“In loving memory” usually denotes someone has died. But that is not exactly the case as I want to make some comments in loving memory of my husband —Tony McWilliams.
Tony is alive and well and today we are celebrating.
Though my husband lives, he has died to himself on so many levels while loving me these past thirty plus years of marriage. No man could have demonstrated selfless love and a servant’s heart more than he has. Tony has remained my rock, pillar and anchor along this winding adventure called covenant love.
Loving Memory of a Great Life Together
We got married on the most romantic day of the year. If you guessed Valentine’s Day, you would be mistaken. It is April 15 —Income Tax Day!
In spite of long post office lines, yearly extensions, less than romantic government taxes and fees, our love has endured many a storm. What has made the difference?
We were married at 2:00 P.M. thirty four years ago in Central Illinois (U.S.A.).
Embarking on a life of ministry, our vision and passion have been complimentary. It was on Christmas Day, eight months after exchanging vows, that I woke up blinded by eyes that had begun to hemorrhage in the middle of the night.
What a heart-wrenching Christmas gift for two young people.
I vividly remember that morning falling into my husband’s arms as fear, confusion and despair overcame me. He held me tightly and said, “We will not retreat.”
Neither of us knew what the future would hold nor how to get through the morning. But now I clearly see the meaning of covenant love. It never retreats.
Seeing Love in a New Light
As we celebrate our marriage and reflect on His goodness and steadfast covenant love to us, I pay tribute to my husband, Tony McWilliams. His principled life, constant faith, faithfulness, and loyal love have exemplified what covenant love looks like. It does not run from trouble, nor does it demand its own way. It is patient and kind, preferring others above itself. In the middle of dark clouds and raging storms it focuses on bright horizons just ahead.
This kind of love is not based on a contractual agreement that states “I will stay as long as everything is perfect” but, instead, never retreats.
Along our journey I have noticed the foxholes have been filled in and it has made our pathway wider. Years of sharing our story of five miracle children the doctors said we could never have and volumes of the testimony of Christ in our lives has allowed us to have worldwide impact. Memories, places, events and a household of kids along the way only reflect a small portion of our love and His faithfulness. God has been good to us.
Because Two Hearts Fell in Love
The following is a little glimpse into the McWilliams story. It’s one that God has unfolded “all because two hearts fell in love.” And God keeps unfolding His story through our lives.
Today I pay tribute to the man of my dreams and heart’s desire.
I have the advantage sometimes of not seeing because, to me, Tony has the same young face I married years ago. I never dreamed that when we honeymooned in Paris —Tennessee, that is —we would celebrate this year in Rome, Italy!
Recently, while away in Europe on a three week ministry speaking tour, we stole away one afternoon in Rome to have lunch together by the famous fountains of the city. Due to the late afternoon, we had the entire restaurant to ourselves with a waiter catering to our every need. He put on romantic music, served us multiple courses of authentic, marvelous Italian food, and later brought us a surprise. It was his gift to us of the Pope John Paul II’s personally requested favorite birthday dessert sent each year to the Vatican City. What could be waiting for next year’s celebration? I McWonder.
Loving Memory of Faithfulness
Tony, Happy Anniversary! Thank you for not retreating. I am reminded of the verse that now is my prayer for you. “A faithful man will abound in blessing.”
May you abound in His favor, wisdom, prosperity, health and increase. May your example to a “disposable world” be a statement and example of what covenant love looks like. And may the love you have given be infused by a Savior whose love is limitless.
Happy Anniversary, dearest Tony Mac!
This guest blog was written by Gail McWilliams wrote this blog. She is someone who has inspired people all over the world (including us). God has used her through the testimony of her life, her marriage, and the family God has blessed her with. We are sad to say that Gail has since passed on to live with the Lord. We are happy for her, but sad for all of us who will miss her until we can be together in Heaven. However, we share this blog that Gail sent to us, in loving memory of a wonderful marriage well lived.
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