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February 14, 2022

“I have always said I met Robert in the fifth grade, but Robert is sure we met in sixth. I guess I just like to imagine more of my life with him in it! We attended the same church and youth group, but we really didn’t know each other. I’d even say we were worlds apart. I was quiet and a rule keeper, and he was never far from trouble. On our youth group trips, the leadership always threatened to send Robert home on a Greyhound bus! And I will say his shenanigans were epic! (I won’t elaborate … I wouldn’t want to give any ideas to impressionable minds.) Amazingly though, he never got kicked off a trip.

“In spite of our differences, when I was 17 and Robert was 16, he asked me out. At the end of our date, we were standing on the back porch, and I was fidgeting with a hanging plant. My dad opened the back door and said, ‘Deb, it’s time to come in.’ I said that I would be right there! I was truly embarrassed. But then Robert kissed me goodnight, and I fell in love.

“But one kiss isn’t enough for a lifetime; I re-fall in love with him every day. The greatest lifetime gift Robert has ever given me is a surrendered heart to the Lord. On February 16, 1981, Robert yielded his heart and life to the Lord. It was a game changer—everything changed! I can’t imagine how chaotic our lives could have been. He wasn’t instantly perfect, and for the record, he still isn’t perfect. But when he asked Jesus into his heart, he truly became the man of my dreams.

“Years ago, the Lord told Robert that when he shows love to me, he’s really showing love to Him. So his motivation for everything is to love me, and he demonstrates that love in countless ways. I never worry if I will have what I truly need; he works tirelessly to provide for me. And he’s not only really good to me—he also makes me laugh!

“Robert and I have learned a lot about each other over the years. As the church has grown, one thing I’ve learned about Robert is he needs to have outlets for stress relief. We’ve discovered having time away and the chance to work with his hands allow Robert to function at his very best as a pastor. So he talked me into buying property in the country. It’s so far off the beaten path that mail service isn’t available, trash pickup isn’t offered, and the nearest mall is an hour away. I’m constantly noticing things I want to improve on our land, but my fear of snakes always wins out. One time when we passed a tractor dealership on our drive into town, I joked that a cute tractor with air conditioning would solve my problems. And being a smart man who has learned his wife, Robert bought me my very own tractor! Now I can move dirt, mow, and plow (safe from the snakes). Sometimes I get it stuck, but that’s another story.

“We love to do things together, but let’s be real, I don’t take him shopping. He’s a terrible shopper unless we’re at Bass Pro! Regardless of where we are, we love being together, and we’re honored to serve the Lord together. We also dearly love our family—our children who keep us smiling and our grandchildren who are absolutely the cutest in the world. I could not be more grateful for Robert—the man God has had in my life since the fifth grade and the love of my life since our first date.”