for this Love, from love You have shown
She’s my Love, thank You for my Love

Who’s helped break through the pain
Of hurt and sorrow, a broken heart
You’ve mended me back together
With her You have restored me

And set me free
To love again
Thank You for this love
May it never, ever, ever, ever end

Verse 4
Father, be glorified
By us, the two of us together
Father, our lives are Yours
May we worship You forever

We bow before You, holy Lord
Be magnified, oh Lord
Singing praise and worship at Your throne
Our love eternally before Your throne

Chorus

Chorus

Fine
For Your glory forever
Be glorified forever
Through us be glorified forever
Praise your holy name forever

Amen

© 2003

Amen!

— David

Marriage Marker

Ten years ago today, the Lord graciously granted that Sue and I be married. It was a beautiful and joyous day for us. Our fathers married us; and since we wrote the ceremony, we had the opportunity to share the Gospel. Our prayer is the Lord was glorified and someone was benefited through it.

A lot has changed for us over the years. The Lord has continued to reaffirm and strengthen our belief in the doctrines of grace in us, and He brought us out from California to the middle of Texas to begin separating from the world, living under His direct provision, and amongst other like-minded folks in the hopes of learning to serve God and His people better. And we are so extremely grateful for this opportunity.

There have been trying times of life, but the Lord has been faithful in seeing us through them, and continues to.

I have always considered Sue a gift, and the Lord has been faithful in His gift of Sue, to me, and to her, as He’s grown her in His graces; and it is my fervent prayer the He continues to and sees her all the way through her “progress” on the straight path via Christ all they way through Jordan in His faith upheld by His right arm of power to the eternal Sabbath with Christ.

By God’s graces, Sue is one of the kindest, thoughtful and most caring people I know. She is always concerned for others, and goes out of her way to show it.

And the Lord has granted her a fervent desire to seek Him in His word, and He has granted that the things she learns about Him affect her life, her faith and her actions.

God has also granted that she be a loving, faithful and fervent help-meet, desiring and looking for ways to serve and obey her husband, as the Lord commands, and as a shining example of the type of the Church in service and obedience to Christ.

And she would be the first to admit that these things are of the Lord, and not herself, and that she still struggles against an active and aggressive carnal man. But God has granted she see the sin in her carnal self, and I’ve seen her abhorrence of it.

I am so very grateful for the Lord’s granting of light and graces in Sue, and pray He continues that, for His glory and the benefit of His Church.

And I am so very grateful and humbled that God has granted her, a godly woman, to me. She is indeed a true gift. I pray I love her and will love her as Christ loves the Church, as the Lord commands.

We are so very thankful to the Lord for the time He has granted us together. It is our prayer that the Lord glorify Himself through our marriage, here and in the heavenly realms, and that He benefit His Church through us; and we humbly pray He grant us more of His graces, so that we may serve Him better and more properly. Amen.

— David

Marriage Marker

James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

5 years ago this day, Sue and I used this verse in reference to each other on the bulletin at our wedding, as the Lord granted us to be joined under Him in the union of marriage. Just as God and His word never change, I can only believe that Sue has been given to me by God, because she is a good (by God’s graces and mercies) and perfect (through Christ; and for me) gift.

Sue and I met at a β€œchurch”, and we had the same beliefs, although not biblical When the Lord began to show me something different, I knew I had to tell Sue, because being convinced of these things, Sue and I now believed differently; and anything further (ie. marriage) would be an (unequal yoking. I did, and when Sue acknowledged these beliefs to be true, the Lord not only granted her that grace and mercy to believe the truth, but also granted me a wife.

The Bible is full of “typology”, where temporal things are done, happen or are commanded by God to reveal spiritual things, including β€œpictures” of Christ and who He is. God has instituted many things, but one of the first for man was marriage (Gen 1:27; John Gill’s commentary on this verse), which means it and what it represents is probably pretty important. That’s because the Bible represents Christ and His relationship to His redeemed people as a marriage (Matt 22:2-14; Matt 25:1-13; Rev 19:7-9). It is important our marriages properly reflect Christ and His relationship to the Church, His bride.

This has been and still is Sue’s and my prayer. We pray He glorifies Himself through us here on earth and in the heavenly realms. I always pray the Lord use me in whatever way He might to bring Sue along His pathway of spiritual life to Celestial City.

No human is perfect, least of all me. But as I said, God has granted me the perfect wife, the perfect one for me. He has granted her many of the attributes of a good wife, and she is a most excellent help-meet. She desires to serve the Lord as best as she can with His help for His glory, and endeavors to seek and follow Him with all of her heart. What a wonderful blessing!!

I am continuously humbled that the Lord so graciously granted me Sue. May He glorify Himself through our lives and through our marriage.

— David