Have you folks met my wife Sarah? She’s the sweetest, most awesome, caring, loving, compassionate person I know. She’s funny, smart, passionate about doing what’s right, follows God wholeheartedly, and is simply the best. Anyone who has ever enjoyed any of her cooking can affirm her skill. She has an amazing ability to take something and make it beautiful. Many of you can attest to that, as you have seen her work putting together presentations, pregnancy announcements, and many other things. If it has come from us and it’s nice, I guarantee it was she who made it. Not to mention she’s the mother of our beautiful baby Joel. Truly, God has given me the most wonderful of all wives!
Sarah was my own personal gift from God, did you know that? She’d probably say I was her own personal gift from God, but if I am, that’s up to her to say. Anyways, I wanted to share my own personal story, which I don’t know if anybody knows besides her: the true story of how we met.
When I was growing up, I always wanted to have somebody to love. Desperately. I did some pretty stupid things, which most kids don’t do, to try to find it (which, if you know me from those days, you know what I’m talking about; if you don’t, sorry, I’m still too embarrassed to publish it). Needless to say, I worked myself up into believing something very untrue – that nobody liked me – so much so that it kinda became true. I pushed people away because I refused to believe that people liked me. Many tried to convince me otherwise, but in my stubbornness I absolutely refused.
My heart yearned for someone. I remember one night I saw my crush with her boyfriend for the first time, and it broke me. I wept and wept. My dad, who is the epitome of quiet strength, came down and sat by me as I let out all my hurt and frustration. He didn’t need to say a word, but he was with me. I know that he must have been praying over me that entire time. It took a full day to recover, even my teachers at school noticed that something was wrong and asked me if I were ok. Stan Michael, my English and History teacher, particularly caught me. I’m sure that he prayed for me right then, and later that evening at home.
A different night, a different situation, I was crying on my bed, still lonely, and I cried out to God, “When will you fill me? When will I know what it is to be loved?” A very strong impression, like a trumpet blast of a whisper, came to my mind with a specific date: month, day, and year. It was an unreasonable date, way too far in the future for what I would accept.
Nope, no, I must have heard wrong. You meant that date of this year, right?
“No,” the voice told me. And it repeated the date, time and year.
I insisted, so it insisted back.
Finally, I just gave up arguing, and went back to my life, confident that something would happen that year, within a couple months.
The time of the date rolled around, and I was sure this would be my moment. I wrote a long, sweet message to the girl I liked, hoping beyond reason that every previous rebuff had been her way of playing hard to catch. I sent the email, and waited. And waited. I must have checked my email 10 times that day (pre-wifi days), no response. My heart sank a little lower every time I checked it. The day ended with no reply.
“Well, I can be hopeful,” I thought, “I’m in Europe right now, and she’s in America. It’s still a day behind, she can still reply on time.”
To save you the drama, she didn’t, to which I was very upset. I put that poor girl through more than anyone could possibly deserve…Thankfully when I apologized several years later she seemed to accept my apology. I don’t know if she’s forgiven me yet for it all, but that’s beside the point. Hopes dashed and Sommerkurs ended, I returned home.
Several summers later, I was working on my instrument rating at Andrews. I had tried dating often, but nothing seemed to be working out. One Sabbath I had time, and I decided I would fast and pray for 24 hours to seek God’s will out. By the end of the night, I had hope again. God had told me that sometime next year, something would happen in regards to my relationship status. I was excited! That year I was going to be living abroad in France, maybe I’d meet a foreign girl.
When I got there, I looked and looked for God’s promise to be fulfilled, but was disappointed several times as it became clear that nobody there was interested in me, or I wasn’t interested in them. But something did start: I began to seek a real relationship with Him. Instead of Him being somebody to help me get married, He became a Friend, Companion, and Teacher. On the rocks of the Salève, I re-met my Savior. I committed my life to Him. And my life has never been the same.
Yet, there has always been peace from God when I know that His word was accomplished in my life, and while I had peace in the transformation in my attitude that He had affected, I felt that somehow it wasn’t the ultimate fulfillment of that promise either. Back at Andrews, I was ready to jump back into life, but I wasn’t really wanting to go back to where I had worked Freshman year, at the pool. I almost didn’t go to the interviews that year, but He convinced me it was important.
It was there at those interviews that I met Sarah for the first time. My heart leapt for joy! As I thought about that much later, I realized that God’s purpose and promise had indeed come true: the year after my fast, something truly happened that started to fill my heart. I just was thinking school year instead of calendar year. Funny how that happens…
To save a long story from getting any worse, I’ll sum up the rest of the story: Sarah and I became friends working the same shift, but she was dating a guy from Union College. I took her to visit him several times (I was visiting my own friends too), including after she broke up with him and wanted to get back together. It was the easiest, most difficult decision I’ve ever made, to make that drive with her. Once they realized for good it wasn’t working out, she and I eventually started dating. The day after Thanksgiving, I asked her dad if I could propose (less than 2 months into our relationship), and FINALLY! Christmas Eve he told me yes. I wanted to surprise her with a proposal, so I was going to wait until Valentine’s Day, but when she told me she suspected that, I had to catch her off guard. I proposed February 2, not realizing two things: 1) it was Groundhogs Day…, and 2) it was 40 days after her dad had given me permission.
Sarah has made my life happier than it ever has been before. She loved me when I thought nobody else did. She’s seen my best days and my worst days. She’s seen me at my absolute ugliest, and somehow, for some unknown, divine reason, has stuck with me. She’s my biggest support, my best friend, and the love of my life.
July 15, 2012, three years ago today, she and I took the plunge into married life. Things have not been easy, but they have been good. Our love is no longer based on the presence of acute extreme emotion, but has transformed into the same love we both have for our Lord: a deep, abiding peace that no matter what is going on in life, we are in it together. I thank God for that, and for the beautiful symbol of what kind of relationship He wants to have with each one of us as well.
How do I know that Sarah was God’s gift to me? Because of that promise He gave me years ago while I was crying on my bed. I forgot about it for years, and only realized it after we had been married for quite some time. God gave me a date, remember? And that date was July 15, 2012.