We would have been the first to say, "Well, that's the craziest thing I've ever heard of. How could anyone make a major, life-changing decision like that, after only knowing someone for three days?" Well, God made it so perfectly clear to us, that we both knew without a shadow of a doubt, that we were supposed to get married on the third day. Here's how it all happened back in November of 2003:
I (Lori) had been single for nearly three years, and was determined to stay that way until Jesus came back. I was SO in love with God! He had brought me through and delivered me out of so many bad things. One day I found myself free as a bird, and I was so full of gratitude and thanksgiving for all that He had brought me through. I began to pursue God, holiness, and purity in my life like never before. I just wanted more of HIM, I couldn't get enough! I loved being single. I wasn't lonely, I was blessed. I was head-over-heels in love with Jesus, my King, my Tower of Refuge, my Redeemer, my Deliverer, the Lover of my soul. I even wore a wedding ring with His name on it. It was the greatest treasure I owned!
So here I was, nearly three years later, happy and completely content in the Lord. I had no idea when I woke up on the morning of November 6, 2003, that my life was about to radically change, and that the Lord had a HUGE blessing in store for me.
I was having a normal day at the nursing home where I worked as the activity director, when this guy comes in with his guitar, wanting to sing and minister to the residents. He says his name is ToddAyer and that he's on a mission trip from South Carolina. He said that he's been in town for over a week.
We connected in the spirit instantly. The intensity of our meeting was like nothing I'd ever experienced before. As we talked we both knew that God had brought us together for some divine purpose, but had no idea what it was. Perhaps I was supposed to help him with something, or introduce him to someone, I just didn't know. Never in a million years did I think we would be romantically connected or get married three days later...it was the furthest thing from my mind.
Todd told me he had turned his life over to God in 1994 while in prison, and that he's been writing gospel songs over the years, and going to churches to testify and share the music God had given him. We talked for over an hour, both of us fired up about what God was doing in our lives. If I'd have known then, that we would marry three days later, I'd have high-tailed it the other way. That was the last thing that I wanted in my life...I was married to Jesus! But God had other plans...
After we talked, I took him to a visit a resident in the nursing home. We prayed for the man in his room, then Todd pulled out his guitar and began to sing one of the songs he'd written. As the sounds flowed from his guitar, and the words from the most beautiful, anointed song filled the room, I began to weep deeply. How powerful it was! The presence of the Lord was so intense. Afterwards, I directed him to some other residents that he could minister to, while I went about my work. I remember him saying to me, "God sent you here to plant the seeds, and He sent me here to water them."
When it was time for me to get off work, I just knew we weren't finished talking yet. So did he. God was doing something really big, with the two of us, and we needed to find out what it was. I kept thinking I was supposed to invite him over to my house, which was only a mile away. Oh, I couldn't do that! I never would do such a thing! I had so carefully protected and guarded myself from men these past years, but the feeling that I was supposed to invite him over persisted and intensified, and when he suggested we go get something to eat, I said, "Why don't we just go to my house?". I couldn't believe I was doing this, but I was certain the Lord was leading me to do it.
As I watched Todd sitting in my living room, playing his guitar and singing one anointed song after another that he had written, I felt God doing something in my heart. I could see that He really loved God. I was still so overwhelmed with the intensity of our meeting. The presence of the Lord was so powerful, and I remember thinking at one time, "Lord, are you sending him to me?" Could I see myself ever being with him? What was this divine meeting all about? I didn't have a clue what was about to happen.
I had some major walls up, and being interested in someone wasn't even a consideration...I was married to Jesus! But I was drawn to the Spirit of God within him like a magnet. We talked about everything, and he told me all about his troubled past. He told me that God woke Him up in the middle of the night about two weeks before he left South Carolina, and told him to take his guitar and go to a little church he'd never been to before. When he went that morning, the pastor met him in the parking lot and said excitedly, "God sent you here!". He gave the entire service to Todd, to minister to the congregation with his music and testify about how God had changed his life. At the end of the service, he was at the alter with the rest of the congregation, crying his heart out and repenting for not being obedient to the call he knew was on his life.
He had known that this is what God wanted him to do. He told the Lord that he would leave in the morning and start doing it, if He would confirm it. A lady came up to him after the service and told him, "God wants you to do this all of the time and you need to go. He will take care of you". He left the next day, with a few clothes and a couple of fishing rods in his truck, not sure where he would end up, but had Branson, Missouri on his heart.
He felt the Lord speak to him as he was driving,"I'm going to give you the desires of your heart".Todd thought that it would be something to do with the music. His heart was to bless people with the songs God had given him. Little did he know what was about to happen. About ten days later he walked into the nursing home.
Before he left my house that evening, we prayed that God's will be done in our lives, whatever that may be. All that night and all the next day, thoughts of Todd and our encounter repeatedly flooded my mind. I still had no romantic interest in him because my mind just didn't go there, but every time he came to mind, my heart would surge with a pure, deep, and powerful love for him. I didn't know what to make of it. I kept thinking, "God must really love him a LOT, and is causing me to feel it!" I remember playing the CD he had left for me to listen to, and weeping deeply the moment I heard his voice on it. I said, "Lord, what are you doing? What is going on?" I knew He was working deeply on my heart, preparing me for something, but I didn't know what.
The following day, Todd came into the nursing home again and sang and ministered to the residents, and then we went to my house for dinner again. We were so powerfully joined together and connected in the spirit, and were trying to figure out where God was leading us. He was much more perceptive than I was. At one point that night, he said, "If God told me to marry you, I'd do it tomorrow!" Actually, It really wasn't so shocking to hear him say that as you might think, because it had already crossed my mind that the Lord may be leading us in that direction. But I still had some major walls up that needed to come down.
