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I just want you to know ...

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Many of you have seen my "announcement" on a Valentine's Day thread that I became engaged on that Hallmark celebration of love. :biggrin

I've been divorced for 20 years, as of March 3. Ironically, God chose to allow me into His kingdom four or so hours after my divorce was final. I had often wondered why He did not bring me to Himself through Christ before the divorce. But now I am beginning to understand.

Over the last 20 years, I have raised my kids, a boy and a girl, by myself. It didn't start out that way. In fact, it was my fault the marriage ended. I was a compulsive gambler, self-medicating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after hearing from the US Army, through my CO, that I had to either quit drinking or quit flying. They really didn't care which one I chose, but for gosh sake, choose one! I chose flying.

But it didn't solve my problems. I married about four years after that ultimatum, still on active duty. That, also, lasted 20 years, form Vietnam to Desert Storm. We had those two wonderful kids, I went off to the Saudi Desert to act as #2 in command of the rotary wing forces, fought my last battles and, when my daughter was born (I missed my son's birth, too, being on deployment) I decided enough was enough.

But I refused to admit to PTSD, and not being willing to break my personal vow not to drink, I discovered gambling as an equally effective outlet, and as I did with drinking, took it to extremes, maxing out over 20 credit cards, including a gold card. Those debts ended my marriage.

But she quickly returned to her own addictions that I had not previously known about. She had been a heroin addict in college, and (like me, ironically) never got treatment, just quit. Within six months of our divorce, she was running around with a meth manufacturer and distributor on parole from the feds. As quickly as she had divorced me, I just as quickly gained custody of my kids, ended her parental rights when she refused to get help or at least stop aiding and abetting a felon, and set off on a 20-year journey.

Fast forward. My kids are out of school, setting off on their own careers and about to start their own families. My son is a "senior" junior executive at Garmin. My daughter is in med school. Both are engaged, both have turned out to be godly young people and have made wise, godly choices of like-minded, faithful mates. I have found myself the proverbial empty-nester. I have acquired a degree in applied psychology, and work as the senior counselor for a non-profit substance abuse treatment center, as well as consult and work with other similar non-profits, providing counseling for pathological and problem gamblers, as I am one of the few so certified in the Kansas City area, on either side of the state line.

About three years ago, I began praying that God would send me someone to spend the rest of my life with. I made several commitments to Him: No premarital sex, no dishonesty on the part of either of us even to the slightest degree, and no fear of failure, trusting completely in Him to lead and guide both of us, once He showed me whom He had chosen for me.

At the same time I was praying, a lady who lived only a few blocks from me was undergoing a spiritual rebirth in the face of unfaithfulness, dishonesty, and lack of loving fellowship in her own marriage. Try as she would to bring Christ back into the center of her marriage, her spouse steadfastly refused to reengage in the relationship, either with her, or with Christ. Two years later, they divorced.

She, too, began praying for a godly mate, one who would love and respect her, who would be the spiritual head of the household, and she prayed for time to heal.

Six months ago, I met that woman for the first time, despite our close proximity. We both almost instantly felt that the other was the answer to our prayers. After three dates, we began earnestly praying together that God would show us what the other needed from us, and what He wanted for us together, if that was, in fact, His will -- for us to be together. We began studying Scripture and discussing it at the end of our day, either face to face, or over the phone. We both committed to not having a physical relationship, even though (speaking honestly here) neither of us had ever managed to do that before.

Two things God has shown us: By our humility in seeking Him, He has honored us as a couple. By our commitment to sexual purity until our wedding night, we have both come to realize how the transfer of that energy into getting to know one another, openly discussing our finances, our expectations around the house, and as to our emotional and spiritual needs, has enabled us to grow closer together than either of us has ever known another person.

We have truly learned the truth of Ephesians 5:21-33. I love her, and would lay down my life for her. She respects me, and I feel amazingly loved and cared for as a result. She assures me that my love for her is felt in every aspect of her life, just as Christ loves both of us.

