Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love Won Out - Happy Valentines Day My Dear Wife

Well this year as our finances would have it, I am not able to get the gift that says I love you on this Valentines Day..Normally I would shop around for the perfect gift that expresses my love for you and that would signify my enduring commitment..Couple that with a box of chocolates and I feel my message would be clearly delivered..Nicki I love you on this very special day..Valentines Day.. Well this year will be a bit different.. The object of my expression of love for you will be painfully( because all the memories I would love to share but will not have room, just too many) and pleasantly sifted out here on the pages of our newly formed Family Blog..This is my attempt to tie words with emotions in order to illuminate my feelings for you as Friend, Wife, Mother and Soul Mate..I know that many times in the past I have tried to essentially buy our happiness..always ending up dissolving away..Material possessions are just not adequate to represent a bond that spans more than 18 years now...I believe that my attempt to capture the precious moments of life we have shared over the past 18 years in writing will hopefully cement in your mind, the absolute gratitude and sincere genuine Love I have for you.. One thing I am sure amount of perfect penmanship will ever be able to fully encapsulate all that is in my heart..Only my Lord God knows the extent of how I feel about you and the blessing you have been in my life...

Friend and Girlfriend- Before you became my girlfriend, you were first my friend and now always my friend.. You have been there for me thru some of the most difficult trials of life...and to some of the mountain tops we managed to find ourselves.. I remember the very first time I laid eyes on you at Plum Krazies...I was mesmerized.. I still with all my mental challenges ( and you know what I mean by that) can see your face as clear as day on the special evening..Your hair had a slight curl to it, flowing down your back, blond as could be..Your shirt was made of a silk material and your smell was like no other, a sweet aroma that like a thief in the night, stole my heart.. You were wearing glasses with dark rims that accentuated your exquisite beauty.. Then we danced!! WOW..You had rhythm..You danced and danced and danced the night away....and then we parted, sharing numbers that would eventually lead to where I am today.. What a significant turn of events that transpired that evening..So many things could have gone differently and we never would have crossed paths..not to mention you were only 17 in a club that required you to be 18...or me telling you I was 21 instead of 18, trying to be the older more mature guy..I remember sitting in your driveway one evening not long after that taking you home from a date and my high school tassel was hanging from my rear view mirror, with class of 1990 hanging from it..You asked me again how old I was, and again I clamored 21..only to be called out by you and given away by my tassel that was jumping around due to my 2 MTX 10" boom box speakers in the rear..Thumping..not to mention my pink steering wheel cover and my leopard skin seat covers..I cant believe all that did not send you running..It did not..God had brought us together, converging our paths with a purposeful plan...and that very plan is playing itself out to this day.. You were there for me when my Mom died...holding me in your arms telling me it would be OK..your comforting shoulder during that difficult time has been more influential than you will ever know..You traveling to my baseball games in your Dad's prelude with the sunroof open..always fashionably late..I remember the very first game you came to was at Davidson College and that was a game that I did not even get to play..I was so embarrassed but yet it mattered not to you..You saw potential in me..and that was evident in your actions after the game..I was beginning to fall deeply in love with you...and these moments are defining moments that have cemented this relationship and have been part of the glue that held us together when things did not look so bright.. I remember you studying the Bible and spending time in your bible as a young teenager, admiring your desire to know and follow God...which was a bit distant to me at that time..I found that to be a quality very few possessed..and then there was Prom night..That night you displayed a patience in me that I will never forget..I happened to have a double header at Mars Hill College on the same evening as your senior prom..Since I was on scholarship to play for Belmont Abbey, I could not say to my coach.."Coach I have a girlfriend I have been dating for a while and tonight is her prom night so I will not make the game tonight.." That just wasn't an option..So I went and played in that game and had a career night due to the excitement of going to the prom with you..I hit two home runs that night and hit for the cycle..4 RBI's..The best ballgame I would ever have..and then the long ride home anxiously waiting at every stop sign and stop light..wondering if I would ever get home..but I did, late as all get out, but we made it and you look ravishing..

