Do you remember when you first met your spouse? Do you remember when you fell in love? I do, and after 30+ years, the vision in my head is still very real. There are many who will wonder why this particular subject is being discussed here, and that’s okay. Please take time to think about the post and leave a comment.
My married life actually began many years before saying “I do”, and that picture is still real to me, too. As a young person still in high school, there were several words spoken by me which would later impact my life. You probably don’t know anything about this, but I said “I’ll never get married, I’ll never have children, I’ll never have anything to do with religion, I’ll never join the military.” Whew! What a bag of hot air I was back then.
Needless to say, over the years, salt and pepper had to be poured out on all those brash words so I could eat them. Here’s a good lesson for anyone who doesn’t know any better: never say things you may live to regret. Have you ever had to eat words you spoke? What was that? I’m not alone in this, after all, am I?
Jesus came into my life while I was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Lord saved my soul on April 10, 1977, Easter Sunday morning. The memory of that morning is still fresh, and the joy of knowing how much the Lord loves me continues to amaze me. My outlook on life forever changed that wonderful morning.
It wasn’t long before receiving orders for my transfer to my home state of Florida. Finally, after several years away from my family, I was stationed within a few hours from home. Actually, it’s only closer, not close. From my new assignment, Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, Florida to my home in central Florida was about an 8 hour drive. Although it wasn’t a quick trip to home, it was much better than some of the other assignments I had.
Upon the recommendation of my pastor in Oklahoma City, I attempted to contact the pastor of a particular church in Panama City. The number he gave was incorrect, so out came the local phone book. Not remembering the name of the church, I began to look for something sounding similar. I dialed the number, and the pastor picked up the phone; we had a wonderful conversation, and I was invited to church and to stay after for a “dinner on the grounds.” Not knowing what that was, I accepted the offer.
It was a small country church in the woods north of Panama City. Just a couple of double-wide mobile homes put together. Nothing fancy here, but that wasn’t the most appealing feature of this little country church. The presence of the Lord was very real and very strong in that place, and that is worth a great deal. Many memories were formed while attending church there, and I’m thankful for what the Lord did in my life through the ministry of those precious people.
It wasn’t long before some of those wonderful people began plotting my demise, though. Remember, I’m a single military guy who was in love with God and His incredible people. The Lord had been patiently grooming me for what was ahead, and I was learning about God along the way. Thank God for people who have the heart of ministry.
It wasn’t long before the Christmas season brought plans of Christmas plays, fellowship meals, and a host of other wonderful things. By this time, I had been asked to narrate the children’s play, and I was excited about the honor of taking part with the little ones. How things do change! We practiced and practiced and got it right.
The night of the play was very special. About 7:05 pm, a couple walked in and sat down to enjoy the play. I thought this was nice, a young couple I had never seen before came to watch the children present the story of Christ’s birth. Seems to me there were several other visitors, too.
Remember me mentioning the people were plotting my demise? Well, this couple who came in were really cousins who happened to be about the same age – I assumed they were a couple. After the play, he left for his house, which left her to find a ride home. The plot thickens. Some of the men of the church pull me aside and tell me things are not as they seem, and let me know the two were cousins. Hmmm.
She, my future bride, was hanging around some of her friends and family afterward and mentioned she needed someone to take her home, that her cousin left her stranded. Well, after what the men told me, I had to jump right in there and offer her a ride home. “It’s too far out of your way,” she said. “No it’s not,” I replied. Off we went.
We stopped for a cup of coffee, and the rest is history. I no more knew how far out of the way it was than I could fly, but it didn’t matter, the love bug bit me. Just for the record, you just didn’t drop by her house from the church or the base, for that matter. We remained “just friends” for a few months and became husband and wife not long after our first meeting on the 17th of December.
What about you? Can you remember when and where you met your husband or wife? Would you care to let us know?