What you see above is 26 years of Love, Laughter and Faith.
As a young girl I always dreamed of the day I would meet my prince charming. I remember hearing my mom encourage her daughters to pray for their future spouses...we were only 6, 10 and 13. But how important those prayers of her young daughters would be. Little did I know just five years later I would meet my prince charming. My journey to meet him was filled with five years of wondering who he might be. Always asking God...Is this the one? Sometimes not asking or listening...taking the chance of missing out on my blessing.
At the age of 17 my family left the church I had known, a youth group that included my only friends and a relationship with someone who I thought was that prince charming. Not realising it...but God was moving me towards my prince charming...the one He chose for me! As painful as the journey was... I had to learn to trust God in what I thought was a terrible choice my parents had made. We began attending Calvary Chapel Atlanta... forty- five minutes away from home. OK God...How can I have friends if they are so far away? I loved my youth group at my other church! As we adjusted to our new church...it took me a while...but my heart began to change.
I remember when I first saw my prince charming. We had stayed after church for a time of fellowship and volleyball. As I watched this game...feeling like a foreigner in a place with strange people...there was this one guy who caught my eye. I remember thinking...he's so friendly and loves making others laugh. Very different from little ole me...shy and very reserved. Besides he's way older than me! Where are the young people my age? I want my friends back! I want my old youth group! I hate change!
My family continued to attend this new fellowship with great teaching and strange people. For those who have ever attended a Calvary Chapel you will know what I'm talking about. I went from wearing dresses and heels to jeans and flip flops. A casual atmosphere filled with people who loved God's word. Many of those we fellowshipped with had weekly bible studies in their homes....no mid week service. My sister asked me to go with her to this one on Thursday nights near our home...and that bible study continues even today. I reluctantly went...I'm still getting use to this new church. Very non traditional from what I had been a part of. So... dragging my feet I went. Guess who was leading this bible study? You guessed it...that volley ball playing funny guy...my prince charming! I'm still not seeing God's hand in all this...I so see it now!
Before long this volleyball playing...bible study teaching guy was gracing our doorstep with his presence. I bet you thought it was to see me? No...to start another bible study for college age kids and to build an addition onto our house. Yes...God is so good! He works all things out for our good!
During all this...I'm still in High School. My senior year I'm trying to finish up school and God is at work trying to bring together two people. I remember thinking as I prayed one day...God please bring some excitement into my life! I have know idea what your plans are for my life...but you know the desires of my heart! Be careful what you pray for!
The next few months were a blur. I had school to finish...a June mission trip to Scotland came into the picture January 1984...and February 1984 God began to speak to my heart. I knew God was doing something. I remember mentioning it to my mom...not knowing prince charming was having his heart tugged at the same time. I had given up on dating and decided to wait on the Lord to bring him to me. Over the past few months we...I ...had gotten to know this volleyball playing...bible study teaching and now builder. He was now at our house many days during the week building our addition. God your so sneaky! One Sunday morning during worship I noticed prince charming leave. Thinking something was wrong...my heart hurt for him. Later I would find out he was so overjoyed in the Lord that he had to leave to spend some quiet time with the Lord. That is where God would speak so very loudly to him. That same afternoon I had a meeting at church and wouldn't be home until late. I came home to find ...Mr. Prince Charming at my house. What I thought was him spending time talking to my dad about nothing much...was a life changing event about to happen.
Without anyone realising it God had been speaking to our hearts all at the same time. The conversation with my dad was about me! I think it caught us all by surprise...but all in God's plan. You see... in the world's eyes he was too old for me...nine years older. In the world's eye's I was way too young to be getting married...only eighteen. But God never goes by the world's standards!
One evening while sitting in our living room my prince charming came to call. I lived in a house with two parents and five kids. Never would or could you have a room to yourself! That evening everyone left the room...I had no clue what was about to happen! As I set there reading the news paper my nerves began to shiver...those butterflies began to flutter...my God began to put together a friendship that has grown for almost 26 years now. There we set all alone in the living room in my parents home. I know he was nervous. This is a man who loves a crowd...but put him one on one and he becomes the quiet shy one. Me... I love one on one...a crowd scares me to death! Opposites attract...we couldn't be more opposite if we tried. But we have grown closer and now at times finish each others sentences. It took him a while but he mustered up the courage to ask me out. I knew...I knew God was in this. All I could say was... You'll have to ask my dad first. And he grinned...Earlier that week...that Sunday the permission had already been given!
The next few months were a whirl wind of events. I worked really hard to finish school and prepare to leave the country for a two month mission trip. May...right before I graduated... we made our engagement official! Talking about praying for some excitement ! I graduated and we planned for a September wedding...and I left the country. Leaving all the planning to my family. I returned early August...to my prince charming and a wedding to finish planning. On a beautiful day in September...on my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary...I married that volleyball player,bible study teacher,builder,friend and blessing from the Lord...my prince charming!
I have now experienced this with my daughter too. Sometimes we get our eye's off of God's plan for our lives. We run and fight against all that we know we should be doing. We make choices that aren't in agreement with God's will for our lives. Our choices do and will effect those that we love. Had I not listened to what God was saying to me...I would have missed out on a huge blessing in my life...my prince charming and our nine children.
I love you Kelley Holcombe! This journey we are on continues to amaze me. I have been praying for you since the age of thirteen. We love because our God continues to be the heart of our friendship and marriage. Thank you for obeying the Lord even when the world said you should not. Growing old with you is what makes my heart smile as I think of the heritage that we will leave. I am so proud to be your wife and mother to our nine children. As our journey continues...my heart will only grow fonder of the man who makes me happy and continues to encourage me to trust the one who brought us together. As you lead our family...I pray God gives you wisdom and strength to leave a Godly heritage to our children and grandchildren...great grandchildren....Wow! we are going to have a long lasting lineage!
I pray that God gives me the privilege to hold your hand for many many more years!