Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Real Life Love Story


Today is our thirty-first anniversary. I don’t normally post on a Wednesday, but I decided to share my real life love story.

1978
I lay in bed that Saturday night on a pillow wet with tears. It had been a wretched day—I’d just broken up with my current boyfriend for what felt like the umpteenth time. I knew it wasn’t a healthy relationship, but his compelling arguments and seemingly sincere desire to change always enticed me to return. Tonight I’d ordered him out of my parents’ home before I caved. But I knew tomorrow the pleading would begin again. 

I was finally at the end of myself and I began to pray, asking God to give me a reason to stay strong—to give me a reason to continue to say no.

Sunday morning dawned bright and for some reason I woke refreshed and renewed. As I got ready for church, I continued to pray, once again asking God to give me a concrete reason to hang onto what I knew was right. 

At church, I was soon caught up in seeing friends and getting into my choir robe. Our small church only had one service and one choir, made up of youth and adults. I enjoyed it immensely—in no small part because it was something my dad and I did together. I sang soprano and sat in the front row and my dad sang baritone and sat right behind me. 

We processed in and I took the opportunity of a familiar hymn to scan the small congregation in front of me. I was surprised to see a good-looking young man in one of the front pews. Our family had moved to Northwest Arkansas seven months earlier and quickly joined this church. This was the first time I’d ever seen him. 

He looked up and I quickly looked down, pleased to have caught his eye. I’d caught a slight twitch to his lips and a twinkle in his eyes—perhaps a hint of a fun sense of humor? His dark wavy hair curled slightly over his collar and I couldn’t seem to keep from sneaking quick, and I hoped, subtle glances his way. About half-way through the service our eyes met . . . and he winked. Immediately I felt my face flush. I looked away and fought to keep a grin off my face. I tried to look at him without making it too obvious, but he was waiting for me, a sweet grin on his face. When our eyes met he winked again. 

The electricity was immediate, and I didn’t try to hide my answering grin. Even though I’d never met him, this brazen young man was a hero. I saw a lifetime of possibilities in those few looks and knew I didn’t want that chance to pass me by. I had my reason to stay strong. God had used him to answer my prayer.

A Month Later
It had been four weeks since that handsome young man had winked at me while I was singing in the choir. After church I’d rushed to get my choir robe off and hung up, expecting to have someone waiting. But I’d been disappointed when he hadn’t found me and introduced himself. Still, just his interest had been enough to help me weather the storms of ending a bad relationship. 

Now a month had passed, and I still hadn’t met my hero. I’d about decided he was just a visitor God had used to set my life back on track. Today my dad and I joked as we donned choir robes and I entered the choir loft with a smile. It widened into a grin as I caught sight of a familiar stranger seated in the front pew. He had returned—and he was grinning back at me. 

Church went by in a blur, anticipation giving unexpected wings to the hour. Surely this time we’d have a chance to meet.

Once more, I hurried out of my choir robe and went to hang it up. But before I could get free of the choir room, he was there, standing in front of me. Even with that infectious grin in place, he’d managed to introduce himself to my father and somehow get his permission for me to stay with him for the church luncheon that day. 

We got acquainted during an eclectic meal prepared by some of the best cooks in the county. Even in the middle of the crowded room we felt like we were alone. The time sped by as we shared conversation, dreams and laughter. All too soon I was seated in his 1976 Olds Cutlass as he delivered me home. 

He walked me to my porch where we stood awkwardly for a few moments before He said he’d call and turned back to his car. As I watched him drive away I found myself hoping that wouldn’t be the last time I saw his car parked outside my house.

1998
I’d been married to my hero for almost twenty years. We were well on our way raising our three boys and I’d decided to return to my passion and my calling, writing. Before we’d had children I’d worked as a full-time technical writer, but when the kids came along I’d opted for full-time motherhood. While the boys were moving from baby to toddler to school-age, I’d done some dabbling, but nothing serious. Now, with all three in school I had time—and energy—to get back in the game. 

I had no urge to go back to a corporate writing job, I wanted to enter the world of freelance and eventually move into books, specifically Christian books. God had given me so much—gifted me with so much—I really felt He wanted me to use my gift for His glory. But I knew there’d be a steep learning curve. I began attending writing conferences, joining online and local writing groups, as well as amassing a library of writing books. I also began to sell an occasional article and speak at a few women’s ministry events, but nothing that could keep up with the expenses of learning the craft of writing. 

I began to feel guilty about the outlay from the family budget for what appeared to be an expensive hobby. I flirted with giving up the dream. I was discouraged and felt like maybe I’d misunderstood God’s calling.

That’s when Kirk gave me a gift I still cherish. We were out on a date night and I’d begun apologizing about even considering another writing conference. He stopped me and took my hand. “I’ve watched what God has been doing through your writing. You truly have a gift and I believe in it.” 