I am proud to be seen in her company. She completes me in a way that, up to this point, only Christ has been able to, and I know He has given me the blessing of her love so as to provide the earthly example of His love that I need in order to accomplish the things which He has set before me. She states emphatically that my love for her lightens her heart and fills it in places she did not think possible, other than through Christ. We seek to serve Him in whatever way He chooses to show to us, for His glory.

On June 28, we will become husband and wife. Please rejoice with us, pray with us for our united family of seven children and (already) four grandchildren, with more marriages and grandchildren to come. Please pray that our children -- some of whom do not know Christ -- will see Him in our example, and seek that which they do not know. Please pray that we bless the world around us with the love He has given us, by sharing His love with the world.
 
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AirDancer

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Congratulations anew, TND ... and thank you for sharing your testimony with us. The blessings our Lord God bestows on us when we follow His instructions ... well, you & your fiancée have been & are receiving those blessings. And your examples will definitely bring blessings to those around you.

Prayers for all of you.... for the kids who don't know the abundant love of our Lord.... and for you & your fiancée!

(Should we all consider our invitations to the wedding to be 'in the mail' already??)
 

Knotical

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I will certainly be there in spirit, TND. Congratulations!
 

Deborah13

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If y'all can get to Kansas City, certainly!
Numbers, your testimony is inspirational, it shares the love of God and how He is goodness is shed abound in our hearts. It changes us, our lives, and the lives of those around us. Thank you for sharing.

Lexy and I are so happy for you. We will pray for all blessings on you and ALL your new family. Your bride is a blessed woman.
 
V

VirginShallConceive

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Numbers, your testimony is inspirational, it shares the love of God and how He is goodness is shed abound in our hearts. It changes us, our lives, and the lives of those around us. Thank you for sharing.

Lexy and I are so happy for you. We will pray for all blessings on you and ALL your new family. Your bride is a blessed woman.
I agree with Deborah, TND. What an interesting life and what appears to be a happy ending. That could be an interesting true story(book/movie) without having to change anything.

Congratulations!
 
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UPDATE: I just want you to know ...

We had our first premarital counseling session with our pastor today. We both approached it with some trepidation, as our kids have all been giving us flack about moving too fast. However, we each took a relationship survey about a week ago, and the pastor had the results. We are thinking of scanning them into our computers and emailing them to our respective kids. It's not that we don't have issues, because any couple getting married has weaknesses and strengths in differing areas. The purpose of the test is to identify them for us and help us work through them before the wedding.

We have remarkably few real issues. Certainly, like all couples, we have some different views about finances, we have different levels of self-confidence and emotional stability, but even those aren't that much different. We communicate exceptionally well, we both have a very solid view of where our relationship is, and we have nearly the exact same spiritual outlook and have the same expectations of our roles in the relationship, our sexual compatibility is well-matched, and we have slightly differing views on social and family outlooks, but only slightly.

We are greatly encouraged by this. It quantifies and confirms what we've felt for weeks, and has made us, as of today, stop second-guessing ourselves, as though our kids had a point. We don't think they do. We think our 30 years' seniority has given us a much more solid view of what we want from a marriage, and from each other, and unlike our kids, no longer give the physical appearance and superficial affect we display to the world as much importance in seeking a complete loving relationship as we did when we were their age.

I firmly believe that our commitment to sexual purity has aided in our getting to know one another more deeply than we would have if we were still acting in the flesh as we did when we were younger and less spiritually acclimated. We look forward with great joy at being able to celebrate our marriage in June, and your prayers, of course, will continue to be valued and appreciated. God bless you all, and thank you.
 
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Sparkey

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My friend, my prayers will be with you for the 27th, that you don't compromise the vow you've made to your Lord, even as you deeply consider the vows you will exchange your new bride before the Lord. Keep that marriage bed holy. I know you already know, still.... I know you also understand that I mean it in the best *smile* and friendship offered way.

Love and best wishes to both of you! It's a blessing to hear this.

Sparrow
 
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