It is hard to believe that it has been twenty-four years since I walked down the isle to my handsome young husband and said “I do”. It has been a long and challenging journey, but one I would gladly take again. I pray Randy feels the same way.
We met at a family amusement center from the small town I was from, a town with only one red light. The family amusement center was a place where teens could hang out and play basketball, pool, video games, or just hang out. You could usually find me there when I had nothing better to do. One night Randy walks into the place. He came with his cousin, Mark. I knew Mark, but not Randy. Randy asked me my name and I said, “I don’t have one” and walked away. He continued to pursue me anyways. He asked me to shoot pool, but he couldn’t figure out how to get the balls out of the table. I told him you had to put $.50 in it first…hahaha. He had never played pool other than at someones home. I told you I was from a small town, but it was a metropolitian area compared to Randy. He was a country boy. He lived in the middle of nowhere. I was not interested in Randy that night. He called me a couple of weeks later and asked me out on a date. I was unsure as to whether to go or not. I asked him if we could double date with my best friend, Teresa. He agreed. We found her a date and the four of us went out. It started off on a rocky start. Randy had spent hours shining up his ’69 Camero to show off on the date, but we had decided to drive Teresa’s dates truck. The movie was horrible, the pizza was bad, and we didn’t really talk to each other that much. Me and Teresa just talked mostly to each other. The date was over. Randy went home disappointed, and I just felt horrible about ignoring him all night. When I closed the door behind me I began to cry and realized that I loved him. Why I do not know. The next day I called to apologize for my bad behaivor. He was so happy he asked me out that night to eat with his whole family. After that night, we spent everyday together. He asked me to marry him in two weeks and we got married in less than 3 months of knowing each other. Did I tell you I was 17 and he was 18. I was still in high school. Randy had already graduated and was working. He had already been called into the ministry. I had felt called to missions. We began this 24 year journey on May 17, 1985.
Our first home after moving out of his parents home, we got to house sit for one of Randy’s cousin. The house was a two story house with an ingroud pool. We thought we were living it up. I finished high school the next year. We had bought a new trailer and put it on Randy’s dad’s farm. He gave us 2 acres of our own. We had already lived in 4 or 5 places before now. We had Dustin in Sept. of 1987. Randy took his first church as pastor while Dustin was a baby. It was a small country church 45 min. one way. We loved those people, and they loved us. Cody came along in May 1989. He really shook things up when he almost died at birth. I almost died having him. I was really challenged in my faith during this time. I questioned God and got angry with Him. I didn’t understand why this was happening to me. I was a good christian and I thought nothing bad would happen if you went to church and prayed. God taught me to trust him more than ever during this time. Little did I know at the time that He was preparing me for Tanner who was born in March of 1992. Tanner was born with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome. He was very sick at birth and he was in and out of the hospital until he was 5. I had learned from my experience with Cody to trust God. I put Tanner into God’s hands. In 1993 God lead us to Graceville, Florida so Randy could go to Florida Baptist Theological college. We sold our trailer, left our family and comfort zone and moved to Florida. This was a challenging time for us. I had 3 small children and no family or friends to help. Randy went to school all day and worked the night shift. We only had one car and he usually had it. Money was tight. Randy took a small church as Interim pastor that was mostly elderly. This made it hard for me to make friends. I decided to homeschool Dustin. He was in first grade. I really enjoyed homeschooling. He loved to learn. I got involved in a homeschool group and began making friends. We joined a larger church in town and I got involved with teaching junior high girls and working with the youth. I loved it. The kids were active in the childrens ministry. We were finally making friends and adjusting to our new life in Florida. I also joined the young women for Christ where I met my best friend, Wanda . After 3 years Randy was called to pastor another church. I didn’t want to go at first, because I was happy with the church I was teaching at. The church he was called to didn’t have many youth or children. I got busy and built up the youth and childrens programs in the church. We stayed there almost 5 years. We left Florida and moved back to Tennessee in 2000. Randy was called as pastor to Ethridge First Baptist Church. We spent almost 5 years working together and growing the ministry at Ethridge. When we left Ethridge Dustin was a senior in high school. We waited for him to graduate before we moved again. Dustin had decided to go to Union University to college. We were still unsure as to what direction the Lord was leading us to. When we left Florida Randy had not completed his degree. We decided he needed to finish his degree. He then enrolled at Union University to complete his degree. He graduated in Dec. 2007. Dustin lived on campus. Cody was a junior in high school so we were concerned about his education. We found Trinity Christian Academy. He graduated from Trinity and enrolled at Union. We have lived in Jackson for almost 4 years now.
We have been a family that enjoys hanging out with one another. We love to go to parks, the zoo, amusement parks, water parks, we love to go swimming, camping, playing sports, playing board games, or just hanging out together. We love to travel and go on vacation together. Our favorite vacation spot is Panama City Beach. We also enjoy going to the mountains with all my family for Christmas. We love to take a day trip or weekend trip somewhere spontaneous like to the Land Between the Lakes, or St. Louis, or Memphis. We have been blessed with a wonderful family. We have had alot of great times together. Memories that I will cherish forever.
In our 24 years together we have had 3 wonderful sons that bring us great pride and joy. We have lived in 14 different houses. We have driven 11 or 12 different vehicles. . Randy has pastored 7 churches. We have had many different jobs between us. Our boys have been to different schools including home school, public, and Christian. Our boys have played sports on many different ball teams including baseball, basketball, football.We have had multiple pets, from dogs, cats, fish,rabbits, and hampsters to frogs, bugs, lizards, iguana’s and even snakes We have made many great friends along the way. God has opened many opportunities for ministry outside of the church including mission trips to Brazil and Mexico/ Arizonia. Thank you Father for giving us so many opportunities to be an example of your love to the different people you have brought into our lives,
I told you the road had been long and a bit bumpy along the way, but God has been faithful to keep us together and to grow our love stronger everyday. I am so proud I walked into that family amusement center over 24 years ago, and I am glad I said yes to that first date. Randy has been a devoted husband and father. He loves the Lord and wants to please Him with his life. I am truly blessed to be Randy’s wife. Thank you for staying by my side and being someone I can count on no matter way. I love you more today than when I said, “I do”.