In the summer of 1988, God was doing a mighty work in two young people who lived 272 miles apart and had no idea the other existed.
It was the summer that the Holy Spirit began to work in my heart and call me toward the life I always dreamed of, but had no idea how to get there.
Simultaneously, the Lord was working in the heart of a young man who had been saved from a young age, but only saw God on Sundays.
Neither of us knew what God was up to, but we were both on a path of wanting more of family and the good stuff and leaving behind the junk we had been living for, up until then.
I began by leaving work every Friday, driving 2 1/2 hours to my dad and stepmom's house to spend the weekend, which happened to be just north of Corpus Christi. I would spend the weekend with my family, go to church on Sundays, wake up at 4:00 a.m. on Monday morning and drive the 2 1/2 hours back to San Antonio to go to work. This became my summer routine.
I can't explain the pull I had toward wanting to be with family, except that my stepmom, Ruby, was praying for me. I later would see that it was the Holy Spirit calling me toward a relationship with God, but at the time, I had no idea.
I continued to go to church on the weekends and one weekend in August of '88, I laid in bed on Sunday night and gave my life to Jesus. I was tired of being in control. I was tired of wondering what else there was to life and tired of bad relationships that went nowhere.
I surrendered, not only my soul that night, but any desire I had for a relationship. I told the Lord that I never wanted to date again, until he brought someone into my life that would love and adore me, for real.
At the same time, in a small, Southeast Texas town, David was making a change too. God was also working in him, pulling him away from a going-nowhere relationship, pulling him back toward family and creating a hunger in him to get back to living a better life.
David was still going to college and working as a news photographer, but he had put in a two week's notice at the news station and was going to pursue other things. Strangely enough, he was assigned a big story to head down to the Corpus area to cover a big hurricane coming in.
At the same time, I was working at The Hershey Hotel on Ocean Drive in Corpus and I was furious that my boss was making me come to work, knowing that a big storm was heading to the coast. I just knew I was going to die!
But, as God would orchestrate, David covered the storm farther south, then drove back to Corpus to stay the night, before heading back to Beaumont. Since The Hershey Hotel was the only one open that night, guess where he stayed? At the very hotel I happened to work in. That was September 17, 1988. The hurricane was named Gilbert.
As he came in the front door, passed by the hotel gift shop, he looked through the window and there I was. I remember seeing him looking through the window, but the hotel was full of media people that night, so I just went about my business and didn't think anything of it.
A little while later, he made an excuse about needing something and stood in the gift shop for a few hours, talking to me about his job and what he had been doing. We basically talked like we had known each other longer than a few hours. In fact, we were so comfortable that he asked me to go for coffee after my shift was over and I agreed, as long as I could drive, in case he was a weirdo and then I would push him out of the car and leave him on the side of the road. True story.
We went out that night, talked for hours and then I needed to head home (I had a 45 minute drive home), so I left him at the hotel and figured I would never see him again. He was a nice guy, but I didn't even know which direction Beaumont was, so what were the chances?
The next morning, when I came to work, there was a business card with his name and number on it and a note that said "talk to you soon" or something like that. I kept the card, but had zero expectations that this news photographer would ever be back, especially since we barely knew one another.
But the very next week, he called. And within two weeks he came back. Then he kept calling and kept making trips and the next thing I knew, I made a trip to Beaumont and on and on it went, until one day in November, just 2 months later, we were engaged to be married.
We were married 8 months later and here we are, celebrating that day, 35 years later.
Two children, 5 grandchildren, 2 beautiful daughters-in-law, and lots of stuff in between and we're still choosing each other, every single day.
When David and I talk about the work God was doing in us, both at the same time, it still amazes us. He was calling us both out of the mess and into a life with Him, but also with one another and we had no idea.
God literally wrote our love story!
As every marriage does, we've had to go through all the many things that people go through - job loss, deaths, working out of town, moving, in-laws, fighting over stupid things and so much more. But every day we have one thing we know for sure...God wrote this story and it's the only one we want to be in.
Did I mention we've been through a lot of hurricanes too? Uggg! Who knew that Hurricane Gilbert would just be the first of many.
But, if I have to go through things, at least I know God gave me the best partner to ride out the storm with.
I'll always be grateful for the summer of '88 and the God who changed my life. I'm also grateful that David went home after that first night and told his parents that he met the girl he was going to marry. I think things turned out just right.
Until Next Time...