For Donna & Carol

by Jim Graham

Krista, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to your Reviving Identity Blog.

Two women have had significant influence and impact in my life; my Mom, Donna, and my wife Carol. First I will talk about my Mom, because quite frankly, without her, I wouldn’t be here. Second I will talk about best friend, soul mate, and wife, Carol.

Mom was married at 16 years of age, and had me when she was 18. I am the oldest of three sons. My first brother came along less than a yeargrahamfam later, and my youngest brother was born a little over two years later. So as a young mother and wife, my Mom had the responsibility of three boys that were three and half years apart in age. Now take into consideration the time period of the 1950’s’ and 1960’s; Dad worked while mom had responsibility for taking care of us three boys and Dad, cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, paying bills, etc. – you get the picture. Not that Dad wasn’t around to help, because he was present and instrumental in the bringing up of us three boys; however the culture was simply different. Oh how true the saying is that God has blessings and rewards in heaven for the mother of three sons!

Not only was Mom a  wife and a mother, she was a teacher, referee, coach, nurse, guidance counselor, Cub Scout leader, chef, judge, taxi-cab driver, etc. Mom encouraged us to be all we could be and instilled a can-do attitude accompanied with a sense of honesty, righteousness, truthfulness, and ethical morals. Mom let us make my own mistakes, but helped us learn from those mistakes. Mom taught us patience, which surely we all know is not easy task. Perhaps most importantly, Mom showed and taught unconditional love and how we need to love one another, family, friends, neighbors, and people during the highs & lows and ebb & flow of life. With wedding anniversary 58 soon to be celebrated by Mom and Dad, Mom has truly exemplified the life of a Godly woman.

IMG_6799So at about 25 years of age, I was pretty much committed to being a bachelor. I had no thoughts or intentions of being married and having kids. I was at a point in my life of knowing a lot about the Bible, but I was only in the early stages of my Christian walk. I was recovering from a serious illness and knew I was alive only because God was not ready to call me home at that time. Then this wonderful God-provided woman by the name of Carol entered my life. For those that may know Carol and I, I could say, “and the rest is history” and you would have a certain understanding of what I mean; however, that would be an injustice of what God has done in my life through Carol and what she has brought to and in my life and into our lives as husband and wife.

Before Carol and I were married, we became best friends. Even today I can say that Carol is my best friend, and I can also say that she is my soul mate; even to the point she at times knows me more so than I know myself. Carol loves me and demonstrates that selfless and unconditional love on an everyday basis even when I do not deserve it. Carol knows me so well that she provides words of comfort, encouragement, and support at just the right time, and she also knows when and how to cause to me consider different thoughts, viewpoints, and perspectives when the need exists to do so. Carol knows what to say and when to say it to keep me in check and balance. Carol is supportive of those stress relieving physical activities that I engage in, such as riding my bike for many miles at a time or playing tennis, racquetball, or handball with the buddies. Carol is trustworthy, honest, and she has that childlike love and faith of a child that Jesus tells us we should have as we live our lives. Carol has forgiven me when I have been less of a person and/or husband than I should be, and she has done so at times without me even asking for her forgiveness. Bottom line is that my wife brings the best out in me and at the same time complements me as an individual and as my wife in our marriage. It has been said that behind every good man is a better woman, and that is very true in our marriage.

Carol is the mother of our three sons. As any parent of more than one child will say, no two kids are the same, and that was certainly the case with our boys. Each of our sons is different and has been different since birth. Carol has been very engaged and instrumental with me in the raising of our boys. Carol had the uncanny ability to use teachable moments in the raising of our sons. Carol has always had a way to reach out to our boys, even during those teenage years when as parents we did not know anything. Carol has constantly prayed for our boys and continues to do so. Many years ago Carol and I agreed to pray for the future wife for each of our sons knowing that marrying the right person is one of the biggest and most important decisions a person can ever make. It was always a priority to Carol to make sure she raised our sons to be the kind of husband and dad that God calls for in their future marriage and family. Right now we firmly believe the two oldest boys have married the person God provided, and He is preparing our youngest son accordingly. We have not been perfect parents by any stretch of the imagination; however with all my heart I know that Carol’s goal and intent was to raise our boys in the house of the Lord so that they could grow to become men of God.

From a little girl Carol has been a Christian, and she continues to have a walk with God through Jesus Christ that is exemplary. Another veryIMG_6296 important attribute about my wife is the love that she has towards other people just as Christ has for people. I have seen Carol hurt very badly by people close to her, and yet she responded with love, which is very difficult and hard to do. Carol is a prayer warrior, and I know she is praying for me as an individual and for our marriage on a daily basis. Because of Carol, I am a more complete and whole man. Proverbs 31 talks about the virtuous woman and the wife of noble character. Well, that is a good way to describe my wife. Yes, we have had our fair share of challenges and storms, but those challenges and storms have made us stronger as individuals and as a couple. In my heart I know God brought Carol to me, and I know God has blessed me many times over in, with, and through my marriage. Carol has stored many treasures in heaven because that is where her heart is. I love my wife more now than the day I married her. Carol, I LOVE YOU!!!

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