We left our home town of Texas City (we met in high school) a week after we married, and we have not lived any closer than an eight hour drive since then. We've lived in Texas, New Mexico, Utah, and Germany. We've visited almost 30 of the states and 6 countries together. Tommy's been to a few I missed, and I've been to a few he's missed. What wonderful memories. I am so thankful for the opportunities we've had to see the world. And for the friends we've made along the way. Our Christmas card list includes addresses from 11 states.
We've both had jobs we loved. Tommy reported for active duty with the Air Force June 1, 1975. He served 13 years active duty, then left the Air Force to take a job with Delta. A year later he entered the Air Force Reserves. For the next nine years he worked for Delta and the Reserves. He retired from the Reserves in 1998. We loved living a military life. He will retire from Delta in two years. I worked clerical jobs until 1991 when I became the Director of Business Services for the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention. Full-time Christian ministry was a blessing. I down-sized to a part time position 14 years later with the Salt Lake Baptist Association. Same job responsibilites on a smaller scale. Three years ago I retired and am living a "life of leisure." :)
Family changed. Lindsay arrived in 1981 followed by Matt in 1984. Life was busy! Balancing career and family, sleepless nights, chasing toddlers, school, homework, ball games, band concerts, cheer competitions, driving lessons, college applications, graduations.....and the nest was empty. Quiet times with just the two of us again. Matt's beautiful wife, Amber, became a Ward in 2008. And we earned the titles of Nana and Papa when Carter and Charlie came long in 2011 and 2014. There's been sadness along the way as well. All of our parents and grandparents are gone now along with many aunts and uncles and a very special nephew.
The best thing about our marriage is that it has been Christ-centered. Both of us came into the marriage with the mindset that worshipping and serving God is crucial to a relationship. That does not mean there haven't been ups and downs. Or challenges. Or stressful days. Or hurt. Or regret. But, in those times, we looked back at our Ebenezer's--those times God had helped us. 1 Samuel 7:12, "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far the Lord has helped us.'" Our God is faithful. He never changes. If He has carried us through difficult times in the past, He will do so again. And we draw strength and comfort from God's promises to the Philippians in chapter 1. "...He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ..." (6, 9-10) Looking back over our lives or forward to what will be, we have confidence that we can handle anything with God as our center.
I am so grateful for these 40 years with Tommy. Here's to many more!