Over our 25 years, HEARTLIGHT.org has passed along the creative blessings of many famous authors who graciously shared their writing with our readers. This year as we celebrate "Shining the Light" for a quarter-century, we will highlight some of these special authors. Today, please enjoy one of Ann Voskamp's early messages that is so full of her grit and grace and love for her husband and Jesus.

I watch you in the kitchen, slicing up a pie, summer evening sloping gold across your face.

How do you know the moment when you love someone the most?

I used to think it was that wild moment of crazy grace when you asked for forever on Reesor's side road and I laughed the wonder of yes.

But then the babies came with the contractions and I really did think it had to be then — you telling me afterward that you thought your arms would be all bruised, but I'd never have guessed, you smiling through every one as I gripped you tight, you looking right in my eyes and nodding that we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us.

Your whole life has spoken this to me, again, every time when it comes again, everything hard and tight.

Then the day my heart was shattered and you wore your My Wife Rocks t-shirt even though the style wasn't really what farmers wear, and you winked whenever you caught my eye, and I thought that was then when my heart burned deepest amber — the way even your look cradled me gentle.

And now I wonder if there never is one singular moment enflamed with the very most love — but real love is when you live the daily faithfulness of making whole decades of minutes tell the truth about the glorious gospel.

Your days have done this.

You have told me the truth about who Christ is, how He dies to self and gives when there's nothing left and gives up what is His and gives to those who don't deserve, so they can have more, and I have seen Christ in you, the way you live, the way you make your life about laying down.

There are no standing lovers: the only way to love is to lay down.

Lay down plans.

Lay down agendas.

Lay down self.

Love is always the laying down.

Nothing is more attractive than sacrifice.
This is how to make love out of a marriage: Love lays down its own wants to lift up the will of another.

Love lets go of its plans — to hold on to a person.

This is the passion of Christ.

Ours is the romanced universe: For God so loved the world that he gave... (John 3:16).

A good marriage isn't about reliving a good movie, but reliving the Good News.

Nothing is more attractive than sacrifice.

You there in the kitchen, all aflame, you make me know it again — how marriage is two people who keep kindling and igniting in a thousand little ways, grace sparks flying high and everywhere.

When you come and grin, serve me a wedge of rhubarb pie heaped with ice cream, I watch how it all melts quickly on a summer night in the heat of a holy burn.

My heart running all straight into yours...