Our relationship began to mature and so I felt it was time to seek your hand in marriage so I proposed to you..ensuring first that your parents would be OK with that..and then our love train went off in the dirt road and things began to fall apart..Our life that I had planned together had been derailed and I was devastated..My life would forever change during that period were we decided to break up and get some space..after all we were young and marriage seemed to be a gigantic for a period of just over a year...we were no longer..It was me and it was you, but no more us..I had just graduated college and saw that it was time to pick up the pieces and get my life back on track..and just as I had almost resolved to myself that you would no longer be a part of my life, God saw fit to bring us back together..I honestly thought I had lost you forever and I had missed out on marrying my soul mate..for it wasn't to be..yet events unfolded that would once again, diverge our paths and this time, I was not about to let you go..I took you to a very special place for me and proposed once again..Allowing my heart to be opened to a relationship with you once again..and I remember weeping from the depths of my being because I felt like Destiny had once again been reunited with me..

Wife - Where do I begin.. A wedding that will forever be etched in my being.. A beautiful dress, a horse drawn buggy to the reception and a grand entrance to what was no doubt the happiest day of my life..A church filled with loved ones..A desire to become husband and wife..on the heels of a tragic day in my professional career life, which left us without a honeymoon..but that made no difference to us..We were together as husband and wife and that night at a downtown Charlotte hotel, we finally were able to sleep in the same bed..Halleluiah..but let me digress..Back to the wedding day..I remember as you were walking down that isle and I had not seen you all day, the moment I laid eyes on you, my heart began to beat took my breath away..I was enthralled with your beauty.. You had evolved from a young lady to an elegant lady, a woman, a picture of composite beauty..and boy was I proud...and hoping you did not change your mind .. I could not believe I was about to marry the very woman who captured my heart...but it was to be that very night..and that set a course of real life for us that we have traveled....a course that had some winding roads, dead ends roads and plenty of stop signs and red lights...all of which have been instrumental in refining us, molding us into what we have become today..Life has been a series of triumphs and crashes, victories and defeats..but through all the ups and downs we have managed to endure...Some days were really easy and some were very very difficult and then most were just ordinary days of two people sharing life together..I mean what more can a man want than to be in the presence of his queen on a daily basis...There were trips to the mountains to see the beautiful leaves in the fall, trips to the beach were we just laid on the beach all day with no worries about what was to come or what was past.. Dinners, dates, drive-ins and even those moments on the couch where we just curled up together in front of a movie...All of which seem like distant memories fading into the past as our life unfurls into a new era..and era that forced our desires to take a backseat as we headed into parenthood..Kids..Lots of them but life and fulfillment just took on a new meaning as we began to share this phase of life together, one that forever would change how we thought as a couple and one that would bring new meaning to our life..

