On June 26th, Johnny and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. As I look back over fifty years together, I can see such a correlation between our earthly marriage and the marriage with Jesus Christ when we become believers.
Taking our marriage vows was just the beginning of our marriage and when we accept Jesus, it is just the starting point of a lifetime together. The early years of most marriages are difficult, because two very different people with different backgrounds and personalities are now living together under one roof. I am so glad we both believed that our marriage vows were binding and permanent and I can honestly say that divorce was never an option for either of us–murder maybe, but never divorce! In the same way, when we become the bride of Christ, it is a permanent relationship that can never be severed. As in earthly marriages, we all make mistakes and sin grievously, but Jesus will never divorce us or even consider a trial separation.
Johnny and I thought we were deeply in love when we married. Fifty years later we both know that we were deeply in “like” and didn’t have a clue about having a love that lasts forever. It takes time for a deep, abiding love to develop and in the same way, it takes time to truly fall in love with Jesus Christ. Our love has grown more as we have gone through the hard periods of our marriage because we went through those times together. In these fifty years we experienced the joy of parenthood and the sorrow of losing our precious daughter Shari at the young age of 39. We have walked together through hard financial times, Johnny’s stage 4 cancer, a real fire and a flood. Losing our home and all our earthly possessions in Hurricane Ike was a great loss, but we have weathered that storm because our love is deep and lasting. In the same way, I have found that I have gone deeper in my relationship with Jesus through the tough times of life. He has proven Himself to me over and over again that He is able to keep me safe from the storms of life if I will only love and trust Him.
Things I Love
There are so many things I love about Johnny. He has a great sense of humor that keeps our life from ever being dull. After fifty years I still laugh at his funny stories even though I’ve heard some of them many times. Johnny never takes anything seriously and this has been a great asset as he has fought stage 4 prostate cancer over the last eleven years. Another thing I love about Johnny is that he is still full of surprises. I know him so well that I know how he thinks on any given subject. Most of the time I know how he will react, but he is still full of surprises. Just last weekend our grandson Tal was getting ready to go on a month-long trip to Europe. Tal has spent the last semester in a program at the University of Texas studying World War II. This program culminates with a trip to visit all the sites of that war. I was in Eastland, TX, with some of the family for my grandson-in-law Michael’s college graduation and Johnny was at home. On Monday, when I was back at work, Lisa casually mentioned how nice it was that Johnny came over to see Tal before he left for Europe. She went on to say that Johnny brought Tal four books and eight index cards with handwritten jokes and funny advice for the trip. Lisa could see my surprise and astonishment so she said, “I guess you didn’t know that he also gave Tal some spending money for the trip.”
When I got home that day, I looked at Johnny and said, “You know what I love most about you? It’s the way you still surprise me after all these years. You obviously had to plan that little trip and you spent time doing it because you love our family.”
The Lord Jesus still surprises me after all these years. I think I know everything there is to know about Him but there are so many things I will never know. He surprises me in the way He chooses to solve problems. Even though I offer suggestions constantly, He always has a solution that I would never think of in my own mind. He must have a great sense of humor because He keeps on loving me in spite of my self. He never stops blessing me with His presence or His power. Jesus and I have now been married for 55 years and the time together has been anything but boring.
Our earthly marriage will come to an end one day. One of us will die and our marriage on this earth will be over. Praise God, our marriage to Jesus will never come to an end. When we accepted Christ, he promised to stick closer than a brother and to be a husband to the widows so we need have no fear of the future. With Christ, our future is secure and eternal because we are His bride.
Let me close with a verse I love, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4
First Place 4 Health National Director
Carole was a member of the original First Place group that began in 1981, and became the national director of the program in 1987.
When Carole attended the First Place orientation in March of 1981, she eagerly anticipated what God might want to do in her life. She had recently seen an old friend that looked great and who reminded her that they were soon approaching 40 years old. Carole determined she did not want to be “fat and 40.” She joined First Place and soon lost 20 pounds. Learning how to bring balance to her life, she became a First Place leader to motivate others to achieve this goal.
Carole is a popular speaker and author of the books, Choosing to Change, First Place 4 Health, Today Is the First Day, Living Well, Back on Track, A Thankful Heart, Stop it, The Divine Diet, and Mother/Daughter Legacy. Carole regularly leads Conferences, Wellness Weeks, Change Your Life Events and seminars across the country in the areas of personal balance, fitness, encouragement and temperament analysis. Her audiences know her as warm, honest and humorous.