Proverbs 18:22 NASB
He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the Lord.
It was very early fall and late summer, but in south Georgia who can tell the difference in the season. This had been a day I looked forward to for a long time even though we were young. Just a couple years before I began asking God to give me one of the things my heart seemed to desire the most. That was a wife.
The day was Saturday, September 4th, and it was 23 years ago this weekend that I had the privilege and honor to marry Julie Howell. We were both 22 years old in 1993. Seems like it was forever ago (or five-ever our children would say).
23 years ago. 3 children ago. 6 dogs ago. 9 houses ago. 3 states ago. 16 cars ago. Lots of money ago. Many, many memories ago. And the list can go on and on because we have been very, very blessed!
Happy anniversary to my Julie who continues to be my best friend and partner in just about everything that goes on our lives. We have battled stuff. We have celebrated so many times. We have cried (a lot) through the years. We have laughed, sighed, groaned, grumbled, rolled our eyes and do all that stuff that people who share life do. Every single one … worth it!
When I was young, I knew that I wanted to be a preacher. Not many girls want to be preacher’s wives. There isn’t much money in it, and you might have to move some. You may even have to move a long way away from your family. I began to pray God would give me just the right girl.
I picked out a couple along the way (in the early years) that I thought would be the perfect preacher wife, but I was wrong. Thankfully I didn’t invest much or get far in those relationships. But very early in 1991 I began to long to share my life with someone, and I asked God more and more to fill that spot. Honestly, those were often lonely days when I lived 5 hours away from my family and then 19 hours away from them.
Around the close of 1992 I became the pastor of Bear Creek Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon, Georgia which is near the college I attended as a preacher boy. My first Sunday at the church I was invited to the home of two of the church members, the Needham family. It was that day at lunch that I met my future wife.
She was dating their grandson. No, I didn’t look at her and say she, Julie, was going to be my wife. In fact I didn’t have much thought at all with everything else going on. It was about 5 weeks later that this girl had broken up with their grandson. This grandma, affectionately known as gran gran, began to encourage me or beg me to call this sweet little girl. That continued for several weeks.
I was ordained to the ministry by home church just after Christmas of 1992, and I returned home after January 1st to go to school and serve that little church. Gran Gran’s insistence to call this sweet little girl and ask her out. I did.
That first week I saw her Monday night (really just trying to remember what she looked like; might have been stalking her). We had dinner Tuesday night and again Thursday at a place right near our college campus. Friday she had wisdom teeth taken out, and I went to her home with some flowers and a couple rented movies (that’s a story for another day).
What began as a phone call to make someone stop pestering me ended up in a lot more. 6 weeks later we were engaged (the story of those several weeks is also a story or several stories for later). We were married at First Assembly of God Church in Vidalia, Georgia on Saturday, September 4th of 1993, and as the old saying goes, the rest is history.
I am blessed, more than she is or has been. Julie is the answer to my prayers of my late teen years and early twenties. She is still the answer to my prayers. God over did this one in a good way once again proving that God is good!
So, happy anniversary, Julie Howell Harrison. What a great life we have together. 23 years is only the start, and we have lots of new things ahead (as we have experienced as of late). I am so proud to be your husband and fall short so often. I pray for you daily and praise God for you to.
My commitment? To pray for my wife daily and be what I can as her life helper and partner. We really are blessed, and it means a lot more than just 23 years of memories. More to come!
Proverbs 5:18 NASB
Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth.