In the summer of 1959 a family moved to the cotton fields of eastern Arkansas and started attending the church where my family attended.


In the summer of 1959 a family moved to the cotton fields of eastern Arkansas and started attending the church where my family attended.

 

My first memories of Linda were of her sitting in this old country church pew with her family. It was “puppy love” at first sight. We were both 12 years old and started sitting together in church holding hands. Through the years, we attended youth events together and eventually dated.

 

We dated all through high school and got married three weeks after I graduated. We were both a whopping 18 years old now and headed off to college on a football scholarship.
Those early years in college with almost no earthly material goods were wonderful years because we had to depend on God and each other. Our first child was born during our second year of college and, although times were tough, our love for each other and our little one grew stronger.

 

After college, I spent 20 years serving our nation in the U.S. Army. During those years, our love matured through the birth of two more children and the rigors of military service.

 

But God was faithful through all the challenges while serving stateside, in Turkey, Germany and in Korea. The separations strengthened our marriage and made us appreciate every moment we have together.

 

For the last 21-plus years, after retiring from the military, we have served in the ministry. God has blessed us with almost 46 years of marriage. But we have been an “item,” as the young folks call it today, for almost 54 years.

 

If someone had told me 55 years ago that I would love her more after all these years I would not have believed them — but I do. We have learned that when God is our number one priority, everything else falls into its right place.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, Linda. We will be Forever Together!