Mother - You brought that pregnancy test into the room I was sitting that day and showed me a plus sign on a white and blue test stick..I was not sure what I was looking at..Could it be..Was I going to be a Dad..That is not possible..I am not ready to be a dad..I have no idea how to..But the joy that was painted all over your face when sharing this with me told me all I needed to know..We were going to be just fine..We were going to have a baby...You and actual real live baby..Now we begin the difficult task of choosing a name..Boy names and Girl names..we looked at both..and then the day we found out she would in fact be a girl.. You had asked for some version of Lillian or Lily and I stubbornly shot that down, not knowing that one day in the future, you would get to use that name after all. We settled on two initials..C and J..both coming from our parents.. Carolyn Jewel..How perfect..We loved initial names and both of our parents were honored in the process..So lets jump ahead to the day of birth, skipping past all those days of sickness and back pain , to the day the Doc said..we are having a baby..I remember sitting in that patient room and he said " we are having this baby today"..I thought "what" can't just say it like that..I mean don't we have time to prepare..Don't we get to go thru the process of "is this the moment"..Nope..It was time and not a day to soon for you..I remember you sitting on the bed after your epidural typing on the computer..and I thought..she is about to birth a child and she looks like there is nothing about to happen..I was scared stiff and I was just a bystander..but you were so ready to welcome this child into our life..We had done everything we were suppose to..No caffeine, no alcohol, no bad stuff..Well you actually did all that, not me..LOL,...but I did go to Lamaze classes with you and boy was that a unique we were prepared..The Nursery was just beautiful..CJ's name was on the wall...Clouds adorned the room painted over a soft blue background..New baby furniture..Bring it on..We were ready..and then labor began..Your heels up in the holster and my idea of child birth was coming to mind from what all I had learned, heard and saw..a few hours of pushing and pushing and hopefully a baby...except you forgot to follow that course..I think it was like..Push #1..there is the top of CJ's head..Good Grief..Push #2..Head out and I see my beautiful baby girl for the first time..I was awestruck..lightheaded and about to pass out..But you needed me to hold that I endured and Push #3 and out came CJ in all her glory..I cant help but cry even as I type this out..It was the most amazing sight my eyes had ever seen..I had heard all about this from others..but no amount of hearing can prepare you for the actual thing..I just watched my baby girl being brought into this world after cooking in your belly for 9 months..Only God could have done that..There was no other way to explain it..What a gift He gave us..I remember them bathing her for the first time back in the area behind the window and I was thinking, please don't hurt her, be gentle..and they were tossing her around, scrubbing her down like she was a plastic me she was a fragile little tiny thing and to the trained nurses, she was just another delivery that needed their care..They swaddled her up in a blankey and placed her in that clear plastic carrier and pushed her to the window to where we could all see..I walked by that window dozens of times thinking to myself..That is my baby girl..She is mine..oh and yours seriously, there was someone who had part of me in her..I cant explain what that is just a feeling meant to be felt by first time fathers..for sure..but what a feeling of these feelings..Nicki you endured the hardships of 9 months of pregnancy to bring our first child into this world and you have no idea what that means to me and how proud I was of you..You made it look so easy..I remember that first car ride on the way home from the hospital..I was driving like a granny..after all I had precious cargo in the car..Everyone was going to fast..I was upset at all the drivers who could not understand I had "Baby on Board"..Didn't they know to slow down and be careful..Didn't they know to give me the right of way..That was the most anxiety filled drive of my life..but we made it..all in one piece..Ok..we were home with new what..No nurses we could pass her off to when we were tired, no one there to guide us..It was you and me and this little teeny tiny human..Reality struck..responsibility set it..The gravity of what just happened came bearing down on me..Will I break her, will she eat, will she grow, we she call if she needs me..Boy what was I thinking..would she ever..That first night, you were exhausted and I remember holding her as I sat in the glider chair and she was sound asleep on my chest and I thought..I love you little one..More that I ever thought possible..I will care for you and take care of you and protect you..I will be your Dad..What a feeling..indescribable..

Then there was Number #2.....but I need to mention with one less Fallopian Tube and you were breast feeding..How could that be..yet it was..That same blue and white stick with the plus sign. There it was..Plain as could be..Now this time around..we had fact success is how I saw it..CJ is still alive, breathing, we must have done something right..right?..The emotions were no less intense but the process was a bit more tamed because we had done it all before..There was a comfort level we had due to the fact that this was no longer our first there we the hospital delivery room ready for round two..Would this be the long drawn out delivery everyone spoke of..Ok..Heels in holsters..Me by your bed and Push 1 and push 2 and out came the head..Just like before..Push 3 and another baby once more..This one we named Jaydin..Why? I am not altogether sure if truth be told..but something tells me I might be wrong..It was biblical in a sense..I do remember that..and it could go either way, boy or girl..and that was important..but forgive me if I have lost the details..So now we have 2 precious girls..Someone once said to me and I cant remember who..maybe Jewel..but they said " One is One and Two in Ten"..Boy was that an accurate statement..Taking care of one seemed so daunting and so difficult until we had 2..Knowing what you know with 2, that one was super easy to care for..Two babies feels like 10 babies..or at least it did to me..Diapers, Diapers, Diapers..I could not have imagined how many diapers these babies could go thru..Unbelieveable..Box after box and after box..They were a separate line item on our budget like tires for our car..They cost that much..and there were days were we chose diapers over food..a sacrifice so easy to make..So now we had two munchkins running around our home..Two peas in a pod..They did everything together..and life cruised on..We managed to get one out of diapers and the other real close until the unthinkable..Yes..Pregnancy #3..

