WOW! 30 years ago today, at 3 PM, Anita and I were married. That’s a long time, and it was just yesterday.
The first time I met Anita she had me washing dishes – it was at the 1976 Mid-Winter Retreat at Cedars of Lebanon State Park. She was the Tenn Tech BSU Hostess, and I was a visiting my brother for the weekend. Being a lowly senior in high school, I was assigned to the kitchen crew doing dish duty. I recognized Anita as a sister in Christ, and a seed was planted there, even though it took both of us several years to realize.
I ended up at Tenn Tech that fall and it was through college BSU activities that I began to know Anita first as a friend. We traveled in different circles, but occasionally those circles touched, and over a two year period God began to draw us together.
Our first “date” was at the BSU Spring Banquet in 1978. She graduated that June, began her career as an accountant in Nashville, and I remained at TTU. We began dating, and gradually, those circles became smaller, and eventually overlapped.
While serving as a summer missionary in 1979, I knew beyond a doubt that she was the one. While racking up huge long distance phone bills, we knew that we were going to be married that year. Anita became my fiancée at the end of the summer, and we set our wedding for late in the year.
We had a large wedding, with friends and family coming together for a joyous celebration service in Goodlettsville, TN. On that day, Anita became my wife.
After a honeymoon over the Christmas break, Anita moved back to Cookeville while I finished TTU. During my summer missionary service, I knew God was calling me to continue my education at Southern Seminary. Graduation from TTU came in December 1980 but entrance to seminary was delayed until the following fall – we were expecting our first child!
Jonathan was born in April 1981, Jason in September 1984, Amy in October 1988, and Aaron in November 1992. We moved several times to different places of service over three states, eventually ending up in Huntersville NC in 1995. Anita’s added role as mother was a natural fit, and our family times over the years remain some of my strongest memories.
In 2008, a new part of our family began: Jonathan and Hallie had a son, named Jack. Anita had become Nina (no grandma or granny – she’s too young!). Jason married Jaime, and Anita became a mother-in-law. Our family had grown and spread out, from WV to Boone to Buies Creek, with us still in Huntersville.
So, here we are at 10,958 days – and counting! Anita and I have been on quite a journey of relationships over those days. We haven’t moved from one to the other, but added to each along the way:
Sister - Friend - Fiancée - Wife - Mother - Nina - Mother-in-Law
Marriage is a journey, not a destination. I thank God that Anita chose to walk with me, and I thank Him for the gift He gives me daily.
I love you, A – and can’t wait for the next step tomorrow – and beyond!