10 March 2015
On February 28th, the Saxophone Player and I were married…again!
After more than a month of snow storms, the 28th was a beautiful, clear day! I was so blessed and thankful. From the moment I realized Doug was serious, I began praying for the weather. I love snow, but I’m glad it didn’t fall that day.
We were honored to have many friends and family members join us. I only wish we’d had more time with each guest. I didn’t take a head count, but set tables for 60—almost everyone had a seat. It meant a lot to us to have each one there, and most of them drove an hour, or more. Thank you so much for sharing the evening with us!
I kept everything simple, because simple is my favorite. My sister coordinated the food, and anyone who asked to help with the buffet was recruited.
Doug’s big job for the Big Day was organizing our music. Thanks to our talented friends, and his own talents, we had great music. Doug honored my special request that we only use his music. And, he played the saxophone. Be still my heart!
As for the actual ceremony, I must confess that I had no idea how meaningful this remarriage would be to me. It wasn’t until I stood there reciting my vows that it hit me. I know in my heart I sincerely meant my vows the first time ’round, yet I don’t think I had any idea what they meant. How could I at 22? I giggled through the whole thing like a nervous ninny! Twenty-six years later, I have actually lived my vows. Committing to continue living them out was profound. I know the cost now. I know their worth. The advantage of age added to the meaning in the giving, and in the receiving.
In the midst of all the seriousness, though, there was one moment of hilarity. As Doug was saying, “And, all my worldly goods I thee endow,” he had an expression in his eyes that was rather apologetic, almost pained. I couldn’t help myself from laughing out loud, which triggered a laugh from everyone in the congregation.
Yes, I laughed at both my weddings. Seems right to me.
At the reception, several couples confided that they have thought of renewing their vows. I would encourage everyone to take the plunge! Not only will they possibly experience that same joy in giving and receiving their vows again, but weddings are one of the nicest things we do in our society. They can be such a great way to bring people together.
Finally, here are some pictures. I hope you enjoy them. Wish you’d been there!
P.S. I have some packets of carnation seeds left. Would you like one? Get me your address, and I’ll send one out to you!
25 February 2015
I made my first attempt at stamping a design for the little gifts we are giving guests. What you see before you are tiny envelopes, which will hold a meaningful gift inside. I originally took a picture of one to show the woman who sold me the envelopes. She went to a significant effort to get them to me in time, and asked if I could show her the end product. Thought it would be appropriate to share the end product on my page here first. This is the first time I have ever done anything creative with stamps, so I’m pretty excited. I really like how it came out.
9 February 2015
Let Them Eat Cake!
I am a wee bit concerned about how quickly the wedding will be here. It is minimalist is every way, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that need to get done. And, I am a slow decision-maker. I really need to think about things, a lot. Weigh all my options. Look at things from every possible angle. Shop for the best possible price. Then, reconsider my decision once or twice, before finally committing.
One of the easy decisions I had to make for the wedding I got to make with Doug, and that was picking our cake. I went into the cake tasting expecting I knew exactly what we would pick. Yet, once we began tasting the options, we both knew we were going to choose something completely different from what we had planned.
It was fun doing a tasting. We were presented with quite an array of cakes to sample.
Can you guess which one we picked?
26 January 2015
David, Abigail & Nabal
Or, The Story of How The Lord Spoke to Doug and Led Him to Ask Caroline to Remarry Him
by Doug & Caroline Gregan
Everything seemingly took place during our time in Arizona this past November, but really this is a story that was 26 years in the making. That is a lot of history, and we will not burden you with the whole story here. We will share just enough to help you understand that this decision to remarry is not about whimsy or romance or tradition. Or, hyper-spirituality. It is actually the fulfillment of a promise.
In 1 Samuel 25, the Word of God tells us of a very wealthy man named Nabal, his wife Abigail, and David. David and his army had been hiding from Saul in the caves of the Wilderness of Paran. On the day of a great feast at Nabal’s house, David sent ten men to appeal to Nabal for food, informing him that they had served him even without his knowledge. They had protected his shepherds and sheep in the wilderness. Nabal was now celebrating the shearing season with a large meal for all his household, and David only asked that he show him favor and give food to him and his men. Sharing of his abundance was a just reward. Instead, Nabal reviled David and flatly denied his request. When David heard this, he and 400 men armed themselves and left the caves to confront Nabal and destroy his household.
A servant, who must have known Abigail was a woman of “good understanding,” alerted her to what her husband had done and to what David was about to do. Abigail quickly gathered enough food for David and his men and sent it with her servants, following behind them on a donkey. When she saw David, she fell at his feet and made one of the most powerful appeals for mercy that we find recorded in the Bible. David recognized that she had been sent by the Lord to keep him from committing a terrible sin, and promptly spared her husband and household. When she returned home and shared this news with Nabal, he had a heart attack and fell into a coma. Ten days later, he was dead.
