When I was thirteen, my dad retired from the United States Naval Base where he had worked in civil service much of his adult life. Children as a rule are not privy to these things, but somewhere along the lines prior to his retirement, my parents had discussed and determined to move away from the area where the naval base is located, to another California city a few hours away. But what I can remember about this time is that once I found out we would be moving, I was not happy to be leaving the only home I had ever known, and the only friends I had ever had. I didn’t want to go.
Just prior to my dad’s retirement and our move, the church we were attending hosted some traveling ministers who just happened to have relatives in the city we were moving to. They suggested a church there that we should consider attending once we got settled in. And so, one Sunday in June 1974, we attended our first service at the church recommended to us.
At age thirteen I was already committed to Jesus and serving Him faithfully for the remainder of my life. And I was already involved in church, especially in the music ministry arena. However, I would be less than truthful if I told you I remembered a single thing about that first service in that new church. I can’t recall a song that was sung, the message that was preached, or a single thing that occurred in the service that morning.
But what I can remember in vivid detail was meeting the world’s most gorgeous blue-eyed thirteen-year-old girl! Man, oh man, she was a beauty! I had no idea at this point what my mom thought about this church, but in an instant, I had become fully committed to attend that church for the rest of my life if necessary! Are you kidding? I was returning to the Sunday night service that night, even if I had to ride my bike to get there.
The beautiful princess and I were introduced that first morning, and I found out her name was Brenda. Suddenly my world had been flipped over on its head and all I could think about was Brenda. For weeks afterwards, I just kept thinking about how good the names Kenny and Brenda sounded together!
Well, the years passed and in 1980 I married Brenda. And I will be eternally grateful that my parents decided to move away from my childhood home, and that those traveling ministers recommended that church. Because to use a Bible phrase, I found a good thing there! And my life has continued to increase ever since.
“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22 KJV
Today, as I reflect upon our life and ministry, I couldn’t imagine another person I would have wanted to go through life with. She is my rock! Her commitment to Jesus, her commitment to the Word of God, her commitment to prayer, and her commitment to her husband, to her children and grandchildren, and to her church family are unsurpassed by anyone I have ever known in my life. She is truly amazing!
I have never known another woman who can operate in the anointing of God and pray the power of God down upon a church service, while simultaneously walking in the most wonderful womanly graces and spirit of loveliness. Yet Brenda Gatlin does these things continually.
The reason I decided to write this article is because the week it will be published is the week of her birthday – March 6th. Perhaps other husbands feel this way too, but I just seem to strike out when it comes to gift giving, especially gifts to my wife. What I mean is, I walk away feeling as though I could have done a better job in my selections or thought it through a bit more. It’s not that she complains about my gifts, because that is just not her way. It’s that I don’t feel I did an adequate job properly blessing a woman who has sacrificed so much for me, our family, our church family, and all those who receive from our ministry across the nation and beyond.
This year my birthday gift to her is much different, and it took me almost a year to put it all together. I am taking her on a special trip to a place she wants to go, and we will be getting there the way she wants to get there. And I pray it’s only the beginning of special blessings for this woman who has sacrificed so much so that I could minister to people and fulfill God’s call upon my life.
With over forty years of ministry now it is my name that people have come to recognize, and it is usually me that they receive ministry from through Kenny Gatlin Ministries. But I would like for you to know that if you benefit from my blogs and podcasts, and enjoy my music and teaching ministry, or if you have received from me as a guest speaker, it is Brenda Gatlin who gets as much or more of the credit for it all. Because she has paid a gigantic price for me to minister like I do to impact pastors and churches and people all around the world.
And if you attend Integrity Christian Center, the church we pastor in Torrance, California, you also must become aware that Brenda Gatlin, the First Lady of our church, has sacrificed deeply and paid dearly for you to continue to receive from our ministry. What a gift she is to each one of you!
In 1980 I married that “good thing” I found in 1974, and she has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. So Happy Birthday Brenda! And thank you for being everything to me. I love you!