Simple Vow

[tweetmeme]

My Dearest Jim,

Last year we celebrated our twenty-five years together. Now, we are here again celebrating another year of wedded bliss. This past year has been a year of weathering  storms. Together we have celebrated new mile markers in our lives. It has been a year of really seeing love in action. A  year where we have had really had to work together.

In January, my dad announced his retirement. A mile marker in anyone’s life. Yet, with this bit of news, we knew that a celebration of Dad’s years in  ministry needed to take place. It was with the help of friends and members of Dad’s church that made this celebration possible. Yet, there were things to be done on this end which was a difficult tasks being four hundred miles from the venue. But, you held my hand and asked “what can I do?” You helped scan pictures, helped me with fielding phone calls and countless emails. You even stepped up and wrote the poem The Master’s Walking Stick to make Dad’s celebration and tribute of forty-seven years of ministry a little more special.

Dad’s retirement reception

Spring arrives along with the Spring storms.  We spent many nights in our master closet waiting to hear the all clear as tornado warnings would be issued for our area.  One evening, we realized that we had spent too much time in the closet when we would open our back door for our black lab, Tori to come in with us. Neither one of us had to tell her what to do because  she would  instantly go take her place in the closet! There were mornings when storm  warnings were posted. You were at work and I was at home. You would call and make sure I was okay and assured me that you were okay.

Tori

As summer approached, we receive news that Drew’s best friend who was more like a brother and son to our family had drowned. You came home and we held each other as we grieved for the loss of Josh, for his family and for Drew. We took a deep breath, said a prayer, and held each other as we called Drew to give him the news.  Then, as we stood at Josh’s graveside, we held tight again as we watched Drew place his carnation on his buddy’s casket and say one more good-bye.

(Left) Josh Yeckering (Right) Drew Hawkins taken after they won the State Cross Country Meet

The days of the year and summer clicked on as we received more bad news regarding family members and their  health situations. My Dad’s brother/ my uncle, Dan passed unexpectedly. Again, you asked what could you do and held me tight. You took time from work to drive me to Arlington to attend the services and to be with family.

Funeral Services for my Uncle, Daniel Henry Hill @ Arlington

Among all these happenings, there was a wedding being planned.  Not only were there details to work out for a rehearsal dinner, but a dress for me to be found as well as working out other details for a wedding that would take place out-of-town. Again,  you stepped up and asked, “how can I help?”  You took time off to go look at the venue for the rehearsal dinner, you helped with phone calls, setting up and countless other things to get ready for our son’s special day.

Megan and Drew’s Rehearsal Dinner

As we watched Megan and Drew, say their vows, I reminisced our special day when we said our vows. I reflected on you watching me come down the aisle as Drew watched his bride walk down the aisle on her daddy’s arm. On November  23, 1985, Drew was only gleam in our eyes. Now, he was marrying the girl of his dreams and beginning a new life of his own.

Drew watching his bride, Megan come down the aisle

Andrew Mitchell Hawkins

Megan and Drew exchanging their vows

One of our favorite songs is Clint Black’s Something We Do. There is a lyric in the song that tells how love means working together and helping each other. “Love is something we do” is also the main lyric in this special song.

Jim, you have demonstrated love as an action verb ever since the day we met. While working at Lake Junaluska, I got sick and you got me to a doctor. Over the two years of long distance dating, you would drive down to see me at school after a long week of medical classes and/or clinicals. Once we were married and Drew was in school, you encouraged me to go back and finish my degree.  Along with encouraging me to finish my degree, you helped me with Drew . There were papers to write. I would write and you would type (no computers then).  You did all these things with love and without complaint.

Today, you continue to show love as an action verb. When life happens, you ask; “how can I help?” You take time off from work to sit with me at countless doctors appointments. When I am behind on things around the house, you gladly pitch in and help me get caught up. We may be watching television and you will offer to go pour me a coke or scoop a dish of ice cream.  Love is something that you do on a daily basis.

Jim helping out with dinner at the Lake

This year, we have had a lot of tears. Tears of joy and tears of sadness. But, I would not have how this year has gone any other way. It is through the celebrations of life and the letting go in life that makes us stronger as a couple and as individuals.

