A Word of Encouragement · Random Thoughts

Have a Joyful Christmas

posted on 12-2014 in honor of our 25th wedding anniversary

Our First Christmas Letter 1989

Christmas Joy

It’s always fun to look back to see what God has brought us through.

The above is the Christmas letter Michael and I sent out as we were preparing to marry on New Year’s Eve 1989. It was a year of sorrow and joy. Here’s a quick timeline.

January 1989 Where we were

Mandy was working as a computer programmer in Columbia, SC

Michael was pastoring a church in Barnesville, GA. He and his wife had three children ranging from 8-15 years of age


February Tragedy Strikes

Joann was taking the children to school one Tuesday morning. Their daughter Marianne, was learning to drive and was driving that morning. They dropped the youngest boy off at the elementary school and headed on to the high school. They stopped at the intersection to turn left. They were behind a truck which they followed on through the intersection. But there was a logging truck coming from the opposite direction. Their little car was broadsided, killing Joann instantly and leaving the two children in a coma. Marianne, was tested to be brain dead 4 days later. Daniel, the oldest son, remained in a coma for 21 days, but miraculously healed by the Lord.


March ~ Meanwhile back in Columbia

Charlotte (my pastor’s wife) was heartbroken. How could Michael continue on in ministry without his wife? She began praying that God would bring him a new wife and mother for his boys.

April  ~ A Revelation

Charlotte continued to pray until God spoke to her and said, “I have a pal, Mandy will be his new wife.”


May – July ~ Reluctance on my part

Every week, I went to Pastor and Charlotte’s house for dinner and while there I taught their daughter piano. I was dating someone at the time and was very interested in him. But every week, Charlotte would say, “Don’t get too serious, you still have to meet Michael.”  I was not interested in meeting Michael, but finally one day Charlotte has a trip to Georgia planned. I agreed to go with her mainly so that she would leave me alone about Michael.

August ~ The Encounter

So we headed to Barnesville, GA. I planned to sing that Sunday morning and meet Michael. Then I would return home and be left alone, at least concerning Michael. But instead Michael began to call me and he asked if he could come visit me.  The first date went well, so I made plans to return to Georgia with some friends to see Michael again.

September ~ The Engagement

While Michael fell head over heals, I was a little reluctant to further the relationship. Every week, he would drop the boys at school on Thursday morning and be in Columbia be quitting time. We spent Friday and Saturday together and he would head back to preach that Sunday! He wasn’t afraid to tell me how much he loved me, but I resisted saying the words.

I only held out a few weeks before finally returning the “I love you too”.  He asked me to repeat it to be sure and then he began praising God. The next morning I asked if he would like to travel with me to my brother’s wedding in Michigan. This way he could meet my family. He agreed to do so and then he asked if I would marry him! I said yes so we drove to the jewelry shop and bought an engagement ring! Then back to my pastor’s home to make the announcement.

Before the day was up, it was official. We would marry on December 31!

It was a flurry after that.

wedding picture
Wedding day December 31, 1989 With our two boys, Daniel and Brian.

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