Daph has told you her side of the story, so now here’s the longer version. Hey, you can’t listen to a preacher without getting preached at.
My pain and loneliness began when my wife of 16 years left me for someone else. This was devastating and nearly destroyed my ministry.
I will not go into any detail about this. But I have written an article on divorce where I have covered some important principles involved when Christians are divorced.
Suffice it to say that I was left as a single parent, with three young daughters to care for and a life of extreme loneliness.
The Lord had taught me many things concerning living a life of faith and trusting Him for answered prayer. But it had been over 16 years since I had ever faced a situation of having to find a partner.
It was difficult enough when I was a single young person. And since I didn’t have the kind of physical qualities that would attract most women, I was placed in a rather frightening situation.
Coupled with this was the fact that I had three daughters that my new wife would have to accept. It made my chances pretty slim. But I knew that with God all things were possible, and I knew that I could trust the Lord to bring me another wife.
I had faced problems in my previous marriage through having a partner who did not fully share or understand my commitment to the Lord and the ministry that He had given me. I was determined that when the Lord brought me a new wife, she would have to fit into some very specific qualities.
Developing the Picture
So I began to formulate a picture in my mind of the kind of wife I would really like to have. This was something I had been doing for a long while, even during my previous marriage.
Though I had never entertained the idea of ending my marriage, I had always prayed and hoped that the Lord could change my wife. I prayed that He would give her some of the qualities that would make her a perfect helper for me in the work of the Lord.
Now that I was freed from the previous marriage, through a series of events that left me legally and scripturally free to remarry, I was very specific about the kind of wife I wanted.
She would be first and foremost someone who really loved the Lord and wanted to give her all for His Kingdom. She would be prepared to stand with me in the ministry and minister at my side as a true helper.
And since I had learned that the Lord always gives good things and He had promised me the best, I also laid out some specific qualities as to talents, abilities and even physical characteristics.
Shortly afterwards the Lord gave me a vision, in which I saw a lanky woman with short blond hair, slightly taller than me and much younger looking than my previous wife.
I figured I would be marrying a much younger woman. I also realized that she would possibly be young enough to still want children. I warned my own children that they might have another sibling once I remarried.
With that done, I daily praised the Lord for my new wife. As I prayed I saw the angels of God surrounding her and me and bringing us together. I began to write poetry for her in advance, telling her how much she meant to me, and looking forward to the day we would meet.
I began to pray for her daily, wherever she might be. I asked the Lord to somehow join us together in the Spirit and seal our relationship so that nothing could prevent us from meeting each other.
Then I stood and waited. I knew that the Lord would choose the right woman for me and that He would bring her to me.
Since I was involved in ministry, I figured that one day I would probably be standing there preaching and this woman would walk in the door. We would see each other and both know instantly that we were meant for each other.
But alas time went by and it did not happen. The loneliness particularly over the weekends was unbearable and I cried out to the Lord to do something.
But the Lord first began to deal with my attitudes. He showed me that I needed too badly, and that I should need no one but Him.
I had needed my previous wife too much, and had depended on her strengths at times instead of being what the Lord wanted me to be. The Lord reminded me also that I had responsibilities to my children, and I needed to get my life in order before He could bring me the right partner.
As I began to see these things and deal with them in my life, I came finally to a resolve that I was happy to be where the Lord wanted me to be. And I was happy to wait until the time was right for a new person in my life.
I told my children that I did not expect to find a new wife for a while yet and that I was going to give them more attention.
Time to Move
Then one night as I was reading the Word, the Lord drew my attention to a passage of Scripture that just leapt out at me. It was the account of where Saul had disobeyed the Lord and had been rejected by God.
Samuel was praying to the Lord and weeping for Saul. He was grieved about what had happened.
God told Samuel that he must stop weeping for Saul, but go out and anoint someone else to be king. God told him to go the house of Jesse, and that when he arrived there he would be told which of Jesse’s sons would be the new king.
Then the Lord spoke to me very clearly. He told me to stop grieving over my ex-wife and go find a new one. He also told me that He was not going to choose my wife for me. That was my responsibility. However He said that He would show me where to find someone suitable.
I was to go looking like Samuel, and when I got there He would tell me who the right person was. This was the first time the thought ever entered my mind that I might have to go and find a wife. But where do I look?
Not long after this I was riding along in my car, when I saw the headlines for the local news. It was concerning a huge earthquake that had shaken California. I don’t normally buy the newspaper, but the story interested me, so I pulled up to a newsstand and bought the paper.
I took it home, but actually didn’t get around to reading it. Then my children came to me and started to nag me. We had found a couple of mice in the house, and they insisted that the best way to get rid of them was to get a cat. The nagging part was because they knew how much I love cats. NOT!
Anyway, the paper finally became useful, and I picked it up to check the smalls section to see if anyone was giving away cats.
There didn’t appear to be any. But as I scanned the pages I came across the personal section, and there I saw something that stood out at me. It was an advertisement for Christian Singles.
I thought this was unusual for the newspaper and it caught my attention. And sure enough as I looked, I found two advertisements for single Christians. Something inside me began to wonder if God was talking to me.
I then picked up another newspaper, which was a free local distribution, and out of interest I looked to see if they had any single sections. I couldn’t believe my eyes. They also had one for Single Christians.
I began to seriously wonder whether the Lord was telling me to join a singles club. But this went against everything I had expected.
I had heard negative stories about singles clubs, and I figured that God was going to do something a bit more miraculous for me. Besides that meant a bit of work for me.
During that week I could not get the idea out of my mind. So as the weekend drew near I picked up the latest edition of our local paper and checked again to see if there was an advert for Christian singles. There was no sign of anything close to it.
I then started to seriously consider the fact that it was God who had led me to find the previous ads. I felt strongly drawn to the first advertisement I had read, and I called the people to find out how they worked.
After a long talk with the husband of the woman who ran it, I found that this couple did this as a ministry and had put many different Christian couples together. I was convinced I needed to go and see them. And when I did they gave me several suitable young women to contact.
I took these home and sat down on my bed, reviewing each one and asking God to direct me. I didn’t just want to find someone to go on a date with. If this was of God, then one of these women had to be my wife, but which one?
It was very easy to see which one was the most suitable, and as I prayed the Lord confirmed to me that she was to be the one.
She had written on her resumé that she wanted to marry a pastor and go into ministry. As I looked at some of the other things she had said about herself, several of the other qualities I had asked for were already evident.
So I picked up the phone and called. It was a nerve-wracking experience. I had not done this in years. And to make things worse, there was no answer. Daphne had been outside in the outbuildings speaking to someone else and did not hear the call.
I wondered if I heard the Lord right. So I tried another number. It was occupied, so I figured that maybe I shouldn’t be calling that one. Then I tried another number and it just rang. I went back and tried Daphne’s number and it was engaged. Now I knew that she was home!
The final call a while later ended everything. Or should I say, it started everything. We immediately felt comfortable with each other and spoke for a long time. My children told me afterwards that they were eavesdropping at the door, and they said it sounded like we had known each other for years.
Daph has told you the rest of the story. It did not take long to know that we were the perfect match for each other and the closest that could be found to both our desires.
I proposed to her two days after we met, with a carnation, a small gift and a huge Valentine card in which I had written my proposal as a poem. It was the most exciting and romantic time of my life.
The Lord honored His promise and gave me the best. He gave me everything I asked for in a wife. I just wished I had known some of these principles at the beginning when I was still young and single. I could have been spared so many years of pain.