The picture above was taken of me and Katrina in 8th grade. We had been voted “Cutest” for the yearbook superlatives – lay off the helmet-hair jokes – and sat beside each other to take the photo. We knew of each other, but did not know each other. I thought she was cute – I mean, duh, she won the vote – and felt I had no business sitting beside her for this recognition. I was embarrassed when the photographer pointed out the pencil lead all over the bottom of my hand – the travails of being a lefty! Neither of us could have ever imagined then that we would marry each other 9 years later.
Katrina dated me even though I was in the Army and moving to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Our relationship stayed close despite living 500 miles away from each other for several years; thank God for calling cards. We were engaged to be married in 2000 and married on June 17th, 2002. She married a guy with a few months remaining in the Army, who was going into sales. A year after we were married, I was saying “yes” to entering into ministry. Despite these obstacles and changes, she kept saying “yes” to being with me.
Using a few categories, let me try to tell you why she means so much to me.
I love this woman. We often joke about how different we are and how few things we have in common, except eating Mexican food. I am a saver, she is…lets say…not a saver. She loves the home to be decorated, organized, and clean. I would probably have no furniture and pile of laundry on the floor. I love sports. She loves teams based on the color of their jerseys. We are very different people. However, we were paired together by God for our mutual joy, edification, and friendship. She makes me a better man. She makes me laugh. I can be with Katrina things I cannot be with anyone else. She loves me, not for who I am as a speaker or leader, but for me. She keeps me in check when my life is not balanced. She is my helpmate, chosen by God in infinite wisdom, for my good and my joy. He nailed it.
Mother To My Kids
Katrina is such a great mother. She has the incredible combination of gentle nurturer and bad-ass. She will spank that butt when they need it, and go to the moon and back for them. How sacrificial is Katrina for her kids? She laid on a surgical table and was cut open to donate her kidney to Kaleb in 2006. Was she anxious? Sure. Did she hesitate? Not one bit. My children will certainly raise up and call her blessed as they grow older. They have been given grace-upon-grace from God in their lives, and one of the greatest of those, is their mother.
I have watched Katrina grow exponentially over the years. We were baby Christians when we got married. But in 2004, with the birth of Kaleb, we were thrust into the seminary of learning that only suffering can bring. We have been through so much together through his thirteen years of life. We have learned to pray with tear-filled eyes together. We have learned to trust God with all of our strength, though our strength felt minimal. There is no other human on the planet who can truly share with me the experiences we have endured with Kaleb. We walk with Jesus, with our eyes on the City of God. One day we will rejoice together forever the victory of the Lamb over our suffering, sin, and shame. We do it now in part, we will do in then in full. I cannot imagine my life without her. My sojourner through the fires of life. There is no one I would rather be in the furnace with.
Katrina Reed, I love you, and thank God for you.