Baby #3 - This one was a shock, no doubt at all..because she was conceived with a smile and that's all..I mean really..Nicki you were so fertile to have this child that my beautiful smile brought babies to your tummy....well not really but as much as I can say here in a public forum..Once a month seemed to be all that was needed to bring this third very unexpected little one into our life..So was this one to be our boy..We had two girls, a girl dog and of course you are also female..I needed some testosterone..but it was not to be...because this one would be one of Three..Three girls that is..You now how I mentioned you wanted to name your first child Lillian or some form of that...Well here was your chance and you pounced..Lillian Grace it was and she was to be called Lilygrace..No need for my approval..It was a done deal...and so I did as any husband would .."yes honey I love it..." and so we had a name for this tiny tink..Lilygrace..Again with two in hand..we felt like old pros..No need for worry..Just a day at the park..Walk in, have a baby, go home..Pretty much how it happened..Just like the two before..amazing we had 3 babies and a total of 9 pushes..Go figure..All that Lamaze training went to no use..They should have made a video documentary about having babies with you and the prefect scenario..You were such a pro..Now this little monster bear was born with a little different disposition..but being the last of three, she was your only baby and your last..and you still to this day have struggled with the idea of no more babies in the much so that Lilygrace is now almost four and she is still your little Tink..Your Baby..refusing to let her grow up..just getting her first haircut just a week ago..but I understand and I will never try and seperate that bond of mother child..ever..

So life moved on..We were now a full fledged family..Trips to the beach were no longer spontaneous..Weeks of planning..loads of suitcases and all kinds of stuff..Loafs of bread eaten up in one meal..Gallons and gallons of milk every week..clothes everywhere..Life with three kids had certainly reared its head in our home..Everything was times three now..No more quick trips to the mountains or the beach..Meticulous planning and precise organization in order to fit the entire bunch.. Grocery trips now took on new meaning..Great Value brand became our best friend..One buggy was barely enough..My my how things changed..but all in all, this was exactly what we wanted..A Family..Kids to love on and love us back..A chance to live our lives vicarously thru them...then our life began to skid a bit off path..Suddenly things were not so happy and the future looked mighty grim..It was as if Satan had decided to take us out by dropping dynamite into our world..Not a gradual deal..but an explosion that threatened the very core of who we were as a unit..Arguements became fights and disagreements became battle stations..Our life had taken a turn for the worse..Bills mounted, debt loomed, and our marriage was severely weakened..Hope was losing its grip on us and discouragement and doubt became occupiers of our home..Trust had vanished before we knew it..The very foundation we had built our relationship on had suffered some extensive damage..We became strangers to one another asking ourselves what happened to the one we married..the one we fell in love with..I remember sitting in the driveway one day after work before coming into the house (at this time it was an apartment because we had sold our home)..I thought to myself..What has happened to my life..This is not how I planned it..This is NOT the legacy I want to leave behind.. A broken fragmented home with children as collateral damage..Just so I could feel vindicated or happy..I had no idea what happy was anymore..I had turned my back on you and my family and most importantly God..So God was stripping me of everything I had that was going to be a distraction to following Him..I remember coming in that day and having a talk with you..I was broken..My pride gone..It was time for me to assume responsibility and put my life back in order..I knew from the past that I could not do it on my own..I always failed when trying on my own..I never had the resolve needed to finish the task..But this time, it would be different..I remember you saying you were going to fight for our marriage..and fight you did..You showed me even in the midst of turmoil and rough seas that you wanted one last chance to make our family a family again..Broken and beaten down, I did not know how to muster up the energy needed to put this back right..It was going to take way more than what I had to give..No way could we surive the water that had accumulated under our foundation...But

