He’s my best friend on this earth, my truth-teller when I’m whiny, and my hard-working-so-I-can-stay-home-and-write cowboy. Today’s post is a tribute to my husband of twenty years (July 19, 1997), Steven Dean Francis.
Two decades of marriage may not seem like much to most people, but it is nothing short of miraculous for me. My marital track record up until this cowboy and I started sparkin’ (his word for our romance) wasn’t good.
It wasn’t good because of the mess of lies that lived in my head for most of my life:
- “You’ll be happy when you marry the perfect man (I sometimes tend to be idealistic).”
- “You’ll be happy when you have children.”
- “You’ll be happy when you have a teaching career.”
- “You’ll be happy when you get a nose job and lose that extra weight.”
- “You’ll be happy when you make enough money to buy … what will make you happy.”
Can you relate?
I’m still amazed that Steven chose me. Our union is a perfect example of God’s love, sovereignty, grace, and faithfulness.
Ours isn’t a love-at-first-sight story.
In the fall of 1964, we were both delivered by the same pipe-smokin’, suspender-wearin’, kid-scarin’ doctor in Spearman, Texas. Steven grew up there, but my family moved around the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles a lot—due to my dad’s work in the oilfield.
Steven was in the same grade as my cousin and knew my extended family well. But I didn’t meet him until 1992. That was when I started waiting tables at my mom’s restaurant—the Palo Duro Cafe in Spearman, Texas. He was farming at that time.
We knew each other as acquaintances for four years.
I remember well the morning I got down on my knees and asked God to put the man of His choice in my life. That was the first time I ever did that, so I knew He was at work.
Two weeks later, He placed His heavenly spotlight on Steven. God had answered my prayer in a most unexpected way and at almost lightning speed.
We started dating on my thirty-second birthday and were married before both of our thirty-third birthdays. I’m almost two months older than him. You would think I was a lot older by the way he tells everyone he married an “older” woman. (Smile.)
One day at lunch (about eight months into our love story) over sandwiches and tropical punch flavored Kool Aid, he popped the question.
Well, sort of.
It sounded something like this: We’re together all the time anyway, so don’t you think we might as well get married? (Pretty romantic, huh?)
I could hardly believe it. He actually wanted to say “I do” to someone whom most eligible, never-been-married bachelors might have considered “damaged goods.” I had a twelve-year-old son. And (this is a big AND) I couldn’t have any more children.
I almost backed out … for his sake. In my mind, he deserved better. (Tears.)
But God was unrelenting. He would not allow it. And I’m so thankful!
Steven and I both knew God put us together. So, all we’ve wanted to do from that point forward is to live our lives as a thank offering to Him.
We moved to Perryton, Texas, on our first anniversary and have lived here ever since—still seeking God’s direction for our lives and loving (almost) every minute of it.
Our love story in a nutshell? We fell in love with each other. Then, we fell in love with Jesus.
I’m sure if Father God had His druthers, He would have liked for our romance to have happened the other way around. But it didn’t.
That’s amazing grace.
I’m going to take next week off from blogging to celebrate God’s miraculous match-making abilities with this man of mine.
I will be posting this Friday, though. I’ll share the message in MercyMe’s song, “Hello Beautiful,” from their newest album, Lifer (what would’ve been today’s post in my Wednesday Summer Song Series).
If you haven’t read all of my posts since launching on March 1, there are over forty in the archives. Next week would be an opportune time to catch up!
Also, if you would like my posts delivered every Wednesday and Friday at noon to your e-mail inbox, please subscribe in the upper right-hand corner (or bottom left) of my blog.
When you sign up, I will send you a free PDF of “Who I Am In Christ IS Who I Am!”. It contains over two hundred illuminating passages on the believer’s identity in Christ.
In closing, do you have a love story to tell? If so, I would love to hear it!
Until next month!
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