Reflecting back 15 years

My wife and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage this month.

An older friend once told me, “Marriage is a beautiful thing after the first 15 years.” Looking back at the past year, I agree with him, but I’m not writing today to tell you about where we’re at now. I’m writing to tell you a story about where we began.

Amanda and I dated a few years before I got saved and baptized. Right after that I felt led to service work, and our youth pastor recommended we volunteer at Faith Mission Outreach.

Faith was a food and clothing ministry. Any person could visit and get a bag of clothes and a bag of food a week.

As soon as we started helping there, we loved it. It was a good group of people showing others how much God loved them through meeting their basic needs.

My favorite thing about the Mission was their Tuesday night prayer meetings. They called them that, at least, but they weren’t about praying to God. They were about listening for God.

People would scatter around the sanctuary and clear their thoughts while Christian instrumental music played. When it was over, we would gather in a circle and talk about what we felt God was working on us about. It was a special thing.

I had many experiences there you wouldn’t believe if I told you. The main thing I kept hearing was that God was pushing me toward a calling.

I did not know it would be songwriting. I hadn’t even played in public yet. My limited understanding of purpose had me thinking God was going to ask me to be a preacher.

That scared me to death, and I worried what it would mean for my future with Amanda. Nothing seems harder to me than being a preacher’s wife. I began to pray for a sign of what we needed to do.

After five or six prayer meetings with no word, I was getting frustrated. I went to the next listening session telling God, “I want an answer tonight” – awful arrogant, I know, but I was 21, so cut me some slack.

The music started, and I listened. I listened hard, and I heard … nothing.

The music ended, and I walked back to the circle so mad. I hadn’t got my answer.

But when I got back up front, Amanda was gone. The preacher said “Will, Amanda had to leave. A woman came with her two daughters looking for food, but we are out. So she took them to your house to cook them supper.”

I was blown away.

I knew that was my sign. It told me all I needed to know about my wife’s heart. I had peace about our future and knew we were supposed to get married. So we did.

Amanda still hasn’t had to be a preacher’s wife. Just a songwriter’s wife. Maybe that’s worse, but we both can say marriage is a beautiful thing – not just after 15 years but from the very start.

Will Stults is a performing songwriter from Russellville.

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