Forty-one years ago, on September 2, I married my high school sweetheart and best friend, Terry Carlson. We dated for five years and couldn’t wait to begin our life together as husband and wife. Terry was 20 and I was 19 years old…but we were both very mature…haha!
Planning the wedding was a blast! I really didn’t know what style I liked or what colors I wanted so I picked out the first material I saw at the fabric store and my mother-in-law sewed most of the bridesmaid’s dresses. Back then there were no smart phones or a computers but with pen and paper I checked off each item on the list of all that needed to get done before our big day
*Order wedding cake from Scandia Bakery. *Ask my cousin, Kathy and our friend, Mich to sing.
*Ask our high school English teacher to play the organ.
*Order wedding invites.
*Ask friends to be bridesmaids and groomsmen.
*Ask my nephews and nieces to be flower girl, ringbearer, Jr. bridesmaid and Jr. groomsmen.
*Buy wedding dress.
*Reserve church and Son’s of Norway for reception.
*Choose songs to be sung during ceremony.
Everything checked off and our day finally arrived! As I waited anxiously in the cry room, guests took their seats in the nearby sanctuary. Organ music softly played through the walls of the cry room. This was the moment Terry and I had dreamed about, talked about, planned for and saved for.
The music paused and I heard Mich and Kathy begin to sing our song, Baby, by John Denver. I was overcome with emotion and began to cry. We changed a few of the words to make it a wedding song. The lyrics of the chorus goes like this:
“And the wind will whisper your name to me
Little birds will sing along in time
Leaves will bow down when you walk by
And morning bells will chime.”
We changed morning bells to wedding bells will chime. ( I know…the lyrics seem cheesy today but 41 years ago it was romantic.)
You can hear the orginal song if you click here:
I could not stop crying. I didn’t wear any make up, and it’s a good thing because it would have all come off. I’m not saying a few tears were shed…I’m saying I was full on UGLY, cannot stop, crying.
After all my bridesmaids arrived at the altar, I anxiously took my Dad’s arm. The “old traditional”, Here Comes The Bride began and all the guests stood. I tried to quit crying but, oh no, there was no stopping it. Terry took my trembling hands as we stood in front of the pastor. He repeated his vows and then it was my turn…I could barely breathe. I began to repeat my vows, took a breath which burst into a loud snort!! Our ringbearer and flower girl began to cry…Years later I found out they cried because they thought weddings were sad. Several guests were in tears, too. We made heartfelt vows of “I Do” before God for better or worse, for richer or poor, in sickness and in health…til death us do part. And we lived happily ever after….ha ha!!!
Terry and I didn’t know Jesus personally when we got married but He knew us!!! God’s Hand was on us. He knew the plans He had for us and we would accept His gift of grace and salvation five years later by acknowledging our need for Him and proclaim Him as Lord and Savior.
Have we lived “happily ever after”? Some days…sure. But honestly, no, not really. Would I marry Terry all over again?….YES, YES, YES!!! But in real life we walked through seasons of good and bad. Seasons of great times and seasons of hard times and losses. I used to think love was a feeling and if you lose that feeling…uh oh. Love is oh, soooo much more than that.
I’m so thankful to God for Terry. Is he a perfect husband? Uh…noooo! But he’s the perfect husband for me. Does he ever irritate me…Uh, yessss! Does he have some habits that truly annoy me…Oh yeah!! Oh, please quit fidgeting and flush the toilet even when it’s just yellow!!!!
We are experts at pushing each other’s hot buttons. Some days we don’t like each other at all. We are two imperfect persons God continues to change and grow and love on…not sure we will ever reach perfection… haha! One verse God keeps bringing to mind when I feel like being snitty…“A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1. It actually works, if I choose to apply it.
Looking back, 41 years ago!! Wow!!! We didn’t even know the meaning of love, but we humbly continue to learn from God through the Bible how to love, honor, trust, respect and stay committed to each other even when times aren’t great.
The Lord has allowed very tough things to come our way in our forty-one years of marriage. As John Denver’s song said, I’ll walk in the rain by your side. Boy, that was more than prophetic. We lost our family home and most of our possessions in the flood of 1990. We tore the remains of our home down to the studs and began to rebuild. For thirteen months our family weathered that storm together and faithfully walked in the rain by each other’s side. We made a flood video of the year documenting the faith filled journey God took us on. We laugh now at the end of that video when we all decided to celebrate by rapping a grand finale song.
Terry and I were blessed with three beautiful children: Katie, Jaymi and Michael. Terry walked by my side in the season of being a mother of preschoolers. I thought everything would come naturally to me, but it didn’t. By God’s grace, through His Word in church, Bible study and MOPS, He blessed us as parents. Now we enjoy our ten grandchildren and are very excited to meet #11 this February.
Through years of chronic illness and chronic pain, Terry has been by my side. He’s been my tour guide on many expensive, painful dental vacations…we both would have preferred Hawaii or the Bahamas. He has loved me through:
*Eleven painful root canals. *Mercury toxicity. *Chronic fatigue syndrome. *Eleven teeth extracted because of the root canals. *Years of horrific tmj pain. *Kidney infections. *Chronic neck pain. *All teeth extracted. *Adrenal fatigue. *Depression. *Surgeries for bone grafts and dental implants.
Through it all, Terry is still loving me despite me having no teeth, failing bone grafts, failing implants and another bout with heavy metal toxicity. I look like Grandma Pitypoo, but Terry sees my beauty. (I think his eyes must be going bad!) I know his hearing is…we play Scrabble quite often with each other and we each drew our letters to see who goes first.
Terry got up and told me, “I got the letter C and I have to go pee.”
I drew my letter and yelled to him, ” I got the letter T.”
I repeated loudly, “I got the letter T!”
His response was, “Well use the other bathroom then.”
He has hearing aids but doesn’t wear them around me…hmmm!
I once told Terry he should have looked into my mouth before he married me. He may have changed his mind when he saw my teeth. He said, “You never look a gift horse in the mouth…and you are a gift to me.” AWWW!! So Sweet!!!
I’ve walked by his side through: *Many painful job transitions. *Two kidney stones. *A heart surgery, stroke, and a botched stent surgery.
But, by God’s grace, today we love each other even more and remain best friends. He will finish my sentences before I do. I will finish his thoughts before he speaks them. I couldn’t have picked a better Daddy for our kids. I wouldn’t want to be an Ama/Grandma with anyone else…what a joy it is to enjoy grandchildren together. I wouldn’t have wanted to go through or grow through life with anyone else by my side, than you, Terry. I love you!!! Happy 41st Anniversary to you!! And I thank you Jesus for giving us the strength and power to walk through each storm you permit in our lives. We could not do it without you!!! I pray you will bless us with many more years together!!!
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