Saturday, January 3, 2009

23 Wonderful Years

Twenty-three years ago, Tammie and I were married. It has been an amazing journey for us. I can not even fathom the thought of not having her to share my life with. We have had ups and downs, trials and triumphs, and sorrow and joy. Next to Jesus, she is the greatest treasure of my life.

Looking back on the past 23 years, I think about a woman who: puts up with me; is a caring and loving wife; a wonderful Mom to our children; a woman who has been my best friend for almost 26 years.

I think back to the time a mutual friend (who we just found for the first time since High School) tried to set us up. She said that we would be perfect for each other. I was a preacher boy and Tammie was a very gifted singer. Neither of us would believe her. Tammie worked with her, and everyday at school, Hope would keep trying to get me to call her. I finally caved, but I did not trust that this was a good idea. We talked for maybe five minutes or so on the phone. Neither of us liked the other. I thought she was kind of stuck up (but later I found out that she had the same misgivings that I did). She thought I was a nerd. When talking to Hope today on the phone, I reminded her of that. Hope told me that I was a nerd in High School. Tammie tells everyone that I was born old. I had been preaching at one of our nursing homes for about three years (since I was 16). Maybe that is why I loved it: I was born old.

After I graduated from High School, I was unable to afford to go to college. I really wanted to go to Criswell College, and knew that is where God was leading me, but not at this time. It was in December of that year, that I was approached about working in one of our local Funeral Homes. I was hired and did everything from cleaning the facilities, yard work, driving families to and from the funeral and eventually became a Licensed Embalmer and Funeral Director's Apprentice. I started attending our local college (Cameron University) part time in the Spring semester of 1984. I liked college, but I loved the BSU. I was part of our revival team and had many opportunities to preach there, as well in Churches within our Association, and regularly in my home church. I was usually preaching three out of four Sundays. That fall, at the BSU, is where I met Tammie. Actually, she met me. I did not know who she was until a month or so later. I was preaching at one of our weekday noon praise and worship services. Tammie says she knew then that she was going to marry me. But she did not pursue me. She prayed. I met her, when we were making flowers for the BSU's homecoming float. Our BSU director earlier that week asked me if I knew Tammie, and if I did not, that I should. I got the hint. Over the next 16 months, she put up with my unpredictable work schedule (as well as me). I was quickly falling in love. When I would preach, I would take Tammie with me, often times (no every time) have her sing. She quickly learned to be ready and took music with her. I was, and still am, amazed at the beautiful voice she has.

It was on a BSU retreat to Falls Creek, that I proposed to her at Devil's Bathtub. You have to be an Oklahoma Baptist to know how beautiful it is there. We were married less than a year later. That summer, I served as a Summer Missionary with the Home Mission Board (through the BSU). I went to Glorietta, NM after the summer with the BSU and came back to get ready to get married in a few months. We were walking in the mall one day, when our mutual friend, happened to be back in town. She came up to us screaming (for the entire mall to hear). She kept saying that she knew we were perfect for each other. She was right.

As I look back to the time leading up to our marriage, and the 23 years since, I can not help but thank God, that He has blessed me so richly! I know that it was His will that prevented me from attending Criswell College, until He brought us together. Otherwise, we would not have met. I have a wife who has selflessly sacrificed for me and our children. To me, she is a mix of characters that God has uniquely made into my wife. Strong, yet gentle. Soft hearted, but not a pushover. Compassionate towards others, above herself. She has more love than I can even begin to imagine. I always kid her that she would take in any stray, two legged or four legged (we have had many of both in our home over the years). We currently are trying to adopt a little boy that God has brought into our lives. I would never have been one to do so, if I had not had a wife who was so open to what God has planned for us. She is a woman who would rather spend time together shopping for groceries, than go to the finest restaurant or other entertainment. She epitomizes selflessness. I truly have never met anyone like her. I will never forget when we could not get a babysitter for the boys for an anniversary one year, she decided we would all go to Chuck E. Cheese and celebrate our anniversary. We had a great time!

Over the years, we have known the great joys of having children and watching them grow into young men. We have also walked through the dark valley of a miscarriage and of losing a daughter during childbirth. Yet, God has been gracious, loving and kind! He has sustained us, and I can say with all sincerity that I would not trade my life with Tammie for anything in this world. Without her, I would be incomplete and empty.

Because of her, I can say, I am a man most blessed by God!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love you too!!!!!!!!!!