In 1986, I was a 41-year-old, never-been-married woman, content with my singleness, working full time, active in my church, and busy with friends. The church I attended was one of the largest in our area; so, while I knew just about everyone by name, close association was limited to those in my Sunday school class or those with whom I served in some capacity.
Among the many that I knew only well enough to exchange greetings when passing in the halls was a couple who had once pastored a church in Michigan, Janet and Doyle. One Sunday, Janet approached me, as I was leaving the church following the evening service, and asked me if I'd be interested in meeting an unmarried friend of theirs. Soon, Doyle joined us and added his enthusiastic endorsement of the man they had in mind, a man who had been a good friend to them at their previous church. I thanked them but told them I wasn't interested.
But, you know, I just couldn't shake the feeling that I had been too hasty in my decision. After all, I had, in the past, told the Lord that, if He ever had someone for me, He might have to hit me upside the head with a two-by-four to get my attention. Maybe having two near-strangers offer to fix me up with a man of whom they obviously thought very highly qualified as a spiritual two-by-four.
So, a couple of weeks later, I sought them out and told them I'd be willing to meet their friend. They worked out a date and invited us both to their home for lunch on a Sunday after church.
When that day came, I drove my car and followed Doyle and Janet and their two teenage sons to their home. The man I was to meet, and who later became my husband, had driven down from Michigan and was already at the house when we arrived. As I walked into the house behind Janet, their dog greeted us at the door. Doug was standing a little further back in the room. Janet called out, "Hi, Jimmy!" Immediately, my mind went into a flurry of trying to remember what they had told me about this guy I was to meet. I had thought they said his name was Doug, but now I was wondering if it was Jimmy. Oh my.
Janet served taco salads for lunch. I was very nervous, in the presence of five people who knew each other well, but none of whom I knew well at all, and at least one of whom I was supposed to impress. The meal went well, all things considered. The boys left the table when they were finished eating, and the four adults stayed around the table, talking and getting better acquainted.
The afternoon passed quickly, and soon it was time to go back to church for the Sunday evening service. I had a Doberman Pinscher at home who was needing a potty break by then, so I prepared to head on home to let Brandi out before going to church. At Janet's suggestion, Doug agreed to follow me home and then drive me to church.
I was still confused by Janet's calling Doug "Jimmy," though, and wasn't sure what I was supposed to call him. That night, after church, one of my friends was obviously expecting an introduction. When I hesitated at what name to use, Doug jumped in and said "Doug." So now I knew what he wanted to be called, but I was still confused about that Jimmy thing. It wasn't until much, much later that I realized that Janet's dog's name was James and that she had been addressing the dog when we walked into the house that day.
My telephone rang first thing the next morning. It was Janet, with a one-word greeting: "Well?" I learned later that Doug had received an identical call.
It took a couple of weeks, and more than one encouraging phone call from Janet, before Doug called me for a date. Exactly a year later, he asked me to marry him. I said "yes," and the wedding was three months later.
We both marvel at the paths our lives took, leading up to our meeting and subsequent marriage. In many ways, we wish we had met earlier, when we were young enough to enjoy together some of the hiking and canoeing and other outdoor activities that we've discovered we both love but that our aging bodies often can't handle. But, on the other hand, we know that, if we had met before we had both become Christians, we probably wouldn't have liked each other or had much in common. God brought us both to salvation in Christ and then spent some years teaching us about godly living and relationships before introducing us to each other.
It has made me a firm believer that God's best is indeed worth the wait.