Excerpt: The Pursuit of God, The Human Thirst for the Divine, A.W. Tozer

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, The Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away." Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wondered so long. In Jesus' name. Amen
Excerpt: The Pursuit of God, The Human Thirst for the Divine, A.W. Tozer

Monday, July 30, 2018

Wedding Bells

Well, last Wednesday, my girls.....yes, I'm going to blame this on them.....talked me into eloping!  We had given the idea some thought, anyway!  But, I wanted a church wedding!  But after talking to the girls about the possibilities (wearing my gown to the reception dinner) I sent Mark a text and told him I was going to call about getting married at the court house. 

We had a trip planned to the beach to meet Mark's son, so I contacted someone there about quoting the use of a minister.  $199 for the vows only!  But, it was only $20 at the court house!  It was a done deal!  The problem was the day time magistrate only performed weddings til 2:30 p.m.  Mark doesn't leave work til 3:30.  That's when we learned that the court house is open 24 hours for performing weddings!  Who knew?!  All we had to do was have two witnesses and $20 and we were good to go!  We had purchased the marriage license on the previous Monday.

Then I had to round up some witnesses.  So, I sent a text to Sharon and Joy to see if they and Calvin could be there to perform the duties of witnesses and pictures and moral support!  They had a prior engagement but said Calvin could pick them up at 8:00 and head to the court house.  And so the fun began!  Here are some pictures and a video!

July 26, 2018
Mark and Vicky become Mr. and Mrs. Mark Whittemore

The first order of business was to get a boutineer and bouquet, so I went to Beverly's Floral shop in Midway.  And, as instructed by Joy, I asked for Terry!  Here she is working on the boutineer and bouquet.  When she learned I needed it because I was getting married later she dropped what she was doing and worked up my bouquet and Mark's boutineer.  THANKS, Terry!

Dressed and ready to go!

Calvin, Sharon and Joy arrived before us. 

I was having a difficult time putting the boutineer on Mark without reaching my hand into his shirt to pin it.  Joy said, "You can't do that!  You're not married!  So, I'll have to do it!"

Joy and Sharon sang an impromptu song for us:

The magistrate was in the criminal justice portion of the court house.  Notice the barbed wire along the top of the fence to the right.

Here's the $20!

Billy Williams, the magistrate, explaining to Sharon where to sign.

Witness #1

Witness #2

Billy asked if someone was going to take pictures.  Sharon reminded him of this sign that said no cell phones or pictures were allowed.  He said, forget about that!  He said these two are dressed up too nicely not to take pictures!  And, I normally perform the ceremony right behind my glass, but we are going to find somewhere nice to do this!  He complimented us on how nice we looked.  I told him that I was told people wore anything and some even had an entire wedding party.  He said that was so for the daytime shift, but not the night time shift!

Thanking these 3 wonderful and dear friends for putting up with our last minute shenanigans!

I asked Joy and Sharon if I should throw the bouquet to them and at the exact same time they both responded, "Please don't!"  I have to get the video of that moment from Joy.  When I do, I will post it!

So, you can call me Vicky Whittemore (pronounced Whit-i-more) from now on. That is bittersweet to me.  I'm sure you understand what I mean!

There will still be a reception dinner on September 1st at the church.  I won't be walking down an aisle, but I will be wearing my wedding dress!

Thank You, Lord, for your blessings on me!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A New Love Story

My, how I have struggled with this! I have been so sure that I could NEVER, ever love anyone but Tim for my whole life! And furthermore, I had no desire to ever be married again. And I was totally content in my widowhood!

Many months ago during a conversation Ilene and I had, we were talking about not marrying again. And I said, "I don't see ever marrying again and have no desire to be" and that is when Mark's face came to mind. Then I added to my statement to Ilene...."unless he would be someone like Mark (a member at our church), who is so faithful to the Lord and has grown so much in the years Tim and I have been here. But, the Lord would have to smack me to make me realize He has someone for me."  And our conversation moved on to other things.

A couple of months later we went to meet the church folks for dinner at a restaurant near by. When we walked in, Mark had a couple of empty seats by him, so I sat down next to him.  No particular reason in mind, other than I thought I would enjoy conversing with him through the evening. I don't remember anything we may have talked about or commented about, but I felt very strange all evening sitting there. I was talking to myself and saying things like, "what were you thinking?" And "you had no right to sit next to him!"  "What must he be thinking of your actions?" (He has told me it warmed his heart when I sat there!)

Every time I saw Mark from that point on, something stirred within me.....and I felt guilty about it! A couple of months ago at the fellowship dinner at the restaurant, once again Mark had an empty seat beside him that I intended to fill....until Joy offered me the empty seat next to her. I sat with her thinking it was probably best this way so as to not make my stirred feelings known. After all, I had no idea if Mark even "knew I existed" at this point.

