married my first date
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I Married My First Date

It was a steamy August afternoon when I spotted the tall handsome senior drummer the first day of marching band practice. One of my giddy fellow freshman girlfriends pointed him out to me, since she had a crush on him. 

Of course, he had no idea any of us wide-eyed ninth graders existed as he strutted on the field a head above all the rest of the band. The summer sun had kissed him in the color of bronze, and his long locks of brown still celebrated a break from the school dress code. 

Wow, I thought, how could my friend ever think he would notice an awkward fourteen year old admirer?

I almost wasn’t part of the high school marching band. During the last week of eighth grade, I was corralled by the band directors who begged me to stay in band the next year. 

Incredibly, I wasn’t very good at playing the trombone, which shows they really needed me. Lugging around that cumbersome case and tripping over it in my tiny bedroom had grown old. Though I was reluctant at first, I agreed to join the band without even trying out for a spot. 

Little did I know how much that one spur of the moment decision would affect the rest of my life.

As it turns out, that leader of the band did notice an awkward freshman young lady, but it wasn’t my friend. It was a very odd type of first meeting, where I marched my little self up to him to basically tattle on a freshman boy who was talking disrespectfully about him. 

For whatever reason, he found my spunky nature attractive. We became friends and eventually fell head over heels in love. Now, almost forty years later, we are still smitten with each other, have two wonderful grown children, and one three precious grandchildren.

Both of us know this is not the normal outcome of young love, especially when both of us were from broken homes. Though we are equally hard headed and neither one of us gives up easily, we depend on God’s grace and mercy to sustain us through life’s challenges.

Now I will tell the real love story of how I married my first date. 

A loving, omniscient God was behind the scenes weaving together the tapestry of our lives, without us realizing He was at work to make all things work together for good. 

If our parents hadn’t divorced and our mothers hadn’t ended up in the same city, we never would have met. Think of the odds of our mothers working at the same hospital before his mother ended up as my school nurse. On weekends when we visited our fathers while we were elementary students, we unknowingly rode the same bus to Houston. Perhaps, our fathers stood next to each other as strangers to greet us in the bus station, having no idea they would meet again at our wedding. 

How can this be?

God says He orders our steps and has recorded all our days. His providence overshadows everything we think we control. I really can’t adequately explain how it works, but one thing I do know is that God is in control.

I am convinced He put my husband and me together that afternoon in the band hall, when I thought I was being so smart (more of a know it all) and he thought I was cute. He did that for us to accomplish His purpose in us, even though we weren’t particularly special, popular, or obedient. 

Guess what? He’ll do the same thing for you! He will work things, even really rotten things, together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). 

What an amazing God we serve!

By Cheryl Neiswender

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