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The first time I met Julie I immediately noticed her bright smile, friendly eyes, and easygoing manner. Within several hours I noticed the most important quality to me in a wife – a huge heart for God and for service to others.
Fast forward several months to the beginning of summer 2014. Sometimes things happen when you’re not trying to make them happen. I was not looking to date or meet someone, I was not trying to make that happen, but Julie happened anyway when I attended the open house for the Oneida, NY Care Net office. There she was serving in her role with Care Net. What I saw in Julie the first few times I met her was confirmed — that her heart for God and for service to others is H-U-G-E!
An elderly woman wandered by outside the open house. She seemed confused. Julie invited her in. Her name was Hildegard. She was 92 years young! Julie and I took to her like family. We spent a lot of time that afternoon with Hildegard, and through our interaction with her we saw qualities in each other that we found very appealing. I was impressed with Julie’s patience and interest in Hildegard. And she, I learned later, was very impressed by mine. Later, I invited Julie and her roommate Hannah to go out to eat. We had a wonderful time of fellowship, serious discussion, good old kidding, and lots of food!
After dinner we went on a mission to trim shrubbery. We had a grand time doing that. I didn’t want the day to end!
Fortunately, Julie wanted to get to know me more. Jackpot! We started spending time doing a variety of things. We went to dinner, played on a kickball team, went bowling, and flew to South Dakota to work with Save the Storks. We painted inside the Utica Care Net office, visited friends, went to church together, read the Bible, and met each other’s parents. We had fun together and we discussed serious topics. We talked often about God and Jesus.
What a wonderful way to get to know someone. I came to see even more wonderful qualities in Julie. She’s smart, funny, energetic, creative, and adaptable. She’s friendly, open, honest, and trustworthy. Julie is caring, loving, and generous. She loves people and they love her. She is a people magnet! Julie is a tireless force striving to prevent abortion. She loves the Lord and strives to glorify Him through her love for Him and others. I came to the conclusion that Julie’s heart is so big that I don’t know how it fits inside her! That’s merely the inside of her. Outside, she is lovely, striking, stunning, and beautiful!
And I came to two other conclusions. One, I can glorify and serve the Lord much better with her than by myself. And two, I love her. I asked her parents if they would allow me the honor of asking her to marry me. They said yes!
On Monday, September 29, 2014 I bought an engagement ring for Julie. That night on September 29 we went to look at a house we were interested in. After that I suggested we go to Sylvan Beach and read the Bible by the lake. It was a warm beautiful night, the sky was clear, and there were lots of stars out. The moon was big and bright, and it cast a beam from across the lake on top of the water right up to where we were sitting. Perfect! I realized that God had placed me in beautiful scenery with a beautiful woman. We read the Bible. Then I took out a silly song I wrote called “Baby It’s You” and I sang it to Julie. “Sang” is a stretch because I don’t sing well. But it didn’t matter.
After I sang the song I told Julie I had something else to read to her. It was my marriage proposal. I wrote it out because I didn’t want to miss saying all that I wanted to say. I said how blessed I was to have met her, and how wonderful she is, and why I love her, and then I asked her to marry me and gave her the ring. She said yes! She said yes! She said yes! Her smile was so beautiful, her eyes so big and bright and her voice so tender. I cried in joy. She said yes!
I love to hear her voice and to look in her eyes. I love to see her caring for and loving people, to hear her ideas and see the excitement in her eyes and voice. I love the way she moves. I love spending time with her regardless of what we are doing. I love her!
I’ve never wanted a mansion or an exotic car. I’ve never wanted to be wealthy or to be famous. My prayers have been to know and serve the Lord better. And for a woman, with whom I can glorify the Lord, serve others, stick together through good times and bad, and love each other.
I know that marriage is the hardest relationship anyone can do. We agree to spiritually grow together and to work through our conflicts and sins. We all sin, and we will disappoint and hurt each other. God doesn’t promise things will be easy. In a lot of ways marriage is a laboratory in which we are challenged to act like Jesus. The extent to which we meet that challenge is the extent to which we glorify God. As husband and wife, Julie and I share the goal of meeting that challenge.
I thank God every day for blessing me with a jewel more valuable than all the money and all the possessions in the world – my wonderful wife Julie!