Over three years ago, I met my love.

I was living with a nice family here in the State of Pennsylvania, having just recently moved from North Carolina. The family was always showing hospitality to all, to the point that they had rather large gatherings in their home each Sunday. This was nice for me. I was making new friends and getting homesick all at the same time, but that was par for the course.

One day, only 2 months or so after the move, I remember a handsome man, who was sitting at the picnic table, looking sad. I quickly learned that he was recently widowed, though he really wasn’t that old. My heart went out to him. This story was so familiar to me because my dad had passed away suddenly (and young) only a little more than four years before. I wasn’t one of those people who didn’t know how to handle another’s grief --- at least not this time --- because I had had my own, and especially because I was still aware that my mom was still going through it. So, though I had never lost a spouse, I felt close enough to someone who did, in a way that I was able to talk to and sympathize with this man.

Over the months that followed, I got to know him. His name: John. We became friends. I was a listening ear as he told me about his late wife. He was a friend that I’d introduce to family whenever they came to town. I’d tell him about my family. I’d talk about the swing dancing that I was doing. He’d share wise words with everyone when friends would get together to talk about God. I’d listen and learn. I really felt he was a great guy. All along, I had plans to set him up with someone I had in mind, only, of course, when there was enough time of grieving behind him. I found myself conversing with him often when we were at the same events, never realizing that I was setting him up with someone alright --- I was setting him up for me!  I didn’t know. God was the one in the know all along.

Neither of us saw it coming.

And one day, he asked me if I’d like to go to dinner with him sometime.

We still didn’t see it coming.

But a few weeks or so later, we were hanging out more and more.

By mid June (that was one year after we met) we were “not dating”! That was what we told ourselves anyway! Looking back, yeah, we were totally dating.

By mid August, we were holding hands.

And by mid September? We were engaged.

On October 9th, we were married and kissed each other for the first time (a kiss on the forehead when dating didn't count...though I liked it!).

Four days later, I prayed, asking God for a miracle. I prayed that God would give us a baby in nine months. I asked for nine months specifically.

John had never had children, though he and his late wife did want them. He had told me when we were dating that the chances were that he wouldn’t be able to have children. That meant that the decision to marry him could mean no kids for me. But I did marry him. I accepted him with or without children, until death do us part.

And God saw fit to say, “Yes.” I am still amazed.

I’ll never forget that evening in November when I went into the bathroom to take a pregnancy test, and ended up calling to my new husband, “John, can you tell me what I’m looking at?” I wasn’t sure if it was so --- I needed him to look at the test too.

He looked at the test and then he looked at me and leaned with satisfaction against the door frame, “You’re pregnant,” he said.

That was a huge thing to us both. I think we will never take that moment for granted, nor the beautiful child that resulted. I am --- we are --- terribly grateful to God for giving us a child together. But that was not all.

The due date was just a few days after our 9 month anniversary! I thought that was an answer to prayer --- you know, close enough.

But on July 8th, my water broke early! I didn’t have the baby until the next day: July 9th --- exactly 9 months to-the-day of our wedding vows --- our miracle child was here! Praise the Lord!

Now moving forward in this story to today, John and I have been married for over two years. We have experienced a lot together already, both good and difficult. The good is really wonderful, and the difficult makes us grow. We get to help each other out. We get to be each others fans. We take care of each other, we love each other, forgive, serve, give, listen, share --- we do life together.

And I don’t know why fairy tales make wedding days look glorious, because I’d rather be married two years, rather than just one day. This where I now feel settled in, one with, loving a man I know much better, and been doing life with for awhile. I love this guy!

Everyone’s story is different. They should not be compared.

This is our story.
And I am thankful.