Surprised by Joy
He wanted to be married to a Christ-follower. That was me.
Yesterday, September 13, was a day to remember and celebrate. It was five years ago on September 13, 2013 that Jim asked me to marry him. I was surprised, yet not so surprised that he popped the question. There was a feeling about him when we met for coffee that first face-to-face meeting. We met online first. I liked his profile. He liked mine. There were questions asked on eHarmony–the matching site where we met. His answers were similar to mine. His goals for life were also similar. He lived to please God. He loved his family and wanted to be a part of them. Friends were important to him. He wanted to be married to a Christ-follower. That was me.
He dropped him in my lap!
Often we were asked, “How did you know you were the right ones for each other in such a short time?” There are many answers to that question. Here’s mine. I asked God to bring the right person into my life after losing two husbands in death. I was even engaged to someone after Blair’s death and my meeting Jim. But he wasn’t the right person for me. After trying to make that relationship work, meeting other guys who just didn’t fit the bill for many reasons, I finally asked God to give me contentment in my single life, or drop the right one into my lap. God answered that prayer about six months later.
The rainbow is a sign of hope from God.
He seemed too good to be true, but he was the real deal.
I joined a matching site and said to myself–and God–this would be the last one I’d try–I’d been on a couple of them. After two weeks, I was ready to give up. I’d paid for six months and there weren’t any prospects that seemed right for me. One morning, a match came through. That’s what happens: you describe the type of person you want to meet, within a certain radius of miles. They send you photos and their description of themselves.
Would you like to meet?
Up pops this photo of a guy posing in front of a background of trees. He looked sporty and friendly. There were other photos of him with his grandchildren–that’s good, I thought. It’s what he said that really attracted me to him. He loved the Lord and wasn’t afraid to talk about his relationship with God. He loved his family and treasured his time with them. He had friends and even spoke of a spiritual mentor he relied on when he needed answers. He really seems too good to be true, I thought. At this point, I decided to make a move. That’s what you do on a matching site. You see someone who might be a possibility and then indicate your interest with a wink, or a click on the site–honestly, I’ve forgotten what I did, but I did something to show him I was interested in getting to know him. A day later, I saw that this mystery guy responded to my poke. The matching service then sends you a set of questions and you respond, and then the other party responds, if they’re interested. He answered and our answers were similar! Another day passed with an exchange of questions/answers–these were deeper questions with more involved answers. Then, I received an email. It said, “Would you be willing to meet in person?” I didn’t think it would hurt to meet in a public place, so I said, “Sure, but let’s keep emailing until we meet.” So we did. Another day passed and then I received a phone call from this mystery guy who told me his name was Jim. He had an enthusiastic voice and sounded just a bit nervous. He sounds nice, I thought. “Would you like to meet at Starbuck’s?” he asked. I responded affirmatively and that afternoon on September 4, 2013, we met for a coffee date that lasted more than two hours. It seemed we had much in common.
That led to more dates that week, with an invitation to take in some Shakespeare plays, staying in a hotel (with separate rooms of course), and getting to know each other better. On our way to Ashland, home of the Shakespeare Festival, we stopped by the Grotto. It was at this romantic, mysterious, and beautifully landscaped place, Jim knelt on one knee and said to me, “Shirley Quiring Rudberg Graybill, will you marry me?” Can you believe he remembered all of my last names? He’d only known me for nine days, but he was able to recite them all–without notes!
You know what my answer was. It was YES! Just a few days earlier, after spending a lot of time together, Jim confessed to me that he loved me. I told him I loved him too. Then I told him the story of praying to God that He’d have to drop someone in my lap. Right then, Jim got off of the sofa, walked over to me and sat on my lap!! Can you believe it? I hardly could. But it really happened that way. We clicked, there was chemistry–I wanted him to kiss me soon after we had a couple of meetings–he was the real deal!
From our past lives, we know how quickly things can change…..
The rest is history. We were surprised by joy. And romance. And love. Together we enjoy our oneness and try not to take each other for granted, for we know from our past lives how quickly things can change–each of us has experienced loss in death more than once. We are grateful for five years of knowing each other and soon, five years of marriage. This may not be your story. God may tell you, “not now,” or “wait,” or even, “no.” In our case, God blessed us with a “yes.”
It seems like yesterday.
I hope you enjoyed reminiscing the past with me. Thank you Lord, for your gift of Jim to me. I am grateful. Yes, we met on a matching site. Yes, each of our profiles caught the other’s attention. Yet we believe God was the initiator of our coming together for this time in our lives. He didn’t need cyberspace, but He used it and we’re together because of that.
Tell me your story.
What’s your story? I’d love to hear from you how God answered a heart-felt prayer you’ve uttered. It doesn’t have to be romantic, though I love hearing those stories, too. Tell me how God worked in your life. Just write a message in the comment space. I’ll respond back and your comment will be under the blog. Who knows what your story might encourage someone else?
I have some close friends who are going through great difficulty and grief. Please know I am praying for you and I hope this post doesn’t hurt, but gives you just a spot of joy. You are loved–by me and by our Savior.