“May 19 was the 8 year anniversary of the very first email I received from my wonderful husband!”
This was the comment I posted on the PURSE-onality Challenge Facebook page when we were asked to comment on something that happened in May that we were rejoicing. Several comments and responses later and I had the subject for my post today.
As in all things that God does, they’re all done in His time and usually start long before you’re even aware of what’s happening. I was in church one Sunday over eight years ago and had an epiphany. I had been divorced for about eight years at that point, had just turned 40, had three children including a brain-injured child and was in-between boyfriends. Since my divorce, there had been a few of those. Some never made it to the “boyfriend” point and others stayed too long in that stage. None of them made it past the “friend” test. (I’m sure most of the ladies know what I’m talking about!)
There were also those well-meaning friends who try to fix you up with people. A couple of them had tried to fix me up with this guy about a year prior to my “epiphany”. They said he was a really nice guy. (Eek! The kiss of death!) He was the bass player for their church worship band (okay…that’s pretty cool). He was going through a divorce (red flag) and he had four kids (yikes…HUGE red flag). Of course I thanked them profusely for trying to fix me up with Mr. Bass-player but said I would pass. I mean I had three kids and he had four that makes seven total…how crazy would that be???
Anyway, I’m sitting in church and it just sort of hit me how blessed I was. I had a roof over my head, three wonderful children, a great job, a supportive family, awesome friends, my health and Jesus in my life. How could I ask for anything more than that? I was happy. I was content. I was full. I had enough. For the first time in a long time, I was happy exactly where I was. I thanked God for everything He had given me. I also turned my life over to Him…completely for the very first time in my life. I realized that it didn’t matter what my future held. He loved me and wanted the very best for me. It didn’t matter to me whether that future included a husband or not. I was going to trust Him.
It was about a month later that I sang at the Easter service. It was my first time singing in church and I was very nervous. It didn’t help that out of the corner of my eye I saw this guy sitting in the second row that I had “noticed” before. Although I had told God that I was going to leave the guy-picking (if any) to Him, my single-woman-radar still ran in the background. (It’s sort of like the sweeping red light on the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.)
This guy first popped up on my radar when I heard him a few weeks prior talking about his daughter attending a horse show. Hearing the words “horse show” coming out of his mouth was like honey on a warm buttermilk biscuit to this horse-crazy woman. I had no clue what his name was but he was cute and he knew about horses! (Insert Hallelujah Chorus here.) He was talking to my friend Patty (who is also my horse trainer). The sad thing is I was standing right next to her and HE DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE ME! I’m having a chorus of angels singing in my head and to Mr. Horse-guy I am totally invisible. (I wondered if God was teasing me or testing me to see if I really trusted Him.)
Back to Easter morning. Mr. Horse-guy is sitting in the second row and I’m starting to get a little excited because he’s going to “see” me for the first time. YES! He can’t ignore me now! Then I see a woman sit down right next to him. You can imagine how my bubble burst! I thought, “Okay God. I am going to trust in You and obviously the man is already taken. I get it. Thanks for the reminder.” I sing my solo and I forget about Mr. Horse-guy.
After Easter I’m invited to sing on the worship team and I finally meet Mr. Horse-guy “officially”. His real name was Todd Bowman I even told him it was nice to meet him “officially”. We shook hands and he smiled at me. You know how your first impression of people is a lasting one and you sort of sum up what kind of people they are from those first moments? Well, when I say he smiled I mean he SMILED…with his whole face. His smile can light up a room. My first impression of him? He seemed like a really nice guy…warm, caring, happy. While my heart did a little bit of a flip, the radar had been turned off. I had committed to trusting God and I was going to follow through. It’s actually amazing how freeing that was. I didn’t have any agendas. I didn’t have to impress him. I could just be Mindy.
Flash forward a couple of weeks…it’s the morning of May 19 and I get a huge surprise in my email. It’s a note from Mr. Horse-guy, great smile, Todd Bowman himself. It was really cute. Here is what he wrote:
From: Todd Bowman
Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 8:25 AM
To: Mindy V.
Subject: Your E-mail address
I noticed on one of Corinne’s e-mails that your e-mail address is “equus_”. Just curious, are you an equine enthusiast? My oldest daughter, Hannah, rides six days a week and volunteers at an equine center for the handicapped. She just can’t get enough. With all the riders in our church, maybe we should have a “Christ Fellowship Show.”
Pretty cool, huh? (I tease him all the time about signing it “Best Regards”…Ha!) I emailed him back. Of course my insides were a mess. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but why would a guy who isn’t “interested” and “off-limits” write an email like that out of the blue to a woman he barely knows??? I asked my friend Patty about Mr. Todd Bowman and what she thought. Her first words (and they were spoken without hesitation), “I would date him in a heartbeat!” Ha! He just passed the friend test without even trying. I really value Patty’s opinion a lot and it was at that point that I thought maybe I could hope just a bit. This man loved God, he knew about horses and he’d just gotten a huge stamp of approval from one of my best friends.
For the next two and a half weeks we continued emailing and as you can imagine the emails got longer and longer and longer. We never managed to see each other because our schedules were a little crazy and at one point my kids and I were on a cruise in the southern Caribbean. (Yes, we emailed during the cruise…I’m not going to tell you what the internet bill was!!!) When we did finally “see” each other it was awesome. I had gotten a chance to really know what kind of man he was. There’s nothing quite like getting courted through the written word. I have all the emails that he sent while we were dating. June 30, 2012 will be our six-year wedding anniversary.
Today’s verse is:
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
You’re probably wondering what happened to the woman who was with Todd on Easter. I found out later that it was his MOM! Ha! Oh, and Mr. Bass-player? He turned out to be Mr. Horse-guy with the awesome smile. Pretty cool how that worked out, huh? Probably a good thing God gave me a year to mull over the whole seven kids thing.
Of course there is another side to this story, but I’ll leave that for my husband to tell. It’s a pretty cool one, too. Suffice it to say God is woven throughout our story and our lives. If it weren’t for Him, we wouldn’t be together and I rejoice everyday that He loved me so much to sacrifice His Son for me and to give me this awesome man for a husband.
What has God given to you that you can rejoice? Comment below so we can all share in your joy!