This Sunday we will celebrate our 40th anniversary. Four decades of life lived side by side. This week we will take a look back on some of the lessons we’ve learned thus far. It has been worth every tear, every heartache and every disappointment, because on the other side of the hard times were unexpected joys!
The year was 1979.
When we first got married we didn’t realize the value this one thing was to a healthy marriage.
We were young. We were in love. We had our entire life ahead of us and the possibilities seemed endless. We had never lived in the same city since we started dating. So not having to say goodbye was wonderful.
Life came at us fast.
I had some unexpected health problems which required a hospital stay and surgery after only 3 months of marriage. Two months later we were relocated to the one city where I said I would never live–Miami, FL. We moved on my 20th birthday and because of this, Tom forgot about it. No gift. No card. No celebration. I was hurt, sad and lonely. This was just the beginning. My health continued to deteriorate requiring more doctor visits that lasted our entire first year of marriage.
Once we settled into our Miami apartment, we received a letter stating that our complex was converting to condominiums. Something that was happening everywhere in FL in the early 80’s. This meant we either had to buy or move. We had no choice but to pack up after only 4 weeks in our new place and move again. Ugh! The first move was paid for by Tom’s employer. The second move we had to not only pay for ourselves, but also we had to physically do the work.
Before we packed up and relocated, we were threatened by Hurricane David. He was heading right for us on Labor Day weekend. Had we taken a direct hit it would have been bad, since our 1st floor patio flooded from a normal rain storm. We were prepared though–a freezer full of Snicker bars and lots of Tab.
This is when we realized what we were missing–A church community.
I had grown up surrounded by church family and friends. This was the first time in my life that I didn’t have a community to help and support me through challenging times. I missed it.
We found a small bible-believing church where we got involved with the worship team, Tom on drums and me on vocals. It was a start. We were making friends, and we realized the benefit it was to have others in our lives. We also began growing closer to the Lord together. It was a foundation we had neglected and it felt good to be connected again.
We believe that we are who we are today in large part because of the investment our church family has made in us through the years.
We are grateful to God for this lesson learned.