Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tough Times Don't Last -- But Tough People Do!

These photo inspirations are near and dear to my heart. This day, 15 years ago, my Sweetheart and I resaid our wedding vows during our 35th year of marriage. I'd like to say it was 35 years of wedded bliss -- all sweet, lovey-dovey, and delightful times that prompted us to want to repeat our vows, and there were plenty of those, but in reality, there were plenty of ups and down -- times we were just not on the same page. There were lots of challenges and struggles. So on this 35th year of marriage, we were celebrating that we were two tough cookies that believed when we said our vows....."To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part", we meant it. We stuck together like glue.....and as the years passed by, the bond that held us together....grew so strong that no matter the prevailing winds of illness, circumstances or any other force....we were unshakeable!

Some of the vows I said were the same as on our first wedding day -- Ruth's words to her mother-in-law, Naomi, when Naomi told her to return to her roots after her husband, Naomi's son, had been killed. But Ruth said to her, and I said to my husband, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God." Ruth 1:16. Who knew (we sure didn't) that I would follow my Sweetheart as he fell in love with the Catholic Church after having been a Protestant evangelist, pastor and teacher for most of his life and having had parents who were Protestant pastors for over 50 years. Those vows rang true as where he went, I went. His love became my love. The beautiful and loving Catholic people became my dearest friends. The spiritual renewal that ignited the Charismatic Catholic Renewal in the 60s, and continues today, caused our hearts to burn with love for all of God's kids like never before -- wherever they place their love and commitment to Christ. Today I am more active in evangelism and spiritual renewal than ever before. Honestly, leading people to Christ and the abundant life He promises and gives, is my greatest goal in life.

These photos were taken at the "resaying of our vows" in a lovely Catholic chapel in San Diego, CA -- where we had just opened a Food Pantry to feed the hurting and broken people in that area. The icing on the cake after that, was our sweet and tender time of recommitting to those beautiful vows we had spoken 35 years before -- this time we did it in full knowledge that the roads could be very bumpy ahead, but it didn't matter because our devotion and love for each other was worth it all.

I shared all this with you, my dear FB friends and family, before this year ends, to share and urge those of you who are married and are experiencing some tough and challenging times, to be TOUGH and steadfast to your vows before God, because tough times don't last, but tough people, tough marriages, and taking tough stands on what commitment, love, trust, and devotion are all about, do. It is worth every effort, because the toughest journeys make the sweetest victories....even greater. Trust me. We proved it!