Monday, December 31, 2012


December 30th marked 33years of marriage for the Reverends Hawley!

And oddly enough, we were married on a Sunday afternoon at 3:00 PM central time.  All through the day yesterday, I couldn't help but think about that wonderful wedding day - thirty-three years ago. 

Frank, the handsome groom.  Sheri, the nervous bride.  Gowns.  Tuxes.  Flowers.  Friends.  Family.  Perfection!

Because music was such a huge part of both our lives, Frank wrote a song for the ceremony.  His college room mate helped compose a beautiful number using phrases from Proverbs 31. 

Robert, such a good friend, agreed to cut his Christmas vacation short in order to be at the wedding.  He accompanied Frank on the acoustic guitar. 

When the doors to the sanctuary swung open, Frank began singing to me as I came down the aisle.  The melody was haunting.  His voice filled the room.  Hankies were being passed around.  I was mesmerized. 

As in our courtship, Frank literally drew me toward him!  Still makes me smile to remember.

One anniversary, as we listened to the recording of our ceremony, I realized that the intro was repeated.  "Why did Robert repeat the introduction?"  I asked. I knew they had practiced until the piece was perfect. 

Frank smiled and dropped his head like an embarrassed school boy.  "When the doors opened and I caught my first glimpse of you, I was so blown away that I forgot to start singing."  

Well, who can complain about imperfection with an answer like that?!  Certainly not me!

And here we are, thirty-three years later, still in love. 

Complimentary tickets afforded us the privilege of visiting Sea World yesterday.  Along with Shamu, sharks and dolphins, there were several excellent Christmas shows.  Each performance was just filled with great music. 

One of the numbers we heard was "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."  That's what Frank and I chose for our wedding recessional.  Our first steps as husband and wife were taken with a musical foundation declaring our love, adoration and dependence on Christ Jesus.

Some might read that statement and think it a bit cheesy.  But even in our naive state as young 20-somethings, we somehow sensed that marital success would only come from such a foundation.

All these years later, we no longer sense it..............we KNOW it!

Last night certainly wasn't perfect.  The park was jam-packed with everyone trying to use their season tickets just one more time before 2013.  We were told that five thousand people crowded into one of the shows we saw.  Almost 20,000 were in the park!

And it was unbelievably cold for FL!  Especially sitting in outside theaters.  Waiting over an hour for each show to start.  On metal bleachers. With wind blowing like monsoon season.

And THEN, Shamu had the audacity to S.P.L.A.S.H. the area where we were sitting!  I threw my coat up over our faces just in time to shield us from the worst of it! 

We probably should have given up and gone home.  But how often does imperfection yield such a funny story that we'll tell for years to come?! 

And after the shock, the laughter was rich.  The show went on.  The stunts were breath-taking.  The trouble was soon forgotten.  Overcome by the next great song; the next marvelous moment.

So we stayed right there until the fireworks display that took place well after my normal bedtime.  Impractical?  Yes!  But I'm so glad we chose to stay!  The fireworks show was worth every bit of inconvenience!

And just in case you wonder, our marriage hasn't been perfect either!

We've slogged our way through some difficult times.  Times when we loved each other.  We were committed to each other.  But we sure didn't LIKE each other very much! 

(Brutally honest!  Totally truthful!)

Selfishness.  Pride.  Unforgiveness.  Stubbornness.  They've had the audacity to splash over our marital joy. 

Sometimes, it's been tempting to "give up and go home." 

But after the storm, after forgiveness, the relationship is much richer.  Life goes on.  The miracle moments are breath-taking.  The trouble is soon overcome by the next marvelous adventure.

And truth be known, I wouldn't want to miss out on experiencing the fireworks show for anything!  The good times are always worth any "inconvenience" we experienced getting there!  I'm always so glad we chose to stay with it.

Frank often says, "God is Faithful and you can Trust Him!"

I guess that homespun wisdom comes from a journey of experience.  We have walked many miles together.  Much of our journey has been over incredibly imperfect terrain. And we're totally aware that two imperfect people are the ones walking.

But our travel Companion is not only Faithful and Trust-worthy, He's also a perfect foundation making a good marriage possible!

Happy Anniversary, Honey!  Yes, I'd marry you again in a heart beat!!


  1. Happy Anniversary, Sheri & Frank!

    1. Thank you, Guerrina! Happy New Year to you! I'm testing this reply. All this time, I've thought hitting that button would delete your reply to the post; so I never would test it. But I can email you if that happens and I know you'll understand. Well, here goes. If this works, it's a new day for "Embrace the Grace" and YOU will have helped enrich the blog once again! :-)