Thirty years ago, today, on June 11, 1988, I married my best friend and the love of my life, Randy Neff. He has been an instrumental part of my life for more than 30 years now, and I am even more in love with him now than I was the day I married him. We have four beautiful children together, Thomas, Joey, Rachel, and Anna. He has filled my life with love, laughter, and security.
Through life’s difficulties he has always been my rock, my protector, my shield. His name, Randy, actually means “shield”. I have always felt like we were meant to be together as my name, Kelly, means “warrior”. This warrior and her shield have faced battles throughout our 30 years together, none so tough as losing our oldest son, Thomas, to suicide almost 7 years ago. Although I am told that most marriages do not survive such losses, we used it as fuel to grow even closer to one another.
Just a few weeks ago, on May 25th, Randy went to be with the Lord after battling cancer for 4 short months. Although today has been filled with many tears and waves of loneliness, it has also been a day filled with many happy memories. It is difficult to imagine what the rest of my life will be like without my best friend by my side, and honestly, loneliness overwhelms me to the point I feel I can’t breathe.
When that overwhelming feeling gripped me this afternoon, I decided to pull out my “journal”, which is really just a well-worn notebook. Occasionally I feel the Lord sharing something with me and I write it down in this notebook. As I reflected over the last year of entries, I came across some quotes that my daughter, Anna, had given me back in August of last year. One of those quotes says, “Sometimes loneliness is God’s cry for time with you.”
It was a good reminder that when we experience times of great weakness, there is nowhere better to turn than to the One who knows us best, because it is in our weakness that He shows up with great strength. When we don’t know what to do or which way to turn, we must choose to trust in the promises of God.
One of Randy’s favorite verses is from Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” It is a reminder that this family must take one step at a time. We must look to God and trust Him to guide each step. Those steps may be very small at first, and most assuredly we will walk with a limp forevermore, but we have learned from the best how to be strong. We have learned from the best the joy of laughter. We have learned from the best how to love one another and operate as a team.
Randy Neff… You are the best!
You are loved more deeply than you will ever know, and you have left a lasting impression on all those whose lives you have touched.
You are truly a man who has won favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. I have been blessed to be your wife. Love you babe!
Proverbs 3:3-4 “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”