On Monday, June 25, 2018, Douglas and I will celebrate 14 years of marriage, a milestone that many people thought we would not reach, for we met on a Christian dating site (Viva la Internet!). We will be in Savannah, Georgia, walking beside my beloved Atlantic Ocean and appreciating our good fortune. Yes, there have been difficult times, mainly due to my insecurities and a belief that I was not worthy of a “good” person.
Yet, that is exactly what I prayed to God to send me, and boy, did He answer in a big way! I wanted someone educated, kind, caring, committed to God’s work, and he had to love sports (I had two season tickets to the Atlanta Falcons), long walks, and to travel. It’s was lot to ask for, but I had lived through enough physical, financial, and emotional violence to know just what I wanted and needed. And, thanks be to God, he is all that I asked for and more.
I am still in awe that Douglas saw my picture and had the courage to choose a black woman as a potential wife, although I still think those season tickets played a role (smile). In the early days of our marriage I asked God to change Douglas, but God changed, instead, the ways that I responded to this man with a loving heart for people. Neither one of us is perfect, as I am nowhere near where I should be on slow to anger, slow to speak, and quick to listen, but, thankfully, he epitomizes the saying that love is patient.
We have struggled as any two people would who are of different races, social classes, and regions of the country (him from California, me from Tennessee). I laughed when he asked me on our first date how much I received for an allowance. I had never received one, and what he received each month for an allowance, $40, my mother did not earn working for a month.
He was accustomed to playing board games, taking lots of family pictures, sailing, yacht clubs, climbing peaks in the Sierras, trips to see where ancestors lived, and three meals a day, with both parents in the home. In contrast, I have no recollection of ever seeing my parents together as a child, and living in a three-room wooden shack, my sister and cousins and me had contests to see who could kill the most roaches. I never learned to swim, skate, or ride a bicycle, things that Douglas and his siblings took for granted. I remember being so hungry once that I stole some chicken gizzards, and I still do not eat them today.
Yet, for all of our differences in lifestyles before we met, we are amazingly alike in our faith in God and in our desire to work to encourage, inspire and give hope to the lost and those battered by circumstances beyond their control. We both are voracious readers, and we both enjoy the outdoors, although camping for me means a cabin or hotel room (anything with walls and a bathroom) and he prefers sleeping on the ground next to a burbling stream.
We love experiencing new places and activities. I love to see him teach in church, for he is the smartest person I know, a walking biblical concordance. He is my biggest critic and supporter when I preach, always telling me how well I did. My nickname for him is Scholar, and he calls me his Pearl. He tells me that black pearls are rarer and so are priceless, so you can see why I hope for a long, long marriage.
We are both devoted to our children and grandchildren. We find it humorous that my some of my grandchildren are older than his children, and I have six great-grandchildren, three of whom are the same ages or older than his three grandchildren. Between us we have 8 children, 18 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, with a new great-grandchild due on Sunday, June 24. It is quite a lot of people to see when we travel to Atlanta, as we will this weekend before traveling on to Savannah.
When God answers prayers, He does so in ways that you know that only He could do what seemed impossible. Who would have ever thought that the two of us would meet and see the future in each other’s eyes? God does not look at the outward appearance, matching people by race and ethnicity; instead, God looks at the heart, matching hearts beating in rhythm and love. Thank you God, for Scholar. Our love for each other demonstrates every day just how much You love us both.