Jim and I have a great love story. It was orchestrated by God Himself. For years after my divorce I waited. I waited for a husband. I had never wanted to be single. Yet, I was a single mom for over ten years. Waiting. There were guys I had interest in. I even had a couple of dates, (which were disastrous). So, I waited.
In March of 1992, at a Christian revival meeting at the high school, while praying about a certain man I had interest in, God responded quite clearly, “Jean, he is not for you. I have someone else for you. You only have to wait for one more year.” I waited.
In the meantime, life went on. I had previously been asked by a co-worker (Bert) to play volleyball with a group of Christian parents. I love volleyball so I agreed. We met every week for fun games and a short devotion. I had been playing for over a year when Bert brought another friend to play, Jim. This was about in March of 1992 also. Jim’s wife had recently left him and filed for divorce, taking their sons with her. Bert wanted Jim to get out and see there was still life after divorce and he thought our volleyball group could help him do that.
In three short months, Jim’s wife and sons moved out, he put his farm up for auction and sale, and his dad and partner in the farm died of a heart attack. This man was hurting. So much he wasn’t sure he would survive.
That’s where he was when I first met him. He was angry, rejected, sad, and without much hope. Because I was years past my divorce it was natural that I would try to help him deal with his. We talked after devotions about the pain of divorce. We weren’t much more than acquaintances though.
That first Christmas, he was terribly down. I think the pain of divorce is worse than a death because not only do you have the loss but you also have the rejection. He couldn’t see any way to enjoying Christmas that year. I made a simple comment that had a large impact on him. I told him it would get better. He hung on to that with both hands.
Just after Christmas that year, he asked if he could take me out to supper just to talk, nothing more, just to talk about his divorce. We did that. We talked and talked about his pain. Bert knew we had gone for supper together and later asked how it went. I told him Jim just had too many issues for any serious relationship. Bert encouraged me to continue to talk to him. I did. Jim called me almost every night to talk through his newest single-dad challenges and divorce pains. We spent at least an hour talking every time. It is emotionally draining to walk with someone through so much loss. But we kept at it.
Then in February of 1993, we started exploring a relationship. We began going on simple dates, walks in the neighborhood, stuff like that. We got our kids together for meals a few times. I wasn’t sure where the relationship was going at all. Was he the one? No clue.
We shared deeply about our individual divorce experiences and shared painful memories. Consequently, our relationship went beyond the surface to more intimately known in a short period. By March, we were talking daily, and seeing each other at least a couple of times a week. I was still praying for wisdom; was he the one God promised to me a year ago? I cared about Jim but didn’t want to go against God’s will.
Then one evening on a phone call, Jim said, “I love you” to me and threw my world all akilter. What I didn’t know at the time was what Jim had prayed. He had been very down, asking God to show him He loved him. He heard God respond, “I have shown you I love you. I sent you Jean.” For Jim, he then knew we were meant to be. I was still hesitant.
The night Jim told me he loved me, I was praying and heard God say, “I promised you a year ago you only had to wait one more year. Why are you questioning who I have sent you?” The next day I was sharing my doubts and thoughts with a friend and before I could tell her what God had said, she said almost word for word what he said. And then I knew. I got out my note from a year ago to check the date God made His promise to me. It had been one year and two days prior.
God orchestrated our meeting by having first me attend volleyball and then later bringing Jim there after his wife left him. His words came out of my mouth when I told Jim it would get better, exactly what he needed to hear that day which caused Jim to see me as someone who could help him. God caused Bert to encourage me to continue to see Jim even though he didn’t know about God’s promise to me. God Himself confirmed to each of us separately that He had brought us together.
Jim and I dated for a year and then Jim proposed and we were married six months later. We have now been married going on 23 years. It hasn’t always been easy, we have had some really rough patches trying to blend two families into one, starting out with five teenagers who had been raised completely differently up to that point. We had to work hard to stay together and committed to each other, no matter how difficult it was.
I didn’t get everything I wanted. I had always wanted more children. But by the time we were brought together, we both felt we were past having more children. I had to let go of that desire. I got a man I love but not more children like I wanted. But I am still blessed.
Now we are one family; husband and wife, five kids loved by both of us, spouses we also love, and ten grandchildren who bring us great joy. God in His wisdom did something good and we live out of that goodness. Our love continues to grow. Jim hopes we make it to our 50th anniversary. We will both be 88. We’ll see. Only God knows that one.
God gives everyone a story. Jim is one of my best!