Of all the things said during our wedding ceremony, my favorite was during a prayer by my dad, who led us in our vows. He thanked God that when it came time for me to need a husband, God brought me John. And when it came time for John to need a wife, God brought him me. That’s a concept I’ve really latched on to the last decade, that God brings us what we need when we need it. And I’m not really talking material things, although that can be true too. I’m mainly talking people. I look back at my life and easily recognize the people He brought into my life at certain times and the crucial roles those individuals played.
Mrs. Hughes, my 9th grade English teacher, is the one who asked me to join the yearbook staff. It was my role in yearbook staff those three years in high school that led me toward a career path in communications and ultimately journalism and writing. Without her influence and confidence in me I may have chosen an entirely different career path.
In college, my advisor Sandy Barnard wanted me to slow down and spend more time writing for student publications, even if that meant taking an extra semester or two to graduate. I was on the “fast-track” as he always called it — taking 15-18 hours a semester to finish the journalism program in 2 years. I respected his opinion, but as a non-traditional student (married and commuting 2 hours each way to class) I felt pressured to finish. Even though I couldn’t do what he wanted, he saw potential in me and didn’t give up on giving me the experiences and constructive criticism I needed to grow as a writer and reporter.
It was Sandy who arranged my first newspaper job, and I know without a doubt that my life and my career would look drastically different had I not written for the newspaper in Lawrence County, Indiana. Amongst other beats, I was occasionally given the opportunity to write about space-related things. Lawrence County is proud to be the home of three U.S. astronauts, most notably Gus Grissom. From time to time I wrote about Grissom-related news, whether it be the anniversary of his January, 1967, death or news about Grissom memorials and space artifacts. I also had the privilege of following a group of teens to Space Camp and writing a series about their experiences for the paper. While I grew up in the Rocket City — that is, Huntsville, Ala. — I did not have a big interest in rockets, NASA or space. Little did I know that those clips (even though I badly botched a Apollo I anniversary story by describing the Apollo I explosion when it was actually a fire) would eventually lead to space and NASA becoming a much bigger part of my life.
Along those lines, God sent David. I can’t fill in the sentence “When I needed ____ God sent David” because I’m not exactly sure what I needed. Frustration? Someone to argue with? (Just kidding, although there is that.) It might have been when I needed a job, because David is the one who selected me as the writer to join the team where I currently work. It might have been when I needed a colleague because David and I can relate well about writing and newspapers and the city we’re from and other similarities. It may also be that I needed a friend — a Christian friend — because we’re able to have conversations about spiritual matters and challenge each other in that area. I believe the path to where I am today was in the works years ago. This past weekend while attending Space Camp and meeting Apollo-era astronauts — including one who walked on the MOON — I paused to thank God for that blessing and asked, “God, how did I get here?” He answered my question by bringing to mind a list of names and encounters, and one of those was David.
When I needed a friend to help me adjust to the life of a Christian wife, God sent me Andrea (pronounced ah, not and). She prayed for me, invited me to Bible study, helped me feel settled in our new city and was an example of what a Godly woman, wife and mother should be. My marriage might not have survived those early months and years had it been for the mentorship of Andrea. God has sent me a great blessing of friends who have been there for me at just the right times.
While I was a gift from God to my parents, they are also a gift from God to me. I love them both so deeply and have witnessed them make so many sacrifices for others and then rejoice in what God did with their sacrifice. My dad is such a Godly man and such a heart for people. My mom made a lot of really tough decisions about my life that I didn’t understand at the time, but I reflect back and am grateful for. She moved me to a new school in 7th grade and persevered as I cried every morning for 3 weeks, “Please don’t make me go mom.” A lot of parents would have given in, but while her heart broke for me, she did what she knew was right. I’m glad now that she didn’t given in.
And of course my husband. We heard in a marriage conference a few days ago about the roots of the word “helper” used in Genesis when God created Eve as a helper for Adam. It means to complete, and as the speaker put it, where one in the marriage is lacking the other should fill in the gaps. It’s not really “opposites attract” kind of thing, but with us, there are weaknesses in each of us that are made stronger by the strengths of the other. I can not imagine life without him. He is my best friend. He sees me for I who truly am and loves me anyway.
I look forward to who He’s going to send my way in the future, and I also look forward to being sent to someone else to fulfill some purpose in their life. Isn’t God great?