Three years ago today, with the gorgeous setting of Grandfather Mountain in the background, Janelle and I exchanged wedding vows surrounded by family and friends. The beautiful setting was only over-matched by my new bride’s stunning smile and her radiance that seemed to fill the mountainside. It was a day I know I’ll never forget.
Our marriage was the next chapter in a long, three-year long distance dating and engagement; me, living in Atlanta and Janelle, living in Charlotte. Somehow, we made it work! Many know about our story that certainly has had God’s hand all along the journey. Through the tragedy of Janelle losing a leg, our paths crossed and the healing that ensued through our courtship was much more than just to the physical wounds. When I think of Janelle as “heaven-sent”, it’s more than just something cliche.
But there was another piece to the puzzle that sometimes gets lost. I not only was joined in marriage to my beautiful best friend, but also assumed the role of step-father to Janelle’s two sons, Jim and Hill. We not only quickly became a “family” but also a team of four. And that also meant my role was elevated to that of team captain.
A few days before the wedding, I sent a letter to the boys with some heartfelt thoughts about how our lives might change….and more importantly, how things would remain the same. I came across the letter the other day and it’s no irony that I found it just days before today’s anniversary.
In that letter, I focused on three things. First, I wanted the boys to understand what it meant to me to be their step-dad. I wanted to be someone they knew they could count on; someone who would always want to know what’s going on in their lives; and someone who loved them beyond words.
Next, I wanted them to know how much it meant to me to marry their mom. She had overcome some incredible challenges in her life, and through it all had displayed grace and an ever-present smile. “Your mom,” I said, “will always be the most important person in our home.” I stressed that no matter how challenging things got for the “men” of the house, mom would always be the angel of our home and we would always put her first.
Finally, I explained how much I loved sports and now we were becoming a 4-person “team”. We needed to paddle in the same direction, look out for one another, and seek each other first in times when anyone on the team needed help. I reminded them that things would not always be easy, but no one would be going through our new life alone.
So, looking back over the past three years, today I am asking myself, “Did I get it right with Janelle, and especially with the boys?” Maybe. I love that we’re a team, but naturally like any team, we still have good days and bad ones. We don’t win every time but we try to take the loses in stride, figure out what we did wrong, and make adjustments along the way.
You might be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with any kind of devotional?” I still believe God has a hand in everything we do as individuals and for what we do as families. We must continue to look to Him for guidance, for refuge and for forgiveness. It’s not easy, but it’s always my prayer that my “team” is moving in the right direction.
I take my role as team captain very seriously and understand it’s importance. And with God as my eternal “Coach”, I know we’ll be just fine!
Happy anniversary to my beautiful bride today….and the two boys who make my life interesting, entertaining, and every-so special!