It was June 2006. And I was wondering if I’d ever meet someone.
I was living a full life – I had a good job, lived in Milwaukee – a fun city, and had great friends. I was actively involved in my church – singing and volunteering in youth group. But there were no prospects on the horizon. Where was I supposed to meet someone, anyway?
I began journaling my prayers, and asking the Lord what he wanted to do with my life. My real passion was missions. I attended a weekend workshop with a missions agency to see if it was for me. After much prayer and counsel from my parents and other people I trusted, I declared my intentions to the missions committee at my church to pursue an opportunity in Sweden.
At the same time, I made a profile on a site called ChristianCafe.com at the beginning of June. Even though I was prepared to be a single missionary, I deeply wanted to be married and have a family.
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Meanwhile, there was a guy named Steve across the lake in Northern Michigan. He was building his own business, working hard, and volunteering with his church’s youth group. He was going on dates and taking initiative, but he didn’t seem to click with anyone for a lasting relationship like he was praying for.
His ChristianCafe.com account was no longer active, but one weekend in June they sent an email saying he had a free week.
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“This guy sounds pretty funny… And he says he’s searching for a great pot roast recipe – which I have. I’ll just send it over as a joke!”
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It started with the pot roast recipe, he wrote back. We exchanged a few emails and then he went silent. I wondered if that was it. After a few days he was back. He had had to pay $30 for a month membership. He would later say was the best $30 he ever spent.
We decided to talk on the phone. He had a nice voice, and we talked for a long time.
We both knew we weren’t in this for a few laughs and dinner out. The only reason we were communicating was to see if this could work for the long haul. So there was no time wasted beating around the bush or putting off big questions for later. We meant business. How many kids do you envision? Is divorce an option? How do you view your role in a marriage? What are your dreams? How do you deal with money?
He asked if we could meet in person. I did a background check. I mean, this guy could be all talk. He checked out. We met the weekend of the 4th of July in Holland, MI. It’s strange meeting someone you’ve only seen in pictures for the first time because their face is no longer frozen in one position. You can see now what they look like when they talk and their body language and how they laugh. I will always remember meeting Steve for the first time.
We hit it off, and he met my sister and close family friends of mine since my parents live overseas. Next I met his family. Everyone seemed to approve and we became surer and surer.
By Thanksgiving we were ring shopping.
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Not wanting to “abandon” missions to run after a guy, I sought counsel from my pastor. What he said will always stay with me, and probably changed my life:
“You never know what kind of impact a family living for Christ can do in the world. There will always be unsaved people wherever you are, but there will not always be someone to do life and ministry with.”
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In order for Steve to meet my parents he had to buy an international plane ticket and get a passport. My parents live in France, so in December 2006 he flew over to meet me there the week before Christmas. My parents surprised him with a birthday present – train tickets for the both of us to Paris for the very next day. I didn’t know he had a ring with him. Or that he had to hurriedly asked my parents for permission when he went down for a drink of water the night before…
So there we were – on the eve of his birthday, approaching the Eiffel Tower at a few minutes to five, and he stopped, turned around and hunched over to find something in his backpack. Then he turned back to me with a box in his hand, and said “Will you marry me?” Of course it was yes, and we kissed and I cried and the Eiffel Tower exploded in twinkling lights as the clock turned to five o’clock.
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We got married on May 26, 2007.
I’ve spent 760 words telling about the beginning of our story, but it would take days to tell the fullness of our story to date.
We’ve launched a business, moved three times, brought three children into the world and lost two before we knew them. We’ve weathered some hard things we never saw coming. And I can see it on our faces – we are not the same people we were the day we promised ourselves to each other. Our love has deepened and grown. It’s been tried and stretched. We’ve wronged each other and forgiven. We’ve laughed hard and grieved hard. He is so much more than I knew the day we got married. He has been Jesus to me.
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This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”