April and Jim August, 1986

Yes, ‘I remember the day we wed. It began with a simple vow.’  The simple vow we said has brought us through a lot and I know it will get us through more celebrations, tears of joy and tears of sadness in our journey ahead. ‘Love is strong’ and our love is strong and it keeps getting stronger.

The day we wed…November 23, 1985

‘We give ourselves; we give our all; it’s something that we do.”

Happy Anniversary! I am looking forward to sharing the next 26+ years with you.

I love you,

April

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13

[tweetmeme]

Bring It On! You Will Not Win!

Satan. He attempts to stop us in our tracks of our faith walk with  God. In recent days, I have experienced Satan trying to challenge me.  On Sunday, Jim and I were scheduled to sing in choir for both 8:30 and 11:00 worship. Since we had to sing at 8:30, we were to be at church by 8:00 to get our robes on, warm up, and rehearse our anthem. On Saturday night, we made sure our alarm clock was set to where we would get up early enough to take care of the dogs, have a relaxed breakfast and still get to church in plenty of  time.  Satan had other plans. On Sunday morning, we got up on time and then things went down hill. Our newest addition to the family, Smokey has been doing a wonderful job with house training. On this particular morning Smokey did take care of his business outdoors after much deliberation of which blade of grass he would use. We praised him, gave him a treat, and played with him for a few minutes. So far, the morning is running like clock work.  It looks like Jim and I will make it to church a few minutes early.  Then, it happens! I walk by Smokey’s crate only to smell an aroma that did not belong there. I call to Jim to come help me check the situation out. Promptly, Jim gives me Smokey to take outside while he does the cleaning. As the scene progressed, the uglier it got. Smokey is yelping at me, Jim is fussing and I am fit to be tied! In attempt to put Smokey in his alternate crate, he fights me with all his might. I ask; “why this morning? Could it be Satan?” I looked up and said; “Lord, put your heals on Satan and put him  behind me.” Then, I told Satan; “you will not win!” Anyone who knows me that when it comes to a challenge, I am one who will say “bring it on!” Of course, Jim and I did make it to church. We got there robed up and discretely entered the choir loft where the choir was seated and took our seats.

This is just one recent example of how Satan has attempted to throw up a road block and/or challenge in my faith walk. On my way to bible study I have encountered traffic jams, the garage door didn’t want to go up for me to leave, the phone would ring, and/or every traffic light between my house and the church is red.  Challenges that can and will ruffle my feathers, get my blood pressure up and sometimes just simply want to give up. But, in the process of taking deep breaths and praying, I forge on to my destination. Again, I say to Satan;you will NOT win!”

You see, Satan wants me to get flustered, wants me to give up, and decide to just not pursue my journey for that day.  It would have been so much less stressful to just stay at home on Sunday and just chill after the great Smokey episode. But, we continued on our journey. By not letting Satan win, Jim and I participated with other Christians all around the world in World Communion Sunday. We had wonderful fellowship in worship and Sunday School. By the end of the day, we were renewed and encouraged in our faith journey. Satan did not win.

On those days when the garage door won’t go up for me to get to bible study, there are detours and red lights between my house and church. I take a deep breath and pursue on my journey. I know that if I stay the course that I will grow closer in my walk with the Lord. Along with growing closer to my Savior I know I will benefit from fellowship with fellow believers and will get that wind that I need to get through my week.

Road blocks and challenges are issued not only to me on a daily basis. These challenges are issued to every believer every day. Satan wants us to get discouraged. He loves it when our blood pressure rises and when we throw our hands in the air and give up. Yet, if we step back, take a deep breath, send a prayer up and dig our heals in, Satan  CANNOT win!

God gave you and me  something called free will. He has served the ball over to our side of the net. We can choose every day to either let Satan get the best of us. Or, we can decide to tell Satan he will not win. By not letting Satan win, we are more able to see the blessings God gives us each day.

Has Satan issued you a challenge today? Hear these encouraging  words from 2 Thessalonians 3 with you; “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will the things we command you. Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5

 Tell Satan to BRING IT ON!  Tell Satan; “YOU WILL NOT WIN!”    Then, continue on in your faith journey.

[tweetmeme]