Upon hearing of Nabal’s death, David exalted the Lord for returning Nabal’s wickedness onto himself, and for avenging His servant and keeping him from sin. Then, the Bible says:
“And David sent and proposed to Abigail, to take her as his wife.”
The story of our second marriage began just after I was born-again. Caroline signed me up for David Wilkerson’s newsletter, and in the first mailing I received two printed messages. One message really struck a chord: it was called, “Roving Eyes.” It spoke to the importance of guarding our eyes, hearts and minds from the sin of lust. This was a radical, new concept for me. My exposure to sexual perversion and immorality began very young. I was only a child when I took several pornographic magazines from one of my Dad’s brothers. My parents knew I had begun to look at porn, but never spoke to me about it. I grew up believing that lusting was normal behavior, so that message from Pastor Dave was a revelation to me and the beginning of my education in righteous living. I cleared out my apartment of anything that did not line up with my new life. I was determined to be a man of God.
Caroline did not know about this behavior before we were married. I believed it was over, and did not think of talk to her about it. However, when I fell for the first time, a few months after we were married, I quickly went to her and confessed my transgression. I was deeply remorseful—I did not want to be that man. My new wife did not hesitate to forgive me, and only needed to know that I had thrown the magazine away. For her, this was enough. That ended it. For her, not looking at pornography was just a decision one had to make. She had no idea the hold it had on me, but neither did I. The truth is that she had married a man like Nabal, who would one day be willing to risk everything he had for the sake of his own selfish desires. I had no idea how much I would be willing to lose for sin’s sake, but we were both about to find out.
Over the next nine years of our marriage and my walk with God, I pursued the Lord, served in ministry, and fought the temptation to sin. I also lost that fight more times than I can count. I sought help at every church we attended, but ministers either did not know how to help, or were too deep in a struggle of their own. In the ’90s, I didn’t know of any ministry geared to sexual addiction. I didn’t even know that what I was facing was an addiction. I make no excuses whatsoever for my choices, but there is a spiritual component to addiction that I did not understand at the time. I was in deep bondage. I needed to be delivered first.
About our eighth year of marriage, my company introduced the internet to our workplace. The nature of sin is that it is never satisfied, and the internet offered an endless supply for my growing appetite. By 1997, things were beginning to escalate. My computer became my alter to sexual idolatry. Everyday that I went to work, I would bow at that alter. This was the beginning of the darkest period in our life. I hated myself and felt a hopelessness that was beyond words. I began to believe that the only way out of this bondage was taking my own life. I was in complete despair of ever being free of sin.
The porn addict’s wife faces a battle all her own. Satan despises womanhood, and he uses porn to torment women with self-loathing, fear, and insecurity. He uses porn to drive a woman into despair for her husband, her marriage, her family, and even her own life. Though she is innocent before God of any offense, his secret sin becomes her secret, too. She becomes an unintentional co-conspirator in covering it up, because she feels disgraced by it. What if people find out? When people do inevitably find out, some might actually blame her. They cast a judgmental eye her way and wonder, “What could be wrong with her, that he needs other women?” In the ’90s, Caroline had no place within the church community to find support. The prevailing attitude was that an unfaithful man would always be unfaithful. It was the socially acceptable, unpardonable sin within a Christian marriage.
However, Caroline saw things differently. Her conviction was that forgiveness was a mandate from God. Someone asked her once, before we were married, if there was anything her husband could do that she would not forgive. Without possibly knowing the significance of what she was saying, or the foreshadowing in that question, she replied, “If he is truly repentant and God is willing to forgive his sin, who am I to not forgive him, too?” I don’t know how many times I tested her resolve, but I do know there were fewer times than fingers on one hand that Caroline did not forgive me before the “sun set.” More than Caroline loved me, she had a fear of God and a respect for the divine nature of marriage. She will tell you: she did not forgive me, because she loved me so much; she forgave me, because she loved God so much. Her desire to please Him was always greater than her desire to please herself, because she never trusted that she knew best.
Let be clear: nothing about this was easy for my wife. I have put her through more than her share of heartache and suffering, but the same faith that motivated her to pray for my salvation before we were married motivated her to pray for my deliverance. She knew my heart was for the Lord, even when my will was not. I don’t know why she didn’t give up on me, but she will tell you the Lord sustained her. Her mother was a faithful prayer support to us, and a constant encouragement. There were also some friends who stood with her in prayer, without judgment. When the internet came into our home, she sent prayer requests to every hotline she could find. In 2001, when we finally discovered two ministries aimed at sexual sin and addiction, she submerged herself in every book and article she could find. This is when the Holy Spirit told her, “Be like Eve,” teaching her about the spiritual influence and authority He has given wives. She gradually began to feel less like a victim of my sin, and more like a woman called of God to love her husband through the worst battle of his life. She became empowered as a woman of God, partnering with the Holy Spirit as an agent of God’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
It was also during this time that the Holy Spirit opened her understanding about a prophecy she had received during our first year of marriage. When I was at my very worst, and when Caroline would have been fully justified to leave, the Holy Spirit revealed to her a future that no one else would have believed. He assured her that her hope was not in vain.
