Martha and I just celebrated forty -five years of marriage. As I reflected back, it seems like yesterday, that we walked down the aisle of the Monaghan Baptist Church, exchanging our vowels to each other.
I have been so blessed to spend life with my best friend, mother of our children, and partner in ministry. Early on in our marriage, both of our mothers used to say, “That is a marriage made in heaven.” We had many similarities, even before we got married. We both went to the same Junior High, and graduated from the same High School. We both were members of neighboring Baptist churches, and lived in the same community. We both were the youngest child of a larger family.
Martha is youngest of fifteen children, her father’s first wife died after the birth of the eight child. He then married my mother-in-law, and she gave birth to seven children. I am also the youngest of fifteen. My father married my mother and they had seven children together. He then married my stepmother who had seven children and one adopted child, making a total of fifteen in my blended family.
By the time we met as teenagers, both of our fathers had already passed away, and our mothers were seeking to live off of social security income. It goes without saying; we were both poor, but loved. During each leg of our journey in ministry, Martha worked outside the home, and readily moved, and supported God’s calling on our lives.
She often had to leave family, friends, and employment opportunities in order to support me in ministry. Without her strong support spiritually, emotionally and financially, I would not have been able to prepare, or serve in most places of ministry. Each place of ministry where I have been called to serve, she has readily offered her spiritual gifts, talents, and resources to help build the church. Looking back, we both have seen the hand of God at work in our lives. We have been blessed far beyond anything we could have dreamed or imagined.
For the past eleven years, we have been doubly blessed to serve, and minister with our Southside family. As I reflect back upon our journey together, it has truly been a partnership, a marriage “made in heaven.”
Martha and I have never felt such love and support in ministry. Even though at the end of this month I will no longer be your Senior Pastor, you will always be our family in Christ. “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day, until now, being confident of this, that, He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6NIV).