There was this girl who lived in Georgia who like any girl dreamed of marrying her prince charming. She prayed to God quite frequently to send her the “perfect” guy. She met a couple who she thought might ‘be the one” but ended up broken-hearted. Yet, deep within she knew God had someone He was preparing for her.
This girl was finishing up her freshman year in college. As Spring semester was in progress, she applied for a summer job at Lake Junaluska, NC , a United Methodist Conference Center in the Smoky Mountains. One morning, there was a letter in her mailbox that said she had been accepted to be on staff and a job awaited her as soon as she was done with her Spring Semester.
During this Spring Semester, this girl would take a Spring Break trip to tour with the college choir. They would travel to Texas and places in-between for the week. On this trip was a guest musician. This guest musician and this girl became smitten with one another. Even though this girl knew they weren’t evenly yoked, despite her friends’ advisement, and her family’s wishes, she continued to date him. If she ever rebelled this was the moment.
She dated this guy up until the last week of school. As she began to pack her dorm for the summer to move to her new job, she knew decisions and good-byes had to be made. One night, as she was going to bed, she said a prayer to God. The prayer was something like this:
I know the guy that I am with is not the one you have planned for
Please forgive me for not listening to my friends and family. Maybe,
you were speaking to me through them. God, I just want someone
who will love me for who I am, who loves you as much as I love you.
Please send me someone who will love me when I’m broken and
rejoice with me in the good times. I need someone who
loves to laugh and sing.
As this girl feel asleep that night, she fell asleep. She had a dream. In this dream, she saw herself sitting on a bench crying and someone comes up and puts their arms around her. She could not see the person but she felt the warmth of the warms hug her ever so tight. Then, she her the voice of this person say; “don’t worry….I will love you and take care of you.”
It is Memorial Day and this girl is moving into her room that will be her residence for the summer. As her parents, get her settled in and say their goodbyes and she is meeting her roommate for the summer, a young man comes walking in. He asked this girl and her roommate if they needed help with anything and introduced himself and said he was from Kentucky. They chat a few minutes and he walks away. As he walks away this girl feels something special in heart. She hears the same voice she heard in her voice saying; “don’t worry….I will love you and take care of you.”
Later in the evening, this girl is with a group of girls who were all getting acquainted. As they are talking, the guy who had introduced himself to this girl earlier in the day, comes up to say hello once again. Again, this girl feels something stir within her as he walks away.
The next evening this girl is standing in line for dinner. As she stands there in line, she looks across the room and sees this same guy walk into the room. Only this time when he walks in, a voice within says; “he is the one….. but… be patient.” This girl so wanted to be the typical girl and run across the room to say hi and do what girls do…..flirt! However, that still small voice within holds her back.
After dinner, there was a staff orientation meeting. During this meeting there were the typical meet and greet games. One of which you had to get back to back when the music stopped. Once the music stopped, you had to turn around and share whatever piece of trivia about yourself the leader said to share. Then, the last round of this game came. As the music stopped, this girl was frantically looking for someone to be back to back with so she would not be out of the game. Then, from out of no where she feels these hands grab her arm and pull her back to back with this person. This person was this guy. As the leader instructed, they had to turn around only this time they had to look at one another in the eyes for two minutes without saying a word. It was to teach the staff that they need ed to seek the inside of the person(s) they would be working with and assisting during the summer. Before sitting down and going to the next activity this guy hugged this girl. As he hugged her, she felt the same warmth that she had felt the night of her dream.
FAST FORWARD ONCE AGAIN
It was at that moment that this girl and this guy would become acquainted. This guy was full of laughter, he loved to sing ( even sang to her the first night before going their separate ways for the evening), he was compassionate and you could tell he loved his FATHER up above. Needless to say, this girl was falling pretty hard for this guy.
The next evening this guy came by and asked if this girl would like to go play a game of ping-pong. Of course, she was no fool. Despite her level of ping-pong skills she would go just to be with him. And, this is where the story begins with even more twist and turns.
THEY JUST MISSED EACH OTHER
Remember earlier, when this girl had gone on choir tour with her college choir? Well, as this Georgia girl and Kentucky guy play ping-pong, he mentions he went on choir tour during Spring Break. He had been on Spring Break the same week as this girl. Not only had he been on Spring Break touring with his college group the same week but at the same destination. They had been to Texas and the same points in-between as this girl with her group. As a matter of fact, while in Houston, his group had been invited to go hear her group perform but this guy opted to hang back at where they were staying to play ….you guessed it…..ping pong! Looking back it was sort of like a “Sleepless in Seattle” kind of moment.
This Georgia girl and Kentucky boy continue to date. Then, it happened one night. He sat down with her and said he wanted to date for the summer but beyond that it would not be possible. Then, he kissed her. All the while this girl is saying to herself, “yea, right!”.
This Georgia girl is me and the Kentucky boy is Jim. As I look back, I see how our story has been written. It really has been and is the fairy tale story. It is not the fairy tell story you think of from the children’s books and movies. But, it is God’s fairy tell story of how He has a plan for each one of us. It it the story of how God prepared Jim and me to meet at the right time. It is a story of how it was important to listen to Him and wait for his prompting to make our relationship to fall into place over time.
My Dearest Jim:
It is thirty-two years later since that night you said long distant relationships would not work. It will be thirty years November 23rd that we made our covenant before God as man and wife. During those years, we have shed tears of laughter, joy along with tears of frustration and sadness. We have raised a beautiful son who now has a beautiful wife and home of his own.
You have given me so much in these thirty years of marriage. You have provided for me not a house but a home where love, laughter and music fill the walls. In the difficult times you have wrapped your arms around me and have said; “don’t worry….I’m here to take care of you and love you.” Every day you remind me as you walk out the door and when you call me at lunch that you love me. Each endeavor that I wanted to try in life you have been there to support me and to offer a helping hand. Most of all, it is in the way you live your life that exemplifies the Father’s love and grace not only to me but to everyone you meet. Jim, you are my prince charming.
This morning as I look back on all the ups and downs, I see a story only God could have written. It is a story that continues to be written. There have been and probably will be the not no-good chapters we wish we could skip but it is in those chapters where God has and will continue to make us stronger as individuals and as a couple.
In 1983, there was this guy who said long distant relationships don’t work. It was in 1985 where he stood with that girl he told this to and said he would be her partner “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer and until death do us part.”
When you walked into that dinning room on that summer evening of 1983 “you had me from hello” and everyday you still have me from hello.
Jim, I love you more than you will ever know and I can’t wait to see how the next chapters of our story unfold.
I love you,
April and Jim
Voted Cutest Couple
Lake Junaluska Summer Staff