21 years ago I said I do to the man I had dreamt of marrying for several years.
I could not believe when my prayers were really truly answered and he called and asked me out that September night in 1996. We dated for 3 months (yup...truly) and got engaged during the 1997 New Year's Eve fireworks in my parent's yard in rural Abbeville county South Carolina.
6 months later, 9 months to the day from our 1st date we got married in a little church in Greenwood, SC with about 200 of our closest friends, family members and 500 plus fresh roses.
Then began our life together. We often refer to those first 5 - 7 years as the magical ones though sometimes sadly the sadness and tragedy of the latest decade dims the beauty and the happy memories that I am glad to have recorded in photos. We had infertility which was hard and consumed a lot of moments but other then that we really did have fun. We traveled somewhere fun for every anniversary, something I really do miss now sometimes. We had 8 anniversaries before God answered our baby prayers.
If we are truly honest, each of us married folk will admit several things. First off, no marriage is perfect. We have ups. We have downs. There are, like our marriage vows stated, good times and bad. We have health and then sometimes sickness. Sometimes we have plenty and sometimes nothing...
Our last decade of marriage seems to showcase those worsts. But God has always remained faithful.
We lost everything we owned (home, van, dignity..) in a failed business venture. Through that process we nearly caved and lost us too. But God was faithful and glued us back together. Our reunion after nearly a year apart produced what we called our 2nd honeymoon baby.
That was the only pregnancy we took professional photos to preserve. Abby was born 9 months after we got back together and aptly named Abby, meaning Father's joy. She brought joy from the father and to her earthly father and all of us in ways we could not understand.
Then God decided He needed her back and our hearts were broken into millions of tiny pieces. But we held on despite the statistics that showed higher then fathomable divorce rates after the death of a child. And God was faithful.
Through Abby's death, several people came to know the Lord in personal ways including Lowell who came to a fresh and new salvation in October of the year she died. You can see the joy evident in his face in the pictures from that time...
The next year my mom was diagnosed with end stages colon cancer and I and the children spent 3 months once again apart from Lowell, caring for mama. Hard hard times as our grief from losing Abby was still so very fresh. But God was faithful. Mama survived and is thriving...
Last fall (2017) we became well acquainted on a personal level with the "in sickness and in health" part of our vows when I became ill with sinus infection which became super bugs and resulted in surgery after which I was hospitalized with sepsis (a serious through out the body blood infection...often fatal) and staph infection. My recovery road is long and discouraging. 9 months from my initial illness, I still am fighting off stuff that Dr's are trying to figure out how to best treat. I have very little energy some days and sleep a lot. I am trying to go on with life but my physical limitations are restricting and I am told the recovery window for the stuff I have most recently encountered is 6 to 12 months.
On days like today when I want to be able to feel up to celebrating I instead must focus on that faithfulness from Father God that we are well acquainted with and think with gratefulness on the blessing of simply sitting with the man I love!
We recently enjoyed going through our wedding songs. They are all favorites however the one that stands out to both of us as a testament of what commitment really looks like.
We hope to be able to get our very old VHS put onto a more permanent DVD or other digital format but until then we got this song uploaded to You Tube. I think you can see it by clicking on the words below.
Happy Anniversary to my handsome hubby...here's to 21 more.