Happy Anniversary, Baby. I’ve Got You On My Miiiinnnndddd…..

I am so excited to tell you that today Luke and I are celebrating 18 years of marriage. How about a big ‘yay‘ for us but an enormous ‘YAY‘ for God! I’ve shared the story of our restored relationship before here. But today, I would like to tell you about the beginnings of Us. This is the story of how we met or, more eloquently titled, “The Parking Lot Romance”.

I sense you’re getting nervous. I promise this post is G-Rated.

Luke is almost four years my senior so as teenagers, I knew who he was but that was all. Except that he was hot. Yes, I knew that, too.

My best friend dated Luke’s best friend and they were determined that we should go out. I was secretly thrilled over the idea but back in the good ‘ole days, believe it or not, there was still some mystery in the dating process. A girl was actually considered more desirable if she posed a wee bit of challenge instead of walking around half-nekked and throwing herself on any unsuspecting boy who walked by. So, when my friends suggested fixing us up, I was all like, “Yeah, okay. Whatever.”

And then I went home, closed my bedroom door, and did the hopeful happy dance in a way only a young, smitten teenager can do.

There were no cellphones then. No texting. No MySpace. No IM’ing. So the fixing up wasn’t something that happened instantaneously. It was more a game of chance that relied on my friends running in to Luke at some bonfire on the mountain (story for another day) or catching him at home on the phone to find out if he would be at all interested in going out with me and then letting me know some time in the distant future.

Quite a few days passed and still no word. I figured either my friends hadn’t talked to Luke, or worse, that a short girl with big hair just wasn’t the thing for him. Though I would have been disappointed, I already had my mind set to the ‘whatever’ mode the fateful day I ran into him in my workplace parking lot.

Luke’s buddy and I worked at the same company though on different shifts. One sunny afternoon I was walking in to work and saw Luke sitting in his ragtop Jeep waiting to pick up his friend. I quickly turned my head and was planning to avoid the heck out of him. If he didn’t yet know I had agreed to go out with him, then I figured my ignoring him would be more intriguing than if I walked over and introduced myself. And, if he didn’t want to go out with me, I sure wasn’t going to embarrass myself by acknowledging him. Either way, the First Move was not coming from yours truly.

I walked quickly in front of Luke’s Jeep purposefully looking the other direction. I knew if I even stole a glance I would be powerless to keep from staring at his gorgeous, perfectly blow-dried mullet. (Luke was famous for his stunning hair.) As I was hurrying past I heard him utter the most effectively awesome pick-up line that has ever passed human lips. With a coolness only matched by James Dean, he said:

“Hey. Come here.”

Would you like to know what I did?

I went there. And I’ve been there ever since.

I think back to those silly kids flirting in the parking lot and am still blown completely away that God has not only preserved our marriage but prospered it. Had I known what was waiting for me those many years ago, I would have run like crazy past the Jeep that day. But I didn’t and here I sit one of the happiest, most content women on this planet.

I love you, Luke! Still love your hair. I love the man and husband and father you are. And I love our God who saw fit to orchestrate a divine meeting in a parking lot.

And If you weren’t convinced before, now you know God can sanctify anything.

I Love Some Lively Discussion

Oh how much fun I had reading through your comments about Couple Time!

I want to make it clear that Luke and I don’t regularly jaunt to fabulous locations. We go once a year to Florida and this only because our friends have a FREE condo and Pastor Appreciation in October usually gives us the extra money to buy really yummy seafood. (Luke’s worst nightmare since he hates anything ocean borne.) We also have wonderful grandparents who actually come stay at my house to take care of the kids. There can never be enough heartfelt ‘thank you’s to our family and congregation. You have no idea how much your graciousness towards us restores our energies in ministry. I hope that excellent crab stuffed chicken I ate shows in the vigour with which I serve and love you!

We also do not have regularly scheduled date nights. We just take them when Opportunity knocks. Believe me, I’m feelin‘ ya on the expensive babysitters when you aren’t near family and have multiple children. And yes, I understand going out is not a prerequisite to a great marriage. The point I was getting at was the motivation for not wanting to leave, not the inability of doing so. For fun, I thought I’d give you a few ideas Luke and I have used in the past to spend time together on a budget.

* Trade out child care with friends.

We have several families with whom we are friends that I have no doubt I could call on to watch my kids in return for watching theirs another weekend. We’ve also split them between two homes before because my no. 3 boy is a mischief-making, fight-instigating, momma-missing fiend. The key to not feeling guilty about asking is to be the first to offer this for someone else. You could say, “Hi Friend. You and hubby could use the night out and my kids would love some company for Friday. Why don’t you go out and let them come over?” Do this without expecting the favor in return and you’ll be surprised by how often it IS returned.

* Eat dinner at home but go for a great dessert or movie.

Can anyone say Starbucks or Marble Slab Creamery? I also love going to the movies but avoid concessions. I sneak in my chocolate and buy a coke to assuage my guilty conscience.

* Rent movies.

