Irene and Dan Woodworth renewed their wedding vows on September 1, 2019. (Courtesy photo)
By Dr. Dan Woodworth
My Most Beautiful Beloved Bride, Inspiring Irene, and I celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary on September 1, 2019 in the backyard of my sister’s house in Boise. My Faithful Friend, Transforming Trent Martin, a missionary to Germany, was the officiant for the renewing of our vows. There were 65 faithful friends and extended family relatives in attendance. Sandy Jones, the publisher of this magazine, and her husband, Steve, were also part of our celebration.
The ceremony was Blessed Beyond Belief because we prayed and prayed and prayed that the Right People would be Present with us. Many faithful friends could not make it because of previous commitments.
Most everyone commented that it was an astonishing anniversary sacred celebration! They could see and feel the love that we had for each other. We were all inspired!
Why? It all started back in September of 1977. I was a seminary student at Melodyland School of Theology in Anaheim, Calif. I started in January, but that fall quarter I saw a Beautiful Young Lady who was a new student. I thought she was a professor. She was all dressed up and carrying a nice briefcase. I talked to her a few times, but I really met her in January of 1978.
That day we had a school celebration on a Saturday night with worship, a potluck and ministry time. A friend of mine, Randy Harris, asked her if she wanted to sit at our table. She sat right next to me! I was so nervous I shredded my napkin more than a squirrel could chew up a nut! I asked her if she belonged to a weekly Bible study for students. She said no. Somehow, I asked her if she wanted to come to ours. She said YES!
We started praying together and researching and studying together. My Master of Divinity degree was INTENSE. I was either studying, doing research and writing or in class from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM Monday through Saturday for 2½ years. We usually did research on Saturday all day at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena because that had a HUGE library and our school was so new that did not have all the resources we needed.
From the first of January until the middle of March of 1978 we hung out together. The funny thing was is that I never thought of her as a potential mate. I felt like she was a faithful friend like my own biological sisters.
Then it happened! During the spring break I came back to Boise and my sisters told me they KNEW she was My Most Beautiful Beloved Bride! They did not tell me then, but they later told me that all I talked about was Inspiring Irene!
I flew back to LA International Airport (LAX) from Boise when the spring break ended. When Inspiring Irene picked me up, I knew that she was the One! My proposal to her was, “Is the Lord telling you the same thing that He is telling me?” She said YES!
We announced our engagement on Memorial Day. My Fabulous Father-in-Love was home, and her mom and two brothers, and we were at the kitchen table. Gradually they all left except her father and me. I told him that I knew the Lord wanted me to marry his Delightful Daughter! The first thing he said was that she wanted to be the pastor of her own church and if I wanted to do that! I said YES! That was IT! Everybody came back together after they secretly heard our conversation and we all celebrated together!
Our engagement lasted 1½ years. One week after finishing my Master of Divinity degree, on September 1, 1979, we were married at Rose Drive Baptist Church in Yorba Linda, Calif., a block away from the President Nixon Library!
We planted four churches and survived 6 near-death experiences along with many other dangers, toils and snares. Our current church is miraculous! We moved 24 times before our 25th wedding anniversary. We have lived in our Healing Home in Boise since April 1, 2004. We adopted our Sensational Spectacular Son, Courageous Compassionate Chris, on January 29, 2007. He was 29 years old. The judge at the Ada County Courthouse granted an exception to the law allowing us to adopt him since he was over 18.
When we recited our vows on September 1, 1979, we never dreamed that we would have experienced so many losses and deep sadness together. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health were tested over and over and over. Our spiritual mentor for 26 years told us that she had never seen anyone go through so many dangers, toils and snares and still be living!
All the languishing losses and sinking sadness have been TOTALLY TRANSFORMED INTO INSPIRING HEALING and ASTONISHING WHOLENESS because of our commitment to our LIVING, LOVING LORD and EACH OTHER!
We share LIVING LOVE, JUBILANT JOY and PERFECT PEACE because we completely committed to a SACRED COVENANT with our LIVING, LOVING LORD! The Hebrew word for helpmate in Genesis 2:18 is “ezer kenegdo.” That word means LIFESAVER. The same word is used for the Lord as our LIFESAVER! We see each other as our LIFESAVER! Neither of us would be alive if we did not believe who He created us to BE!
My prayer every day is to fall in love with Jesus and My Most Beautiful Beloved Bride in a deeper spiritual, emotional, romantic relationship every EMPOWERING MIRACLE MOMENT!
We have been tempted by the devil to give up many, many, many times. But we REFUSE to give up on our LIVING, LOVING LORD or EACH OTHER! We have come TOO FAR to give up!
We have sought every healing opportunity we could find. Our spiritual mother and our pastor, Evangelist Ann Wright, for 26 years never gave up on us and we never gave up on her. She went to heaven on May 3, 2003. Without her we would both be dead. Many pastors have given up on us, but she NEVER GAVE UP on us!
We have been through a weeklong psychiatric treatment in two different hospitals. We experienced the Restoration Ministry of Wounded by Shame, Healed by Grace, Healing the Father Wound, Boundaries and Safe People in the two years I was a Pioneer Pastor at East Hill Church in Portland, Ore. in 2002 and 2003. That Restoration Ministry was required to plant a new church out of East Hill. We have taken every seminar on healing that we could find during our MIRACLE MARRIAGE!
We have forgiven everyone who ever hurt us. We are Best Friends! We have NO secrets. Many times, we thought we would be destroyed and die, but we are still ALIVE!
We have embraced GREAT GRACE and our shame has been swallowed up.
GREAT GRACE says we believe we are more than enough; we have what it takes, and we have made it, we are making it and we will make it! Shame says we are not enough, we don’t have what it takes, and we will not make it.
When we choose GRACE, we LIVE! Refuse shame! Embrace GRACE!
Our story is INSPIRING and ILLUMINATING because we made a DEFINITE DECISION to BE and BECOME all who WE WERE CREATED TO BE!
GOD speaks in Ephesians 5:21-29: “
Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ also is the head of the church and is Himself the savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also should wives be subject to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, cleansing her by washing of water through the word so that He might present Himself to the church in splendor, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should also love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife, loves himself, for no one ever hates his own body, but nourishes and takes care of it, just as Christ does the church, since we are members of His body. ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, but I am speaking about Christ and about the church. Nevertheless, each one of you is to love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.”
Every Handsome, Healing Husband is created to LOVE and SERVE his Beautiful, Beloved Bride. Every Beautiful, Beloved Bride is created to SUBMIT to and RESPECT her Handsome, Healing Husband!
When we live according to our DIVINE DESIGN, marriage is a REFLECTION of Christ and His Church!