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According to Us

One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

This is a love story, and although it involves me (and the love of my life) it is really a love story about a young rebellious boy and his Maker.

Today Alan and I mark the celebration of 17 years of marriage, but we have known each other for nearly 5 more that we dated before we sealed our love with matrimony.  The reason I say that this is a love story between a boy and his Maker is that we would not be where we are in our marriage if he was not passionately in love with his Creator.

so let’s begin. . .

When Alan and I met, I think in many ways, we were quite opposite. He was a rebel without a cause and I was rebellious looking, but did not share the same anarchy lifestyle that he had.  He tells people that he was attracted to my lime green and purple lipstick that I wore. (Our children think we dressed really weird, and not just because we grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s).

He was just coming out of the skinhead scene, growing out his hair, when we met. (Not the racist, KKK skins). I think what I first loved about him was that he was very funny. He loved pop culture, was into a lot of eclectic things, and seemed to just really enjoy life and all aspects of it. While we were dating he was into many styles of music and culture, but in a fringe kind of way.

We started dating when I was 15. Oh so young. and naive.

One time someone asked me how we made it through all the things that we had been though, and my answer was simply I was young and naive. . .  and very forgiving.

He was definitely not the kind of person that easily wins the heart of a father, but needless to say, he had to meet my dad in order for us to date. Although he didn’t receive the overwhelming father-approval, we were allowed to date under a very careful eye.  My dad invested a lot of time in Alan. He never judged him or spoke down to him. He accepted who he was, and even in the early years, became a father to him. I remember one day I had been out with a girlfriend, and when I called to check in my dad said that Alan had come over to see me and stayed all day visiting with him. My dad even made him and egg sandwich that Alan loved. He didn’t consider that 1. teenage boys will eat everything and 2. Alan had the munchies.

Alan was expelled from the high school that we both attended (for a dumb reason, but he was on probation for another occasion of bringing a knife to school, that he forgot was in his jacket), so he started attending church with me and my family that my father pastored. It was a very small country church, but we had more time together.

A couple years after dating and becoming part of our family, he and I had gotten into serious trouble. My parents had found out that we were acting in mature romantic ways that were not appropriate for young unmarried kids.  I remember the few days before they confronted me, I heard them talking late into the night when they should have been asleep. They couldn’t because of their deep concern and love. They talked with me to let me know the game was over, and that my dad wanted to also meet with Alan personally.

I think Alan described that encounter as scary.

Ironic, isn’t it, that a rebellious young man could be so scared when faced with authority and consequences.

God had already began to work in getting his attention. When he wrapped his mom’s car around a tree and was responsible for nearly taking the life of his best friend, he said he realized, for the first time in his life, that he was responsible for consequences he brought on.

My dad, being a man of God, had taken much time to pray about how to handle this situation. He told Alan that he wanted to make us stop seeing each other (they were talking in his office, where my dad kept his shotguns stored on a rack above his head). Although he felt strongly, as any father would, he also sensed the Lord speaking to him. God had a bigger plan for his life. Little did any of us realize the depth that this meant.

To try and get on my dad’s good side, several weeks later, Alan went down to the front of the church to “rededicate” his life to God. My dad, being wise and again godly, didn’t let him off so easily. He met him after church with a discipleship book. Reluctantly, Alan agreed on a time that they could meet together each week.

After several weeks of meeting, God continued to work on Alan’s heart.  Finally one night, he realized his need for something bigger than himself that could save his poor pitiful soul. Now at the time, I thought that I was already a Christian (which is a whole other story) so I was excited for him. Little did I know that I was equally part of this marvelous love story that God was writing on Alan’s heart.

In the coming months, after much prayers and investments of others into Alan’s life, he began to make huge changes to his lifestyle. Chain after chain began to fall. drugs, alcohol, smoking, cussing, and even sex. I remember one day when I was with a group of friends, they couldn’t believe that we had both agreed to stop having sex until we were married. That was just unheard of.

Alan not only had freedom from those chains, but God worked in many other ways. His relationship with his mom went from always fighting to him submitting to her. His grades at school went from D’s to B’s and C’s. Maybe even one A.

But all this was just the beginning. He loved reading the Word of God (the Bible) and God continued to move in his heart that there was a bigger calling on his life. The last night he drank was the night he felt a calling into ministry. So at 19 he gave it all over.

A year later he left to start college at a Bible college. I was only 18, so I stayed behind. The whole year we stayed in touch. God continued to mold and teach him. After one year, despite that I felt we were too young, I agreed to marry him.

17 years ago today I said not only “I do” but will keep doing.

God wasn’t done. Their love story continued, even to this day. His passion for the word burns on. You would think after 20+ years one wouldn’t find new revelations in a book you’ve read 1,000 times that was written thousands of years ago, but not so. As he falls more in love with the one that rescued his soul, I swoon at the knees for him.

And so, we celebrate today a beautiful marriage between a rebel and a naive girl, and the Savior that makes them whole.

Happy Anniversary, Alan. I love you now and always.


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