Tag: Youth

Forty years ago today he said confident words to me. Something about seeds of love being planted and I was thinking skip the poetry just say it. He did, the exact words I don’t recall, but he asked this 19-year old girl to marry him and I said yes. It was a scared yes but I carried scars from my parents divorce. Did I really know what love was?

I said yes, if. 

We’d been two months when he proposed. TWO! So my yes, if was if we could wait to announce our engagement. We weren’t strangers. We’d known each other from church, there’d been some flirting and me eyeing his shirtless body mowing the lawn at the church. But still….two months!

He said yes if, if we’d marry later that year.

 

We married eight months later. Our first child was born 13 months after that and our second 19 months after that. We found the breaks to slow this thing down to a manageable pace and settled ourselves in our small home. We planted roots in our church and with friends. We grew together in faith and relationships.

I learned what love is, or more what it isn’t.

Love isn’t always tender and sweet and romantic. It’s not scripted. It’s not cliche. Love isn’t easy.

Love is often duty and obligation. It’s getting children where they need to be and saying no more than yes some days. It’s putting nutritious food in front of them even if started it a box.

Love is saying I’m sorry and my fault and taking the blame at times it’s not yours to take. Love is reminding yourself of your faults every time you think of one of his.

Our love has taken us to a direction I once thought sounded old and tired: comfort. Maybe it is old and tired because I often feel that way. But this period of our comfortable love is more from knowing the other well. Knowing that he’s best early in the morning and has little left in the evening. Knowing when I’m muttering to myself or expecting him to answer. (This one still brings laughs) Knowing he’s a gentle soul and I need to be more gentle with my words.

Maybe it’s not so much a comfortable love than a knowing love. A love that knows we are there for each other. In the loud times and quiet. We know the moods, the seasons, the heart.

My scared yes was prompted by God. I know that. God provided for me what I didn’t know I needed. A man who could love me when I don’t much like myself. One who doesn’t turn away from my tears but pulls me closer and lets them fall on him. Before I knew, God knew. He always does.

Linking up with Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart

faith family

“It’s God’s job to judge, the Holy Spirit’s job to convict and my job to love.” – Billy Graham

June marked our 18th year of full-time service in the Salvation Army. It’s amazing to think it’s been that long. The good news is it doesn’t seem like it.

Our ordination

On our bonus Monday we took a drive up to our favorite beach. It’s about 20 miles north of here in Palm Beach County near a community called Lake Worth. We ministered at the church there six years.

The tide was coming in and the seas a bit rough so the water was hitting the rocks with a big crash. We danced over the rocks as we began dancing over the memories of the joyful times spent here.

Henry mused it might be nice to have a reunion of the young people who were part of our fellowship there. I felt like it’s best in our memory.

We hold sweet times of young men in their mid teens that became part of that community.

We have wonderful stories of how the generations blended so well there. The older folks learning the younger’s names, engaging them in conversation. The younger standing in support of the widower that stood every time How Great Thou Art was sung in remembrance of his wife.

Sunday School

Our church was this tiny, old, very old, building bursting at its seams with 70 people filling its chapel on Sundays. At least half of that number were young people. Children whose mammas sent them to learn English (much to my surprise) and teenaged boys that found a haven with us.

Retired folks who came for the company and found community. A sprinkling of middle-aged ( a few parents) that found a place for service. Every Sunday after the time of worship we met for communion. No one knew that’s what it was. Most churches call it covered dish or pot luck but for me it was communion. I think it may have been the only meal eaten as a family for many of these children. Several adults took turns doing the cooking and there was always someone, or three, to help clean up.

Rudy on our farewell Sunday

Yes, I’d rather leave these good folks to our memory. A place where no one ages and the children are still under our wing. We’ve seen several of the adults and they are o.k. It’s a different church with a new building, new location, some new faces. Time moves on. It’s the children, the young ones I want to preserve in my personal time capsule.

Shortly before we left this appointment the boys were getting cars and not coming around so much. Church wasn’t part of their family structure. We barely got any parents to come for special events like Christmas specials. When I think about where they are today I don’t envision them in church. If they have followed in their family patterns many, if not all, of the now men will have fathered at least one child and have little involvement in their life. The guys will be working hard to make ends meet and the girls having babies. This was their example to follow.

The two oldest sisters with their babies

I do hold to the belief they have not forgotten the time spent in that little church. They have not forgotten the outings we took, the fun we had and what Henry showed them of a father. They still hear the tunes of the songs we sang about Jesus and the stories we told of his love. They will come to understand we did this because we love Jesus. I just want them to know we did it for Him. The rest is God’s part.

Salvation Army