Some of you have read my extended bio on this website but have not yet gone over to my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013434789756 to catch up on what I have been doing this past year. It has truly been a momentous time in my life. Not only has the Lord opened doors for ministry around the world, I have also married a most amazing woman: Judy Madden. It was an arranged marriage — totally arranged by the Lord. Both of us had strong ministries stretching out before us. Both of us were widowed and neither of us was looking for another relationship, convinced the Lord wanted us to devote ourselves completely to Him.
We met in September and the third time I talked with her in person I proposed to her. We met at a worship service where she asked me to help promote her book. We had lunch at a fast food restaurant with her girl friend. It soon became apparent that her walk with the Lord was special. The Lord talked with her constantly, guiding her in everything she did. She had eyes to see and ears to hear. She also had a powerful ministry through the John Wayne trail across Washington state, and a five acre ranch in Duval devoted to a ministry called Shiloh Prayer And Fasting.
A week after we met, she asked me to come to her ranch. The night before I went over, the Lord woke me with her face before me and feelings for her as well. I thought it was surely our adversary trying to divert my focus away from the Lord and I spent the next three hours arguing and even shouting that I wanted nothing to do with another relationship and pleading for sleep. But the more I fought, the more insistent He became and the more peace I had that this leading was from Him.
The next morning, I drove to Duval and met Judy and her horse. Inside her modest home, she showed me a picture her grandmother had painted of an elk. As I looked down from the picture, I noticed a copy of my picture from Facebook and started to weep hardly knowing why. We went outside to tour her farm and as we passed through the kitchen, I saw another one of my pictures on her refrigerator.
Back in the house, she fixed some coffee and scones and we sat down at her table to talk. Before I began asking her how I could help with her book, I asked why my pictures were all around her house. She looked at me, almost afraid to say anything, and said in a low voice, “Because I love you.” She said she had also been wrestling with the Lord because she did not want another relationship — and was taking a chance telling me this because she knew I had not been interested in a relationship either.
I knew how hard it was for her to share and agreed the Lord was bringing us together. Later that night, I asked the Lord why He had not healed Miriam so she could have continued to be my wife. He said if He had allowed her to go through the fire that is ahead for me, she would have come apart and would have pulled me down as well.
Then He said I had a choice. There would be no way I could face the demands of the ministry He had laid out for me without another warrior at my side who could stand with me in the days ahead. I could either gladly accept His choice for me or He would not allow me to continue to run the race He had for me. We carried on an email conversation for the next two weeks while she was busy with a ministry commitment in eastern Washington.
I invited her to my home on Friday and proposed to her that day. I felt like I had known her for years, not just weeks. I know all this sounds like puppy love. But she was 78 and I was 72 and we had “been there, done that” so to speak. We are mature enough in the Lord to know when to submit to His guidance even when He is pouring months of normal adjustments into days and weeks.
When I shared our engagement with my pastor at the Seattle University Presbyterian Church the next Sunday, he said, “Why don’t we have the wedding during a Sunday morning worship service in January?” I could hardly believe his words because that was the same offer the pastor made at the First Presbyterian Church in Bellingham when Miriam and I were married.
We feel so blessed and humbled that the Lord has brought us together for perhaps the last adventure of our race. And we rejoice in what lies ahead in our relationship. :o) Bill and Judy