Backtracking four years and hopping to the other side of the state finds Evan planning to join the Air Force. He and his best friend had it all figured out. They were going to enlist together and take on the same MOS. That was their dream and what they had talked about for years. One day, shortly after high school graduation, Evan got a phone call from his best friend saying that he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Evan was hurt and quite upset. His best friend had just “destroyed” their plans. (What he didn’t know is that God was leading him in the direction He wanted him to go.) Evan spent time thinking and praying about it and eventually decided to enlist in the Marine Corps, alongside his best friend.
Years later, Evan went home for the Memorial Day 96. On the holiday (May 25, 2009), he sat outside with his mom, venting his frustrations about finding his future wife. He told his mom that “no girl is going to want the military life. No girl is going to be okay with the hardships that it brings. There just isn’t any Christian girl out there who will be able to handle that lifestyle.” Evan’s mom listened to his laments and then encouraged him with the opposite. She told him that “God is preparing a girl specifically for him. God is at this moment preparing the heart of a woman, designing her for the life of the military.”
I kid you not; on that very day, I wrote this letter:
You don’t know me, but I’ve been thinking about you today. The country celebrated you this day. It was the perfect day for it; everything was beautiful. I’m afraid America doesn’t think about you often enough. You might wonder if anybody is thinking of you every day. There is no need to wonder anymore. A certain girl goes to a comfortable bed and is able to safely lay her head on a soft pillow each night. She is able to rest in peace, because she knows you are out there guarding her freedom. That girl is now sitting on the same comfortable bed writing to you.
Dearest Marine, you are in my thoughts each moment. Thank you for sacrificing for me. You deserve more than the thoughts I can give you, yet you go on fighting. You give of yourself so that Old Glory can proudly wave. Those stars and stripes represent all that you do. I pray that America will not forget. I have not forgotten you. Pride for you pulses through my veins. I wish you could see the smile on my face, sparked by thoughts of you. I wish you could see the tears I’ve shed for you. Marine, you don’t know me, but please know that you are loved. You’ve captured my heart. I give these words to you, because you have given me so much more. You give me hope. You give me freedom. You give me safety. And one day you will give me the same love I have for you. I can lay my head on my pillow tonight, because I know you’re taking care of me.
I pray to God every day specifically for you. Please be safe, dear Marine. God is watching over you. You are loved, for a certain girl thinks of you each moment.
Waiting for you . . .
Loving you . . .
A couple weeks after writing that letter, I found out about auditions at Sight & Sound. Sight & Sound is a widely known musical theatre in Pennsylvania, that does amazing Biblical plays utilizing live animals and incredible staging. The first play I saw at that theatre was “Daniel,” and I was hooked. Ever since seeing that play, I decided that I wanted to be a part of Sight & Sound someday. I was ecstatic when I heard about the upcoming auditions! I had the appropriate background for getting into the theatre, and I really felt like I had a chance. I missed the mail-in application date, but I could still do it online. No problem. I took my time filling it out, prayed and cried over it (I was very passionate about this opportunity), and then I clicked the “send” button. Nothing happened. I waited and waited, but something was wrong. My application wasn’t going through. In fact, all my information got deleted. Frustrated, I re-did the application (and copied it into a Word document, just in case) and hit the “send” button again. This time, I got an error message saying they couldn’t process my request. What?! And then all my information was gone. Oh no, you didn’t!
I opened my “just in case” Word document and furiously spanked the keyboard with a third attempt. I was not going to let this amazing opportunity slip through my fingers! For an entire hour, I sat at the computer, typing and re-typing my application with no reward but that same error message. I even tried restarting the computer a couple times. I imagine God was watching me from heaven, laughing the entire time. I’m pretty sure He had His hand in that error message. I didn’t want to give up, but I had to leave the house for some reason. My mom offered to help, so I showed her the Word document, and she spent about an hour typing and re-typing my information. She continued to get the same error message and called to tell me that it was time to give up. I was too frustrated to cry and just chalked it up to God telling me it wasn’t the right time. Here’s the interesting part . . . the week those auditions were being held is the same exact week that Evan and I met!
Around the same time of my audition application fiasco, Evan was experiencing his own personal fiasco. He had been wanting to try for MARSOC (Marine Corps special forces) for a long while and was finally taking the steps toward getting there. His MARSOC packet was completed, but he didn’t want to submit it till he personally felt like he was physically at his best. He did pack-runs and long hikes nearly every day. Just when he felt like he was ready to submit his packet, he went running one day and one of his knees went out on him. He had so much pain in that knee that he could barely even walk. This angered him and many times, he asked God why. He didn’t get his answer till months later. You see, had he been able to follow through with his dream, he would have been training in California during the month of August. We met the first week of August.
I wasn’t supposed to take that trip with my friend in August. She was planning to go down by herself to visit her boyfriend. But, days before she was going to leave, her car broke down and was told it would be in the shop for a while. Out of desperation, she came to me and asked if I could drive her (and she’d pay for the gas). I needed a break from work, and I wasn’t about to pass up a free road trip, so of course I said yes! Her boyfriend lived in a house off base, and he had a roommate. That roommate was Evan . . . the man who later became my husband.
Nobody can look at our story and say that it was just chance. God’s fingerprints were all over our lives, molding our paths toward each other. God designed us specifically for each other, and I can’t wait to spend many many more years with this amazing man He has sewn into my life!