A few years ago, while preaching at a church in Aberdeen, NC, I met two people that would impact my life in ways I could never imagine. You see, the two that I met were a mother and a son. Not aware of the circumstances she was facing, I noticed her sitting in the back of the auditorium fully engaged with the words of Scripture while I was preaching. Her two year old son was running laps around the auditorium stopping only at the stage where we he and I looked each other in the eyes and smiled. Little did I know what was to follow…
After the sermon was finished and the worship experience came to a close, I went to the exit of the auditorium to shake hands with those in attendance and to meet the first time guests. At the end of the line was a beautiful mother and her adorable 2-year-old son. We shook hands, introduced ourselves, and began conversing. The conversation was very casual as are most first-time conversations, but there was something that caught my eye. It was their smiles. It was as if every care in the world, in that moment in time, had disappeared and they were just grateful to be in that auditorium that night.
As weeks and months passed on, conversations with the woman became more frequent and more in-depth. We began sitting around coffee shops with friends discussing Biblical principals and practical implications. It was in a very short time that she and I had become very good friends. She was sharing her struggles and I would often point her to Scriptures that would encourage and equip her to be victorious over the battles she was facing. On Easter of 2012, this woman surrendered her life to Christ. Since that day, I have never met an individual who desires to know God and know his word like she does. To this day, she continues to trust the promises of God and seeks Him daily. In August of 2013, I had the great honor and privilege of baptizing this woman whose faith had inspired so many. The following month, September 28th, 2013, this woman said “I do” and made me the happiest man in the world.
It’s funny how God works. Often times we reach out a hand to help someone that we think are need and as a result, we typically receive the greatest blessing. While Sandy may tell you that I have blessed her life, I would contend that she has been the greatest blessing in my life. She has taught me what it means to trust God amidst raging storms. She has taught me of a love that doesn’t waiver. She has taught me what it means to be a parent (since I now have a stepson). Above all, she continues to smile. That same smile that caught my eye several years ago still catches my eye today.
This past Saturday, April 26th, we had the opportunity to celebrate Sandy’s birthday. I wish there were ways to match the blessing that she has been to me, but I’m not sure that’s possible. So, from the bottom of my heart, I simply want to say, thank you Sandy Richardson. You’re my best friend. I am honored that God has allowed me the opportunity to spend the rest of my life with you. Whether it’s crying, laughing, worshipping, goofing off, having fun, or sitting still; there is no person I’d rather do life with. Thank you for being you. I love you!