Kim and I recently sat down to watch our wedding video. We had not been able to view it for about 12-13 years because our VHS copy had decided long ago that it would much rather show lines and snow on the screen. Kim and I would have rather watched the wedding but we had no choice in the matter. So … we were overwhelmingly surprised when we found out that my Mom had another copy of our special day. I immediately converted it to digital. Then, Kim and I sat down to relive what took place on May 10, 1997 in the sanctuary of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.
One of my favorite pictures from that day was taken immediately following the ceremony. We had just been married and we peered longingly into each other’s eyes with smiles on our faces. (Something this picture shows very clearly is who got the better end of the deal. ME!!!) One of the primary reasons I love it is because it captures a moment at the beginning of our lives together when we were filled with thoughts of joy and hope. In our minds, we felt that we could take on the world because we had each other. Everything was right in the world. We could not fathom in that moment that the sea of life would soon get terribly rough.
Before I mention specifically what those rough times were, let me make one comment from my vantage point 14 years after our wedding day. Little did I know on that day that our marriage would not simply be a reason for my own personal joy. (Being married to my best friend has provided plenty of joy!) I had no idea on that day as “two became one” how having a front row seat to the story of Kim’s life would grow me in so many different ways.
Quite possibly one of the greatest qualities that Kim has is her ability to experience difficulty and constantly rise above it. Kim has had ample opportunity to model this in her life. Very soon after our wedding, her grandmother who lived in Campton, Kentucky, who had been such an encouragement to her in her growing up years, passed away. This was someone that Kim had grown remarkably close to throughout the years. Her grandmother was her friend, her counselor, her ear and her shoulder to lean on.
But the greatest blow of all took place when her mom was diagnosed with cancer only six short months after our wedding day. For 9 months, I watched as Kim sacrificially took care of her mother. Even as Kim was carrying our firstborn son in her womb, she selflessly served the woman who had shown my wife how to be a godly woman. When Kim was 5 months pregnant with our firstborn, we attended her mother’s funeral.
Since then, Kim has undergone an emergency c-section as we feared for the life of our firstborn. She has experienced the death of her father and a grandfather. She has sat helplessly as a doctor looked her in the eye and informed her that she had cancer.
But from my front row seat, I’ve seen her find strength in the Lord to get back up and keep on going. Whatever the trial, whatever the circumstances, I’ve never seen her wallow in pity or discouragement unless it was for a very short time. I’ve seen her discover the strength that the Lord has made available to her and she keeps going. She still has the sweet smile and heart of gold. She hasn’t allowed bitterness to characterize her. Instead, she is known by those around her as someone who has a tender and compassionate heart.
When I peered into her eyes 14 years ago, I had no clue how blessed I would be by my lifelong union with Kim. I pray each morning for my boys’ future wives and pray that God will bless my sons with a wife as incredible as the one He gave to me.