March of 1992 is the year that my parents celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary, it was a pretty big deal. Not only was it the traditional “China Anniversary,” but it also came with many changes. They made it two full decades rearing three unruly children, moving out of Historic Natchitoches into the beautiful green hills of Goldonna, they were entering the ministry full-time, and my mom leaving her career as an ad salesman and editor for the Natchitoches Times.
It was a lifetime of changes to celebrate in just a few short years.
That year we cooked a big dinner, baked a big cake and invited friends over to celebrate. Anytime there is a celebration, there must be food and there must be people. This was also the year that my older sister got married, so it was our first family celebration including my new brother. There was an abundance of things to celebrate.
After everyone left, it was mainly immediate family that hung around reviewing the events of the day and just enjoying each other’s company. While we were enjoying the solitude of the smaller crowd I noticed a perplexity in our celebration and before I could stop myself, it was truly like an out of body experience, I blurted out, “How is it that you are celebrating twenty years of marriage in March and Callie (oldest sibling) is turning twenty in July?”
An awkward hush befell the halted celebration. My hand was covering my mouth because there was only one explanation and I was a little scared of getting grounded for unearthing a truth they never shared with their kiddos.
Mom was expecting a beautiful baby girl prior to becoming betrothed to our father. She had a bun in the oven before her etiquette approved time.
After what seemed like an eternity, we began to laugh out loud. We joked and we judged them harshly while laughing. Their simple explanation was that they didn’t always live a Christ like life. It was honest and straight to the point. But I did wonder if they felt guilt over expecting a baby before the appointed time for most married couples. Both of my parents grew up with a strict Catholic background and they did share that it was not a pleasant revelation when they told their respective families.
While it may not have been society’s perfect time for them to get married or have children, it clearly generated a lifetime of blessings for them and their children. My parents were very devoted to each other and loved each other’s company, they were amazing parents together and had a ministry that reached hundreds of lives. God turned their situation into a ministry that helped many people create a personal relationship with the Lord.
It wasn’t long after their twentieth anniversary that my mom became very ill and almost lost her life. But it wasn’t God’s timing for her to leave this earth. She still had work to do. My mother became wheel-chair bound in 1993, when she was only 43 years old. My father was her caretaker every day of her life and refused help from home health care and refused to even consider a nursing home for her extended care. Even from her wheelchair she was very active in my dad’s ministry until she passed away in April of 2011.
They were just shy of celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary when she was called home.
God was so good to my family and blessed us with many years together even though it didn’t start in a perfect way. But that is one of God’s specialties…. taking the situations with no hope and blessing them with additional years, more time and a clear path of beauty.
When we start questioning God math’s that includes adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing we are truly not giving him credit for his intricate design of our lives. Even though we may be perplexed and concerned about the timing of how things happen…..from all accounts, he has never failed a math test yet. He is on our side and he is for us. Soon after my mom passed away he blessed my father with another life partner who would continue to be a blessing to our family.
Happy what would have been a 50th wedding anniversary to my mom and dad, George and Gail Procell. Your love produced many blessings that are being lived out daily. March 1972 – March 2022
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways submit to him. And he will make your paths straight.”