This picture was taken in 1991, when my Angel came to visit me in Colorado, while I was serving in Operation Desert Storm. She was seven months pregnant with Jess, and had never flown alone before; but she got on that plane just so she could spend a few days with me; and look how the Lord rewarded her bravery. I rented a suite at the Alikar Gardens Resort in Colorado Springs, and for five magical days we took in some breathtaking scenery and simply enjoyed one another.
Since then, God has blessed our lives tremendously. No, we have never had the nicer things in life, but in the only thing that really matters in the end, LOVE, our cups have always been full. We learned early on that the key to a happy marriage was to do things together. We have good friends Jimmy and Lanessa Parker who recently came for a visit. Lanessa has started going deer hunting with him, so they can do something together. Whether she really enjoys the hunting part or not is irrelevant, they are doing it as a couple, and that is the way strong relationships are built. And in case you were wondering, October 9th of next year will be 30 years they have been married. I just love when Christian couples dare to be different, and do things God’s way.
When Janice and I first got together, it was Ole Miss football games. The year we got married, we went to every home game, and was even late for our own wedding, after going to the 1989 Liberty Bowl in Memphis the night before our wedding. That’s a story for another day. Afterwards, football games took a back seat to family outings until the kids were grown, and then it was just us again, and we just picked up where we left off, doing EVERYTHING together. In our 26 years together, other than my military duties, I can recall only two occasions when we did something apart, and they were both Christian related events. I went to a Promise Keepers conference, and Janice went to a Women’s Retreat. We never needed the guys night on the town, or the ladies night out. There has never been a guy I would rather spend time with. My Angel is and has always been my best friend in this world, so I have just never had that need. Whenever I coached the kids in sports, she was right there in the dugout keeping the books. Whenever one of the kids had a ballgame, where I was not coaching, we were sitting side by side, rooting them on. It didn’t matter what the event was, you could count on us being there, together.
I always get a kick out of when I take my Angel shopping. There is always some poor guy, following his wife around as she picks out clothes, or even worse, while she is picking out bras or panties. Oh wait! That is me I am thinking about, lol. Just kidding! I actually love taking her shopping. She loves to put on outfits and getting my opinion; and I just love the way she lights up when I tell her how beautiful she makes that outfit look. You see, great marriages don’t just happen, they are built. We have built one that I am so extremely proud of, and as it seems our journey may be coming to an end, it is only fitting that we do that together as well. The moment the doctor gave us the news, I knew work would have to be put on hold, and from that moment on, every moment we have left together will be spent loving one another, enjoying each others company, and savoring every second we have left together.
You see, life is a beautiful thing, and yes, death can be a sad time. But in both, it’s how we approach them that tells what we truly believe. Our ultimate purpose in life is to bring glory to God in all we do. Under Janice’s name on our tombstone it will read, “She fought the good fight, she finished the race, she kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7” I chose this for her because it describes how she has lived her life. Even now, when she should be worried about herself, she is more concerned about those in my family who do not know Jesus as Lord. This is because she knows where she is going, but because of her love for others, she wants nothing more than for them to meet her there when their time comes.
My Angel has bravely fought and continues to fight this cancer with all she has. Every moment of this 1,478-day war, she has brought honor and glory to our God. In the good times, she has praised Him; in the bad times, she has called on Him, as He has brought her from the ashes time and time again, only to see beauty just one more time. And I have no doubt, when she calls on Him for the last time here on earth, she will see more beauty than we could possibly comprehend. That is the hope we have in Christ Jesus, and I pray, if you get nothing else from following our journey, you will come to know just how amazing our God is, how very much He loves you, and how much He desires for you to spend eternity with Him. Jesus is standing at the door knocking; trust me, that is one door you want to
open! Revelation 3:20
From my heart to yours!