LOVE WON OUT.. We both made a commitment to surrender our life to God and live His way and try His way before we gave up on each other and our family..and what transpired over the next days, weeks and months is nothing short of a miracle.. God had begun to restore our marriage and heal all the wounds we inflicted on one another and slowly He and He alone put each piece of our life back together...but this time each piece was so much better than before..He had placed His blessing on each piece and the comfort that spread from that is overwhelming..We both began to pray for each other, our marriage, our commitment..and we saw God bless this in ways unimaginable..I began to see you as I had once before..As my soul mate..My partner..My friend..My beautiful precious wife..There you were in all your splendor..God had transformed me from the inside out and gave me a brand new heart and a brand new set of eyes and a brand new desire..He showed me how to be a man..How to be the spiritual leader of our home which in my mind was the main culprit to our demise.. I took on a passion to follow make Him my number one priority..To try living my life His way...and you followed suit..You also chose to turn your life over to God and allow him to direct your path..It was amazing what God was doing in our lives..The more I assumed the role God intended for me to have, the more life fell in place..Trust was restored and Family was once again my life..I had to give up some fairly nasty habits and turn away from all the darkness that had entered my life..I lost some friends, some jobs and some key vices along the way...but God knew exactly what He was doing..I could not have these little pockets of sin hanging around in my heart and follow Christ with everything I had..One had to go, so I turned away from that darkness and I chose Christ..You stood by me and watched me grow in my faith..Little by little Jesus became more and more a part of my life until He was my life..I understood for the first time my role in the downward spiral of my marriage and my life..Once that was clear to me and I could see how I had the power thru my Savior Jesus Christ to lift us up out of the desolate pits and lead this family into a new life..A life centered on Christ..It was He who deserves all the glory for what has happened in our marriage and life..It is He who deserves all the Glory and praise for knowing the exact precise time to step in and save us.. If He had come any earlier, the lesson would not have been learned and total surrender to Him may not have happened.. If He had come any later, Lord only knows what would have happened..A certain misery that I can barely think about because it scares me so..God's timing was perfect..and thru His perfect timing, we were able to learn the lessons needed to grow in our Faith and in each other..

Now is the time I get to brag about you and tell you just how much I LOVE you..Nicki, we have traveled some very interesting roads in our life..There have been some beautiful bright spots and some very dark places along the journey..and thru it all we have learned that God is our Rock and our Hope and Joy come from Him and that just spills out into our marriage giving us a Love for one another that has no bounds..I am commited to You..I am here for you..I am here for our kids..I will never take you for granted again..I will try my very best to be the best husband and father I can with God's powerful flame buring inside me..I will walk with Christ every day and seek His will for my life and I promise to use His example in all that I do..I am human and that makes me imperfect in so many ways and totally suspect to messing up..But if you will also lean on Christ as you have in the last 18 months, my faults and screw ups might not be so bad knowing that my heart is exactly where it should be..Focused on God..Steeped in His magnificent Word...and Guided by His Holy Spirit..I am forever indebted to you for deciding to fight for this marriage..I love you beyond what words can describe.. You are my very best friend..There are no more secrets..You now have the key to my heart and with that key comes great responsibility..because you see those who love you the most can also wound you the deepest..My Heart is wide open for you to have..I am resolved to abiding in Jesus Christ and become more and more like Him each day and that results in a husband who loves you like Christ loves the Church..That results in a man who would lay down his life for you..A man commited to the covenant he made before God Almighty that I would love you in sickness and and in Health, for better or for worse, till my precious savior calls me Home..

Nicki, I love you. Today is a very special day. Long ago you were just a dream and a prayer. This day like a dream come true the Lord Himself has answered that prayer. For today, Nicki, you as my joy become my crown. I thank Jesus for the honor of going through time with you. Thank you for being what you are to me. With our future as bright as the promises of God, I will care for you, honor and protect you. I lay down my life for you, Nicki, my friend and my love. Today I give to you.... me

Nicki, as I stand before both God and man, making public my commitment to you, I wish to make it known that I recognize first of all God's authority over my life which is exercised from His loving heart. He has chosen me to be one of his own, and He is now my life. I recognize also that He has blessed me and entrusted to me your life as a free gift that I have not earned. In recognition of these things, Nicki I purpose to love you with His love, to provide for your needs through His enablement, and to lead you as He leads me, as long as He gives us life together, regardless of the circumstances. As Psalm 34:3 expressed my heart when I asked you to marry me, so it expresses my heart now: "O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together."

I love you, Nicki, and I thank the Lord for the love that has bound our hearts and lives together in spiritual fellowship of marriage. I will love, honor and cherish you always. As we enter upon the privileges and joys of life's most holy relationship, and begin together the great adventure of building a Christian home, I will look to Christ as Head of our home as I have looked to Him as Head of the Church. I will love you in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in sorrow as in joy, and will be true to you by God's grace, trusting in Him, so long as we both shall live.

You are a most precious gift...sacred to me. I lift you up as my crown jewel, a precious spirit that you behold such a gift before all men.. That I solemly pledge to Love you and Care for you, with a love so palpable that you have no room for doubt..I will stand by your side, hand in hand, leading us on a journey of Christlikeness..and journey that seeks to uncover the great depths of human love, sacrifices and serve you, to compliment you, to endure to the very end..
God's Faithful Servant
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