Behind the Scene at Life Works: The Wedding

Running an office filled with five therapists, hundreds of clients, three full time internal support staff, and the sole responsibility of community outreach and media event coordinator falls on the shoulders of our Business Manager Kristi. My often said assessment of her is that she is a wise woman of 40 masquerading in a 23 year old body! Kristi is our hub and we are the spokes that make up the wheel of the Life Works Group family.

From the moment Kristi sat talk with me about joining Life Works I knew she was special. Just how special would not be revealed until six months later.

Tim Hendricks impressed me the moment I enthusiastically transferred all my accounts from Sun Trust to the wonderful God centered Orlando National Bank. His warmth, genuineness, humility and dedication to doing what God sent him to do made me more than a little curious about the woman he mentioned he was engaged to. Many months passed with us exchanging friendly bits of conversation and information before he called with an inquiry. Did I know of any mental health counselors who might be interested in joining Dwight Bain’s Life Works Group? Without hesitation I heard myself say “I would be interested.” I hung up my cell with a phone number in my hand and a thought echoing in my head “where did that come from?” Not wanting to give myself a moment to second guess an action I was obviously being compelled to take, I called a strange number and made an appointment with a complete stranger for the following week. If nothing more, it was a chance to meet the woman who had piqued my curiosity months before. The stranger was Kristi Keaton; Dwight Bain’s Business Manager and Tim Hendricks’ very lucky fiancé. After our meeting I knew both these young people were lucky and I knew luck had nothing to do with it. Tim and Kristi were both determined to live Godly lives and they were simply doing the will of God by marrying each other.

I was blessed to be asked to join Life Works and again blessed to be invited to Kristi and Tim’s wedding June 10th. Our whole Life Works Family would be going and the excitement in the office the week before was palpable. Kristi was the ever professional and didn’t bring her wedding plans to work very often so it became mm Eleanor’s job to keep us all filled in. I was grateful for our moments of “wedding talk” as it made me feel more a part of things and also gave me a chance to feel the love that existed in Eleanor for her first born child. Many times we spoke mom to mom as well as woman to woman. I learned Kristi’s values had a long tradition. Both her parents and grandparents married young but married right. They had all obeyed God’s rules and had all been faithful to Him, themselves, and their marriages. They took their vows seriously. I knew I was going to be a witness to a wedding unlike any other I had ever seen (yes, sadly, even my own). I was going to experience a joining together of two people who had had the moral courage to do it His way thus ensuring His everlasting blessing. The Church was full of family and the presence of God. The Life Works Team sat together and I, selfishlessly for a moment, feasted on the oneness I felt with my wonderful new friends and colleagues. We all turned to watch Tim and his groomsmen walk down the isle followed by the happy bridesmaids. I kept peeking at Eleanor graciously standing in her position as Mother of the Bride awaiting the arrival of her daughter being escorted to her new role of wife by the husband she has loved for over 25 years, Kristi’s adoring father. The familiar music caught my attention and I quickly turned to the back of the room. Looking more beautiful than I had ever seen her, Kristi started her walk just as the Bible states toward her new husband and away from her parents. She was doing it right. Every step she took brought me closer to an understanding of God’s rules of conduct for people in love. Both she and Tim had committed to remaining pure to God’s truth and I was, for the first time in my life, seeing and feeling the love that comes from obeying His word. Everything felt right everything felt good. And I recited the words from a poem I have remembered forever- “God’s in His Heaven and all’s right with the world.” When the time came for Tim to place the ring on Kristi’s finger I knew, without a doubt, it would never come off. The tradition continues. Another successful marriage in the family. Kristi and Tim are now Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks and I will always remember their day when I knew God was smiling and all was right with the world.

Written by: Deedra Hunter who is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has also published a book called; Winning Custody: A Woman’s Guide to Retaining Custody of Her Children. She has been a mental health professional for over 20 years and specializes in the counseling and treatment of eating disorders. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida International University, and her Master’s degree in Counseling from St. Thomas University. She also holds a Certificate in Chemical Dependency from University of Miami’s School of Continuing Education

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