Carrie was contacted to be a part of the Mother's Day Service this year at Regional Church of God. This is the testimony she shared. Toward the end, she shares a story about a dream our son had concerning our child that was lost from the womb. Check it out..
My goal as father and husband is to build a beautiful family culture in my home. I like to keep things interesting and surprising, to keep love-in-action as an regular occurrence for my kids and my wife. So for this latest surprise, my son and I had a weekend home, while mommy and sissy traveled away for a cheering competition. My daughter's Celtics team brought home 1st place in 2 categories, so we made a little banner to welcome them home and celebrate their accomplishment.
It was March 13, 1996 and time again for the West Virginia State High School Boys Basketball Tournament. I was a freshman at what was then, Pikeville College (now University of Pikeville) in Southeastern Kentucky. Feeling like the big man on campus, you know... high school campus, I ventured to Charleston for a weekend of fun, basketball, and chasing high school cheerleaders. Having no specific prospects in mind, I considered the typical menu, Tolsia High cheerleaders or those from the more local Burch High. As that first night neared and my friends and I established our first strategic plan, we ventured downtown where the Bulldog Cheerleaders from Burch High were staying. I felt confident, as I should, I had an inside connection in the person of my aunt, the cheer coach! Upon entering the hotel, there before me was my first target, the younger but growing more and more HOT, Carrie Preece! When I saw her in the lobby, I was taken by how good she looked, and I braced for what the weekend might hold for me. As my friends and I became informed as to what floor the Burch cheerleaders were staying, we put our "game-face" on and up the elevator we went. I played it safe for hours and just mingled and talked to lots of familiar people, shared some laughs and surveyed the females. As the night was nearing a close, I just might have played it too safe and failed to take enough risk. All of a sudden, the tide turned and I found myself in a very interesting and vulnerable situation. I walked out of a hotel room and into the hallway seeking a vending machine. Carrie, standing in the hallway as I passed by, shot me with an elastic hair bow. I caught it and proceeded to my destination, she followed! Noticing that she was in pursuit, I simply ducked behind a corner to hide from her. When she found me, I dangled the hair bow as bait, she took it. As she reached for the bait in my right hand, I placed my left arm around her waist and pulled her close (still don't really know why I had the nerve to do that!). Suddenly, standing face-to-face with this young woman, who would become my wife, I became smitten! I peered into her eyes and she into mine, everything faded into the background, and a connection was born! As curfew became an obvious enemy to whatever was happening to me, I used my inside source, Coach Alice to get more much-desired time to talk to Carrie and further explore the developing connection. We met in the Coach's room and engaged in conversation for maybe an hour before the inevitable occurred.... lights out. Coach Alice ran us out of her room, and it was time for me to bid good-night. However, I was not willing to go away without making a lasting impression, so there in the hotel hallway, just the two of us, I pulled her close once more and .... we kissed! Needless to say, I have never forgotten that Wednesday night 18 years ago!
What can I do on a Saturday morning to put my wife and family back in their proper place in my priorities? Clearly, I am the person that continues to forget. This tends to be the case during weeks full of things that scream for my attention. No excuses, priority is priority! I must not neglect my God, my wife, or my family! So this morning, I decided to listen to the voice of my wife from weeks past... "How about breakfast in bed?" Sure, it was her idea, we regularly and freely communicate each others needs. But I must confess here that I am usually the one who forgets, and as a result have to constantly re-prioritize! It's a weakness that I must work on!
Dr. Larry Crabb in his book Men & Women: Enjoying the Difference, writes that our #1 enemy in marriage is self-centeredness and therefore other-centeredness is the goal! Interestingly enough, Paul says it this way, "In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies" (Ephesians 5:28 NIV), and in Mark 12, Jesus commands us to love other... how? as thyself! So other-centered living, though not a natural way of life in our culture, is what we need to keep in the front of our minds and hearts.
I rose this morning to God's new mercy and first spent time with Him, then prepared a nice breakfast for my wife to enjoy in bed! Cream of wheat and buttered toast were the special of the day, served on a cooking pan.... you know, because we don't have a tray. It took me longer to clean up the mess I made in the microwave than to actually prepare the meal. Afterwards, I prepared a second order made for a Princess! I need to set the standard for what a man and husband should be in the life of my daughter! Hopefully, this will ensure that no scummy low-life.........nevermind! :) So both my girls got breakfast in bed this morning. And as for my son, he got his ever-desired Chocolate Milk .... with extra chocolate!
I am quite sure that I will get my priorities out of line again, but there will always be a repentance and re-calibration of priorities to position my God, my wife, and my family at the top of my time and attention! In addition, I must always face the fact that the tendency towards self-centered living is ever before me and consistently work to get out of the rut and think of others! Thanks be unto God for His mercy and grace! We all should be free to extend mercy and grace to others! Love does cover a MULTITUDE of sin!