Today, 34 years ago, I married Kathy Lanier…
I still recall how nervous we both were. Standing outside the sanctuary, I literally looked down at my pant legs shaking from the nervousness. Part of that was due to Kathy’s insistence that I sing to her as part of the ceremony–some fantasy she had. So, I agreed. Big mistake…my mouth was so dry I could not form the words and did I say I’m thankful YouTube was not around then?
She was my bride, the love of my life and I remember us leaving the church in my new 1978 Ford Grenada (I had special ordered it) with 8 track tape player. With her sitting beside me we drove to the first car wash to get the stuff off that car and then up the road we went toward our life together. That trip to Washington, DC involved our planning of life together. We planned our children, our ministry, our retirement and dreamed of a house on the oceanfront. We had no idea where life would lead us–we just knew we loved each other and as I said at Kathy’s memorial “I could not imagine my life any better than that day!” I remember thinking “the girl I wanted said–I do–and we are going to live, minister and be friends until we die!”
Those early weeks we realized how unprepared for marriage we were…but we made the best of that 50 foot trailer on the North Carolina campground where I was a big-time state evangelist. That trailer would be our home for almost two years and Kathy made it home with her skills. I never wearied of life with Kathy and together we laughed, played and worked hard for the Lord. Through all the years, our marriage was full of joy and few moments of sadness. Two wonderful boys, great environments to work for God and our dreams of the future together.
We had no regrets. We intentionally chose not to. We lived each day as best we could and deliberately did not look back. We made mistakes but they did not kill us or destroy our love. We learned to forgive and not make issues between us “tests of love”. We seldom fought. We became ONE in so many ways. We learned to like the same things on so many levels. We shared joys, made tough decisions together, prayed together and learned how to trust God.
God gave us more than we deserved and we were grateful. We were not perfect but we were happy together. We did not struggle to love each other nor did we seek affirmation, affection or love anywhere else. We were satisfied with each other. We talked often about the future. Me, the ultimate optimistic and she, the practical realist. Me, the chance taker, she, preferring the safe route. But to her credit she came to appreciate a challenge and did not shy from taking necessary chances.
She found fulfillment in making our home a place of rest and fun. She required us to check our sadness at the door and the boys and I found home a place we desired to be. She forged our boys into great men, protecting them from outside predators and covering them with intercessory prayer. Each time I look at Jeremy and Jason, I see Kathy–her fingerprints are forever on their lives.
Even when cancer invaded our lives, we determined to keep loving and supporting each other. I made my mission to help her navigate a life of pain and suffering–she made her strongest efforts in preparing me to live without her. Sometimes we held each other and wept desperate tears believing for a saving miracle that would not come. At other times we alternated supporting the weaker one among us–keeping faith in view. We never gave up–even as the end came close.
Looking back, a simple day in January 2011 was the dark reality to us both that this might not end well. We did not know it then but our final goodbye began that day. She simply looked at me and said, “I’m so sorry!” At that moment, I knew she believed this might mark the beginning of the end. I held her for as long as I could and we wept into the night.
I recall all this–not to prolong any pain or to put a damper on the moment but to express in words that Kathy and I walked this life together, each day, each moment devoted to one another. Her leaving is sad in so many ways–but the memories are bright spots that remind me of God’s goodness in my life. We were blessed.
If she were here today–we would be having some party. There would be chocolate “something” and there would be laughter remembering something over the years. It was a good time.
It all began on June 24, 1978 in Sanford, NC…34 years ago today.
I love Kathy Isaacs for always!