Dear Sweet Sister:
Do you delight in hearing the love story of how a husband and wife first met? I sure do! When Dave and I meet another couple for the first time, my favorite question to ask is, “How did you two meet each other?” Most often, their eyes light up as they tell the story together of how their love story began. Oh how I love to tell my story of how I met my husband of 28 years. I share this as a way to encourage the single sister that feels called to marriage but is still waiting on God to find her life mate. I share this for the married sister who needs to be reminded that God is always in control. Lastly, I share this for my future granddaughters and my great-great-granddaughters in generations to come. How did I met my husband? I’m so glad you asked. Here you go:
Act 1. January 31, 1986 Friday afternoon:
Alone in my freshman dorm room, I lay in my bed confused and disappointed. Tonight was the night I was supposed to perform a skit entitled, “If God Talked back” for the Intervarsity Christian Group on campus. I had practiced for hours and memorized all my lines and I was just so excited to finally use my acting skills to give eternal truths. (I performed in high school and on the Gettysburg stage during my first semester but all the effort has no spiritual message or purpose.) When the skit was given to me over Christmas break, I was ecstatic to use my time and talent for God and to impact other students. During that Christmas break, Janice and I prayed for all those on the campus. How excited I was once back on campus to practice and perform this skit.
But my plans came crashing in when Lee (the classmate who was to play the part of God) called and explained to me that he had a family emergency and needed to take a train home. This just did not make sense to me. Why would God allow Lee to leave the night of our performance? Dinnertime was approaching, but I didn’t feel much like eating or getting out of bed.
I looked upward and the poster caught my eye. In this poster above my bed, a cute plump panda happily lays on his back in a grassy field while the words above him boldly proclaim, “Relax, God’s in Charge.” I can still vividly remember that poster, 30 years later. (do you see the poster in the photo below?…upper left side above my head)
So I had a choice to make. Would I wallow in self-pity and disappointment, or would I trust God and do the next best thing which was to simply go to the cafeteria for dinner?
This one choice would change my life and if you are one of my great-granddaughters, you are alive because of it.
Act 2. The same Friday, evening:
I find a seat in the Gettysburg cafeteria at a table with my dear friend Janice. There are some new students sitting with her that I haven’t met before (she was a sophomore) and soon I am explaining my situation in true dramatic manner. I bemoaned to the group, “I have all my lines memorized for tonight’s show and then God took the first train out of town.” So I guess you could say I was holding onto the self-pity part just a smidgen?
Then a tall handsome young man with broad shoulders volunteered to play the part of God that night. (I had made a list years before that I wanted a husband with a good sense of humor and broad shoulders that I could cry on.) This mysterious young man had never attended an Intervarsity Christian fellowship group meeting (despite being invited several times) and had never acted before.
You see, he also had a choice in that moment. He later explained that he had dreamed multiple times of a woman with full cheeks and lips (I once had the nickname chipmunk cheeks) who he believed was going to be his wife. She was washing dishes in the dreams (and yes I’ve done a lot of dishes in the past 28 years, but since Dave is such a fantastic cook I am happy to do so).
Once he spotted me at that path-changing supper, he said I looked just like the girl in his dreams (literally). This gave him the courage to volunteer and stand in front of the intervarsity group that night.
Act 3. Later that night:
Dave stood behind me and read his lines from the script. I kneeled in onesie footed pajamas and pretended to be praying my nighttime prayers as I played an 8-year-old girl who recites The Lord’s Prayer each night without knowing what the prayer really means.
“Hallowed? I don’t know, what does it mean?” She asks. God explains, “It means honored, holy, and wonderful.” She responds thoughtfully, “Yes, that makes sense.”
And then she keeps on praying.
“Give us this Day our daily bread…” and to her shock and the audience’s amusement God answers with,
“I think you’ve had enough of that bread.”
As the girl continues to recite The Lord’s Prayer she receives help from God on how to forgive a friend’s betrayal and ultimately deepen her relationship with the Lord. Dave enjoyed playing the part of God, and I was thrilled to perform that night to my Gettysburg peers.
The following Friday, I performed a mime as Sonbeam the clown with Janice, whose clown name was Salty, for the same Intervarsity Group. Dave came to the meeting, and afterwards we enjoyed hot fudge sundaes with a group at the Lincoln Diner. On the way home, with me still dressed as a clown: rainbow wig and white faced, he asked me out on a date. I’ve often kidded him that because I was a ‘mime’ clown I wasn’t able to say no. Of course I nodded “yes!”
Act 4. A few months later:
Dave and I joined the debate/forensics group on campus and visited other colleges/Universities to perform “If God Talked Back.” But the real Act 4 is that we began to date and our love story continued. We dated three and a half years and married in my childhood United Methodist Church as our Gettysburg priest Father Phil assisted.
Dave is my best friend on this earth and God continues to guide me and bless me through him. Our union has produced four children (three on earth, and one in heaven) and a thriving preschool business that we both enjoy.
So dear single sister, my advice for you is to be patient and seek out ways to use your talents to honor and serve God. Join a Christian singles group or find like-minded friends. Hold out for a husband who will have self control and wait for you. You are worth the wait, my sweet sister.
To my married sister, are you sitting on your bed in self pity wondering why things are not going as you planned? Remember the panda poster and trust God that He is in control. Show this trust in your actions. Don’t hide away in your room, but let go of your tightly-gripped dreams. Release your own expectations and trust in God’s character. When things don’t go your way, repeat these three statements:
God is Good.
God is Love.
God is in Control.
When you are not sure as to what to do next, just do the next best thing. Our lives are a result of our choices. Keep making small loving choices for God.
To my great-grands, I love you. I am praying for you. Pray and wait for the one who will lead you closer to God.
For my sweet sister or grands who have slipped and desire to go back and start over, take heart, for it is never too late to start anew. God is all about redos and restarts.
Relax, God’s in charge.