Thursday, August 16, 2012
Thoughtful Thursday -- A Quarter of a Century!
Yes, this photo was taken twenty-five years ago yesterday, shortly after we had been declared Mr. and Mrs. Brad Sullivan at Twin Lakes Baptist Church in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
We were a young couple, still working towards our college degrees at Ouachita Baptist University, but we felt that we were very mature for our age, and ready for whatever life might throw at us. And life was good ... We didn't have much money, but we had a lot of love, as we finished up our undergraduate years there and then made the big move to Fayetteville to get our master's degrees at the University of Arkansas. We managed to complete those programs in one year ... two months before Hannah Joy arrived in October of 1991. The joy of our marriage was multiplied by her arrival, and then multiplied yet again a few years later when Bethany Grace made her appearance in June of 1995.
We spent the next several years moving all around Arkansas, as Brad gained experience as a school administrator. When we finally landed in Magnet Cove in the summer of 2004, where Brad was about to take on the role of high school principal, things were really looking good for us. Our girls were growing up ... Hannah was starting eighth grade and Bethany was entering fifth ... we had a comfortable home, good jobs, a great church, and absolutely everything to look forward to in life.
Then our Hannah was diagnosed with cancer, and in a single moment our whole world spun off its axis. We embarked on a year-long roller coaster ride of radiation treatments, chemotherapy protocols, extended hospital stays, platelet transfusions, and grim prognoses. We were forced to have conversations and make decisions that no parent should ever have to make. And then we, along with Bethany, sat beside Hannah and held her hands as she took her final breaths. It was an awful, awful year.
But, as horrendous as that year was, it could have been worse. Throughout that time, it was absolutely critical that Brad and I were on the same page, both in practical matters, such as decisions regarding treatment plans, and in spiritual matters, such as agreement about the sovereignty of God. And I am so thankful that we were. If we had not been united regarding these things, I literally don't know how we could have made it through. And that need for unity continues, as we continue to adjust to life without our girl. Thankfully, God continues to give us new joy through Bethany, and through the ministry opportunities He's given.
As I look at our wedding picture, I fully realize that we are not the same people who walked down that aisle twenty-five years ago. We are older, we are wiser, and we now live with an eternal perspective that we never had before. Would I do it all over again? Absolutely! Even if I knew that we would face the exact same heartaches again? Without a doubt! I can't imagine walking through this life with anyone else.