Was it Love at First Sight? True and lasting love doesn’t happen quickly. It must be nourished with trust; grow with proven character; and bear fruit with longevity. Was it instant attraction, chemistry and sweet harmony? Absolutely! It was like we had known one another forever. I was a newly commissioned officer in the United States Army and she was a first-year elementary school teacher. Dating her was exciting, peaceful and adventurous all at the same time. Even little “coke dates” at the nearest burger place led to hours of sharing and dreaming together. Our eyes would dance whenever we would meet and we’d both break out in big smiles. But our little world of seashells and bubbles was shattered when a letter came in the mail. It was my orders for Viet Nam. I was about to leave the love of my life, maybe never to return!
I had waited for what seemed like a life time to find my “Mr. Right.” And that’s exactly what took place on a warm autumn Sunday afternoon in 1970. My two roommates and I were first year teachers living in an apartment located near the military base of Fort Brag, N.C. That’s where I met my husband to be. My heart took a hundred flips when he asked me out on our first date. He was everything wonderful I had only dreamed of finding. There was something so unique about him…so absolutely different than anyone I had ever dated. His character, ambition for life, career, total interest in me, level headed thinking and good looks as a Lieutenant in the United States Army almost took my breath away. From the moment we met, I knew this had the possibility of a “forever” kind of relationship. My heart was captured and I never wanted him to leave.
Finding a “perfect” mate! That’s the quest of every person, young or old. It all began when God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper who is just right for him.” (Gen. 2:18 NLT). So, what does “Just Right” mean? Though it’s different for different people, God gave Adam and Eve the “perfect” ingredients: selfless love, trust, communication, freedom, belonging, loyalty, closeness with God, and divine purpose. What should a woman look for in a godly husband? Psalm 23 and Eph. 5:25-33 will open your heart to God’s intentions. What should a man search for in a woman? Prov. 12:4; 18:22; 19:14; 31:10-31 will direct your heart. How should you treat the one who is just right for you? Read 1 Cor. 13:4-7 and you’ll know.
She promised she’d wait for me until I returned from Viet Nam. And she did! Every day I received her loving letters reminding me of the wonderful life we would have together. Then came the day I returned home to marry the gentle Southern girl who captured my heart. But little did either of us know that it was the Lord working with us when we met and fell in love and who preserved our lives while I was at war. In His gracious love and providence, 5 years later the Lord called us both into the ministry to share His love and saving grace with hundreds of people. Now it’s been 45 years, two beautiful daughters and three amazing grandchildren since I first met Sheila. As I near 70 years of age, we never stopped loving each other, even during life’s greatest challenges. I am forever grateful to the Lord for sweet Sheila, the love of my life!
Yes, I promised to wait for Dan’s return from war and I held to that promise! I had found the love of my life and was not about to do anything to lose it. It seems like just yesterday that we first met and fell in love. The years have come and gone now and we have a beautiful love story that will live on into eternity. Our children, grandchildren and the lives we’ve touched through our ministry are a result of the love we have for the Lord and each other. I am eternally grateful that I really did find the love of my life when I found Dan. God did a good thing! By the way, this kind of love is not just reserved for us only, but for everyone who makes good choices about who they choose to date and marry. And even if you’ve had a failed marriage in the past, the Lord can give you wisdom, discernment and a new beginning. God can turn your heartbreak into a glorious love story!