"News of a fatal car accident involving a young church member buzzed around the office that blustery October morning. Less than six months before, I had accepted the invitation to join the staff of my former church, moving back across the country where I taught in a Christian school, to Arkansas, where I became the director of children’s ministries.
In a few moments, a tall young man suddenly entered the reception area where I sat. He swiftly stepped inside out of the wind and shut the door behind him. Glancing up from my notes, my eyes met his momentarily. In that moment, the thought came to mind, “That is the man you are going to marry!” His eyes were blue, but somewhat dazed. His sandy-colored hair was windblown. When I noticed a wedding band on his finger, I could only be thankful no one could read my mind. Dismissing my thought as random, I greeted the young man and asked how I could be of help. As soon as he mentioned his name, my heart jumped! That October morning and the events that led up to it changed both our lives forever.
My parents had always shared with me the love of Jesus and that He had a perfect plan for my life. They instilled in me the importance of keeping myself for the man He had for me to marry one day, and they instructed me to pray for that young man as he was growing up, too. As I neared the end of my college career, the burden to pray for the man I was to marry strengthened. That burden took on a new dimension when a close friend and mentor married a young widower in our church. The concept of marrying a widower was new to me, and her experience gave me pause. Could it be that the Lord had a similar plan for my life? The man before me in that church office was the one who had just lost his wife in that tragic accident the night before. He was there for an appointment with the pastor.
It didn’t take either of us long to realize that Jon’s appointment that day was also a Divine appointment. In the course of the following weeks, Jon and I both received nudging from friends and church leaders to consider the other. I mentioned Jon to my parents, and together we began praying for him. I felt loneliness, too. I frequently wept and shared with the Lord during this time how much I longed for companionship—someone to love, someone who needed me!
Meanwhile, Jon’s Sunday School teacher finally convinced him to attend the singles’ Christmas party. I also decided it was better than staying home alone...again! As I descended the stairs to join the party that evening, there stood Jon. He caught my eye and in no time had initiated a conversation with me. We enjoyed some wild ping-pong competition and we laughed a lot. That entire evening he gave me his undivided attention. Over the next several weeks, we shared many sandwiches as we talked, read Scripture, and prayed together. It was a glorious, whirlwind romance! And soon, we were engaged. With the encouragement and full approval of our families, pastor, and friends, we were blissfully married. Yes, the Lord had answered my prayers in a miraculous and timely manner.
Some time later, we learned that we would soon welcome a new little life…we were going to be parents!
It was a very arduous pregnancy, and my health continued to fail. I was hospitalized five-and-a-half weeks before my due date, and my doctor elected to induce labor. Even so, Jonathan David arrived healthy and strong. The Lord had again answered our prayers.
Within the first five weeks after Jonathan’s birth, as my health continued to fail, three specialists confirmed a diagnosis of systemic lupus. That was the beginning of a long episode of health issues which only spurred our faith and trust in our Heavenly Father.The following year after successful surgery for endometriosis, I became pregnant with our second baby! Jonathan, then five, was going to be a big brother at last. Within the first trimester, however, our precious little one silently slipped into the arms of Jesus. Eighteen months later, we mourned the loss of yet another baby. My systemic lupus flared with each pregnancy, causing the babies' hearts to fail. Each time our hearts were broken, too.
But the Lord was not finished showing His greatness and mercy. We were surprised to learn we were expecting yet another baby. By now I was considered high risk. One of my specialists actually told me to go home and wait for this baby to die, too. The lupus was already active, and he gave me no hope for a full-term pregnancy. Once again, Jon and I turned to the Scriptures for comfort and encouragement. We pleaded with the Lord to spare this child and show His power. Eight long months later, Jonathan finally became a big brother to little Jeffrey Duane, who arrived in perfect health and with the strongest newborn heart the pediatrician had ever heard! The Lord had again answered our prayers.
Both boys have grown into committed Christian young men who passionately love the Lord. And as Jon and I now face the empty nest, our prayers continue for our boys and for the young ladies the Lord has for them to marry one day. May they find the kind of love with which we have been blessed these past 28 years. It is now 2011, and our love continues to grow!"
This is a wonderful story of the Lord's faithfulness and how two young people grew closer together through all their trials. Thanks for sharing Teri.