In order to help you understand why I am so thankful for the next person on my list I need to take you back to 1980. I was sixteen years old, working at McDonalds, never missed a Sunday or Wednesday of church, and was already thinking about my future. In particular, I was thinking about my wife! I grew up in such a wonderful home with my parents that I couldn’t wait to have a family of my own. So, at the age of sixteen I started praying for my wife.
At first, my prayers were as shallow as most boys my age, you know, I wanted her to be pretty, have blonde hair, blue eyes, and head over heals in love with me. As the years began to add up and I was still single, my prayers began to change. Oh, I still prayed for everything as before but I added that she needed to love Jesus, have a wonderful testimony, want to be on mission for the Lord, and once again be crazy about me.
I would like to say I patiently waited for the woman who perfectly matched up to my prayers, unfortunately my fear of being alone was greater than my trust in God’s timing. In spite of my impatience, God was faithful and continued to prepare the perfect wife for me. I had to wait thirteen years to finally meet her in my first New Testament class, but it was well worth the previous heart-break, loneliness, sadness, and seemingly unanswered prayers. I am so grateful for God’s wonderful gift of my wife Shirley.
Because we were both college students and poorer than a church mouse we went to Subway for our first date. We sat at a table drinking a soft-drink, eating chocolate chip cookies, and sharing our personal testimonies. As she shared about her life before and after meeting Jesus I was stunned at how she was listing off all that I had prayed for over the last thirteen years. It was during the time I had been praying for her that she became a Christian. She had already been on two mission trips, one to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the other to Trinidad and Tobago. It was quite clear that night just how in love she was with Jesus. It was so clear I convinced her marry me six months later.
Since we have been married she has taught me so much about God’s love. Shirley loves me unconditionally in spite of all my idiosyncrasies. I don’t have to perform, serve, or love her in any special way. She just loves me! She has a great desire to demonstrate her love of God by teaching others about Jesus. She has taught toddlers, children, and youth Sunday School. She has taught and led Children’s Choir, and has even been willing to do secretarial work for me as long as it wasn’t a permanent job. Without a doubt I am the second man in her life; which is exactly what I was praying for all the way back in 1980.
So, today I wanted you to know how thankful I am for my wife. She truly is an answer to prayer and a gift from my Father in heaven. I love you Shirley!