No Greater Joy

My heart is bursting with joy and gratitude today! We returned last night from Ft. Worth where our Rob married Rebeccah Gould. Rebeccah is a precious, beautiful, caring girl who loves Jesus and loves Rob! It just doesn’t get much better than that! They met in a home group of their church, The Village Church in Ft. Worth, so their friends got to watch their relationship from the start. While it was a  s l o w  start (Rob was slow to finally ask her out), things moved right along once he finally did!  Kris Samons, leader of their home group, participated in the service so that was extra special.

Rebeccah is a TCU graduate and a nurse at Cook Children’s Hospital. The way her family and friends honored her with words at the rehearsal dinner and reception was a dream come true for a Mama who has prayed for years for God’s perfect match for this boy of ours! Rob has never been happier or more content in his life, and for those of you who know his health history, we consider it an extra bonus from God that Rebeccah is a nurse. In the book/movie The Help an oft-quoted line is the one Abileen spoke to Mae Mobley numerous times, “You are kind; you are smart; you are important.” This new daughter in law of ours is all of that — genuinely kind, incredibly smart, and extremely important to many, now including all the Collingsworths! Rob and Rebeccah are a perfect match for each other ……. thank you God.

Weddings include lots of bonuses. Our closest family and friends gave the time and money and energy to come and celebrate with us. This weekend became a huge reunion! So many memories and happy stories were shared by the special people who have influenced our family’s life over so many years. I wanted to sit down with each person and have a long one-on-one visit, re-telling tales and laughing and remembering the good (as well as the not so good) times we have shared and survived over the years. John and Dawn Harris have been a huge part of our family’s lives since the day we moved to Orlando in 1989. They quickly became Uncle John and Auntie Dawn to our kids, even though the British accents clearly confirmed that the relationship was not through blood but love. When Rob was about 19 we were all at the beach and Rob gave Uncle John $1.00 and asked him to help with his wedding; the dollar was a retainer. So, here we are years later and there was Uncle John, officiating in the wedding ceremony.

For our family, the glue, the hub of the wheel, the protecter, sustainer, redeemer, and the one to whom we give credit for all these blessings is Jesus. He has held us, led us, kept us by His grace and mercy. This morning when I was catching up on my Bible reading, I read this verse, “I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant…” Gen. 32:10  This is the attitude of my heart today. God knows I am not worthy and I know it too. With that said, I am eternally grateful for all the friends and family who have encouraged Rob and impacted his life and development over the years. You know who you are; many of you came this weekend and celebrated his marriage with us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Life is a roller coaster and often a slippery slope. Everyone I know experiences things that are amazingly wonderful and also things that are devastating and sometimes heartbreaking. No one escapes hardship; it just comes in different ways and at different times to each person or each family. I know this fact because I am old (don’t tell JB I said that), and I have personally experienced the good as well as the bad. And so has everyone else I know. The good news is I have survived and that is due only to the grace of God (no pun intended).

Sometimes people wonder or occasionally ask, “so what difference does it make to be a Christian if God is not going to keep bad things from happening to you?” The answer is that God does not keep “life” from happening to us. However, He walks us through the tough stuff; He teaches us how to treat others through our own hardships; He uses us for His glory when we survive the things of life. He is God and He is enough for whatever life throws our way. His peace is sufficient on the hard days and His joy is indescribable on occasions like this weekend.

Years ago a friend gave me a beautiful frame with this scripture written in caligraphy – “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 1 John 1:4.  I have kept it close-by over the years and prayed for that to be the case with our children. This weekend of Rob and Rebeccah’s wedding is a sweet reminder of God’s faithfulness and goodness. I pray this sweet couple starting out on their journey of marriage will continue to walk in the truth of God and His word.

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