Category Archives: My Bride


On September 2, 1992, just before 8a.m. I walked into Music Theory 101 a week late to Mobile College with no books.  So, I asked the prettiest girl in the class if I could share with her.  Praise God she said, “Yes.”  But He already knew she would.  His sovereign hand had been guiding us to this moment. The many ways God gently, or not so gently, corrected us and kept us heading to this point is simply miraculous.  Here is a little taste of what our life has been like these past 20 years.

And, if you haven’t read or heard it before, here is our story:

My Bride

Sonya and I met in Music Theory 101 on September 2, 1992, during the first semester of our freshman year at the University of Mobile (it was called Mobile College then).  I was late getting to school that year because I’d been touring with a musical group, had no books for my first day of classes, and needed to share with someone.  Naturally, I asked the prettiest girl in the room.  When the class was over, we introduced ourselves and I said something dorky like “My name is Brian, but my friends call me Odie.”  Yes, my college nickname was Odie, but that’s another story.  Incidentally, Sonya never called me Odie.

I was dating someone from that tour long distance at the time so Sonya and I just “hung out.”  We quickly became good friends and soon would call each other “best friends.” We went to the 1992 Homecoming dance together as well as every concert we were required to attend as music majors.  In fact, if the seat next to one of us was vacant, people would leave it vacant for the other.  Many people asked if we were dating and we denied it everytime.  We were just good friends.

Now, about that homecoming.  I would learn much later that a significant event took place the night before at the talent show.  I had practiced for weeks on a jazz band solo called “Nichole.”  Sonya listened many times, so we nicknamed it “Sonya.”  (I know, very creative, but it helps in a minute).  It was a very mellow yet emotional fluegel horn solo.  As I played it that evening with the jazz band behind me, Sonya sensed that we were going to be married some day.  While I would like to believe that I wooed her with my very passionate performance, I don’t think it had anything to do with the way I played the song.  God was speaking.  Now, that was in October.  Sonya committed to be patient and let God work.  She began to pray that He would either remove her feelings for bring me around.

Somewhere around that time Sonya asked me to come to church with her on a Sunday when she was singing.  Wow!  She was amazing.  Little did I know how blessed I would be by that voice in the future.

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day 1993, my girl friend from Texas came for a visit so, I asked my best friend if she would provide accommodations.  For some reason S0nya politely declined to help.  But I found a mutual friend of ours who would let her stay the weekend. While staying with our mutual friend in the dorm, my girl friend asked “So what’s with this Sonya chick?”  Apparently, I’d been talking about her quite a bit.  Our friend reassured her that we were only friends.

Fast forward to March.  We continued to grow closer and closer.  I drove most Thursday nights to her home in Daphne, where she lived with her parents, to watch Seinfeld and Frazier.  (Now you know why we quote so many lines from Seinfeld.)  Then, she went on a date.  Not with me.  Someone else.  The best part of it was that I encourage her to go!  When they schedule the second date, I began to feel differently.  Oh yeah, I was still dating a girl in Texas.  But I didn’t like this idea of Sonya dating.  Our time was threatened and he like to put his arm around her.  He began to talk about their “relationship.”  To my relief, Sonya quickly began to confess her lack of enthusiasm for the relationship and I obviously encouraged her to end it!

Spring Break ticket

April 1993 came quickly and with it, the Spring Banquet: an off campus event with a catered meal and dancing.  (I believe it was the first one with dancing – lucky for us.)  Sonya did not want the aforementioned young man to ask her to it so we agreed to go together.  Three days before the dance, my girl friend from Texas broke up with me.  I was heartbroken and my best friend came to comfort me.  We sat on the front steps of my campus house (girls were not allowed inside – it was a baptist school!) and she consoled me with sweet words and side hugs.  Now I know that inside she was smiling and just a bit giddy. She confesses to also feeling a little guilty, thinking that all of her praying about our relationship had finally worked and now I was upset!