Let’s get back to Arizona. It is November 8, 2014. I had been reading Genesis 20:6, where the Lord tells King Abimelech that when he took Sarai into his palace to make her his wife—thinking she was only Abraham’s sister—it was God who kept him from sinning. God kept him from sinning. This really got my attention, so I began to follow the various cross-references that had to do with God keeping people from sinning. This search led me to 1 Samuel 25. The reference pointed to Abigail, Nabal’s wife, interceding on behalf of her husband, whom she calls a “man of Belial,” and “a fool.”
As I read these words, the Holy Spirit flooded my heart and mind with truth that pierced me to the core. He told me that I had been Nabal. He told me that the ONLY reason I had not been destroyed for my years of rebellion and sin was because of Caroline’s intercession. He told me that if she had not pleaded with God on my behalf, I would not have survived. He then said that just as Nabal had died by His hand, so had He killed my former self. My old man was truly and fully dead, and I was liberated to walk in new life.
As I sat on the back porch of my mother’s house, sobbing before God, many things were flying through my mind. I began connecting dots that led me to greater understanding. I looked at 1 Samuel 25 as representing the first twenty-five years of our marriage, and it was there that Nabal died. I believed the Holy Spirit was telling me that the twenty-sixth year was to be a new beginning, and that new beginning was to start with a wedding. The Holy Spirit was very clear: I was to ask Caroline to marry me, again. She needed to know that she was also liberated from Nabal, by marrying the righteous man God had promised her.
THE PROMISE IN THE PROPHECY
I mentioned above that there had been a prophecy. Well, there were actually two prophecies. In our first year of marriage, we attended our regular church on Sunday and Wednesday, and on Monday night we visited a new, Charismatic church. During one of the first services there, we were called forward for prayer and each received a word from the Lord. To Caroline, the Lord said He saw her like…Abigail. To me, He said, “a bruised reed I will not break, a smoking flax I will not quench.” He told me He was “the refiner’s fire, and the fuller’s soap,” and that I was to bind the Word like a frontlet between my eyes. I got the Lord’s message loud and clear: He had a lot of work to do in me!
However, Caroline didn’t know what to think about being described as Abigail. It never occurred to her that the prophecy had anything to do with her new husband—she had no idea what awaited her in our future together. She studied the passages in the Bible where Abigail is mentioned, and even asked one or two people what they thought. Was God just giving her a pat on the head?
Caroline felt in her spirit that there was more to this prophecy, and took the counsel of others to continue praying for revelation—which she did for 12 years. Finally, in 2001, during the darkest days of our life, she received the revelation she had prayed for so long. In a moment when she most needed a word of encouragement from the Lord, and a reason for her hope, the Holy Spirit opened her eyes to the promise in that prophecy. She suddenly understood that God knew her suffering, He saw what she was enduring; she understood that her husband was like Nabal, a son of Belial; and she understood that God had not forsaken her to be the wife of a fool for the rest of her life. The Lord spoke to her heart that one day her Nabal was going to die, and in his place she would have a man after God’s own heart. This was a powerful revelation, especially because it was a word the Lord had given her long before she could possibly know she would need it. That served as an evidence to her of His sovereignty over the present troubles in her, and that strengthened and increased her faith.
But, there was more! There was much more to that prophecy than Caroline knew, and it would be 13 more years. She did not know there was more for her in that prophecy. She was not seeking Him for greater revelation. In fact, she had been ministering this word to women for many years, urging them hold fast in faith and continue to do what was right before God, despite their husband’s choices. Then, one Sunday in the Spring of 2014, we were visiting the very church where God had begun His great work in our lives, Exeter Assembly of God. Pastor Ernie Karjala began to preach, and Caroline could hardly believe her ears. It was a subject she had never heard preached on before—even though she had heard thousands upon thousands of sermons in her lifetime. Yes, to her amazement, Pastor Ernie began delivering a message on Abigail—not a message about David’s mercy or Nabal’s insubordination, but Abigail! She was the heroine of this sermon, and as he spoke he opened up the prophecy even more. He brought a deeper meaning to the story, addressing not just Abigail’s role with her old fool, but also her role in David’s life. It was an affirmation of Caroline’s choices in her dealings with me, and a timely confirmation of her ministry to women. I will not repeat Pastor Ernie’s message, but I will tell you that Caroline definitely got a pat on the head from God that day!
