20 years? How did it get to be 20 years? I know what you are thinking, "She is too young to be married twenty years!" Well, not really since I married when I was ten!! (Ha) Okay, not really, I really am old enough to be married 20 years! Let's look back at how it all began....flashback with me to 1986:
ME: I have just graduated high school and my best friend, Brent, invites me to his church to get involved in helping with the student ministry. I LOVE it, I had just recently changed my life long plan and decided not to attend the Dallas Art Institute as I felt called to do work for the CEO instead. The same week after that gut wrenching decision I was asked to join the staff of FSBCDC. It was my dream job! Great times!
BARRY: Having graduated in '85 from OU with degree in finance and recently accepting the Son, Barry is working at a bank but feels the CEO is calling him to do more. We meet through my best friend at Falls Creek. Nothing special, I thought he was cute, he began dating one of my friends, then he signed up to do a 2 year term as a J-man in Singapore so off he goes!
ME: I am the secretary/intern at First Southern Baptist Church, Del City for the Youth and College Department. I receive a phone call in the Spring, I answer, "Youth and College, this is Justine..." and the voice on the other end says, "Justine? Justine Marshall? You sound so grown up!" (I know who it is now) and reply, "I was grown up before you left!" (he says I said that while wagging my head...I don't think so!) FSBCDC has asked him to come back and be College and Career minister when he returns, which means I will be his secretary (the plot thickens!).
BARRY: In June he returns to the States in time for Starlite Crusade and I am out of town. When I get back, we meet again for the first time in two years. There is definitely a difference, a spark, something has changed.
ME: The office takes me out to Olive Garden for my birthday on July 2, Barry is the only one who brought a gift (a Bible Dictionary...he knew I would love it, he has always been a romantic!!) . This is my first serious clue that he is interested. On July 14th we have our first date to see The Dead Poets Society. Two days later, he informs me he has to make some big decisions about his future.....do I want to be included in those plans? I know what this means and literally can't speak for some time, lots to ponder. Of course, he then says that he has a call on his life and I need to understand it's possible implications for us and our future. I say I will talk to the CEO about it. (18 years later that call came to fruition). By September I have my wedding dress, we are making furniture purchases and have bought a dog (a beautiful golden lab named Pharaoh).
DECEMBER 23, 1989: After having asked for my parent's blessing and permission to marry me while I was away on a service trip to Mexico in August, Barry takes me out to The Eagles Nest, OKc's only revolving restaurant (on one of the coldest days ever, it's on record!) and I know where this is headed when I notice there are flowers and candy waiting at our table. (I once told my mom that I would never marry, instead I wanted to travel around the country with she and dad in an RV! My mom said, "What if a boy brings you flowers", "Nope", I said. So she asked, "What if he brings you flowers AND candy?". Well, now that was a horse of a different color....of course I'd say yes!) So after a beautiful dinner and a three point proposal (if you know Barry......that is SO him , and SO hysterical!) that was absolutely sweet and heart felt, we became engaged. When I said yes the staff came by to congratulate us and offered us complimentary champagne. We politely declined so they suggested coffee, we said yes.....and they charged us for it! LOL!
MAY 19, 1990: Everything is set up perfectly, my sister has felt a little under the weather but feels like she will be fine, that morning Barry snuck up to my window to visit me after he and the groomsmen played basketball, all is great! We have so much music at our wedding sung by a great friend, Bill Brown, that one of our friends said they didn't know there was going to be a wedding at this Bill Brown concert! But he wrote them and they were SO beautiful, how could I narrow it down? Lynn Bullock performed the ceremony, the attendants and groomsmen enter, time for the aisle runner...which starts to roll back down First Southern's sloped aisles, Jon Elliff and Bill Grady race to catch it and bring it back! Ceremony begins beautifully...until I hear a loud "rushing" sound. I am thinking, oh no they didn't...the maintenance and sounds guys at the church has teased that they would turn the baptistry's waters on that overflowed into a moat around the stage area. But I then realize it is just heavy rain...breathe, relax. So we continue on, it's all beautiful, just as I imagined until Lynn asks for the ring from the Best Man, Tim Pruitt. As Lynn turns, Tim is no longer there! So we all turn to see were Tim went and discover what he had been watching and was trying to avoid, my middle sister Jennifer is fainting and is leaning into my older sister and Maid of Honor, Jacquie and is about to fall to the ground! He quickly seats her on a pew on the stage and returns to hand the ring over. HYSTERICAL! Then as Lynn is talking about the significance of the ring, lighting strikes and the electricity goes out for about 5 seconds.....SERIOUSLY? You can't plan stuff like this! Anyway, we finally are pronounced man and wife and make our way to the Waterford Hotel. Only we can't get there because the roads are all flooded and the police have blocked them off. Plan B: Wait at a nearby Denny's until the police open the road!
So as you can see, we really started things off with a bang! But I loved it, I married the man of my dreams, it was fun and memorable and something many people still talk and laugh about!
To be continued........