Recently, I posted a meme on my social media accounts that included my “real-life romance tropes.” One of my followers commented it sounded like a good book, which got me thinking. I’m not a memoir writer, but if I did, my life with my husband does have the makings of an interesting story…single dad, love triangle, workplace romance, age gap. We certainly hit a lot of the big ones all in one fell swoop!
We didn’t start out as solid as we are twenty-four years into our marriage. In fact, part of my testimony is that my husband and I would, without a doubt, be divorced right now, if not for God. He orchestrated such a beautiful redemption story that it could only have been Him. When I look back on our early years, it is with such regret for the time we lost when we could have been so much happier in life and with each other.
Both of us grew up Christian. That looks different for everyone, and I don’t want to disparage any one denomination or practice, so suffice it to say, my relationship with God growing up was a lot different from now. I knew all the stuff, but I didn’t have a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I didn’t even really know what that looked like.
When I got my first boyfriend at seventeen, I held onto my faith for a while. He was a non-believer, but I still lived with my parents, and church was a big part of our lives. After my senior year, my parents moved away from my hometown, and I declined to move away myself. Spring Arbor University, a Christian college about two hours away from my boyfriend, had accepted me, but I didn’t want to be that far away. I went to a local community college instead.
Those were some difficult times for me emotionally. I was on my own for the first time, even though I lived with an aunt, and I slowly fell away from the faith I had held for my entire childhood. After one semester, I dropped out of college and moved to be with my parents again.
After two years, my relationship with my boyfriend, who by that time was my fiancé, fell apart. At the same time, I worked with a man whose marriage had also just fallen apart, and unbeknownst to me, my meddling baby sister told him I was interested in him. At first, I wasn’t…lol. When I found out, right before I broke up with my ex, a manager at our job pulled me aside, and she basically told me I could do better than I had with my boyfriend, who also worked with us. I wasn’t sure whether I liked Doug, but she reminded me that, even if I didn’t, I still had options.
When we got together, neither of us was living a Christian life. We spent the first years of our marriage miserable and fighting. It would have made a very angsty book! When our son was about five, one of Doug’s coworkers invited us to his wedding. That wedding changed everything for us. The couple were so obviously very in love, and their ceremony was worshipful and full of faith. We both walked out of that church saying, “We need to get back to church.”
Thank God for the chiropractor I had started seeing because of health issues I had from work. He invited us to his church, and there, we both learned how to have a personal relationship with Jesus for the first time. There is so much more to our story that I can’t fit into a blog post, but I am ever grateful for the way God orchestrated my romance.
Since a wedding played such a big part in the trajectory of my life, they hold a special place in my heart. I have loved researching themes for each of the weddings in my books, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of writing them.
So, how about you, readers? Is there something from your own testimony about how God has changed you that means a lot to you that you’d like to share with me today? I’m especially partial to lost sheep stories (like my hero, Chris in A Heart to Redeem), having been one myself, but I’d love to hear about anything you think will put a smile on my face!