I bow on my knees unto the Father . . .

that Christ may dwell in my heart by faith, that ye being rooted and grounded in love.

Job 37:5, “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways: he does great things beyond our understanding.”

Exodus 15:2, “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

Ephesians 3: 14 – 17, “For this cause I bow on my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.”

It is funny how the girl who always loved and believed in the ‘one true love’ myth, and that everyone should have the ‘happily-ever-after-love-story’ was actually beginning to believe that God’s plan included a second true love.

Steve and I had a strong connection from the very first phone call. So many things in common that just made the connection even stronger – our strong faith in God, our love for family, and our ability to laugh at life brought us together from the very first moment. With our very first date, we had a chance to see the laughter in the lighter moments in life. It was all quite funny, and just what was needed to help overcome any awkwardness that might have normally come with that first date.

Steve had been married before also. He had a daughter from his first marriage, and it was obvious from the beginning that she was the apple of his eye, just the way it should be with a father and his daughter.

From that first date, our romance was a whirlwind. We started dating in April, we were engaged in May, between June and August we sold two houses, and then began to build our new house. There were some moments in July though, that I began to doubt and feel an overwhelming sense of guilt for moving on. I became incredibly quiet, and had a hard time communicating with Steve what I was feeling. I began to doubt God’s plan for Steve and me but was unsure how to tell Steve that and not lose him. I needed to talk with someone that knew Mike and would be able to tell me what I should do. I was so torn up with guilt and doubt that I did not think to stop and pray and talk to God. So, without saying anything to anyone, I got in my car and drove to Anderson, SC. A reality talk with my brother-in-law was just what I needed. He never minced words, he just laid it out there and gave you something to think about. In our conversation, he reminded me about a conversation that Mike and I had had a couple of years before his death. When Mike realized how dangerous his job was, he told me that if anything happened to him, I was to move on. I needed to find someone to love and someone for Patrick. Harry reminded me of how young I was, and that God did not intend for me to live the rest of my life without love. We talked about all the connections Steve and I had with each other, and we talked about how Steve made me feel when we were together. I remember Harry using the scripture that had resonated throughout my life, Jeremiah 29:11-13, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” His words were a great reminder of God’s plan for my life, a gentle reminder that in times of doubt and fear I need to go to God in prayer and supplication, and a lovely reminder that God had given me a second chance for true love and that I should run to it and hold onto it with Mike’s blessings. On the drive back home, all I could think of was another scripture that speaks of God and the marvelous things he does in our lives. Job 37:5, “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways: he does great things beyond our understanding.” God’s voice was thundering in truly marvelous ways, and through this union of Steve and me, great things would be done beyond my understanding.

On August 27, 1988 we were married surrounded with the love and support of our family and friends. Even in the wedding there was a sense of this is right, this is what God planned. I was reminded once again how Isaiah 14:27, “Nothing can stop God’s plan for your life.” Not fears, not doubts, not guilt, not snags with selling and building houses, not even the speed at which everything was moving. It was meant to be. Our blended family with two children soon became ‘our’ family with three children. Our daughter was born in December of 1989, and from an early age it was obvious she was also part of God’s plan, and we became a family, not blended, just our family. Now 32 years later, we are still married, in love, and retired. We have three beautiful grown children, two loving daughters-in-law, and three wonderful grandchildren.

Throughout our 32 years together, I have often called Steve my ‘Knight in Shining Armor.’ Even though he is very humble and does not see himself that way, to me it is because he has always been there to rescue me, support me, encourage me, and to be my shoulder to cry on. About a year after we were married, I realized that I truly had not gone through all the grieving I needed to, as a result I began to feel a lot of anger and guilt. Steve was my rock! He understood every outburst, every tear, and every period of silence. He supported and loved me throughout a year of counseling. Later, when the hospital that my Mike worked at built a memorial in his honor, they invited our son to come and be a part of the program. Steve went with us, helped Patrick pick out a tree, and helped him plant the tree in his daddy’s honor. Even later, when my hometown built another memorial to honor all their fallen heroes, Steve was there with Patrick and me, holding us and helping us through the memories and the pain. When I was given a diagnosis of breast cancer about 17 years ago, Steve was there through all of it. He never left my side, and once again was my rock to lean on. When my mother had a stroke, and we had to make decisions about her care, Steve was the first one to say she is coming to live with us, and she lived with us for 6 years, until she passed away about 3 years ago. It was not just that he invited her to live with us, but he went the extra step and learned how to help with her care, her medicine, and even giving her shots. Steve and my mother had an incredibly special relationship, and for that I will be forever grateful. Her last six years were filled with family and love, both are things that meant so much to her. So, maybe it is just the romantic in me, the girl who has watched far too many romantic, happily-ever-after-movies, but Steve is my knight-in-shining-armor, my hero.

The love that Steve and I share has not always been easy, but it has always been worth every minute of blending our two families and creating memories to last a lifetime. I truly have been blessed with love in my life, and for that I will always be thankful. Exodus 15:2, “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” The Lord has been my strength, my song, and my salvation throughout life, love, sadness, pain, and guilt. He is my God, and I will praise him, I will exalt him!

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