Because we were just “friends” we had agreed to go to the Spring Banquet as a part of a 5 person group.  Two couples and a single guy named Eddie Gross.  The other couple made new plans, so Sonya, Eddie , and I went to the Banquet together in my Blazer.  We began the night dancing like friends with a safe distance between us.  By the end of the night, I’m not sure there was any distance between us at all.

first date - Spring Banquet

I took Sonya to her sister’s apartment and walked her to the door on the second floor.  Eddie, who had not said a word from the back seat the entire time, stayed in the car.  There was a awkward hug followed by a quick, glancing peck on the lips from the clumsy guy not sure what to do.  Not knowing what to do I tried it again.  I mean, this was my best friend.  I’m a guy.  I don’t know how to read “signals.”  I can’t sense feelings.  That’s when Sonya took things into her own hands.  As I turned to leave she said “Wait,” wrapped her arms around my head and did it right.  Boy am I glad she did!  It really was magical.  We say that was were we crossed the “platonic line” – April 3, 1993.

The transition to “dating” couple was pretty seamless.  We had really been dating for several months without actually dating.  I see God’s hand in it all.  We became best friends first.  We are still best friends.  As people noticed us holding hands, some would actually cheer.  Most just said they already knew we would be together.  Some asked when the wedding would be.

The next December, I took Sonya back to the apartment door where her sister once lived, reinacted our first kiss, and proposed to her.  That was January 8, 1994.  We were married on December 30 that same year.


Sonya is my best friend.  She is an incredible wife.  She has given birth to five amazing children who remain to be amazing because they have such a wonderful mommy.  She has been through the dreaded Seminary years with me as well as a very tough ministry stint.  I couldn’t have done any of it without her.  And those of you at Lynwood know that my ministry now would not be the same without her.  She sings and leads, which means that most Sundays she gets all five children to church on time to be in her spot by 8:00 a.m.  Our kids have such fun with her.  She brings laughter to our family.  Her smile is captivating.  There is no one like her and there is no doubt, God created and molded us for each other.  She’s my soulmate.  Thank you, God, for my wife.  And thank you, Sonya, for listening to Him.

I Love You!


First Date - before  

more pics:




Day 1

This is the first full day without Sonya. She road to Gadsden yesterday, then boarded the plane in today. She flew to Atlanta (doesn’t everybody?). And now she’s on her way to Amsterdam.

From there, Nairobi!

I’m so proud of her. She was nervous about flying. But today, God gave her excitement. She was nervous about leaving us for 2 weeks, but God has provided so much love and help from our Lynwood family. She is awesome and I know that God is going to do tremendous things through her this week. I know that He’s going to do great things in her as well.

It’s hard sitting here tonight without her on the couch beside me. This would be our coffee time. Then we’d get ready for bed and turn in early because Sunday is an early morning. And I’ll miss her so much during worship tomorrow (especially since I can’t sing right now, post to come later). But I’m so glad she went. She heard God’s call and answered as she should have – obediently! I can’t wait to hear all about it. And I’m so thankful for the example she is to our kids. True courage not the lack of fear, but doing the right thing even when you are scared. That’s my girl. Courageous.

She’s also being a mentor to this sweet girl from Gadsden:

She’s my favorite person in the world.  Sonya, that is!  No disrespect to Holly.  She’s sweet too.

We all miss you, Sonya. I love you more than I can say.




Oh, and Bozeman was there to see them off as well.

my favorite person in the whole land//the birthday girl

Today is a big day. It’s the anniversary of the day my favorite person in the whole land took her first breath.

## years ago my bride was born in New Orleans, LA.  Her parents were in seminary.  Her father studying to be a pastor.  They ate at Pancho’s Mexican Buffet often because it was cheap.  We figure that’s why she likes mexican food so much.

But she’s not a Louisianian (is that what you call them?), oh no, she’s really from LA.  Lower Alabama.  Well, that’s where her family is from.  As a pastor’s kid she lived in rural Alabama and mainly in Fort Walton Beach, FL and Tampa, FL.  But I don’t really think she’s a Floridian either (I’m pretty confident about that one). Together, we’ve lived in Mobile, AL, Louisville, KY, Little Rock, AR, Gadsden, AL, and now Cape Girardeau, MO.  Following God is one crazy, awesome adventure.  And just over a year ago began the next leg of that journey.

