Twenty Years of Cheers, Fears and Tears

BolandsI awoke this morning beside my best friend and beloved wife of twenty years—twenty years today!  The time has flown by . . . especially because I have been blessed to spend it with the one I simply can’t imagine being without.  This morning my mind is flooded with memories that fill my heart with unimaginable joy and thanksgiving to the One who brought us together and has seen us through it all.

CHEERS: Kim has been my greatest cheerleader for twenty years.  She has cheered me on, regardless of how the scoreboard read.  Funny thing about remembering the cheers, you would think they would be the loudest when we were ahead on the scoreboard.  But I seem to remember that the loudest cheers from my beloved came when I was behind on the scoreboard.  On those days, when my performance left much to be desired and my effort did not measure up, instead of questions and condemnation, Kim simply kept cheering me on.  Through every foible, fault, and failure, the forgiving cheers of my Kim kept urging me onward.

FEARS: The Bible tells us to “fear not,” but I am a sinner, and the past twenty years have not been without some fears.  I remember the fear that seized me when our firstborn was almost lost to hemorrhaging in the womb early in the pregnancy.  I remember the fear that gripped me when our youngest son had a night of seizures that the doctors could not explain and could not stop.

I remember the fear of failing in business, losing our home, and pawning everything we owned . . . expect our wedding rings.  I remember the fear of starting all over, going back to school, and launching out into ministry. And then just over a year ago, there was the fear of stepping out into the unknown and beginning this church planting journey.

Yet every one of those fears was answered by faith—not mine, but Kim’s.  Oh sure, she dealt with the same fears, but instead of dwelling on her fear, she focused on feeding her faith. Kim modeled the power of the Gospel for me through a life marked by constant prayer.  The road has been long, winding, and bumpy at times, but she has never faltered.

TEARS: Who can count the tears that fall during twenty years of marriage?  Only God knows, for He numbers our tears (Psalm 56:8) and knows our every thought. There have been tears for family . . . tears for friends’ betrayal and friends’ commitment . . . tears for each other . . . tears of sorrow . . . tears of joy.

For me, the most troubling tears are the ones I have caused Kim.  Like a bull in a china shop, I rumbled, bumbled, and stumbled through our early years together, leaving behind a roiling wake of broken promises and unfulfilled dreams.  How often she came looking for her best friend, wanting him only to listen! And instead of meeting her in her place of need, I paraded my utter insensitivity by quickly providing answers to questions she had never asked.

It only got worse when I started my seminary education.   What an “authority” I thought I was becoming! How proficient I was getting at saying “God” in three syllables!  Yet, even through a veil of tears, Kim never wavered as my wife, my best friend, and my partner . . . in sickness and in health . . . in plenty and in want . . . in sorrow and in joy.

Only the grace of God could have carried us through these past twenty years of cheers, fears, and tears.  And only the grace of God poured out into the heart of a Gospel-saturated wife could keep this marriage together and keep making it better and better.

I am a whole lot older and a little bit wiser than I was on that day—March 6, 1993—when Kim and I looked at each other and said, “I do.”  I have learned to read between the lines of our incredible life together and to remember the fact that God gave me two ears and one mouth because He knew I would do well to listen to Kim more than I speak!

“It is not good for the man to be alone,” the Lord said. Two decades of marriage have taught me that I am in no way self-sufficient. God showed me my need for a wife and was gracious to give me the wife I needed.  And those friends who are closest to us know just how true that statement really is! To borrow a line from Hollywood, Kim completes me.

Another twenty years?  Only the Lord knows.  But whatever time He is pleased to give to me with my beloved wife and best friend in all the world, I pray there will be less of me in it and much more of Him.

How I love you . . . my DEAR WIFE!

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!



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4 responses to “Twenty Years of Cheers, Fears and Tears

  1. John VandenOever

    Tommy Boy – Still setting the pace! The two of you always inspire because you let God lead – and even when you don’t – He’s going ahead of us, isn’t He? – Thanks for this.

  2. Jay

    AMEN! and congratulations! Love you guys

  3. Donald, Janet and Malcolm Devers

    Dear Tommy and Kim…you two are so special to us. We have enjoyed so many happy moments with you and your sweet children. Thank you for inviting us to take a step in faith and be a part of the team at Cross Community Church. We have seen God’s hand do amazing, supernatural things in only one year. We have grown in our faith because of the wonderful teaching and preaching at the Cross. You and Kim are beautiful examples of God’s love in action. Congratulations on your 20 years of marriage. May you have 50 more! Love Don, Janet and Malcolm

  4. Joe Pettit

    Hi Tommy,
    That’s a great tribute to your faithful wife. May the Lord give you many more years that are filled with blessing (and maybe a few less bumps).
    Joe Pettit

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