Never bet against love

This week marks my 19th wedding anniversary. Jimmy and I stood before our family, friends and God at 2 p.m. on July 25, 1998. It’s hard to believe it’s been 19 years since that day. But, as they say, time flies when you are having fun.
Before I got married, I asked a coworker who had been married for 30 years what it felt like to be in a relationship with someone for that long. I’ll never forget what she said, “When you are married to the right person, whom you love, the time flies by quickly.” She was right.
Over the years, Jimmy and I have endured good times, bad times and everything in between. We’ve been broke. We’ve relied on God to provide what we could not even with all our efforts. We struggled a lot over the years. The funny thing is when I look back, I only see the good things—like our first year of marriage.
A lot of folks say you’re first year is the most difficult. I have to disagree. Our first year of marriage was amazing; one of the best years of my life. The next year, we set out to start a family. By the time our second wedding anniversary rolled around, Jordan was almost due.
By year five, Cameron was on his way. Our fifth wedding anniversary was awesome. Jimmy surprised me with a date to a very expensive restaurant called “G” in downtown Birmingham, Ala. He surprised me that morning and told me to be ready when he got home from work. I had no idea what to wear so I called the place and explained that I was just a few weeks from my due date and asked what I needed to wear since I didn’t have a lot of options. The hostess said, “As far along as you are, wear whatever you want.” I managed to put together an outfit that fit—a black shirt and white dress top. It was about the only thing that fit me at that point in my pregnancy.
A few weeks later Cameron was born. Everyone cheered and proclaimed “your family is complete.” Still in my gut as a mom I knew there was one more person who had to come a long before Jimmy and I would say we are done having babies. Still, I didn’t argue. I just let people think two babies was all God had planned for us, even though in my spirit I knew they were wrong.
The next few years were tough. We struggled financially in a tough economic climate, but even though we were struggling, the hard times seemed to pass quickly. Our strength as a couple was tested at least a dozen times. There were times we’d stay up at night worrying about this or that. I clung to my faith that God would provide. I’ll never forget the night Jimmy said to me, “I think God is tired of us relying on him to help us out of a jam.” I laughed so hard and said, “I’m pretty sure that’s what He wants.”
We were married almost 12 years when we welcomed Gavin Robert into our family, rounding out our rambunctious trio.  At that point, I knew our family was complete, and the next babies born into our immediate family would be grandchildren. I prayed I’d have gray in hair before anyone called me “grandma.”
In 2011, we moved to Arkansas and our life changed. I have to say it’s been an interesting ride since we got here. God took us to places we never imagined. I know there are new places He wants us go.
Our lives changed forever with the death of my mom and my mother-in-law’s heart attack six months later. Still our love survived. There were a lot of folks who bet we wouldn’t make it even a year. I wish I’d bet against them because I knew we were in it for the long haul. Never bet against love. You will lose every time.
Melissa Cason is a former journalist whuo teaches high school English and Journalism. She can be reached at melissadcason@gmail.com.

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