The Faithfulness Of God
I met Paul in 1976. We married in 2015.
My life took many twists and turns during those 39 years from when I first met Paul to when we actually married. If there was one constant theme, one continual thread woven throughout those years, it would be God’s faithfulness.
I met Paul while we were attending Houghton College. He was a junior, and I a freshman. He had been dating Bev but they had broken up that summer. It was during that period that Paul and I became good friends and dated a couple of times. Later in the year I told Paul, “You love Bev and she loves you. Why aren’t you together?” Shortly thereafter, Paul and Bev reunited, married and were blessed with four wonderful children during the course of their marriage. Together they served as missionaries in Brazil for 25 years. I remained in contact with Paul and Bev and was a prayer supporter during their years on the mission field. While Paul’s family was in the U.S. on furlough from Brazil, in 1992, our families even met together.
I completed my degree at Houghton and spent a summer in Hong Kong with Alliance Youth Corp. It was during this time that it became clear I should serve God by working with children. After graduation I settled in Wyoming and became employed as a Christian Education Director. I married and became pregnant. I prematurely delivered our 3 ½ pound daughter via emergency caesarean section as a result of an automobile accident.
I saw God’s faithfulness during this difficult time.
My husband’s employment took us to Colorado, but he was laid off within six weeks. We moved to Massachusetts to live with family, and I took a part time position at a local church as the Christian Education Director. When our daughter was 18 months old, my husband walked out of our marriage.
I felt as though the bottom had dropped out of my life.
My extended family loved and supported me. My church family wrapped their arms around me and just loved me; they never judged me. Through the love and care of my family and friends, I was able to maintain my position at a Christian school and obtain a master’s degree. I ministered there for 23 years, 14 as principal. It was a blessing to be a part of that school.
Tragedy struck our family in 1998 when my parents were involved in an automobile accident. My father was killed instantly and mom declared a fatality before being brought back to life. She sustained six skull fractures, every rib was broken and she had a shattered knee. After the accident mom and I sold our homes and built a house together resulting in us developing a very special relationship. Despite her injuries and the long-term ramifications of the accident, mom has lived a long and fulfilling life and has been greatly used in a ministry to widows.
God faithfully blessed my mom with a vital ministry during widowhood.
Throughout the years, I was a ministry supporter to Paul and Bev. I received their prayer letter regularly, and it was there that I read of Bev’s battle with cancer and the family’s return to the U.S. for treatments. A subsequent letter advised of Bev’s passing. I sent my condolences to Paul, who was living with his sister near my hometown.
Later that summer, Paul emailed me to meet to converse. We met a few times and reestablished our friendship. As Paul’s missionary work in Brazil concluded, he interviewed and accepted a ministry position in Indiana the following January. Paul and I had the opportunity to meet a few times, and we agreed that God had restored a beautiful friendship. But, with Paul in Indiana and me in Massachusetts, we knew our lives were very separate. We maintained our friendship via email and Skype on occasion.
I was involved with Love God Greatly and during one of my conversations with Paul, I asked him if he wanted to do the upcoming Bible study with me. He said he would and we began the Easter 2014 study. We emailed our thoughts and reflections back and forth to one another.
God used that study to bind our hearts together.
After asking my mother for her blessing, Paul asked me to marry him in May of 2014. I said, “Yes!” We were engaged for a little over one year, conducted our premarital counseling via Skype, and only visited a few times during those months.
I am so blessed.
After all those years, God has given Paul and me such joy. All five of our children were able to attend our wedding and each read Scripture as part of the ceremony. Bev’s family, including her mother, sister, brother and nieces and a nephew all attended the wedding in Massachusetts. What a blessing that Bev’s family would embrace me as Paul’s wife. I know it’s bittersweet for them, but they wrapped me up in their arms and brought me into their family. We spent this past Thanksgiving together at our home in Indiana. So often that just does not happen.
I’m not sure what God has planned for me as I begin this new chapter in my life.
I recognized when I married I’d be leaving behind my family, my job and my ministry, as I knew it. Being part of Paul’s life, supporting him and learning new ways to serve God has been a growing experience for me. I’ve been able to develop relationships with women through our church and shared God’s faithfulness. I tell them God never left me.
He has been faithful!
Love God Greatly has had a huge impact on my life, not only in being the catalyst God used to bring Paul and me together, but in other ways as well. When I first started with Love God Greatly, I began recording all my thoughts electronically in a Word document. I have a diary of my spiritual growth beginning back in 2013. Currently, I am co-facilitating a group and the encouragement and response from women all over the United States is amazing. They are seeing it as well. Recently one woman commented how glad she is to be in the community of believers who build each other up in the Word.
God impacts lives of normal, everyday people.
My life is an ordinary life. I’m not well-known and there isn’t anything remarkable about my story, but God has worked in my life and taken my ordinary life and made it extraordinary. He IS faithful!
Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”