After talking about my dad yesterday, it would seem fitting to introduce the man who currently holds my heart. In truth, he will always hold my heart, as well as my hand. How do I introduce to you the man who God allowed to heal so many broken parts of my heart? I honestly am at a loss for words. The fact is God brought my husband, Heath, into my life the summer of 1999. It was a summer I was swearing off dating for a while. I had been hurt & burned so much by dating that I felt it would be better to just not date for a while.
I sometimes wonder if God watched me wrestle with the idea of giving up dating & laughed or if he watched & applauded. Somewhere in May of 1999, I found myself on my knees crying & praying. I was tired of living life dedicated to people rather than to Him. I realized anew how much I was dependent on a relationship to make me feel whole rather than allowing God to make me feel whole. That day, through tears, I told God I was done with dating. I told him I just wanted to wait for my husband. I also think I told him I hoped he would bring my husband quickly. 🙂
It was a painful two months as I let God start to search my heart. I cried more tears than I can explain. I felt more alone in those two months than I had ever felt in my entire life. I felt friends fading & I felt life pushing me away from everything comfortable. As I boarded a plane bound for the Dominican Republic at the end of July 1999, I felt I was escaping. As we took off, I felt free from the stigma of my life. What I also felt were unbelievable nerves. It had nothing to do with the trip, it had everything to do with the big metal thing that was flying through the air. Add to the nerves of flying was the fact that I only knew one person on this trip. There would be over 100 people on this trip.
Everyone on the team wore the same shirt the day we flew to Santo Domingo. In some ways, it was comforting. Instantly, we all knew who was on our team & we were able to make small talk. It took two flights to get to Santo Domingo. I cannot even tell you whom I sat next to on the first flight. I will never forget whom I saw next to on my second flight, it was Heath. I think we talked the entire trip. I welcomed the conversation as it always took my mind off the flying. When we landed, we went separate ways. But we were to be serving on the same mission team so I knew we would see each other again.
Whether it was later that day or the next, when we saw each other, we picked up our conversation again. From that moment, we were together all the time, We ate together, on our down times we hung out together. We had a day off where our team went into the city & we were together. What I will never forget was when we were eating dinner in the city. There were about 10 or 12 of us that went to eat together. Towards the end of the meal, one of our friends came over with a vase of flowers, set them on the table in front of Heath & me, & said ‘these are for the lovebirds’. I shut down at that moment. I pulled away so quickly from Heath that it even made my head spin. Before that moment, I knew this was a guy who was my friend. I knew that there was something special about him. I knew I was not ready to be hurt. I knew I just needed a friend.
The next day I avoided him like the plague. He came & found me. He called me on my behavior. We had a really great conversation. The rest is history, I guess. I will never forget the fear I had when I had to introduce Heath to my family. In my mind, he had three people to be approved by. The first was my father. My dad welcomed him. He says he knew from the moment he met Heath, that he was my husband. Dad said he had prayed for my husband since I was little & in Heath, he recognized his heart. Next came my grandmother, who until this point had never approved any of the guys I had dated. To my amazement, she also welcomed him. He even made her laugh. I was shocked. The final person to give the approval would be my sister. She walked through all of the hurts of my past relationships, giving me solid advice. I knew there was no way she would just approve of me dating a guy to make me happy. My sister & Heath became friends & soon it was obvious to everyone around me, he was part of my life.
Heath had some uphill battles when it came to my heart but he fought them all. He allowed me to keep wrestling with God & let Him continue to heal me. He encouraged me in ways I never knew possible; he loved me with a pureness that was refreshing. What I didn’t know, was how much more I could love him even after we married. Then I became pregnant. The bond that would form between us was unbreakable. He was my biggest cheerleader in the delivery room, my biggest advocate when I needed to be told I was a good mom & my hiding place when life started to weigh too heavy on me. He allows me to seek shelter in his arms because He knows that God’s arms carry both of us. He reminds me that God takes care of us not by his words but by his attitude & desire to serve Him well. He is the man I dreamed of marrying but felt I would never find. I am reminded daily how much I have to be thankful for when I look at him. God answered my prayer that May. Thankfully, he answered it in a way that is better than I ever thought possible.