Shaky Trust, Tight Finances, But Lots of Love
"Pooh-pooh face", "Babydoll", "Bear", "Honey", "Beautiful", "Baby", "Big Daddy", and "Handsome" are just a few of the numerous pet and silly names Lee and I have had for each other over the years. Tortured by unwanted tickles, soft kisses to the neck, and play fighting has always been a part of us. Lee did the same to our children but in a fatherly way. I looked at my husband with pride as those times always made me smile and cry happy tears. Lee never made me feel bad for not being comfortable with him having alone time with the guys, it just became accepted over the years. We weren't without our problems but we always worked through them and we rarely fought. And, although we didn't have a lot of money, we did the best we could by enjoying affordable fun at home, going to the beach, camping, and visiting our families in Michigan and Virginia now and then. By all appearances, we were a couple to be envied even behind closed doors. We'd endured so much together and through it all, we had love, true love.
Lee, like me, was a Christian his whole life but we weren't practicing the faith. We tried a couple of churches in our first eight years of marriage but never felt comfortable with any of them. After my thirtieth birthday in December of 1999, I decided it was time to find a church family and steer my family in the right direction. I wanted to live for God and my children to know Jesus. I never expected Lee to go with me but was thrilled when he wanted too.
A Happy Church Family
Before we even stepped foot into the church we found, Lee and I were closer than ever and we were a very happy family. Things never felt better, my husband retired from the military and had a merchant marine job with a contractor for the military (same building he worked at in the Navy, ironically) we were complete minus our relationship with God. Once we found Liberty, we felt even better about our lives. Our children, then one and four, were making friends and we made a few new ones too. We'd come home each Sunday and discuss the teachings in depth and then just relax and do whatever the rest of the day. After the first year we decided to become more involved with activities offered. We joined a discipleship program and volunteered to be on the bread delivery team (after much persuasion from the Outreach pastor). We did everything as a family, and I do mean everything.
Both of us griped about bread delivery. Lee wanted to quit and I felt obligated to continue so that did bring a bit of friction to our relationship. After I was fed up with it though, we did end up quitting and joined a Life Group with other married couples with children. Lee played the guitar and I always bragged about how good he was. The Life Group facilitator as well as others asked if we would lead worship; we happily obliged. It took my husband no time at all to learn new music and since I loved singing we spent a lot of time practicing throughout the week together. Everything we did drew us closer and made our bond as husband and wife and mother and father stronger. I truly loved my husband, children and my life.
Over the next three years we changed Life Groups, began home schooling, I taught Wednesday night Kids' Church, and Lee played on the church's main worship team as well as coached Nicole's T-Ball team. We were even asked to facilitate a Growing Kids God's Way group because our children were so well behaved, though we turned down the offer. One couldn't have asked for a better, more fulfilling life, but deep down I felt that I wasn't pleasing God enough and my passion for the Word of God was the beginning of major marital problems.