The Night Everything Changed for Sam

For many years before we met, Sam was not in the right place to be searching for a wife. In fact that wasn’t even a concern for him because his number one love was alcohol. However he did occasionally think about meeting that special someone. A friend once told him “If you want to find the right woman, you have to become the right man.” He admitted he wasn’t the right man at the time because he needed to work on himself. Hearing those words, however, he believed that he already was the right man and didn’t think he needed to change his character. He’s only been in a few relationships before me but the last one was a gamechanger. It was very dysfunctional at best, short lived and did not end well. Following this relationship, there was a period of deep pain and growth. It shook him to his core. Although he did not realize it but in hindsight, this was one of the worst times but also the best time. The results of it led him to remain single and focus on God until he found the right woman who would become his wife. He stopped drinking because he knew it was either now or never and decided to go to treatment. That was when he became more serious about his walk with God.

In December of 2014, he left treatment feeling like he got a second lease on life. From there he started doing “the next right thing.” Sometimes he didn’t want to nor did he understand, but he stayed the right path. He realized that it was important for him to remain single for at least a year and to focus on how to be a man of God and a devout husband. During this time, he focused on his identity because he didn’t know who he was. He allowed God to show him that and to build up his confidence. In this season of life, he watched a series by Paul Washer called “Biblical Manhood.” He learned a lot about being a Godly man, being a husband and a father and things that a normal man should do and should be. It changed his perspective.

Things started falling into place for him as he continued to allow God to lead him. He started working a new job as a bus driver a few months later. This is the same job my dad worked at. A few weeks later my dad was in a serious bus accident and, if just by a matter of seconds, my dad would have lost his life. Sam of course heard about him and was curious. He was at church one Sunday and it just happened to be the same church I’ve attended my whole life. My parents lead a Bible study and theirs was mentioned that morning. Through Sam’s curiosity, he introduced himself to my dad and was invited to their new beginner’s class. Sam thought “I’m not really a beginner but it might be a good opportunity to develop relationships.”

About an hour or two before the study, he really did not want to go, but, in his words, he was prompted. So he swallowed his pride and went to the Bible study with an open mind, open heart, a teachable spirit and willingness to connect with people that he didn’t know. That was his only motive. He had no idea that they had a daughter. When the Bible study started, he said he felt comfortable but out of place. He remembers me coming up the stairs and he thought “Ooh, who’s that?” and at one point he said “I caught your eye, and you caught my eye.” It was more than just a simple glance, it was “I looked into your soul and you looked into mine.” There was a connection for a split second. It didn’t last very long. When our souls connected, God was telling us, “this is someone unique and special.”

When I went downstairs and came back up the second time, he said he knew I was pretending but he wasn’t sure if what I really wanted was to get a second look or confirmation but he thought “Oh she’s interested.” After coming up a third time, Sam just knew that I had no business being there and I just wanted a third look. He told me with a smirk, “I can’t honestly say that I minded because I wanted a third look too.” He thought I was cute.

At the end of the night, he shared his testimony and he was open, honest and unreserved. They were about to close prayer for the night and Sam mentioned he wanted to pray for the Christians in Iraq being persecuted and wanted a Godly woman in his life. That’s when my mom awkwardly said “You should date my daughter.” He was instantly taken aback by it and was very uncomfortable by the notion. He kind of wanted to just get out of there after that but also kind of wanted to stay. He said he lingered a little longer than he probably should’ve and thought “I want to see her one last time.”

The following weeks, he wanted to go back but was conflicted because he didn’t want it to look like he was going back for me. He didn’t want to look like a creep with his sole purpose for going back to the Bible study was to pursue his co-workers daughter. He was still intrigued and curious but cautious. He had a lot of time to think at the time and wondered about who I was, what I might be like, how old I might be, who might know me, and who might know my character. He remembered that years ago he had seen a photo of me on a mutual friends facebook feed and was curious about me. He’d forgotten all about it and then when he looked to see who we might have in common, and he started connecting the dots. He noticed that she and I were friends on facebook, and he decided to call her to get a character evaluation. This was about a week of talking to her that he decided to reach out to me.

He knew he’d risk looking stupid if his feelings were wrong. But he couldn’t go against his intuition, in his words, “it was burning inside him to send me the message” however he was still resistant. The day he sent me the message, he was sitting in the break room at work, he typed it out, made sure everything made sense and sat there hoovering over the send button for about 20 or 30 minutes. When he finally hit it, he threw it on the table and went to go make coffee. He thought “Well, at least she knows and I don’t have to sit and wonder.” He didn’t have a whole lot of expectation. It was more of an inquiry with no pressure.

When I didn’t respond right away he thought, “Great. I knew it. Now I do look stupid.” When I finally responded, he said he almost didn’t want to read it because he didn’t want to be disappointed. But he finally opened it and to his surprise I gave him an open door. But I wasn’t completely open, he ended up talking me into coffee, but never pressured me.

Driving up to the coffee shop, he was completely relaxed with no expectations. All he was thinking was that he was going in and have a conversation. He wanted to show me who he was. Having a conversation with someone has never been difficult for him. He was excited and thought he’s just going to be himself. When he walked toward me and saw me with the book open, he knew that I was not actively reading it, but was nervously excited. He could tell I was attracted to him and he knew he had that going for him, but that’s not what it’s all about. As we were talking, his first impression was that I was highly intelligent, I was careful with my words, I’m a good listener, and I pay attention to details. I make good eye contact and seemed interested and intrigued. It was evident that I was nervous but he could tell I was interested in quality conversation and interested in who he was. He said he remembered thinking that he could probably sit and talk another couple hours. But he decided to end the night because he didn’t want to take up too much of my time and also wanted to respect my parents. He didn’t want them to think I was up to no good. The last thing he wanted was to come across as needy. He was cautiously optimistic and didn’t want to jump the gun because he had a bad experience before.

And the rest is history.

If you are reading this and you are single, I want to tell you this: your time will come. Keep praying, keep waiting. Don’t sell yourself short and keep trusting God. His timing is always perfect and he has the right person for you. All you gotta do is trust and wait.

Love,

The Leals

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