The next day, I just knew in my heart of hearts that we were supposed to marry the following day. I just knew it, with a certainty that could only come from God. "That's crazy!" I thought. "I've only just met him! I can't possibly marry him!" But, I began to feel an urgency in my spirit, and knew deep in my heart that this was the will of the Lord. I didn't understand it one bit, butI trusted Him with all of my heart. I knew my Shepherd's voice. Though I barely knew this man I'd just met, we were so connected in the spirit, it was like we'd always known each other. I just knew that I knew, that we were supposed to get married tomorrow. "I hope he knows it! Lord, You have to tell him!", I thought.
The Lord already had. When Todd asked me to marry him that afternoon, I knew in my heart what the answer was, but I told him I just wasn't ready to say it yet. My head was fightingfiercely what I knew in my heart. How could I possibly say "yes" to a man I'd just met?
Later that day, I felt an urgency in my spirit again. "We're supposed to get married tomorrow". I just knew it, there was no question about it.
"I have to tell him "yes"! Lord, make him ask me again, so that I can tell him "yes"!
Todd did ask me again awhile later, and I responded, "Yes, I'll marry you whenever you say", meaning, but not saying, "Tomorrow, tomorrow, we're supposed to get married TOMORROW! I certainly wasn't going to tell him when we should do it. But God already had, he already knew that we were to do it the next day. We were definitely on one accord.
Of course, I didn't know HOW we would get married, because tomorrow would be Sunday. Didn't we have to get a marriage license first? Who would do it on such short notice? Don't you have to have blood tests done? I didn't have a clue how it would happen, but I had a confident peace that God already had a plan; I just didn't know what it was yet.
Todd picked me up the next morning to go to a church, where he was scheduled to sing and testify, and share the message of love that God have given him to share. I got to see for the first time, what he does when he goes around to these different churches and shares at the services. I was very blessed and SO proud of him. What a heart of love, for God and for people!
After the service we went to my house for lunch and just sat around talking for awhile. We both had perfect peace with what we knew were about to do. When Todd said, "Why don't we make some phone calls and find out about where we can get married?" I looked in the phone book of our small town and surrounding areas under "weddings", and saw five or six listings. There was one listing in nearby Arkansas that said in the ad: "No blood tests", "Marriage Licenses Available", and "Sunday Service Available", called "Little Bell Wedding Chapel" That was it! (To see a picture of the chapel go to www.littlebell.com )
I called, and a very gentle-spirited man answered the phone. I told him we wanted to get married today, and he said, "Can you be here in an hour?" We told him yes! We then remembered we needed to get rings first, so we called him back and made it a little later. We then raced to the Christian bookstore, which was thankfully open, quickly picked out and bought our wedding rings, then drove to the chapel, about an hour away.
We had perfect peace the entire drive. It was surreal, yet it was RIGHT. We talked so much on the way down there, that we drove several miles past the place we were looking for, and had to turn back around. (Something we regularly still do today.)
The man at the chapel was a strong Christian man with a sweet, gentle spirit, not just a man with a wedding chapel business. He was more interested in doing ministry, and making sure people were right with God, than anything else.
The man did an absolutely beautiful ceremony, which really, I hadn't cared anything about "ceremonial" stuff, but was really blessed and really appreciated what he did in our service. He told us he chose to do different services for different people, depending on where they were spiritually.
The most powerfully touching, and I believe prophetic part of the service, was at the end when he handed each of us a candle to light off of one. Then he said, "I want the two of you to go light all of those candles on the alter." There were candelabras everywhere! There must have been a hundred candles to light! We felt the presence of the Lord strongly as we went, lighting each candle together, one by one. It was so intense and I was trying hard not to cry. I felt the Lord saying to me, "You are the Light of the world. Everywhere I send you into the world, you will light candles, one, by one."
So here we were married, three days after we met! It was exactly right. Todd moved his few things out of the motel he was staying in, and moved into my little house. I went to work the following day, and announced at the morning meeting that I'd gotten married the day before, to the shock of everyone, who knew I had been single and married to Jesus for nearly three years! When I had left work on Friday, I didn't even have a boyfriend; I came in on Monday and tell them I'm married! How do you adequately explain something like this to people?
Then we had to call our families, who live on opposite sides of the country, to share our good news. How shocking it was for everyone, as you can imagine! They were naturally concerned about us, but very supportive, as we shared with them how God had brought us together, and led us to marry only three days later.
About 6 weeks later, we discovered we were going to have a baby, can you believe it? It was a first for us both, and we were in our early forties! No one could have prepared us for this beautiful, life-changing experience. More about this on "Our Bundle Of Joy"page.
When our baby, Kendra, was three weeks old, we took her on a trip,so we could meet each other's families for the first time, and so they could see their new grand baby. We went first to South Carolina, then to Arizona. Both families were overjoyed to meet us, and especially to see their new grand baby! They had already grown to love us both through phone conversations, but they were especially happy after meeting us in person, that God had brought us together.
*WOW!!!* 1/20/07 (Eight days before we take our big "leap of faith" and leave Missouri) Here's a personal confirmation from the Lord! Notice that the line, 'I'm going to give you the desires of your heart" several paragraphs up, is written in a different color, size, and font from the rest of this page? I didn't do that!Todd didn't do it either. That line has been purple like the rest of this page since I wrote it! Today I came to do some editing, and there it was! God is SO good to us! It looks to me just like a still, small, voice, like the voice of the Lord! Thank you Lord for speaking to us in SO many ways, and for confirming Your Word to us!