Life Compass
Keeping You Pointed in the Right Direction

Seventeen Years Ago…

I married Shari Jean Gottung.

It was twenty years ago this July I first laid eyes on her. I was preaching a 4th of July campmeeting when in walked this cute, petite blonde. I asked the host pastor if he knew who she was. He told me she lived in the area and was a member of another church. After a minutes of looking at her sitting in the crowd I said to him, “I am going to marry her.” I told her that on our first date. She gave me a second date … a year and half later.

We married on a Saturday and left for a honeymoon in a cabin on a private lake front. That Sunday night we ventured into town to attend an evening service at the local church. An elderly couple in their 80’s came up to us and asked us if we were newly weds. We answered we were and they bubbled and giggled and said we that “glow”. He looked at me and said, “my bride is prettier to me now than she was 67 years ago when I married her.” They acted like newly weds.

During these seventeen years we have shared hopes, dreams, ups, and downs. We are raising four great kids, paying bills, feeding the pets,  living life, and still learning things about each other.

Did you ever have something so perfect you didn’t realize how good it was until it was lost?

A year and half ago I almost lost what I had. I almost threw it all away. Sometimes when we are disappointed with ourselves … when we haven’t achieved what we think we are supposed to … when things have gotten hard and we want someone or something to blame we push away and throw away what we do have to reach for something or someone we are not supposed to have thinking that will change everything. Oh, it will but never for the better.

Sometimes we are just so filled with pride and selfishness we see ourselves as the exception to the rule and want what we want no matter what without thought of the cost and pain.

God knew what He was doing when He put Shari Jean Gottung in my path. She has been my helpmate, lover, partner, friend, cheerleader, encourager, defender, and protector. It took almost losing her to know that.

My decision … my actions changed our lives. At my lowest point she took my face in her hands and said, “we are in this together!”

There are days that seems like only yesterday and other days when it feels like a century ago. My wife … my friend … my example of Christ who would love me, forgive me, and push me to get going again.

How do you express to a woman like that your love and devotion … marry her … AGAIN! No, we never divorced but this Saturday we will renew our vows and recommitt ourselves one to another.

What makes this so amazing… seventeens years she didn’t know what she was getting. Now she knows all the human flaws, mistakes, sins, and stuff…  BUT SHE STILL SAID YES!

Like that elderly couple we met when we began … I am looking forward growing old with my bride. Seventeen years down and fifty to go!

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