It was twenty-two years ago today on a Saturday night in Duluth, Georgia. By the time the everything began, it was already starting to get dark outside. The church was filled shoulder to shoulder with people. Amy intentionally wanted her wedding day to keep Jesus situated front and center, so she planned and prepared for our moment of matrimony to feel more like a worship service than a typical wedding event. I remember standing at the front of the church with my pastor and groomsmen, watching my and Amy’s family members come and be seated up front by the ushers. Then, I remember when the double doors at the end of the center aisle swung open and there stood Amy next to her father, looking stunning in her white wedding dress. She had been thinking of this day for many years as most girls do. For me, this day was all about her… with a little measure of yippee for myself mixed in. Consistent with most guys, I had not really thought about the day of my wedding until Amy accepted my marriage proposal six months earlier. After that, I thought about it in the sense of wedding plans, honeymoon adventures and beginning our life together as a husband and wife. I had not really given a ton of thought of how I might actually feel when I saw her walking down the aisle toward me.
I could not have anticipated what happened inside my heart at that moment.
When I saw her coming towards me on her father’s arm, I choked down the happy tears of gratitude, and I can remember feeling something I had never felt before that moment. This was it. The one whom God had prepared for me to spend my life with was now dressed in a beautiful white gown and moving towards me with a gorgeous smile on her pretty face. We locked eyes, and I felt a surge of satisfied joy to know that Amy was going to be my forever girl. I wish I knew then what I know now. The Father gave me a woman of God, filled with wisdom and grace, feminine but robust in her spirit, loyal and steadfast, relationally deep and tender, fiercely maternal and the strongest overcomer I have ever met. Amy Samples became Amy Lyle that night in November of 1997. I cannot remotely envision my life without her. She is, without anything else coming close, the greatest gift God has ever given me after giving me His own Son three years before she said, “I do” on that night in November that seems so long ago.
Today, I will spend our anniversary by her side. We don’t have any social media worthy events planned. We have graduated from the need to hype our lives together. I’m taking her to lunch, dropping her off to get her hair done, going to see Frozen 2 with her later this afternoon, and then getting some time with her at a restaurant before coming home to see the two awesome kids she gave me. We are in that season of life where it doesn’t have to be sensational to be satisfying. Amy is sensational to me. She’s the surge. She’s the stir inside me. I have loved Amy for twenty-two years, but I wasn’t wise enough to admire her like I should have in the beginning of those years. Now, she is my hero. She has a depth of character and spirit that I see on display every day. In a world of whiners and complainers, she is gracious and optimistic. She’s coolheaded, and Amy masters her own spirit as she gets mad at only the right things and teaches me by example how to let the silly stuff slide. As we have waited during the last eight years for a physical miracle to reliever her body of its pain, her commitment to praise and prayer has only increased. She loves her Bible and its Author. I’m quite sure that she frustrates the devil because he has not been successful at wiping her out or shutting her down. I currently have the more public ministry platform than Amy, but she knows the King far better than I. I think Amy is His bestie. Our children know what a treasure God gave them in their mother. She won them early, and they have no doubts about her love for them. Watching her interact with them is an exercise in wonder for me. I’m not exaggerating – she really is that selfless of a mom, and she has been sacrificial with each of them since the day they were born. I married Amy when she was twenty-two-years-old, and today is out twenty-second anniversary. We have had each other for half of Amy’s time on earth.
I am a happy man, blessed of the Father to be her husband.
Amy, thank you for being my girl. Thank you for teaching me how to love. You know my weaknesses better than I know them. You have never nagged me. You have challenged me, wisely and lovingly corrected me on occasion, reassured me through my blindspots, and you have been a rock during years when I was hounded by those who made me a target for their ill. Your dad told me that I would love you so much more as time elongated with us. He was right. I know that I love you more today than I did on November 22, 1997.
I know you more, therefore I have discovered more of you to love.
My intention is to be by your side until death parts us – hope you are cool with that! I am really excited about that privilege of growing more in this beautiful whirlwind into which we have covenanted ourselves. The years to come will be more about what the Father does with you than what He does with me. I am convinced of this, and that stirs me because it is going to be the years of your reward after many years of release from you. Today, I am humbled and happy that I get to be your husband as those years come our way. I am so willing to finish better as your man than I began.
November 22 of 1997 was good.
November 22 of 2019 is better.
Happy anniversary, beautiful lady.