Happy Valentines Day

At the age of 16, I was a freshman in Bible College.  On the day of our orientation, we were assigned a number and told to get in line according to our number.  I was one of the last on the list, and because of that, I knew that I was going to get a horrible class schedule.  (I did.)  

As we lined up on the front steps of the library, there were students, parents, and friends all there to assist.  It was a hot August day in the Ozarks, and the northerners were not handling the heat well.  Tempers, even for a group of Christians, was beginning to get short.  

A mother and daughter were standing in front of me.  Their conversation was getting louder and louder.  The mother was trying to build her daughters' freshman schedule. However, she had no idea what she was doing.  About 50 other people and I couldn't help but overhear the growing argument.  

Finally, the mother said, "What don't you take Greek?"  I snapped.  I said something like, "Are you nuts?  That's a seniors class.  She'll get killed in there!"  To which the mother said, "Well, do you think that you can do better?"  I then showed her how to read the college catalog.  The code before each class title would tell her which classes were for a freshman.  I said, "Just stick to those."  

Betty will tell you to this day, "That's the day I fell in love with my husband.  Because he told my mother off."   If you're single, lesson #1.  Be careful who you yell at.  You might end up in the family.

Betty was as wild as they come.  I had no interest whatsoever in dating her.  But we were friends.  She would call me after one of her dates and tell me all about it.  I would call her after, wait, I didn't date. Nevermind.  

But by our sophomore year, I was sick of hearing about her dates, so I took her out on one.  Lesson #2.  Be careful who your friends are.  You'll probably end up dating them.  

She was a cheerleader, but by now she was singing in the college choir.  I was, well, in the library.  Any forays into social settings for me were painful and less than stellar.  So I would go listen to her sing, and she would come and watch me study.  Is it any wonder I proposed to her in the library?  (Nope, not a romantic place.)  Lesson #3.  You will get engaged to who you date.  

After we announced our engagement, things changed.  Not our love for each other.  But people treated us differently.  We had a great support system, and we had a group of haters.  I'm not going to name names because I'm still two dead people away from a great novel.  But I learned lesson #4.  Date more and be engaged less.  The stress almost destroyed us.  We got married between our junior and senior years, and the rest is history.  

Now I let Betty read this up to this point.  She said, "Very nice."  But here is the rest of the story.  

Love is a wonderful thing.  There have been a number of times in our life when all we had was our love for each other.  We've been married over three decades now and I can tell you, I still don't understand why she loves me so much.  

But I can tell you that she is my heart and soul.  I love her with all of my heart.  I want to protect her, support her, and encourage her.  I want her to know how great of a mom she is.  How I couldn't pastor this church without her.  How wonderful of a wife she is and how she is my best friend in the whole wide world.  Oh, lesson # 5.  When you say, "I do," they are now your best friend - forever.  Never ever let anyone be more important to you.  

I love you Betty Lynn Engstrom Jones.  Don't you forget it!   

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
PRAY for your spouse.  Pray for your family.  If you are single and looking.  Pray for God's will to be done in your life.