July 30, 2023

40 Years and Counting!

That, ladies and gentlemen, this is my wife! She is the greatest gift God has ever given me.

40 Years and Counting!

"How did I get you?" I asked Robbin that question on our wedding day. I asked her again today, on our 40th wedding anniversary. To say I married up is an understatement. It is true no matter what metaphor you choose. I married above my pay grade. I outkicked my coverage. You get the idea. Earlier this year, we were blessed to celebrate 40 years of marriage in Italy! (Check that off the bucket list). Italy was almost as beautiful as Robbin. I had the time of my life with the love of my life.

Last week I was training some teachers near Tulsa, OK (Go Central Tech!) Since I was staying in Tulsa, I decided to go by the first apartment we lived in after our wedding. It was less than 600 sq. ft. Our rent was $325 a month. We brought home $625 a month. I was finishing school at Oral Roberts University. Robbin was working two part-time jobs trying keep food on the table and help me graduate. We had to be creative our first Christmas. Little did I know, over the next 40 years, Robbin would ALWAYS make Christmas special, whether or not we had any money. We would often try to lower the kids' expectations because we did not want them to be disappointed in our gifts. Our daughters don't ever remember being disappointed or doing without at Christmas. Their mother made sure of that. But she even did that before we had children.

That first Christmas, in that tiny apartment. we found a real Christmas tree for $16. It probably looked more like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree than I would like to admit, but sitting on our hand-me-down sofa with my arm around Robbin, you would have thought we were gazing at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York! We could not afford decorations, so Robbin cut our red and white checkered table cloth into strips and made beautiful bows. She tied them on the tree where she could find room after hanging two packages of candy canes all over the tree. And that was only the beginning.

Since then, we have been through a lot together, her and I. When our first daughter, Shannon was born. Shannon had complications and had to be rushed by ambulance to a Children's Hospital. Robbin told me to go with her so Shannon would not be alone. Robbin stayed in her hospital room alone. When Rhema, our second daughter was born, Robbin's mother was upstairs in the same hospital suffering from cancer. Nine months later her mother passed away. Three weeks later I resigned my staff position at a local church (that's for another blog post). We were living at the church parsonage. Yep. That meant that Robbin did not only lose her mother and her home church, but we also lost our home...oh yeah, I was unemployed as well. My wife tenacious. She pursues God like few people I have ever met. She repents quicker than anyone I have ever known, and she loves fiercely. Through all of that, she kept loving me and loving God. Was it easy? Of course not. Some of the memories from that season make me twitch to this day.

We moved 22 times the first 20 years of our marriage (don't ask). We went without many times during those years. BUT GOD was always faithful to meet our needs. And Robbin never left my side. I would like to say I don't know what I did to deserve her, but the truth is I don't. The only complaint I have is all the feathers on our bed from the angel wings.

On top of all that, we had the ups and downs of parenting together. We talked each other off the ledge more times that I can count. Our daughters turned out beautiful, inside and out. I see Robbin in all three of them. You would be hard-pressed to find a father more proud of their children than I am. Being "Their Dad" is one of my favorite titles. They follow in their mother's footsteps they are going to be just fine.

I always knew Robbin loved me, but never did she demonstrate that love more than last year when I had a heart attack. I remember looking into her eyes while lying in the hospital bed. We didn't have to say a word. One night in the hospital I was having a rough night. I could not sleep. I wasn't feeling well and it seems like I had about 200 wires attached to me with a 24 pound ipad laying on my chest recording the data. Robbin woke up at 1:30 am. I had still not gone to sleep. I asked her to pray for me. She gently placed her hand on my knee. I took her hand and put it on my head. "I need some REAL PRAYER." All I can say is when she started praying God must have sat up straighter on His throne. All the pain, restlessness, irritability and darkness left the room! Robbin turned on some worship music and went back to sleep. I stayed up for another hour worshiping with tears streaming down my face like a waterfall. It was like my hospital room was transformed into the Holy of Holies. God's presence was there in a way I had never felt Him before.

That, ladies and gentlemen, this is my wife! She is the greatest gift God has ever given me. I cannot put into words how my I love her. I love her more today, on our 40th Anniversary, than I ever have before. Robbin, if you are reading this, I love you. I always have and always will.

Mark McKinney

Author, Writer and Speaker

Mark has spent his entire adult life in service to others. He has served as a pastor, educator, motivational speaker and author. He has three daughters, one wife (Robbin) and eight grand children.

About Mark

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