And after a wild year, I have to say that I’ve never been prouder of her than I am right now.  This year has been crazy.  Lots of sickness.  Two house payments.  A dog.  Thousands of miles in the car for weddings, anniversaries, and funerals. A miscarriage.  And last week,

all night in the Children’s Hospital in St. Louis with a child with a mysterious swollen knee. Has she been tired?  Oh yeah.  Has she been upset?  You bet.  But she clings to the knowledge that we are in God’s will and that His plans for us are the best.  And that even when He leads us through testing, fire and water, and crushing burdens, His ultimate goal for us is a place of abundance (Psalm 66:10-12). Her faith never waivers.

I love her more than words can say.  Way more than my actions usually show.  Her kids adore her.  Way way more than their actions usually show! She is a precious jewel and a woman after God’s heart.  She’s my favorite person in the whole land.  She’s my friend and my wife.  I am so blessed.

Oh, and did I mention that she’s hot?


on Valentine’s Day

I think about my beautiful bride.

I love the way she loves the Lord and His Word.

I love that I am giving her a new copy of the Bible because hers is so worn out.

I love the way she seeks God with all of her heart and how it shows in the genuine way she worships Him.

I love how she loves others and mentors those who are growing in Christ.

I love how she holds fast to God through tough and uncertain times and how faithfully she clings to Him.

I love that we get to seek God together on this crazy journey of following His will.

I love the way she loves our children and makes Valentine’s Day something special for us all. (They love and look forward to it every year.)

[chocolate chip mascarpone cupcakes covered in chocolate ganache]

I love that she loves to play in the snow.

I even love that she likes for Comet to sit with us at night.

And, I love the way she walks.  I love the way she sits.  The way she smiles.  The way she sleeps, cooks with love, laughs (even at my corny jokes), loves our children, and every little thing that makes her Sonya.  She is awesome!

I love you Sonya Danielle Crisman.  Thank you for loving me and our children.  We are so blessed.


a new part of the routine//glad it’s temporary

It’s the afternoon Tamiflu pudding snack.  As we’ve discovered, the Tamiflu capsule stuff mixes best in chocolate pudding.  Not yogurt.  Not applesauce.  Chocolate pudding.

This has been a hard week.  I don’t know how Sonya does all that she does each day.  She is awesome.  Please pray that she gets better soon and that no one else gets it.  If that happens, it will be a miracle.  Thanks.


my older woman

She’s 35 today.  She’s awesome.  Can you believe she’s had 5 kids?  She is so hot.  I am so blessed.


And for the next two weeks, she’s older than me.

I love you sweetie!




She had so many options.

She is incredibly talented.

She could be singing professionally – whatever the style.

She could be teaching a successful music program somewhere.

She has a well earned degree in music and a natural ability to lead young people.

She is gorgeous

I guarantee there were much more attractive suiters than me.

She had so many options.


But, God smiled on me.

Behind God, she is the largest part of who I am today.

She believes in me when I don’t.

She is dedicated to our ministry beyond belief.

No one knows what time she gets up on Sunday.

How does she get all four (soon to be five) children to church on Sundays in time for Praise Team rehearsal?

She spoils me.

She is hot!

She is a God seeker. I learn from her all the time.

She loves the Lord.

 Brian and Sonya 1

God smiled on our children.

With all of those options…

She is there to pick them up every afternoon.

She is there to help with homework and sign all of the folders.

She is there to fix afternoon snacks.

She cooks dinner nearly every night. It is always good.

She loves to stay up late the night before Valentine’s Day and decorate the house for them.

She makes great buttermilk biscuits and chocolate chip pancakes – from scratch.

She occupies the side of the bed our children go to in the middle of the night – there is a much more patient parent there.


Do I realize how much she has given up to serve God with me?

Will our children ever realize all that she has passed by to give her time to them?

I don’t know. But I do know that she doesn’t do it for the recognition.  I know this limited post and my mediocre writing ability doesn’t do her justice.

Proverbs 31 – that’s just the start. We are blessed.


Thank you, God. For smiling on us. Thank you for inclining her heart toward me. I am truly blessed.