Never had Caroline ever wanted to renew our vows. I had actually suggested it for our 10th, and brought it up again for our 25th, but to her our vows still held. Our vows were something we lived everyday. They didn’t need to be repeated or renewed—forgiveness righted any violations. A wedding was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and there was nothing about our first wedding she wanted to change. So, I didn’t really know what to expect when I proposed to her. I started by walking her through all that had happened on that porch, explaining what the Holy Spirit had ministered to me and spoken to my heart. I finally told her that He had told me I was to propose to her and marry her again, if she would take me. I got down on one knee, as we were both crying, and asked her to marry me. She said, “Yes!”
Of course, we didn’t have much opportunity to discuss a wedding then, and as time passed Caroline began to think maybe it was better for that proposal to be strictly symbolic. It had been about a month since I proposed, and she had pretty much talked herself out of it between weighing the cost, mourning my Mother’s death, wondering what people would think, the busy-ness of this time of year, and you name it! So, when I reminded her we had a wedding to plan, I almost had to propose, again! It actually took some effort to convince her I was indeed serious, that there was to be another actual wedding, and that this was indeed God’s will that we take new vows. In the end, knowing it was God’s will was all she really needed to know. She broke the news to our daughter right away, before she got cold feet, and Hannah’s response truly sealed it in her heart. God was in this. Wedding planning commenced immediately!
CELEBRATE WITH US
We hope many of you will join on February 28th. There is much reason to celebrate, and we would be blessed to celebrate with you. We would greatly appreciate your RSVP (with total number of people attending), as this will assist us in planning. We want to have enough food and favors and programs, etc.
Three resources we recommend for those in the battle:
Pure Life Ministries
Mastering Life Ministries
Please, feel free to reach out to us, too. You don’t have to go through this alone.
God bless you all!
11 January 2015
This is a page about our wedding. Yes, we are getting married. Again. It is not a vow renewal. It is not a legal second marriage. It is, however, a real wedding. And, you can be sure it is only something we are doing, because we believe it is God’s will. Doug believes God told him to propose to me again, and to marry me again. Why did God tell him to do this? Well, that’s a long story. Hopefully, soon, we will have that written out to share, but it’s hard to write a long story short. It is much better to tell this kind of story over a cup of coffee, face-to-face.
Anyway, back to the wedding. There is going to be a wedding. A real wedding. And, you are invited. ALL of you! We only ask that you RSVP, if you’re coming. We want to be sure there is enough cake for everyone. How do you RSVP? Well, you can go here or leave a comment on this post. Or, use any of the other many ways of contacting us.
12 January 2015
DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND?
Or, Merry Christmas to Me!
When Doug proposed for the first time – back in November 1988 – he gave me the choice of two rings: a silver ring with a tiny, black, enameled heart, or a Claddagh. Both were a few sizes too big, and the Claddagh was a man’s version of the ring. Both cost less than five bucks (combined), and were purchased on his way to Logan Airport. He was going to California, where he would propose, our families would meet, and our friends would gather to celebrate our engagement. Then, he’d be back in Boston, until the wedding.
I knew Doug had borrowed the money for his plane ticket, so I did not expect a diamond ring. And, I really didn’t want one. I wasn’t the kind of girl who wore diamonds, or needed diamonds. So, when I saw the rings he did bring, telling me to choose whichever one I preferred, I was very happy and thoroughly satisfied. Though I had always wanted a Claddagh, the man’s version didn’t quite speak to me. So, I wrapped a piece of yarn around the little heart ring and wore it proudly.
On Christmas Eve that just passed, my sister, Jill, asked if Doug was going to give me a diamond this time. Yeah, right! I laughed out loud. “I don’t want a diamond. I don’t need a diamond.” Besides, I have a very particular standard for diamond rings: it couldn’t cost too much, or I’d not accept it; yet, it couldn’t so small it made me feel dumb wearing it. I knew Doug knew this, so I knew he would never try to buy one. There was no way he had the budget for a ring.
Later that night, we were wrapping our gifts for each other. When I put my gifts under the tree before going to bed, I noticed a small, square box. It was wrapped with different paper than all the rest. No. That’s not a ring, I told myself. That’s a pair of earrings. A new pair of pearls. That’s what that is, not a ring. He would not buy me a ring. Definitely not.
I decided it was earrings, and went to bed. There was no way it could be an engagement ring. He knows my ring standard is ridiculous. He won’t put himself through that. And, he just heard me tell my sister I didn’t want one. He heard me laugh out loud. No way it’s a ring.
Well, it was a ring.
The perfect ring. I don’t know how he did it, but somehow he found a ring I couldn’t refuse. When I opened that perfectly square box, fully expecting earrings, I cried. I don’t even know why I cried. It was beautiful. It looked like flowers. Three flowers: past, present, and future. And, three little diamond-y specks on either side. And, a scrolled heart in the gallery. No flash. No show. Just love.