When I was younger, I wondered what kind of raving beauty I would marry. Surely, I would marry a drop-dead gorgeous blond with amazing talents who could cook and hold an intelligent conversation on any subject. I had no idea how right I was. After sorting through the dregs BJ (before Julie), I came to the sad realization that my dream girl might not exist. Then, out of the blue, I met her. We found each with a tremendous crash, but we did indeed find each other! If you visit Julie's blog, you'll find her account of the events of our meeting, but I'll tell you my version (which, of course, is the gospel truth on the matter :-)).
We were at Super Summer (a Christian youth camp) in 1993 at Hardin-Simmons University. I was a brand-new graduate of Southwestern Seminary, she was a college sophomore working for Hardin-Simmons helping with the camp. We were engaged in a game of "mushball" - softball without gloves and a really, REALLY soft ball. I was on second, Julie was playing catcher. A ball was hit into the outfield and misplayed, so in all my great speed (my "speed" is akin to molasses in January), I rounded third and ran home. She and I collided, physically. That much we agree on. Who initiated it and who's fault it was, that we don't know. SHE says I came barrelling down on her, ran her down like a bug on the windshield, ran further, tagged home and then checked on her welfare. I remember it slightly differently, but that's okay.
I didn't see her again until the next summer when we were back there for Super Summer. We were being loud and rowdy and it was late as we watched a baseball game on the dorm lobby TV. This time, she was dorm supervisor. When I got up to get a drink from the water fountain, she came in and read us the riot act. I saw her, but she didn't see me. Why? I hid. Unashamedly, I huddled behind the water fountain realizing this was the same lady I had maimed only the previous summer.
The next summer, now 1995, she came to serve with the program where I had just been named director. She came to work for me and served all summer with our program. There was no hanky-panky that summer because we both were sure the Lord had more important things for us to do during that 9 week period.
At the end of the summer, I called Julie, knowing she was new to Southwestern. I was living in Joshua at the time, just a short 20 minutes away. When I called her one night, I invited her to go with me to the Dairy Queen for a burger. Sitting at the DQ, I realized this lady was not the same one I'd known all summer. Something was different. It took me a few years to figure it out, but figure it out I did.
Four years later, on November 13, 1999 (her grandmother's birthday), I proposed to Julie, holding my breath she would say yes (esp since I had already bought the ring!). Happily she did and I've been all the richer since then. I sold her on marrying me predicated on me teaching at a college or university - anything but pastoring! Even though I was serving as an interim pastor at the time, she still agreed.
We married 8 years ago today at my home church, FBC Joshua. I can't believe it's been that long - it seems like we got married last week. I read about and hear about these guys who don't want to go home or who don't like to spend time with their wives and I scratch my head asking "why didn't you marry your best friend like I did?"
Happy Anniverary, Schatzie. Words are not enough to describe what you've meant to me.
Through the difficult days of PhD work - the long nights of seminar papers, the unending bibliographies, the stress of waiting to hear back on the dissertation, the too-many-to-count meetings, funerals, weddings and services, the drama of just normal life - I've found you to be the raving beauty and lady of grace I dreamed of so long ago.