Hang in there my Bride, we’ll make it yet.

Fifteen years ago today, everything that could go wrong seemed to have done just that. The best man got a nosebleed. The pastor didn’t show.

The candles exploded. The caterer mixed up menus. And, the limo broke. The driver took a smoke break. You and I and our luggage sat right there in the back seat.

And I thought, hang in there my new Bride, we’ll make it yet.

When we made it to our wedding night resort, a singer’s arrival kept us in our limo… and the driver took another smoke. That night you cried over all that went wrong even though we knew we’d laugh about it one day.

The next morning, after a pre-dawn storm tossed us like bean bags, I dragged you from one end of Atlanta’s airport to the other. I was so thankful you made it on our cruise-bound flight before you dove into the lav.

And while you were in there, And I probably thought, hang in there my Bride, we’ll make it yet.

In moments routine we’ve learned each other. Just like your morning coffee will always go cold and I’ll never put a belt away. I’ll always steal your covers and you’ll always apologize for every fantastic meal.

The years have seen highs and the years have seen lows. Moments of delight and moments with fights. During these years, we’ve experienced blessings and we’ve said goodbye to our dreams and buried those we have loved.

Through many tears, many times, I’ve held you close and said: “hang in there my Bride, we’ll make it yet.”

When God called us to care for the orphans, you led the way and held my hand as we dove in. When J said “look ma, no cabatees,” or crashed into the house, we laughed in delight. We watched them grow inward and outward and upward.

The dark shadows of trauma couldn’t break our bond. Abuse and neglect couldn’t tear us down. When we bore their scars and church turned away, we lifted our eyes and screamed as we prayed.

And I whispered to you, hang in there my Bride, we’ll make it yet.

You took my hand when I turned on the flashers and our new life began. In happy days we’ve prayed and praised and played. We’ve sailed the seas and seen the Pacific coast mountains. We’ve added two more to our family and been in awe of receiving more than we deserve.

And once again, here at 15 years, everything seems wrong. One child in the hospital. One child in deep distress. Against your daddy’s directive, I am without job or manual skill, but I think he’d be pretty proud of us still.

We’re at a crossroad with much past behind. The future is foggy, but you’re by my side. Our friends are around us, holding us up. Jesus is illuminating the way forward ahead.

And it’s now that I squeeze your hand, look into your beautiful eyes and say: “hang in there my Bride, we’ll make it yet.”

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