“But….” 

“I would be more than happy for us to pay for you to return to college.” That grin I never could resist broke through. “That’s the way I view your writing conferences and classes. This is your college education.” 

I couldn’t help it, tears began to collect in my eyes. “But what about when college is over? What if I still don’t make enough to pay for the classes and conferences? Should I give up then?” 

“Of course not. Lots of careers require ongoing education. I’m in this for the long haul.” His eyes twinkled. “How about you?” 

He stayed true to his word, and next month my fourth book will hit the store shelves. I still fight self-doubt—I’ve discovered all writers do—but whenever the doubts resurface I remember my husband’s words and keep writing.


Kirk, 
if you're reading this, I hope you know how much I love you. Words can't even begin to express what you mean to me. You are now, and always have been, my hero.

This story first appeared on Shannon Vannetter's Inkslinger blog

33 comments:

  1. This is what marriage is meant to be - supporting and encouraging one another to be the best we can be for Him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow. Amazing. Congratulations on 31 years. Your story encourages me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a wonderful story Edie. I knew part of it, but the reading it all is terrific. God is true to His Word, giving us just what we need, right when we need it. Happy Anniversary!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love love love this story! As long as we've known each other, I guess we've never talked about how we met our heroes. So thankful with you and you met Kirk. Happy anniversary to you both!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Awesome Post. I love you, too. My card just doesn't quite measure up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what you get for encouraging a writer!

      Delete
  6. Oh.My.Goodness. What a tribute! And, in the short time I've known Kirk, one thing I know for sure: He's a KEEPER! I'm so glad you dumped the other guy. What would our world do without author Edie Melson in it?!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love a love story! Thanks for sharing yours, Edie.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Awww, wonderful and to think it all began with a wink LOL

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a beautiful story, Edie. Thanks so much for sharing! I have tears in my eyes as I realize where I am on my writer's journey, and my thoughts echo your early experiences. What a blessing to have the support and encouragement you have received from your husband. Happy Anniversary to you both! May God bless you with many more happy years together!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing Edie!!!

    Rachel

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a wonderful love story, Edie. Congrats to both you and Kirk for 31 years. Both your meeeting and your writing stories are inspirations.

    Blessings for many more!

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a sweet story. Thanks so much for sharing! You should put that in a book one day!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love you both! Congratulations on 31 years, and here's to many, many more! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Enjoyed reading that, Edie. I am so glad God put you two together...that's why things can work, when it really is His will! That is an encouraging story to share with youth...I hope you do!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Edie,
    What a beautiful post! I think we need our husband's blessing if it is God's direction at that point in our lives when we decide to write. You and I are both blessed, and I am sure many others are as well. I loved how you built up the tension about how you met your husband. Very nice!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.
    Megan

    ReplyDelete
  16. Edie,

    This is so awesome! Having your husbands support is a blessing and what a neat story of how God brought you together. ;)

    God bless you and your new book.
    Love, Hester ;)

    ReplyDelete
  17. You've put a smile on my face today, Edie.
    What a delightful true life love story.
    And knowing both you and Kirk -- and know how true the love between both of you is.
    Happy Anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great story. It such a blessing when our spouses are supportive. Mine is a gem, too.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh Edie,
    Thank you for sharing. It's so good in the world that surrounds us with negative, to see such a positive and loving relationship.

    Blessings!
    Alena T.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Awwww, so sweet!! Thanks for telling your story. Love! Happy Anniversary!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh, I love this story! Can't stop smiling. Thanks for sharing and happy anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Happy Anniversary! What a precious gift to Kirk! The love you both have for each other is priceless in the world we live in. It is electrifying and GOD ordained. I love you both very much! You are an awesome writer and friend. I pray GOD's blessing for you both!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Lovely story! Lucky both of you.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautiful, encouraging, another assurance of God's blessings. Happy anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Congrats to you two!
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Very happy that you have such a strong supporter in your mate. We are the richer for it :-)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Beautiful story, Edie! Thanks for sharing it with us and congratulations on
    thirty-one years of obedience to your vows.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Such a sweet story! Congratulations you two!! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Aw, how sweet. Edie, where did you live in NW ARk. I lived in NWA for about 15 years before moving to KC, four years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Congrats on your anniversary, and also on finding your supportive hero. What a blessing it is to have our spouse believe in our writing, and to support it emotionally, and financially. Wishing you both all the best!

    ReplyDelete
  30. A belated congratulations on your anniversary! I'm behind in reading my emails and blogs but I'm so glad I read this one. I am in those beginning learning years of writing. Your love story reminds me of my husband's love and support. We are blessed, aren't we?

    ReplyDelete
  31. I enjoyed reading this Edie! You are an encouragement and an inspiration, my friend!

    ReplyDelete