On June 25, 1960 John Pickrell and Wilma Parker committed their lives to one another before family and friends in the small town of Yreka, CA.

Sixty years later, John and Wilma Pickrell remain deeply committed to one another. This week my family gathers to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary.

Sixty – the product of six and ten.

Over the last past sixty years my parents intentionally lived out their commitment to God and each other. Although they have different temperaments, together they complimented one another: my dad with his quiet yet strong disposition and my mom with her lively, outgoing personality. Together they parented three energetic kids, invested in community pursuits, hosted neighborhood BBQ’s, and supported the incarcerated. They walked through health issues, job changes, and family struggles as a unit.

As a team they volunteered and served within their local church. For years my dad drove to the church in the evenings to lock up the buildings. He also encouraged my mom’s love for children by supporting her to serve as the children’s ministry pastor at the church. They participated in small groups designed for couples, men, women, and those interested in missions. Today, they continue to participate in and uplift the ministries of the church.

When the military called my father into service, my mother supported him and even accompanied him on his deployment oversees. For years my dad worked away from home and my mom dedicated her energies to investing in my two brothers and me, overseeing the household in my dad’s absence.

My dad loves to fish and hunt, so my mom diligently prepares for such adventurous outings throughout the year. She also enjoys cooking up delicious dishes from the harvested animals. Additionally, they create meals together in the kitchen like: cioppino with fresh seafood, berry jam from the vines in the backyard, relish canned with zucchini from the garden, and homemade venison jerky. They make a great team.

Although different, they supported, encouraged, and remained committed to one another for sixty years and counting :–)

Sixty – a very big number in terms of years

I find myself nostalgic as I recognize the commitment involved and experiences taken during my parents sixty years of marriage. Those sixty years don’t include the days they spent growing up in the same town in northern California. Family gatherings, school events, and four years of dating and engagement developed my parent’s love story. I’m thankful for their example.

To whom are you committed?

Consider for a moment what a couple might endure and enjoy over a sixty-year period of time.

Now, ponder what you might endure and enjoy in your relationship with Jesus over a sixty-year period of time.

Sixty – many years of commitment to anyone or anything

John, the disciple of Jesus, likely walked with Jesus physically and spiritually for about sixty years. If Jesus death and resurrection occurred around A.D. 30 and the writings of John date to 90-95AD, the possibility of John journeying for sixty years with Jesus seems highly probable. During that time John enjoyed a vibrant, messy, hard, authentic, and life-giving relationship with His Savior. He experienced much love from Christ and faithfully took Jesus’ mother, Mary, under his wing after Jesus’ death and resurrection. In the latter years of. His life, John received deep surreal visions of the ultimate victory of God as he recorded these details in the book of Revelation. John endured much for the sake of Christ and yet enjoyed deep communion and spiritual strength. John lived committed to Christ.

How would you describe your commitment to Jesus Christ? Are you in it for the long haul?

Relationships reveal the messiness of the parties involved. But, with commitment to each other and help from God, messiness transforms into something beautiful. Beauty develops as two individuals learn to live, love, laugh, and linger with one another. My parents model this well. Purpose exists in the messy as we grow relationally, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually within the ups and downs of a shared life together.

Similarly, our relationship with Jesus discloses the messiness within our soul. Jesus confronted John’s messy soul, addressing his fiery personality. Yet, together with Jesus he moved toward health, healing, and wholeness. Likewise, as we live committed to Christ, He meets us in the shadow corners of our soul that few others glimpse.

Do you notice the mess within your soul?

As we walk with Jesus day in and day out, we come to know the God who knows us. Just as John the apostle experienced over sixty years of commitment to Jesus Christ, we too become acquainted with the Triune God’s ways and long to please Him in all things.

Commitments require effort. Follow John’s journey with Jesus in the Bible and see purposeful relational engagement which resulted in deep connection and intimacy.

  • Notice those around you who, after many years, remain committed to their spouse, friendships, and most of all Jesus. What do you learn from them?
  • Take authentic inventory of your relationships with family and friends. Are you actively investing in growth and closeness?
  • Reflect on your personal relationship with God. In what ways is your commitment developing and growing?

Sixty – Six decades of time

After sixty years my parents continue to deepen their commitment and pursuit of one another. After sixty years John, the apostle, continued in his commitment and dedication to Jesus. After sixty years who will you be committed to and who will you actively pursue?

Look for the ways God transforms your messiness into beauty and thank Him for His faithful commitment and companionship to your relationship. Here’s to sixty years and many more!

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

1 Kings 8:31
And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.

Ephesians 5:21,22, 25
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.

Timothy Keller. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God. New York City, NY. 2013.

Kyle Idleman. Not a Fan Updated and Expanded: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI. 2016

Sprinklings of truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.

Phil Wickham. Divine Romance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HsKoIA8dwk

Josh Wilson. Always Only You.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgRrUele_ZQ