The Bad Anniversary When we Gave Up and What it Has to do With You

This is a story about me.  But it’s also about you.  Whether you’re married or single.

Today is our 29th wedding anniversary.  And 28 years ago today was a bad day.

Our one year anniversary.

We were with family and friends at a cabin, high on a pine-filled shore overlooking a pristine lake in northern Wisconsin.

Cannon balls into the icy cold crystal blue.  Double tubing wars bumping  over the waves and plumpy only-in-the-summertime-at-the-cabin clouds overhead.  It seemed like a good day.

And it was.

Until husband John took his wedding ring off to ski and put it on the pier, asking our friend to watch it.

You know what’s coming next, don’t you?  (And by the way, WHO takes their wedding ring off to ski???)

Yep, the ring got knocked off the pier and into the lake, which, I’m convinced, happened to have the finest, siltiest bottom in Wisconsin.

An hour later, the shallow water was filled with friends and family, carefully walking, trying to feel a wedding ring under their bare toes.  No luck.

We gave up and all made the long drive home to Chicago that night, resigned to the loss.

Except my mother.

The next day she was on the phone with a couple of young guys in northern Wisconsin who had a metal detector they used to find lost objects.  She sent them to our friend’s cabin and they did their best, wading in the shallow water with their gear, hoping for the sound that would indicate a “find.”  No luck.

Again we felt resigned.  Eventually we went out and bought John another wedding ring.  A substitute.

5 years passed.

We had a baby.  We moved to Washington D.C.  We had another baby.

Then one ordinary morning I got a call.  The voice on the other end of the line said, “Are you familiar with the verse, ‘Magnify the Lord with me.  Let us exalt His name together.'”?

I said, “Of course, that’s our marriage verse, but how do you know it?”

“Well it’s written right here inside John’s wedding ring that I’m looking at.”

“What the what???”

“The guys who had looked for John’s wedding ring with the metal detector 5 years earlier, felt terrible that they had failed.  This morning they showed up at our door.  They said they had just gotten a more powerful metal detector and could they please try again to look for the ring?”

They trekked down the many steps and waded out into the cold water.  It was maybe two minutes before my friend heard whoops and hollers.  Shouts of delight as the ring was found.

I share this on our anniversary because to me it’s such a picture of God’s never-give-up-searching love.

He’s the shepherd searching for the lost sheep.  The woman looking for the lost coin.  The father scanning the horizon, waiting for his “lost” son to come home.

The diver scouring a lake bottom, not willing to give up and live with a substitute ring.

Because He believes there is no substitute for you.

If you’re feeling lost, know that God will never stop watching and waiting for you to turn and see that you were “found” by Him.

If you love someone who’s far from God, know that He’s a never-give-up God who loves your prodigal even more than you do.

Do you have a lost and found prodigal story to share?

4 thoughts on “The Bad Anniversary When we Gave Up and What it Has to do With You

  1. What a beautiful story!! I wish I had a lost and found story, but my prodigal is still lost … Once again I am filled with the hope of God’s never-ending love and persistence that one day my prodigal will return.

    Thank you Laura 🙂


  2. A cousin that we haven’t seen for over 25 years came to our family reunion. He was terrified to walk in and face us. There were tears all around as he was embraced and loved.Throughout the night my aunts would just walk over to him and hold his hand. Such a joyful weekend with lots of tears and laughter as we shared memories and hope that his father and brother will join us at the next reunion.
    Thank you for bringing those sweet memories to mind:.)


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