Four years ago, on this date, Chad and Courtney were united in marriage. Chad and Courtney shared a beautiful love story, but it wasn’t the story of their love for each other. It was the story their deep love for their Savior which overflowed into a love for each other and for everyone around them. Although the days of their marriage were short, the impact of their union was great and continues to this day. Together, through their love for each other, their son Chase, God’s Word, His church and His people and through their love for those who did not know the Lord Jesus, Chad and Courtney displayed their love for God and brought glory to Him.
Chad and Courtney’s love for each other was unmistakable. Although they were relatively young when they vowed their lives to each other “until death do us part,” it was clear that they both understood the significance of the commitment they were making. They shared more than a passing infatuation. Before they even met each other, each had evidenced a love for and commitment to the Lord. When their paths crossed, it was natural that their individual love for the Lord would cause each to notice the other in a special way. As their relationship deepened and eventually they were married, they were truly two who became one. Neither Chad nor Courtney had individual passions that they pursued apart from each other. For example, although Courtney had grown up in a household of mostly girls and had never had much of an interest in sports, she developed an interest in sports, supporting teams that were so exciting to her love. They were both equally interested in the things that the other was involved in and excited about. Their marriage was a beautiful picture of Ephesians 5:22-33.
The love that Chad and Courtney shared for their Savior overflowed first in a love for each other. After their love for each other, they evidenced a sweet love for their son Chase (and, later, for their unborn daughter). There are very few fathers as proud to claim the title Dad as Chad was. I remember Chad oozing with pride when we visited them in the hospital and met Chase for the first time. Courtney was an absolutely devoted mother. It was a joy to watch her care for Chase. I learned much and was often challenged and encouraged by watching her care for her son. Once when Chad and Courtney left Chase for a week, Chad wrote when they returned, "Our teens are the best, but [Chase] was majorly missed. Glad to be home. What a great trip. To God be the glory." They were looking forward with great anticipation to adding a daughter to their home and giving Chase a little sister.
Although Chad and Courtney’s love for each other was obvious to all around them, they never made others feel like the “third wheel.” Though they were unmistakably in love with each other, it wasn’t to the exclusion of noticing the needs of others around them. Both Chad and Courtney loved other people. It was their joy to serve others and be a blessing to them, the primary means of this being their local church. They were deeply committed to the church. Long before marriage, they could be regularly found serving the body of Christ. They loved to do the small jobs which often went unseen. Chad, and even more particularly Courtney, loved children. They taught countless children’s classes and prepared for each with great care. When God allowed them to transition to full time ministry, it was a natural outgrowth of what they had been doing long before.
Chad and Courtney’s lives were saturated with God’s Word. They faithfully sought to live their lives by the principles they found in God’s Word. They faithfully read God’s Word for personal growth and Chad had committed himself to ongoing study of God’s Word so that he could be better prepared to teach others. In the fly leaf of his Bible, Chad had written “How much has God said that we are content to miss?” The last week of his life while at camp with the teens, Chad wrote, “Wednesday night teen meeting. Praying fervently for God to work through the power of His Word in the lives of our teens.” He firmly believed that God’s Word had the power to change lives. As a result of this belief, he was very careful in his study of God’s Word as he prepared to teach and preach.
Chad and Courtney loved to share the good news with those who were lost. During a mission trip they led with their youth group shortly before their death, Chad wrote, “Praise the Lord for 5 professions of faith tonight at the Cola War. Could not be prouder of the teens or more thankful that I'm blessed to work with them.” When I spoke to him a few weeks later, he was still thrilled by the opportunity to see young people come to know the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior. Chad and Courtney faithfully led a Bible study at the local high school and nothing could get them more excited than the opportunity to tell a young person about the good news of salvation. In their lives, Chad and Courtney worked to share the gospel and they would have been so glad to know that through their deaths, the good news has impacted many lives.
In their short but beautiful marriage, I believe Chad and Courtney glorified God more effectively together than they could have done individually.
Written by Rachel, the oldest sister of Chad Phelps
Rachel is married with 3 kids of her own.
Posted by Caleb