Even though it happened many years ago, I remember it clearly.
It was Christmas break my last year of college.
I was in Northern Wisconsin at HoneyRock Camp.
Alone in a room full of bunkbeds.
Lying on a bottom bunk.
Zoned out reading a book called “I Loved a Girl” by Walter Trobisch.
I had chosen that book because I was falling in love with Jake and for several weeks I had been asking everyone, “How do you know if he’s The One?”
They all had the same answer: “You just know.”
I desperately wanted to know and I was hoping that book would help.
The book records actual letters between a young African couple and their pastor. It is filled with practical advice and sage counsel about courtship.
(FYI: ‘Courtship’ is the word we used for the time of dating headed to marriage. Younger folks might not know that.)
Today I pulled my old copy off my shelf and found the part I was remembering, where author Trobisch asks these evaluation questions:
- Is he a Christian? Can you pray with him?
- Do you really love him? Does he occupy your thoughts and inspire your dreams?
- Do you want him to be the father of your children?
- Do you desire to help him fulfill his vocation? Will he support you in fulfilling yours?
I must have mentally checked ‘yes’ for each question but it was question #3 that I’ve remembered all these years: Would Jake be a good father to my children?
Lying on that bed, I pictured Jake with our 4 y.o. friend Noelle. Yes, he will be a good father, I thought.
And right then I heard Jake’s hearty laugh in the dining hall beneath me.
My heart flipped, and all of a sudden I knew: Jake was The One for me!
Fast forward 14 years. A labor and delivery room in Asheville Memorial Hospital. It was my fourth time to be there.
In those days we did not know the baby’s gender until the birth. Made for an exciting climax to the 9 months of waiting.
Not long after our baby daughter was born that day, the attending nurse told me how surprised she had been at my husband’s reaction. “He was genuinely happy it was another girl!”
Being the father of four girls wasn’t always easy for Jake.
Girls can be tricky.
Touring National Parks one summer, his patience was challenged as our daughters seemed to love the gift shops more than the trails.
But they grew up and they all love their dad for taking them adventuring from Alaska to Chile, in England and France and Bolivia and Ireland and more.
Yep. I was right. Jake was and is a good and faithful father.
Like my own father was and is.
And a bit like God, the perfectly Good and Faithful Father.
“For to us…a son is given…and he will be called…Everlasting Father.” Isaiah 9:6
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
Today as I make homemade ice cream to celebrate Jake, I want to somehow celebrate my Heavenly Father.
And not just today.