For What I Knew Then

Twenty years ago tonight, I asked Tara to marry me. I was supposed to wait for Valentine’s Day but I didn’t. It was a Friday night and we lived 500 miles apart. I drove from Columbia, Missouri. She drove from St. Paul. We met in Nevada, Iowa. I regularly took my scripts from Don Williams’ songs and “I spent my last ten dollars, bought her a second hand ring.”

I remember the feelings very well. To be near her, to express my love to her, to walk with her, talk to her; it’s all I wanted. For what I knew then, I loved her completely. Throughout our marriage times have come when those feelings surge. Each time a new high water mark for our love. Over the last few weeks, these feeling have again flooded me and this time the levy has broken. For what I know now, I love her completely. I cannot wait to grow old with her. One day I’ll say, “For what I knew then, I loved her completely.”

I have always dreaded gift giving, and tomorrow is Valentine’s day. I usually start feeling bad at least a week in advance of her birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s day, knowing I will fail at providing a gift. I often call my brother who is a great gift giver, just to get ideas. I did that today. His ideas were too hard so I just decided I would keep feeling bad. The surprise she will get tomorrow is a big dose of chemotherapy and being stuck in a hospital bed. She deserves a bit more than that, I know. But she has my heart.

After chemo tomorrow, we will have to stay one more night, maybe two. Tara is able to eat more every day, although it doesn’t always sit well. She is becoming more mobile to walk around and sit up on her own. She still hasn’t gotten rid of the chest tubes, which are so uncomfortable, but they will for sure be gone by the time we leave the hospital. We are told that the progress is good. God continues to be faithful in providing joy in the midst of this trial. We can’t wait to be home.


22 thoughts on “For What I Knew Then

  1. I continue to pray for you all often. What a special day for you two. I am so in awe of the love you two have for each other. It’s truly a precious gift. Tara, I pray for your comfort as you continue to heal and for strength and peace as you begin your journey with chemotherapy.

  2. So beautiful…I chuckle at the feeling bad part because that’s how I always felt with getting Luis something he wanted…kindred spirits among our brothers and sisters. Prior to opening email, I just read the last valentine’s card that Luis gave me. It’s in my nightstand with the last birthday card. They couldn’t have been better cards. The best part is knowing he took the TIME to look for a card, knowing that those words would matter to me. The best was his written “I really mean these words!” to emphasize this! The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and contrite heart. (Psalm 51:17) I interpret this as the most beautiful and the most useful gifts to Him. He knows what’s best for us.
    (David…) But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is GOOD. I will praise you in the presence of your saints. Psalm 52:8-9.

  3. We went to the Sara Groves “couples” concert last Saturday. She shared with her sparkling eyes, “Seeing a good marriage is like a Masterpiece.” I immediately thought of Jay and Tara. You both have made it your mission to have your marriage Glorify the Lord. Jay, I remember you teaching the husbands in our small group that Christ gave His life for His bride. That this is how we love our wife. Great job Jay for how you lead your beautiful wife with God’s truth and care for her selflessly. On Valentines Day- Tara will dwell on God’s gift of you. God has been using you both mightily since this all started. You have challenged many of us to re-check how we love our spouse and children. You have helped us look again and see if our actions are relevant for the kingdom. Thank you for your authentic, Godly example. Hugs and love from our family- Navina

  4. This blog and having you at her side are excellent Valentine’s gifts. Read to her what you just wrote and stop feeling bad.

  5. As I listened to the radio this morning a word I heard, that resonated in me … for you … it was His mercy. In these days that are hard for Tara to bare and hard for all who love her, hard to witness … how wonderful to know you are surrounded by His unfailing love and tender mercies so you may live. Psalm 119:77
    I am a Spirit Lake friend of Tars’s Mother and Father and like so many others I pray for Tara’s complete healing. I pray for yor family and your entire community of extended family, friends, medical professionals … all the faithful.
    The Perspectives blog could only be written by the one who loves Tara. Your words and prayers are inspirational. Thank you for sharing. Tara’s prayer before surgery demonstrates the depth of her love for the Lord. My dear, you glorify Him each day. Blessings to all, Jan Bowles.

