photo by: www.jamieherreraphotography.com
Happy Valentine’s Day!
My Valentine and I met ten years ago on Super Bowl Sunday. Before I go into that, I should back up a bit.
My first husband died in April of 2009. In early 2010 my daughter-in-love said, “Momma, if you don’t put your profile out on a dating site, I will.”
My eyes grew large. “Well, if anyone is going to lie, it will be me.” Laughing, I turned and went to find a grandchild to hold.
What she said, bugged me. I thought if God wanted me to remarry, he would drop a man into my life. I couldn’t shake her words or the “challenge” she had posed. Online dating. A bit frightening for this f(hand over mouth “cough”) year old lady.
After much prayer, I braved the world of internet dating. I tried one sight and had a date. My daughter, Kathy wanted to follow to make sure I would be safe. “Don’t worry. I’ll be careful” she needn’t have worried, we didn’t go out again. We were too much alike. There needed to be some difference—I didn’t want to marry an image of myself.
Another site and I met another fellow who made me laugh all through dinner. Laugh instead of cry, you might say. I’m sure he had a great time. A strange man who I led to believe I was packing a gun in my purse. I made sure he couldn’t follow me home…
A long list of other fellows went by and I had a few more dates with different guys. Finally, one night as I searched profiles with a prayer on my lips, I saw one that intrigued me. Jimmy Fuson, hum. “Lord, should I start a conversation here?”
A simple nudge and off we went. Messages went to private email then to phone calls. We covered our conversions and basic doctrine. Boy, my heart beat fast. We talked about difficult things. A skim of our pasts and our families and then onto areas where Christians can differ, “What do you believe about Creation? The Rapture? Baptism? Sanctification? Eternal Security?” I hit him with every question I could think of and it didn’t frighten him away.
Instead, he asked if we could meet. He lived two-hundred miles away. I hit him another curveball, “Could you meet me at my church where my son, Brian is the pastor and my daughter Kathy also attends? See, Jimmy, if my children don’t think we are right for each other, this will never work.”
He didn’t skip a beat. “Sure.” We agreed on Super Bowl Sunday because our church had decided to hold a party with a big screen and snacks. I was in charge of the snacks.
That Sunday morning’s weather report and road conditions didn’t bode well for travelers coming over the continental divide. Jimmy would be in hazardous conditions as he navigated to our “date.”
I worried, especially when services started and he hadn’t shown. On the platform to help lead in worship, I kept glancing to the rear doors. I know I wasn’t as focused on the Lord as I should’ve but my prayers were. Prayers for Jimmy’s safety. Prayers that he would make it and not stand me up. God heard and did.
We ended the last song and I went to my seat. In a moment, he stood there. I jumped up and gave him a quick hug of relief and we sat for the message in God’s word. I chided myself for the hug and told myself to focus on Brian’s words as he directed us to the passage in scripture.
After the lesson, I led him to meet my family and my church family. I’m sure he was a little taken aback at so many people who had my back and asked him many questions. He and I slipped out for lunch before coming back for the party.
At lunch, we measured each other, joked and laughed, and got more acquainted. Food finished and needing to get back to set up, we left. He took my hand. I still love to hold his hand.
During the party, my kids probed and kidded. He gave it back. He played with my grandchildren and went toe to toe with my kids. Jimmy endeared himself to my family that day. I was disappointed my youngest child, Cindy wasn’t there to enjoy the fun and weigh in.
A few more dates spread out and one day, the Lord and I had a “chat.” Well, He listened to my raving and worry. As I paced in my bedroom, it went something like this: “Lord. What do You want? I’m falling for Jimmy and if You don’t want us together, please stop it. Please step in if he isn’t the right man. You know, I only want to do what You want. I know I will never be happy out of Your will. Please!”
The peace that only comes from the Lord flooded me. Jimmy is the one.
Calm and trust. I waited for Jimmy to make the next move. He invited me to see Rifle, where he lived. So in May, I checked out hotels, chose one, and took my unreliable car the four-hour drive over the gorgeous mountains to Rifle. I had been there a few years before for a lunch stop. A small town boasting hotels, fast food, and gas but they also had a grocery store, a few churches, and a Walmart.
He lived in a one-bedroom apartment with little furniture. We went to eat and talked about life. That day, he proposed. I think he was surprised it came out when it did but more surprised at my immediate response, “Yes!”
I explained my discussion with the Lord and that He had led us together.
We didn’t wait long, July fifth, we eloped. My heart heavy and tears streaming down, I said goodbye to him the next day and vowed I’d be completely ready in two weeks. I sold, gave away, and packed up what little I would keep. Stuff from thirty years of marriage gone or converted to the space of one small trailer and my new car. Did I say, Jimmy bought me a brand new car before we were married so I had a reliable vehicle? Yes, he is that kind of man.
Yesterday, we celebrated the day we met, Super Bowl Sunday. Although, the date changes on the calendar each year we still look back fondly at those precious memories. We may not watch the game but we know what really mattered that day, a seed of love, deep and true, was planted and each year it grows gorgeous and strong to weather whatever the world throws at us.
Thank you, Jimmy Fuson, for taking a chance on me and loving me. But, I especially thank you for your love of the Lord and your spiritual guidance and steadfastness. You are amazing.