By Sarah Duron
With a previous marriage, two beautiful little girls biological to me, chosen by Denny, and only two years into this new reality, we are in the thick of what I like to call real life. It is beautiful, messy, and adventurous. Throw in school for all four of us, on top of jobs and newly added multiple sclerosis, and it makes for a pretty interesting conundrum. More like the most wonderful adventure of all time. And, here’s chapter one of our story.
It all began when we were kids. While we may have grown up in the same town, the same school, and the same church, we are certainly not from the same side of the tracks. My mom was single when I was young, and worked around the clock to make ends meet. I remember being drawn to the healthy, happy, crowded home of the Durons. I often visited Denny’s older sister, Destiny. Even then, they made an impression on my heart. They epitomized what I wanted in a family. Who would have known, who could have painted such a beautiful story that one day they would be mine?!
The circumstances that drew me back to my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana as an adult were that of derailment and brokenness. I had long moved off, gotten married, and walked through a painful season that included betrayal and divorce. I recall crying the whole way home, feeling that I had been chewed up and spit out by the world. During that time, I heard Dez Duron’s single from The Voice, Sara Smile, for the first time. This very song facilitated a powerful healing moment for me. I wept bitterly as I sensed God telling me by name, literally, to smile.
With my two precious girls in tow, I had no idea what future awaited us. I had always sworn that my kids wouldn’t go through what I had been through with divorce. Yet, here we were. I remember thinking, “Who could ever want a divorced, single mom?” I felt I was donning the “Scarlet D.” My sudden isolation in the world left me feeling my way through the darkness of pain. All the while, God had such a beautiful plan.
Denny and DeAnza Duron did not hesitate to take me under their wing again. One providential day when we were hanging out, they decided to pick up Denny Rodney. I will never forget the very moment we drove up to his house and he walked up to our vehicle. The sight of him literally took my breath away. We connected so instantly, and I recall praying in the back of my mind, “He is way too good for me, but God, if you could just give me someone like him, that would be awesome!”
I drove home that night with a full-on crush. I totally sensed God, and sensed something significant, but determined not to be that creepy older divorced girl, so I tucked the feelings away. A year later, Denny’s dad hired me at the church. On my first day I was told, “Oh, by the way, you’ll share an office with Denny Rodney.”
Denny and I became great friends. After a year of lunches and time together sharing a workspace, he finally shared his heart with me. He confessed that he has had a crush on me pretty much his entire life. As one typically idolizes that older high-schooler growing up, he had always named me as his ‘ultimate’ girl. Ha! So, since he broke the ice, I finally admitted my feelings, too.
Skipping ahead through the greatest season of my life so far, he proposes! I’m smitten on a ridiculous level, and we had the crazy idea to do a surprise wedding. We threw a black-tie, Gatsby-themed engagement party. The party was complete with a roaring 20’s vibe, live jazz music, and Dez even sang his song, Sara Smile. By the way, I never told anyone about my moment with that song! At that point, I snuck away to change into a wedding dress.
About halfway through the song, Denny Rodney took the mic from Dez and said, “Come on out here babe. Let’s get this thing started!” He then proceeded to sing the rest of Sara Smile to me in front of everyone. That is when I was suddenly seen at the end of the aisle wearing a wedding dress with my two girls in hand. The crowd went wild!
The energy and joy of that moment were indescribable! The presence of God was so tangible! Everyone was cheering and crying. Before our very eyes the Redeemer was doing what he does. Everything about that moment symbolized the beautiful work of Jesus Christ. I’d made a mess of things, I didn’t deserve this. I had a past. Yet, there I was with my two babies in a white wedding dress that symbolized pure and new. And, there was my groom singing a song of healing over me, declaring in front of everyone, “You’re the one I choose!”
This is a picture of your reality! It doesn’t matter what is in your past. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or what mistakes you’ve made. Jesus is your Redeemer. He’s not afraid of your mess. He offers you new garments of white that were purchased by his blood on the cross. I hope that my story may in some way encourage you if you are facing a hopeless situation. Above all, it is my prayer that you are reminded of the passionate love that God has for you. I hope you can hear as he sings a song of healing over you, and declares before the world, “You are the one I choose!”
Bio: I am a graphic designer and currently a student at Southeastern University. I love my life, and even the trials that have come with it. I am richly blessed to be married to my best friend, Denny Rodney Duron, and mother to the two most remarkable, fun little girls on the planet, Kennedy and Noa Kate. I have also walked through the pain of divorce, and more recently a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. As only God can accomplish, these trials have served to fuel a fire of determination in me to live out an active faith of friendship with God and partnership Jesus Christ. In Galatians 5:6, Paul said, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” This has become my mantra and message. http://www.sarahduron.com