Well, little things began happening after that. A text here and there. Some light-hearted kidding around, etc. Then there was a Sunday where we had a visiting preacher and Ilene and I talked about taking them out for lunch. Ilene ended up being gone and no one else was available to so I invited them out for lunch.  For a reason that I don't remember, Ilene could not go. I was really dreading trying to make conversation with them all by myself. But, as "luck" would have it, Mark walked through the parking lot with me. So, figuring I had nothing to lose and the worst he could do was to say no, I invited Mark to join us for lunch and he could ride with me. He accepted, much to my delight! But I hated it when he ended up paying for everyone's meal! That certainly was not my intention!  Through the meal and conversation later, I really didn't get any vibes from Mark, so I began to think a new relationship just wasn't meant to be.  And, I was OK with that.  I really couldn't imagine loving anyone else besides Tim, especially enough to marry them.  And when I reiterated that to Mark, he said he felt the same way and that he had asked God that if it was meant for him to be single the rest of his life that He would help him be content with that.  Even though I hadn't felt a relational connection to Mark that day, I had felt a connection with him as we shared our hearts with one another.

Well, more friendly texting began with one another, teasing, goofy stuff. And then the mood changed and the texting conversation became more serious. Next thing I knew, I was asking Mark if I was detecting something more serious happening. His response was simply, "Yes! I've been trying to find a way to ask you out, but didn't want to make you uncomfortable. Guess we need to get together and talk, huh?" I said yes and we planned to go out to eat that Saturday, the day before Father's Day.

And again I began feeling guilty. I was fine with Mark, but in my own thoughts I was a mess. Was I dishonoring Tim? Was I cheating on him? What was everyone going to think? Is it too soon to have these feelings? What will the kids think? Will they hate me? What am I doing? Do I really want this? Lord, are You in this? I was making myself a basket case!

Date night....June 16th
It was an amazing evening! Lots of talking and finding out how much we had in common and finding out about the same things we enjoyed. After dinner out he came back to the house where we continued our conversation for a long time! We parted with a hug and a kiss to my cheek.

Father's Day in church, I sat by Mark. Don't you know the little groups of conversations were in full swing. Someone even wondered if Ilene and I were fighting, LOL! And I was feeling guilty!

The Lord got rid of that guilt and grief I was bearing that morning as we sang the song, "Faith of Our Fathers." The last words in each stanza are, "we will be true to thee till death." The Lord spoke to my heart after the 2nd verse, saying, "Vicky, you were true to Tim through the 41 years you were married to him! It is ok for you to move on now. I'm giving you a chance at love again! Be true to this new love I have given you!" And I cried! Sad, but mostly glad tears! A new chapter was beginning.

But, as much as I had wanted to tell the kids about my date with Mark, I felt the timing was all wrong since it was Father's Day. I texted them on Monday, expecting the worst but hoping for the best.  I was pleasantly surprised. However, I could tell by the response I got that one of them was not thrilled. And that's ok. That one will learn to love Mark eventually. How do I know? Because prayers are being lifted towards that end.

Mark and I have had 2 "official" dates. But we have spent many hours together and several meals at the house. And we know this relationship is all by God's design and plan. We have had so many confirmations from everyone who has prayed for us individually and together, which was an amazing revelation to us! They were praying for us to be a couple! WOW!

So, when I said earlier that the Lord would have to smack me to make me realize He has brought someone into my life, well, let me just say that Mark and I have both been gob-smacked! 😍

Sunday, July 15th
I have to say that in the years of loving and living with Tim, one thing I learned was what true love is and isn't.....I'm talking about the kind of love and commitment good marriages are made of.  Tim and I had that!  And I have quickly learned that Mark is committed to this new relationship!  And as we have prayed for God to lead and be honored in our relationship, He has answered those prayers in amazing ways.  The main one being that He is giving us a fast and hard love for one another.  I can't explain it!  I just know it is there!  Does this mean that I have forgotten Tim?  Absolutely not!  The love I had for Tim will always be there!  And, while I can't fully comprehend it, God has opened my heart to allow me to love Mark deeply, too!  It scares me to death sometimes!  And I feel overwhelmed sometimes, to the point of tears!  But, by the 3rd week of this new relationship, I knew I was able to commit myself to Mark for the rest of my life.  And we confirmed that on this day to our church family!  Mark and I had talked of getting married December 22nd as my children were gathered that weekend to celebrate Christmas.  However, after spending 10 days apart from one another the first of July, we have moved the date to September 1st!  WOW! 

We have been working on getting his house, the house he inherited, ready for me to move into after the wedding.  We got the marriage license today.  We are working on getting the storage building I ordered moved to his property.  With less than 6 weeks to go, we have LOTS to do!

I want to close by saying THANK YOU to all of you who have prayed for me over the last year since Tim's death on August 8, 2017.  And I know MANY, if not all of you have prayed for Tim and I for a long time!  You just don't know how much your love and prayers have meant to me! And I just know you are continuing to pray as Mark and I begin a new chapter in the book that God is writing of our lives!  Lives we had no idea that God was orchestrating to be joined at this point and time in His-story!......our story!  A new love story!