Many years ago, I believe the year was 1974, Terry and I made a huge decision that would change the course of our lives. We wanted to do something with our lives that would have more impact, more meaning. Earlier in our marriage, Terry had wondered if the Lord was calling him into the ministry. He decided to enroll in seminary, to gain more knowledge of the Bible and to see if that was the direction he was supposed to take.
It wasn’t. He still values the time he spent studying, but he knew it wasn’t the path God wanted for him, and so did I. Looking back, it is very clear how God was leading, one step at a time.
We moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where Terry was born, to take a job he’d been offered in his home town. We settled in, but there was a restlessness that we didn’t understand, and we kept seeking to know what God had for us.
Terry wrote a letter to the editor of the Christian newspaper, The Sword of the Lord. In that letter, he stated his desire to be in some kind of service, ministry, that would use his natural gifts and talents. He’s amazingly gifted in mechanical things, and he could fix anything that was broken. He had been working as a mechanical engineer for 3M when we met, but that restlessness was there even back then.
Anyway, the letter was published in The Sword, and way out in the foreign land called Pennsylvania, a woman saw the letter and pointed it out to her husband. He was serving as the youth and music minister at Bethel Baptist Church in Sellersville, PA. They told the pastor, Dr. Richard Harris, about the letter. He called our home. Terry wasn’t there, but Pastor Harris told me they were looking for someone to come and work for the church. They were in need of a man who would work full time repairing and maintaining the buses they used for the Sunday Bus Ministry, as well as for their Christian school.
Terry returned the call, and we arranged to meet in Flint, Michigan. It was about halfway between our home and a conference that Pastor Harris was attending in Ohio. He said he would be bringing a young man with him who was still in Bible college, training to go to the mission field in which he had been born to his missionary parents. Our daughter is now married to his son.
God specializes in planning ahead 🙂
In any event, Pastor Harris offered Terry the job, and we made the long trek from Upper Michigan to the foreign land of Pennsylvania. Terry had always deplored the idea of living in the concrete jungle of the east coast, but there we were, and we were happy to be there. We still are. It is home, and we do NOT live in the concrete jungle 🙂
We met the woman who had seen Terry’s letter. She and I quickly recognized a kindred spirit between us. We laugh at the same things, have a mutual wry sense of humor. We also share a love for the Bible. We’ve had some of those deep, personal conversations that you don’t share with just anybody. Our friendship now spans 47years, which seems impossible to me until I look at our grandchildren, some of whom are adults and ready to start families of their own.
They live in South Carolina now, as do many dear friends, but they came up to minister in a church here this weekend. Last night we were with them at our daughter’s place, catching up and enjoying fellowship together.
All of these memories have led me to reflect on how God has led us, step by step, through our nearly 52 years of marriage. Sometimes we have struggled with submitting our own will to the clear leading of His will, but we have been blessed beyond measure as we’ve followed where He has directed.
And, of course, there’s a song playing in my head. Let me see if I can find it: