A little over eight years ago, I looked across a campground in an African village to see him swinging all the “village kids” around in circles…they were lined up for a turn! He didn’t know I was watching from a distance, but that giving and fun-loving spirit was slowly drawing me in. We sat at night and marveled at the HUGE African sky, how we could actually see the Milky Way and how amazing it was that we were looking for the first time at stars we’d never seen before…Southern Hemisphere stars! I was beginning to love this man.
Almost seven years ago, we were underneath the stars again and the bright light of the Harvest Moon in a field in Watkinsville, Georgia where he asked me to be his wife…we were so excited and hopeful looking toward the future and all God had planned for us- together!
This weekend (Sunday to be exact…but I have to work Boo!), it has been SIX of the longest, most action packed years since the day I walked down that aisle in my big white dress and committed to walk with him through the best and worst life had to offer…we committed ourselves to each other and our marriage to the Lord. We paused for a moment and looked out over our friends and family gathered who committed to pray for us as we embarked on life’s journey together and answered to Call to fight for the plight of the Orphan and the “least of these”. I am still overwhelmed with pure joy thinking of that day and what fun we had!
A little over five years ago, I planned a graduation party for him as he graduated with his Bachelor’s from UGA. I smile now at the thought of him in his cap and gown with the crazy tacky UGA “Hawaiian” shirt underneath! I was so unbelievably proud of him…my husband!!! I had to throw a “fancy” party for him; and by “fancy” I mean borrowed tables in the little carport of our rental house and a “catered” meal from Sonny’s BBQ! Haha! I have so many incredible memories in our little Georgia houses: like unwrapping all our wedding gifts and putting up Christmas decorations for the first time together, and (for some reason) I remember one night when Colby was so proud of this ginormous pot of wild rice soup he’d made (it was good!) one day when I got home from orientation at my very first “real” job. I still miss our carefree strolls around downtown Athens and holding hands on Sundays after church.
A little over four years ago, we packed up on the craziest adventure yet…we put Athens, GA in the rear view mirror and (with tears welling in our eyes) headed West to Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Our moving truck was broken into on our first night in Memphis while we were out eating at a famous BBQ restaurant that Colby had found by tracking down the locals for recommendations (pre-iPhone, people!). It’s those little things that I absolutely love about him, sometimes he’s so much more brave and adventurous than me. We passed the time in the truck drudging through Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle singing at the top of our lungs together and then Colby would say something like, “Ok, let’s play a game. For the next hour, we can only talk in Australian accents, sing opera style, etc” and then complain that I was “no fun” when I almost wrung his neck after 5 minutes of his “Australian” accent! We got to see the Grand Canyon, and Vegas and pretty much the entire state of California from bottom to top before arriving in the tiniest little apartment with the most amazing view of the San Francisco Bay and Mount Tamalpais- ummmm, is this real life?! I loved him more and more and more the further we got away from home…it was him and me and our Great God taking on the world! It was this little apartment where we waited the long two minutes for that second line on the pregnancy test to glow pink- ahhh the excitement! The bond forged between the two of us “that” day, when the world came crashing down and we thought we may lose our baby boy…it cannot even be uttered by human words. He was so strong and scared and unwaivering in his faith…leading us bravely, to the One who held our future.
It has been nearly three years since the day “the pain” started that led to a week of diagnostic tests in the hospital and, eventually, premature delivery. I can still see the love mixed with helpless sadness as I begged him to help me in my worst moment of pain- even when I knew he couldn’t. I can still feel the peace that came when all the pain meds I was on still didn’t touch and he would just hold me and pray over me. It was the picture of the Christ and the Church, caring for me as if I were his own body. Nearly three years since that glorious moment we heard that tiny little cry from our little 4 lb 6 oz baby boy for the first time!!! I can still see that proud papa smile through the mask on his face in the OR and the joy and thankfulness to the Lord for our son, our precious son!
Oh yeah, then a few months later this…
It has been almost two years since I woke him up in the middle of the night to say our little lady was on her way! I smile at the memory of seeing his ghost white face watching them start my IV and the rest I felt as soon as he was at my side in the OR. Our “feisty” little girl was here (and yes, we have my doctor on video announcing her feistiness at approx. 10 seconds of life…prophet?!) and her daddy was so.in.love. He had the goofiest grin on his face watching every move as they bathed her and combed through her baby fuzz. I’m fairly certain that I have married the most amazingly attentive, competent, loving and devoted dad ev.er. My condolences to every other woman on the planet. He did it all: administered digoxin, lasix and prevacid twice daily, middle of the night feeds, poopy diapers, pulse oximeter, baths, dressed (matching *most* of the time!), took on adventures shopping at Home Depot or Costco when neither of them could walk yet, cross country flights helping me keep my cool….the list is never ending! But the bottom line is that he is more than I ever could have hoped for in a daddy for my kids! (Oh, and I forgot to mention in the last two paragraphs that he also completed an international research project and Capstone research project, graduated with his first Master’s degree while still working on a second one and did the Children’s ministry at our church!!!)
It has been a little less than a year ago that we knew the Lord was calling us to pursue Orphan Care ministry full time. No one but me and the Lord saw all the struggle, hard work, pain, joy and victory through this refining process. Even through difficult decision making, his character has only grown stronger and led us with the Confidence of the Holy Spirit’s direction to Austin, Texas this summer.
This Sunday, I am celebrating the most incredibly beautiful gift God has ever given me next to my Salvation through his son. This Sunday, I am celebrating my marriage and my husband. I love you more now than ever, Colby!