My favorite times with Luke are when we watch a movie together. I absolutely loved Melody’s twist on this by having a ‘No Parents Allowed’ party so the kids can watch a movie in one room while the parents watch another. We split up like this sometimes but are plagued with someone coming in our room every 5 minutes to see what our movie is about. Melody’s idea is ingenious and you’d better believe I’ll be trying it out this weekend! Just a note: Luke and I recently watched Sandra Bullock’s ‘Premonition’. Are we the only people who have seen this who wanted to jump off the roof when it was over? Talk about terrible endings!

* Read together after the kids are in bed.

I love reading and especially reading in bed after the kids are asleep. This is the time I can ask Luke a zillion questions about what I’m studying or he can tell me what he’s planning on teaching at church.

With all that said, I believe we can conclude Togetherness isn’t a place but a State of Mind.

But, it sure helps my State of Mind to be Together at The Chop House.

Life With the Preacher

How fitting that my 17th anniversary should fall on the weekend we celebrate Resurrection. Let me tell you why.

There is absolutely no human reason why my husband and I should still be married today, much less serving in ministry. We married young – me almost 19, him 23. We were not saved and the result of our Godless actions and decisions had us filing for divorce two short years after the ceremony.

I was living with my dad and stepmom during this time. I despised the not-yet-Preacher and the truth is, I despised myself as much as him. We had hurt each other in a million ways and all I could think of was getting away from the pain and starting over. We were within two weeks of our divorce being final when one night I received a bizarre phone call from him. He told me he started going to church and that he had begun to pray about our marriage and he wanted us to think about what we were doing.

I went off the deep end…”So you are turning into a religious fanatic and you think that is going to fix everything?” I spewed. I was so full of hate and bitterness in those days and it still makes me cringe to think of all the horrible things I said to him about his new found “religion”. He continued, very patiently, to call and tell me he was praying as the clock ticked towards the day our marriage would be legally over.

I will never forget the night I had gone to bed, still resolved divorce was the only answer. For some reason, I woke up around 2 am and the tears began to flow. I missed my husband so badly I could barely lay there. I remember thinking, “What is wrong with you? You can not stand him! Why would you possibly be missing him? It is almost over, just hang in there.” I realize now that voice was Satan’s bent on thwarting God’s plan for our lives. If you ask me how I know prayer works, or how I know God can turn a cold, black heart into one that can feel love, laughter, and joy I will point you to this night because it is the one that changed everything for me.

I called the not-yet-Preacher the next day to say, “Let’s talk”. One talk led to another and we called the lawyer to say we wanted to stop the divorce proceedings. I tentatively moved back home with him and we began visiting churches. I was still not very thrilled about the ‘God thing’ but I knew for some reason I wanted my husband back and this would play a part. Would it ever.

One night soon afterward hubby came to me in our living room and told me he had just then prayed for salvation. He’d gone to church his whole life but it was only at that time he truly accepted Christ as His Savior. I grew up in a totally different denomination so this Baptist way of doing things was a little traumatic for me. I was glad for him, but I still wasn’t so sure what that meant for me. For personal reasons, organized religion held no real appeal so I was very afraid of how having my husband become so radically different was going to affect me and our life together. Suddenly I began having feelings of not being good enough for this new man and shame over my own sin slowly began entering my heart.

Salvation for me was not a lightening bolt experience but an intellectual process at first. I needed to understand it. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the Cross is foolishness for those who are perishing but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” I know the Spirit of God enabled me to believe what I was hearing because obviously I could have still walked away a scoffer. We had begun attending my husband’s childhood church and the pastor there became a dear friend and mentor to us both. He started a small group in his home and I was able to ask all my questions in a very non-threatening environment. That dear pastor was so patient with me as I asked about everything from “What does ‘once saved, always saved’ mean?” to “When do you think the rapture is coming?”. Finally, I realized that during those days I had already made a decision. That decision was for life – both for Jesus Christ and until death-do-us-part with my husband. I asked the Lord to ‘officially’ save me and soon afterwards made that public in the body of people who had prayed so faithfully for both my husband and me.

What a fitting way to celebrate Christ’s resurrection this weekend. Not only did God resurrect His Son, He brought new life to my marriage, my husband and me. And where God is the Great Physician, my husband is His nurse who continues to bandage the wounds of my heart until this day. The greatest gift next to eternal life I have been given is the knowledge I have a mate who would die for me and his children, and that he is for me – as a guardian and friend. I know that no matter where life takes me, I will never have to go alone. God has given me His Spirit and my husband as forever companions and I will never get over being grateful for either one. Everytime I feel love instead of bitterness, joy in the place of despair, peace reigning over turmoil, I know that it is not me who lives, but Christ who lives in me.

So, today I praise God for raising His Son and my family. And to my husband I say, “Happy Anniversary”. It has been 17 years – 15 of them wonderful. :) I adore you and am so proud of the man God has made you and the impact in ministry He is giving you. I am honored to be your wife and the mother of your four beautiful children. Though He chose us, you need to know I agree with Him – again and again. I choose life – His and ours.

I love you, Preacher and I’m expecting a real good dinner out of this…:))

« Previous Page