Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lived, Loved, Laughed With...for A Long Time

Today I rejoice with my parents, Acey and Linda as they celebrate 38 years of marriage!
Mom, that's 13,870 days and nights to be exact!

I love everything about my parents.

To others they're Acey and Linda.
To my sister and my husband and I they're Mom and Dad.
To my kids they're Grandma and Grandpa.
To my granddaughter on her way they'll be whatever she calls them.
To many foster children they're Mama and Papa.
To God they are His delight.

If for any reason they would've called it quits in their marriage, it would've been during my late teenage years. Sometime in my early teen years I grew to hate these two people. I constantly threatened them with a move across the county as I schemed to move to Florida from Nebraska immediately after high school as they would just roll their eyes at their jobless, no car of her own, broke daughter. Needless to say, there were no palm trees in their basement which is where I lived until my 20's.

I was a rebel with literally no cause and continually wreaked unnecessary havoc in their home with the selfish choices I made that effected everyone within arms length. I was just impossible. Their love child gone bad. A child that makes a couple wish they would've never met.
I was an ungrateful creep on the vacations they took us on every year which is why to this day my Mom will not travel more than 1 hour away from home with me. I've been forgiven, but my actions never forgotten as her stroll down memory lane always takes her down the highway traveling with her teenager from hell.

It wasn't until I was older that the feelings of hatred I felt toward my parents finally dissolved and my feelings of appreciation and love tucked deep inside my heart

As a little girl I'd stand on top of the love of my life's work boots as he led me around while I held on tight to his hands. As a mom of two and a new bride, I again held on to my first love's hands. He led me around the dance floor as I apologized to how I treated him and my Mom for so many years.

Funny how when you have kids of your own the way you look at your parents is through different glasses. Suddenly the wisdom they offered to their troubled teen doesn't seem so stupid to their adult child striving to grow up.

The first family vacation Gene and I took with our kids was to Florida. I remember how excited I was while planning every detail of the trip and then it hit me. I called my Mom and told her how sorry I was for all the trips I ruined. My parents always took us to the neatest places and I'd always protest having to go. Feeling kidnapped, I would make it my mission to inflict misery upon my fellow travelers.
It just made me sad because as an adult, I finally understood the sacrifice, time, planning, and money it takes to travel with a family to the next town let alone a different state. She assured me I ruined nothing but my chances of getting to travel anywhere with them ever again.
In life.

Last fall when we found out of our teenage daughter's pregnancy, these two people comforted, cried with, prayed over, laughed with and loved my little girl. Now I know how they felt when I got pregnant at 19. I now know the emotions they felt. From heartache to joy, from anger to hope, from feeling a closeness to God to pressing against His holy chest like my life depended on it. From normal life to welcoming new life. From dreaming for my daughter to dreaming for two. From passive prayers to passionate prayers.

When times get tough in my marriage I've learned from the best to stick it out and depend on God. When finances are tough, I've learned to keep tithing and depend on God. When my kids do things that rock my world, I know to depend on God. When I take a beating from the demands of life and want to walk away from the people I love the most
it's God I depend on.
I have learned so much from my Mom and Dad.

I've learned to...
fight for my marriage in the middle of a fight
love hard instead of hardly love
stay on the narrow path when the wide one looks appealing.

I've watched as they...
rode off on their Harley's together
kissed and hugged
laughed and cried.

I've listened when...
they've laughed together until it hurts
she's lovingly called him "Mr. Man"
they've prayed together.

I've seen reality when...
they've sought the Perfect God in an unperfect world
Dad traveled and Mom never worried if he was cheating
they did let the sun go down on their anger.

They've allowed me to see 38 years of love, laughter, faithfulness, trials, tears, anger, forgiveness, friendship, heartache, healing hearts, support of the other's dreams, devotion to each other and most importantly I've seen a couple that deeply loves the Lord.

Mom and Dad, thank you for showing me what to expect in marriage and motherhood. Thank you for always being there for me and for still being there for me. Thank you for loving me when I was unloveable. Thank you for faithfully serving God in the ministry of foster care even when your hearts have been ripped out when kids leave after loving them for 2 years. Thank you for how you love my husband and our kids.
I thank you for never throwing in the towel on "Acey and Linda" when leaving and buying a new set of towels would have been so much easier. Thank you for showing me what "for better or for worse" looks like. Thank you for accepting Jesus into your life and never stopping your chase of Him. Thank you for putting Jesus above one other.
Thank you for giving me a desire to be with my man for 38 years.

I love you both.

Happy Anniversary.


Yolanda said...


What an AWESOME testimony to the love of God-ly parents, their love for Christ, for one another and for their daughter.

God is faithful!


Amy L Brooke said...

Wow. What a beautiful tribute to your parents. That was touching.

Susan said...

Ahhh Lelia,

I know your parents will be so deeply touched when they read this BEAUTIFUL tribute written with so much LOVE!

Now, it's HARD for me to imagine you the way you wrote about, but hey, I'm not revealing my teen years!! (Ha Ha...)

Please wish your parents a very Happy Anniversary from one of your bloggy friends!

Anonymous said...

thts a very touchin story about your parents you are very blessed

Jenny said...

Very sweet! Chad's parents will be married 50 years in a couple of days. Thank you for giving me a great plan!

Annette said...

Simply beautiful! I love the tribute to your parents' love over these many years. It's so true that as we get older, our parents suddently make a lot more sense. Many times I have called my parents and apologized to them because I am hearing my kids do the same things. of these days, I bet my kids will be calling me!

What a great example of sticking it out through good and bad that you've had to look at all these years! God is again...soooo good!

valerie said...

This is a very sweet tribute to your parents and to you and your own family. I know they are so proud of you!
In Dec. of 2004 we celebrated my parents 50th anniversary. We surprised them with a picture in the newspaper of them when they were firt married and then put "50 Years Later..." and we put a picture of all 23 of us (that we had made a few weeks before)... of their four daughters, our children and two great-grandchildren. The Scripture we put was from Psalm 119:90 "God's faithfulness is unto all generations."
Thank God for His faithfulness to your family all these years too!

MaryLu said...

Lelia, you have Harley-riding parents and you HATED them? What is up with this picture! Ha ha ha!
I sure loved your tribute to them, why is it our parents suddenly get so much smarter and wiser when we have children of our own. That is an amazing thing!
Thanks for sharing this sweet tribute to them.

Debbie said...

I came to your blog from another site and wanted to say "hello." I am fairly new to blogspot and am just trying to meet some Christian women. I have checked out some of your blogs and have enjoyed them. I haven't yet figured out how to "subscribe" so that I can remember your site name. Hopefully, I will figure it out so that I can come back and visit you frequently.

North Carolina Gran'Ma said...

What a great tribute to your special they must be!
We all experienced those times in our growing up years that we did not "love" our parents.... and yes, some of us were pretty hard to deal with...but our parents just kept on loving us! Thank God...just like God continues to love us when we turn from Him or act stupid and do things our on way....
Thank you for sharing this!

MrsJoeB said...

So much truth here Lelia..the timing is good friend...

In His Graces~Pamela