One of my dearest friends, Lin Beaty, had the unthinkable happen to her in 2001 when her husband, Barry, died as a result of a brain tumor. This tragedy began with a brain seizure in 1986 when they were living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They were serving in the full-time ministry. Tests resulting from this seizure later revealed that Barry had a brain tumor. Through treatment he was given a gift from God to live longer. The cancer went into remission and hope was renewed. Still, the cancer came back with a fury in 2000. Finally, it became too aggressive for any treatment.
Just three weeks ago on September 22, 2012, I attended Lin Beaty’s wedding. This wedding renewed, refreshed and strengthened my faith in ways no previous wedding had done. I witnessed a modern-day “Divine Romance.” I watched my dear friend Lin walk down the aisle as her two sons, Brandon and Morgan, escorted her to her groom, now husband, Mark Ottenweller.
“Isaac brought Rebekah into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” Genesis 24:66-67 (NIV)
In October of 2007, Mark and Diane Ottenweller walked into their home after a nice dinner out with friends. Diane suddenly fell to the floor because of an aneurysm and died. Mark was devastated after losing the love of his life. The first person that he called was Lin Beaty. She gave a eulogy on behalf of her best friend.
The Ottenwellers and the Beatys were lifetime friends. The Beatys babysat the Ottenwellers’ children. When they needed advice, consoling and guidance, they called each other. While the Ottenwellers served in Africa, the Beatys served in several mission churches as well as in New York. Both couples had a commitment and love for God that outlived any tragedy or hard time.
During the wedding vows, Mark read a poem that he wrote which touched my heart. It explains so much of what they had gone through together and apart.
When I stood mourning by the sea, waiting for you to rescue me,
My cold heart mourned and deeply ached when God said, “Wait and wait and wait for the warmth of your glow and the light of your daybreak,
then the cold morning chill of my soul dissipates when your sunrise strikes my face.
I deeply sigh as your waves roar and then break across my lonely heart which ached.
Fishermen casting bait from the rocks, spreading their nets on the docks.
Wondering, waiting, and wanting treasures from the sea.
Then God brought you up on the shore and laid you on the sand by me.
Now suddenly the seagulls rise and the sun awakes and flood the sky with hope in your embrace.
Each evening I still have to face life’s heartaches and its disgrace,
But now each morning I awake and think of you in hope and in all God’s grace.
Thank you for loving me.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the assembly. Even their children and their spouses shed tears while they watched their parents. All of them were in the wedding party. Mark’s son, Matt, was his Best Man. Lin’s daughter, Jordyn, was her Maid of Honor.
After the wedding we released helium balloons, each with a prayer for the newly married couple tied to the string. I believe that all those prayers are known and heard by God. God was truly given the glory that day.
Congratulations to you both! I love you so much, Lin!