It was a warm, pleasant afternoon at my family’s camp. We were on a vacation during the summer between my freshmen and junior year at a Bible institute. The rest of the family had gone to the lake to swim while I stayed up at the cottage to spend some time praying. I had a habit at that time of praying for mission fields and missionaries and was daily working through a list I had made up for that purpose. This day, however, was going to bring an unexpected twist – a REALLY unexpected twist. When I was praying for the Philippines you might say that the Lord “spoke to me.” It was not an audible voice but rather a kind of knowing that suddenly popped into my heart.
He “said” that I was going to be in the Philippines and Wendi was going to be with me.
Wendi was the treasurer of our class at the Bible institute I was attending. I had noticed her, admired her prayer life, and the fact that she had a heart for people. She was a beautiful girl with a calm, easy-going demeanor. But I had never, before that moment, thought of her as a potential mate.
To make a long story short, the following year Wendi and I DID start going together. The following year we were engaged. We married shortly after graduating from that Bible institute and arrived in the Philippines five months later for a 20-year stint as missionaries in that wonderful country. Thirty-seven years of marriage, five children and 7 grand-children later we are still married, and I am still amazed, day after day, just how perfect she is for me – and I for her (or so she says!)
I had not been looking for a wife at that time He “spoke” to me. Having had some bad experiences in the past (largely due to my selfishness and immaturity), I had determined not to look for a girlfriend or a wife. I wanted to be married but I put that desire on the shelf so I could direct my attention to seeking the Lord instead. If He wanted me to marry – He would make it clear when the time came.
And He did. On our first “social hour” (really only a half hour in the evening our school allowed couples to meet) we prayed, read our Bibles and shared our testimonies. As time went on, and we got to know each other, our fellowship grew deeper and richer.
But we did not fall in love.
We held our hearts until we knew we were what God wanted for each other.
Then, we chose to love each other.
You might say we have fallen in love since then – it certainly feels like it. But we still know that our love is a choice – a daily choice to put the other first. It’s a choice that keeps us trying even when we don’t understand each other. Yes, there are tough times but we have found that He who brought us together is more than able to keep us together.
Every couple has their “How We Met” stories. This is ours. For those of you who are still writing yours – I hope this story encourages you to seek first the One who loves you most and let Him guide you in your quest. God always chooses the best when we leave the choice to Him.