It’s been a good day around the McClendon house. Tim surprised me with tickets to the Iron Bowl, which if you aren’t from around here – that’s kind of a big deal. He even had plans for the kids to stay with his parents for the day which made everyone so very happy.
The Iron Bowl is always fun for us. It was actually our first date way back in 1996. We cheer for opposite sides so that makes life interesting at times. As we made our way to Tuscaloosa today, and I had a little time to reflect on these past 20 years, I am amazed by how God has blessed us. It certainly hasn’t always been easy. I have a nasty temper, and a tendency to say whatever comes into my head. The madder he gets the less he speaks. I remember the early years of our marriage when communication was a disaster half the time and miscommunication was the culprit of many arguments. And yet here we are, 20 years later, and I simply could not imagine my life without him. We are complete opposites yet perfectly complimentary.
Prior to Kayleigh’s diagnosis we were good. We had found a groove, we still argued on occasion – got frustrated with each other – but overall, we were good. And then we find out our baby is sick. I remember that night after her first MRI so well. We knew something was wrong but we didn’t know what. That night, as Kayleigh slept between us, we made a promise to each other that no matter what they told us, it would not break us. That no matter what, Tim and I were a team and we would stand together. And from that night on we moved from good to great.
It was Kayleigh’s illness that drove us to our knees. Yet being on our knees is what made all the difference. As Tim and I spent more time with the Lord, He began making changes in each of us. Changes that replaced human nature with Christ’s grace and mercy. That doesn’t mean life is always easy. These past 6.5 months have been anything but easy. We still get frustrated sometimes, we are just so much faster to extend grace to the other person now. It’s amazing. It also directly corresponds to our spiritual walks. The more time we spend with God, the more He is able to shape us to respond like Him. And the more we function as a team, just as God intended.
So tonight I say, “Thank you, Lord.” Thank you for strengthening our marriage and bringing more beauty out of tragedy. Thank you for loving us unconditionally, and teaching us to love others.
2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
1 Peter 4:8
8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.