Updated: Jul 16, 2019
What you are about to read is a true love story!
The Lord has blessed me with many profound gifts and opportunities, but none compare to the woman of my youth. In Christ, Jane has been the red-thread between me & the practical aspects of the Indwelling Life of Jesus. This woman has a deep & rich understanding of the power of the Cross, the indwelling Life of Christ and the purpose of womanhood. Without Christ using her, God only knows where I would be.
I met Jane, initially, through my brother, at the ripe age of 19. I was full of vigor, just about at the peak of my rebellion, and confused regarding my identity in Christ. Her family was hosting a birthday party for my brother and invited our family to attend. Because my mother couldn’t drive, I was her designated mode of transportation. Upon arrival, I couldn’t help but notice Jane. In fact, I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever cast my eyes on. I immediately felt lovesick! As the evening unfolded, I began to realize that this young lady was from a different “cut of cloth.” Seeing her as untouchable and too pure for me, I moved through the evening as best as I could, stealing second looks whenever possible. Even though I didn’t see her again for a couple of years, she never left my mind.
Jane is from a pure Dutch heritage. She grew up in Iowa and lived in the same house her entire life, something that was rather foreign to me coming from a family who moved 9 times before I entered high school. Her Dutch background was deeply integrated into her hometown, family and lifestyle. Her parents were some of the sweetest people I have ever met. Her family was everything I had ever dreamed of having IN a family.
Two years after my brother’s birthday party, I found myself in a lifestyle of confusion and chaos. Hearing through my brother that I was unemployed and in need of a serious life-change, Jane was asked to write me a letter, encouraging me to apply for a job at an adult care facility. I was desperate so I did. The “kicker” was when I went to sign the contract, she was there signing her contract, to work for the same organization. When I saw her standing there, I was mesmerized by her beauty. I believed that someday I would marry this woman.
Within a couple of weeks, I began to feel overcome with a love for her that I had not experienced before – not with anyone. I was so smitten that I began to see her face in my dreams. During training, I roomed with the company psychologist. One night while sitting on the edge of my bed, he asked me if I was ok. I went on to tell him what was going on in my mind – obsessing over this woman. With that he said; you’re in love. I’m not joking when I say I had no clue what love was or how it felt to be in love. So this man’s words were foreign to me.
This revelation from my co-worker was shaking the foundation of my life. The next day in training, I saw Jane walk by as I was talking with a “biker-chic.” I abruptly stopped my conversation, caught up with Jane and asked her if I could walk her to class. Within the hour, we were sitting down sharing a cup of coffee. I must tell you, this was the first time in my life that I had a heart connection with another person. I truly loved this woman. Without sounding too pompous, those thoughts and feelings have never subsided. There will NEVER be another woman who could fill her place in my heart! This love-story was eternal.
After returning from this training trip, my landlord said he needed another month’s rent – in advance. Being cash broke, I set off to find my brother. I whipped by Jane’s apartment to ask her if she knew where he was. She didn’t. But she said she would go with me to try to find him. That turned into 5 hours of driving in the rain. We never found my brother but we found each other. That night we stopped to say hello to her parents. My mother-in-law said later that she took one look at our faces and knew something was going on! Near the end of our drive we stopped at an intersection, I looked over at her and asked if I should be afraid to get involved. With a slight pause, that felt like an hour, she said “no.” Within a short period of time, I sought permission from Jane’s Dad to marry his daughter. With an affirmative “yes,” I moved forward, bought a ring and planned the time to pop the question.
On the night of the proposal, I attempted to read her scriptures on marriage (mostly fumbling), asked her to marry me and waited for the affirmative “yes.” Her reply? “I can’t say yes but I can’t say no either. I need some time.”. Without a single doubt in my mind, I told her to keep the ring and put it on when she was ready. It took her a few weeks to hear God (silly girl). Little did she realize, I would have waited the rest of my life for that yes. Sure enough, one night I went to pick her up for a “date” and to my delight, she said yes. This was one of the best days of my entire life. It was the turning point for the rest of my life. Having Janie in my life has infected and affected almost every decision I have made since that night. She truly is the heartbeat of my soul. With God as my witness, I can honestly tell you that I have never had a single doubt that she was the right woman for me. Nor have I had a single thought, or temptation, of ever leaving her. Our love, commitment, and devotion to each other is beyond life itself – it is eternal. I became complete when God gave her to me. And her family, well – they were a benefit I didn’t expect.
We were married a year later. June 24, 1977. The Lord bound us together as one-flesh. To me, our wedding day was a storybook event. Like most grooms, I believed I was the most blessed man on earth. Jane’s parents adopted me as a true son. I learned more about love, acceptance, and family-life from them than from any book I have read or written. They have both gone on to be with the Lord, but I have had a hole in my heart since the day they died. I weep over missing them, even now, particularly Carl, my father-in-law. This man was simply the kindest man I have ever met. He taught me most of what I know about being a faithful father, husband, and grandparent. God used him to be a father to me in ways that my own father was unable to express. His life has become my legacy.
Now, 40+ years later, I look back over the events and “happenings” in my relationship with Jane. I can vividly see how the Lord has used our life story to strengthen others. Now living in a culture where the average divorce rate is 2-3 per person, we are able to see the longevity of God’s sovereignty in action. Both of us are eternally grateful for cementing our original beliefs in marriage, family & ministry as eternal. Our commitment to each other, and to Christ, has only grown deeper since the day we “tied the knot” on June 24, 1977. It is in this hope that we persevere to the end – together, as one flesh.
We know in today’s world that the kind of love and dedication to family life, that we have, is rare. As odd as it sounds, we also know that our of faith in Christ’s doctrines of marriage and family is being tested, and often rejected. But…there’s one thing this “old man” knows. When the Lord gave me Jane Marie as my beloved wife, He gave me a piece of eternity.
My dear beloved, it is an honor to call you my wife and companion for life! You will always be the heartbeat of my soul and the caretaker of my calling. Our lives together is a true reflection of the marriage between Christ and the Church.