It’s hard to believe that nineteen years ago today my husband, Keith, and I went to the justice of the peace with our friends Tina Davis, Michael Brooks and his wife Courtney. They watched us as we took our vows and became husband and wife that day.
The last nineteen years have been fraught with ups, down and one tragedy. Most marriages would have ended by now, probably ten times over. But each and every time we have persevered through it all.
Do I or Keith take credit for this? No. It is because of our belief in God that we have remained strong together through it all.
Don’t get me wrong. There have been a couple of times where we came close to divorce, but we were still able to make it through.
The most recent test to the strength of our marriage came after losing our only child. I think the marriage statistic for marriages ending in divorce is astronomical. The stress that is put onto a marriage after the loss of a child is huge. If your marriage wasn’t very strong before this happens, divorce seems almost inevitable.
In December of 2010, Keith and I weren’t doing well. We were both to the point of where we would rather have separated so we could remain friends than to keep going to where we hated each other.
We knew that if we were going to make it we need to get into some type of marriage counseling. So on January 2, 2011, we went to Stithton Baptist Church. At the end of the sermon the pastor asked fir anyone to come forward if they needed to leave Anthony in the hands of God.
Now you have to understand that I hate going in front of a crowd of people much less complete strangers. Yet God was tugging at my heart. I thought my heart would beat out of my chest at the rapid rate it was beating. My hands were shaking. Then it seemed like my feet had a mind of their own as I felt my body start to move all he way from the back of the church to the front where I crouched down on the stairs and my body was racked with an avalanche of sobs. The deep anguish of missing my daughter was so acute. The tears kept spewing out of my eyes.
After several minutes the past gently put his hand on my back. To be honest, I don’t remember what the pastor said to me in that moment, but seconds later two women were at my side. They placed their hand on me and began to pray. I don’t know how long they prayed for but in that moment I felt loved. I finally got to a place where I could stop crying and went back to my seat.
When the offering plate went around earlier, I placed a card in the plate I had filled out asking for prayer for Keith and I over the loss of our daughter. Later that week the pastor called and talked to me for about an hour. He was able to show me a verse I desperately need to see where it shows God brings to heaven all people who don’t have the capacity to understand His gift of His Son dying on the cross for our sins. That verse is John 9:40-41. “Some Pharisees who were with him say this and asked, ‘What? Are we blind too?’ Jesus said, ‘If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.'”
I wrote this on the last page in my Bible where I keep all important notes to where I might need to find something in he Bible: “Verse to prove Mari is in heaven.” I look at that verse and realize that Mari was blind. No, not in the literal sense, but in the fact her mind was and she would never have been able to comprehend God’s greatest gift to us with sending His only begotten Son to die on the cross for out sins. Mari would never have been able to understand what sin is. So in her “blindness” she was able to go to heaven and I will get to see her again one day. I had such a peace that came to my heart to see in black and white in God’s Word that Mari is okay.
The pastor also scheduled a time to start having marriage counseling with him once a week. Over the next four weeks God performed a miracle in our marriage as we grew strong again and Keith and I are doing so good today.