Driving Home

I didn’t know I was on my way back to church – and back to God – as I made the hour drive to Karen’s house.  I thought I was just going on a date, meeting the woman who I had gotten to know over about eight hours of phone conversations after we were given each others’ numbers by a mutual friend.  I really wasn’t looking for a relationship, not with a woman or with God.  Neither had worked out very well in the past.

I had checked out the showtimes of movies I wanted to see at the closest movie theater.  Not that Karen and I were planning to go to the movies – that was my backup plan, in case I gave in to my hesitation and decided to bypass her house.  It was about 50-50 when I had left home where I would end up.

When I pulled up in front of the row that included her townhouse, I was still noncommittal. I didn’t pull into one of the spaces in front of her particular home, but parked down the street a ways.  My first in-person conversation with her was as I walked up to her door.  She told me I had to move my car, the spaces were assigned.  I think she said “Hello” first, but I’m not sure.  It was a strange beginning.  But it was enough for me to know that she was as beautiful as she had seemed on the phone.

Also unusual was my first conversation with her son, who was turning four the next week.  After being introduced, he said, “You want a beer?  Everybody else has one.”  I had never dated anyone with a kid.  If this was how it was going to be, it was going to be okay!

Karen had just gotten back from church.  Church!  Another reason for my hesitation.  I was an atheist, or at least an agnostic, after all.

She wasn’t quite ready to go out.  While she changed, she asked me to change a light bulb above her stairs. I don’t know if that was some kind of test, but I passed in spite of my fear of heights.

I didn’t pass the next test.  Her son asked me for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  My experience was with older kids – working as a Juvenile Probation Officer hadn’t given me many opportunities to fix PB&J sandwiches the way a 3-year old would like.  My pride was wounded when he rejected the sandwich.  “Not enough stuff.”

Despite my hesitation to commit and the subpar sandwich, that turned out to be the first of many trips to Karen’s house.  It quickly became clear that if I wanted to date her, I would have to go to church with her.  It seemed well worth the waste of an hour a week – but not wasted because it would be more time with her.  Plus she told me they had a softball team I could play on.

In time, I realized I loved Karen and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.  Seven months after my first drive to her house, I asked her to marry me.  She said “yes!”  And I asked her son if that was okay.  I guess he’d gotten over the sandwich because he said “yes” as well.

And somewhere in those seven months of going to church, hearing the stuff about Jesus in God’s Word as it was preached and sung and prayed, I realized . . . I believed that stuff.

As surprised that I was to be getting married, I was even more surprised to be joining the church.

Sixteen years ago today, Karen and I were married by Pastor John, the pastor of that church.

And we began our life together in that townhouse to which I had made that hesitant drive one year before.

I was home.

The next Sunday, I officially joined the church.

I was home.

About pastordavesimpson

I'm an unexpected pastor. Why unexpected? Because no one is more surprised than me that I'm a pastor. See the "About" page on my blog for more info.
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15 Responses to Driving Home

  1. Hannelore says:

    That is a beautyfull story . We wish you a great day and many more years of happynes . Hannelore and Rudi .


  2. unexpected pastors wife says:

    I have the best husband ever. I love you. Thank you Lord for bringing him into my life 17 years ago & especially for grabbing hold of him. Amen


  3. unexpected pastors wife says:

    Of course now I’m a weepy mess.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful story! Happy Anniversary!


  5. Denise says:

    I always loved that story. Many more years of wonderful love.


  6. Anonymous says:

    You were in our new member class way back when. You really challenged the Pastor’s with your questions. I learned a lot in that new member class. I also remember you were injured – I think it was your back. I guess that was from softball -LOL!! I also found it amazing that you were Lauren’s instructor for Confirmation. Lauren challenged you about Lent. Nice how it came full circle. Funny, I remember how difficult it was to stop calling you “Dave” and start calling you “Pastor” Dave. Miss you and your family!


    • Yes, the journey has been amazing. But every step has been guided by God – almost like He had a plan or something. 🙂

      Of course, no idea in that New Member class that I would ultimately be “Pastor Dave.”

      We miss ya’ll as well. Stop by and worship with us sometime when you’re back in MD.


  7. Anonymous says:

    Amazing how God speaks through children, a beer, a light bulb, and PB&J sandwich as well as through His Church! Congrats to you and Karen! Many more beautiful and God-filled years together!


  8. Pingback: La-Z-Boys, Italian Greyhounds, and God | The Unexpected Pastor

  9. Wow such a powerful testimony how God, brings His, lost children back home. Thank you for sharing the story blessed my heart.


  10. Barton Jahn says:

    Looking forward to reading more.


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