On the infamous September 11, 2001, I had know Joel barely over 1 year.
He had only met the Lord Jesus Christ as His Savior 3 months prior to our meeting.
Our year together was busy. We fell in love. We battled again our old man & our flesh vs. our faith. We got pregnant. We got married. We got news our baby may (or may not) have a problem & may not live.
Then on 9/11/2001, we started a 3rd day of labor with news of the tragedy in New York.
Moments like this shape & define who we are.
Where is our hope in chaos?
Clearly, we were all powerless that day. It wasn’t hard to realize there was no man to turn to.
But my husband led my family in turning to the only HOPE, & I remember this through the words of Pedro the Lion’s song, “Promise”, recited by Joel that day:
if i look up and the sky’s not there,
is there any reason i should be scared
when a promise, is a promise, i know
I am blessed to walk along side a man who only hopes in the Lord.
How do you sum up 11 years of marriage?
In One Thousand Gifts-style, I’ll count beautiful moments with Joel…
- April 2000, when Joel’s confident piercing stare intimidated me during my Starbuck’s interview
- Summer 2000, which I spent in Missouri, when Joel appeared in my prayers
- Early August 2000, when my heart leapt because Tim told me Joel had become a Christian in June
- Late August 2000, when I was strangely devastated that Joel, a stranger I had only met 2-3 times, arrived at Starbucks with a girl
- Later August 2000, when I cornered him in the kitchen at a bible study, needing to understand this 2.5 month Christian had so much discernment, wisdom, & Biblical knowledge
- When we all went to IHOP after bible study, and I tried to be cool about sitting close to him…but it was totally obvious
- When Tim was arranging to go to the movies with Joel, and I wanted to tag along, so I chose “Coyote Ugly”…desperate times call for embarrassing choices
- Early Sept 2000, when he finally asked me to lunch on the way home from the Shreveport trip
- The next 9 days when we spent every moment we weren’t working at the Kettle or Denny’s, discussing the Bible, missions, life
- When we kissed for the first time at Taco Cabana on Red Bluff
- When we turned on my street, and he said, “You know we are getting married, right?”, and my heart leapt, and I said, “Yes…”
- When we were sitting by the window at the Kettle & Joel called his mom and told her we needed to come to dinner is they could meet me because we were getting married
- October 2000, when I took him to Dallas to hear the wonderful Dr John Piper and Joel understood missions the way I do
- When we discovered we were pregnant & he jokingly said, “When you pray, do you really ask God for a baby with Down syndrome?”, never fearing my dream
Those are just the moments in the 1st 6 months…
Today is a day to celebrate many things:
But mainly Joel
When we married in Feb 2001, he had known the grace of our Savior 7 months. Yet he was already reflecting Him beautifully.
In the 9 yrs of our marriage, he has been the steady to my extreme swaying.
He has been the slow and hopeful to my erratic, driving goals.
Joel came into the body of Christ with a clear longing to be mentored and shaped. When he found this difficult to locate, he fought for it, then turned around and became what he had needed for others.
I admire that so much.
I will follow Him wherever God leads him.
As my wedding band states, “Wherever you go, I will go. Your people will be my people. Your God [is] my God.”
Here are vows Joel wrote for our wedding. If you have heard him preach, it should be no surprise they are saturated by scripture:
Following in the example of Christ
I come into this union to serve, not to be served. (Matt 20-28)
And wherever you go, I will go
Where you stay, I will stay
Your people will be my people
And your God will be my Gos
Where you die, I will die,
And may the Lord deal with me be it ever so severly if anything but death separates us. (Ruth 1:16-17)
You have stolen my heart, my bride
With one glance of your eyes,
You have stolen my heart. (Song of Solomon 4:9)