A year ago last night, December 13, 2008, there were about 40 friends gathered in our home in Carrollton, Texas, for a Christmas party with a twist.  After most people had eaten, I got everyone’s attention and invited them to press themselves into the living room as best they could.  I thanked them for being there and for their particular role of encouragement to me and my family over the previous few months.  Next, I told them of the other reason that Kim and I had invited them: to share with us in a vow renewal ceremony that would be officiated by my dear friend, co-worker, and brother, Mark Bryson.  Hannah stood with Kim as her Maid of Honor.  Jim Cassity was my Best Man.  I would have asked Coleman, but he was more interested in watching videos and playing on his computer in his room.  I didn’t take it personally, and Jim seemed happy to oblige.

We had been planning the party for a little over a month, but had only told Mark and Laura about renewing our wedding vows.  It was so encouraging  to see everyone’s genuine surprise and sincere joy for us.  As he began the ceremony, I asked Mark to read the following:     

“On March 12, 1988, Kimberly Anne Gray and Timothy Dwight Pyles were united in marriage at the Northside Church of Christ in Corinth, Mississippi, in the presence of many friends and family members.  In the nearly 21 years that have passed since then, God has blessed their life together in many ways, but none greater than the gift and blessing of the birth of Hannah Virginia on September 26, 1990 and Coleman Bradford on February 19, 1993.  As a family, they have shared many, many joys, as well as a few sorrows, but God has faithfully been with them through their entire journey, strengthening them through His Holy Spirit and leading them through His Son Jesus Christ.  Over the last four months, Tim and Kim believe that their faith, their marriage, and their family have been tested, tried, and attacked by Satan more than they ever have before, and yet a loving God and Father has delivered them and blessed them with renewed love, closeness, commitment, and confidence for the future.  As a means of praising God and celebrating the healing that has come to their marriage and family, Tim and Kim have assembled this special group of friends to witness and share with them in a renewal of their wedding vows.  Your presence here this evening means so much to them, as does the love, prayers, and encouragement that you have extended to both of them in recent months.  The ceremony this evening is mostly a repetition of the words and vows of love and commitment that were first spoken by them over 20 years ago.”

Thanks to everyone who shared in the joy of that occasion with us, both those who were present and those who were not.  It has been an eventful year since that evening last December, a year full of new beginnings, blessings, surprises, discoveries, and adjustments.

Happy Re-Anniversary, Kim!