  6. Tara,
    Another day of victory is ahead in the morning! Just as your surgery went even better than anticipated, so too the first day of chemo will be a day of great success and continued healing. We are praying for you to respond well to the chemo and for God-granted strength in the ensuing days. I’m sure you’re getting tired of “being strong” and simply want to be comfortable, be able to relax in your own bed and be out of the hospital all together. I understand….and soon that will all come true, my friend. So lean on Him who has never left your hospital bedside, who guided every surgeons hands, who gives wisdom to each caring nurse, who provided you with a husband who comforts and loves you unconditionally, and He who will also carry you through chemo tomorrow and every day thereafter. Tara, you are strong in ways that simply amaze me. And when you don’t feel that you are, remember He who is working in you, caring for you from the inside, out. Love you!

  7. Happy Valentines Day Tara & Jay! I know you are not in the place you would like to be to celebrate this special day. However, I think that you both have shown and experienced your amazing love for one another and for our Father in heaven during the past couple of weeks. I love you both and pray that today will be a very special day for you both, I pray that chemo treatment will go well for you Tara and the next leg of “The Race” will be as amazing as the first with God’s Grace & Glory there every step of the way! We are all here cheering you on Toad! You can do it! Run Tara, Run!

    Love always

  8. Jay and Tara, I barely know you but love you as siblings in the family of Christ. Greg and I have been praying fervently for you. You come to my mind many, many times each day and I pray. I just want you to know how much it means to receive your posts. What faith, insight, news and baring of the heart and soul. You are using this as God’s blessing to so many
    in spite of/because of your circumstances. Since reading one of the first posts Second Corinthians 4 has been coming to my mind, verses that I have always loved but so apply to you: vs 8 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Before that in verse 7 says why-“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

    Thank you and know that the praying will continue.

    In His love, Jill and Greg Gill

  9. Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love, does not know God, Because God is love.” 1 John 4: 7-8

    Happy Valentine’s Day……….Praising God for your continued healing, praying for God’s continued presence in your lives as you begin the next step in the recovery process.

  10. Jay & Tara. Happy Valentine’s Day! So 20 years ago huh! Wow! Well Mike proposed to me 44 years ago today. By the way I was 10 years old at the time!!! Try to enjoy memory lane today and remember the love we share for you all. Prayers for continued strength and healing abound in CL. Love Aunt Cathy & Uncle Mike

  11. Your message today reminded me of what Ralph and I were doing nine years ago this weekend. We had planned a weekend get-a-way as we were nearing our 20th anniversary but the weekend was spent praying, reflecting, crying, and preparing for my journey with cancer. We had just received news the day before. Now, I love to travel, but this wasn’t a journey I was looking forward to. As I read your daily posts, I am thankful that Tara has been blessed with a Godly man, just like me. I am also thankful for the Godly men that supported Ralph when perhaps he didn’t feel strong. I am also thankful for an awesome God who was with us every step of the way.

    I read several books by others who had survived cancer but I had never read anything written from the perspective that you provide as the loving spouse. You have an amazing gift of words Jay. I hope someday you consider sharing this with others beyond this blog.

    We continue to uplift you in prayer, daily! God is faithful and He is ever present!

  12. Jay and I have spent a bit of time together and as our conversation veers towards our respective wives, as it often does, there is always an intensity in his eyes and an excitement in his voice. He absolutely never talks matter-of-factly about Tara. I can almost hear his heart flutter as he rattles quality after quality and godly character after godly character. He doesn’t even have to think about them. There is no hesitation in his voice. I’ve never heard him grasp for words when talking about his beloved.

    Jay and Tara, God has blessed you with each other. Yours is a love story written in heaven.

    The lyrics of Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Long Way Home” are helping me frame my prayers and desires for you today. What a blessing to have each other as you take the long way home.

    I set out on a great adventure
    The day my Father started leading me home
    He said there’s gonna be some mountains to climb
    And some valleys we’re gonna go through

    But I had no way of knowing
    Just how hard this journey could be
    ‘Cause the valleys are deeper
    And the mountains are steeper than I ever would have dreamed

    But I know we’re gonna make it
    And I know we’re gonna get there soon
    And I know sometimes it feels like we’re going the wrong way
    But it’s just the long way home

  13. What Othelmo just said–my thoughts exactly! Jay and Tara, you love one another perfectly today, and that is better than any gift they are selling at Hallmark on this Hallmark holiday. Lots of hugs, love and prayers from our family to yours!

  14. Happy Valentines Day to you two precious people God blessed us with. We read the perspective first thing this morning and so blessed. Thanks Jay for giving Dad and me a beautiful Valentine gift.this day. We remember well 20 years ago…Jay had called dad to ask for his daughters hand in marriage and we cried with joy then because we loved you both so much and knew the love for God and Tara, Jay had !!!! Also, Marilyn had to call us and tell us she knew you were engaged before us..
    Look forward to your coming home and continued healing there. Love you bunches.
    Dad and Mom

  15. I’m with Mary Beth. I think when this is done and over, you should write a book, using things from your blog. I read it so I know how to pray, but I find encouragement as well. God bless you both. I love you.

  16. Happy Valentine’s Day to the Maiers! We know this isn’t the way you had hoped this day would be, but we praise God that you are together! Bless you all and know that many, many are lifting you to the Lord many times throughout each day. Last night at our Ash Wednesday service we sang a song with these words that really touched me “out of my sickness into your health, out of my want and into your wealth,out of my sin and into yourself, Jesus I come to You.” (next verse) “Out of earth’s sorrows into your balm, out of life’s storms and into your calm, out of distress to jubilant psalm, Jesus I come to You.” May these words touch and encourage you too.

  17. I found a Valentine that David wrote to God. O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirst for you…I have seen you in your sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. Psalm 63:1-5
    I never write anything that good on my cards to Dave. I need to kick it up a notch.

  18. Jay, Othelmo has a good friend from his college days at Moody named Tom Harvey. I checked out his Facebook page today, and he posted some great Valentine’s tips that I’m sure are not as hard as your brother’s ideas, and definitely not as expensive (I know how cheap you are 😉 ). So here goes, with credit to Tom Harvey:

    “Men have been remembering Valentines Day since I can remember and yet the divorce rate continues to rise. I find this correlation telling. And so today I hope to offer you guys several bits of Valentines Day advice. Because I care.

    Valentines Day Tip #1: Men, stop buying her real flowers. Those flowers start the dying process as soon as they are picked. Get her something that will last! I recommend Glade’s “Sweet Pea and Lilac” aerosol. She can spray it about the room whenever she wants to feel special and long after those real flowers are gone, she’ll still have your can.

    Valentines Day Tip #2: Guys, women want to feel secure. And they feel most secure when they feel known and understood. But you’re a guy. So it’s probably best to just pay attention when she is complaining. It’s her way of hinting. Like maybe she says you are gross. Amaze her today, even more than you ever have, with the gift of suds.

    Valentines Day Tip #3: Guys, is your Valentine seemingly less happy with you each year? It could be that you set the bar too high early on. There are two ways to correct this. One is to fake amnesia and just start over completely, asking, “Do we know each other?” The second is to act concerned for the relationship by signing up for an “Attitudes Workshop and Retreat.” You can put the registration’s paid invoice in with your Valentine’s card. This way takes longer though; just saying:

    Valentines Day Tip #4: This tip is mainly for guys in the Charlotte/Fort Mill [North Carolina] area. I just want to save you a trip. Don’t bother going to the Dollar Tree on Cherry Rd. in Rock Hill, because I got the last heart-shaped balloon on a stick and the last box of pink heart shape marshmallow peeps. I asked if I could open the box and just buy one, but they said, “no,” and when I tried to explain how it would be selfish and that I only needed one, they started getting ugly. Anyway …”

    I’ll try to keep you updated if he posts any more tips today.

  19. Happy Valentine’s Day you two!
    I had this Bible verse written with lipstick on my bedroom mirror while I waited impatiently for a Christian husband.

    “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in HOPE of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. Now HOPE does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5

    My hope became a reality. We are blessed to have loving, Godly men in our lives.
    My prayer for you two is that you hold on strong to this HOPE and LOVE that has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
    Peg <

  20. Happy Valentine’s Day Jay & Tara-
    You are the epitome of a “storybook romance” and I still remember your wedding and how both of your faces beamed with love and a look of awe as Jay watched Tara walk down the aisle. It was so special to witness and it’s even more special now to see how your love has transformed into even more, as you have added 5 precious souls into your circle of love. On this V-Day, we wish you all the best. We pray for Tara and her medical team. We pray for better days ahead. We pray that you both know how incredible you are and how lucky and blessed we are to call you friends.

  21. Just remember there is great value in celebrating Valentine’s Day late, cards, flowers & chocolate are all greatly reduced in price & it’s easier to get a table for a meal. Love & prayers to the whole family.

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