"When I found the one I love, I held him and would not let him go" (Song of Solomon 3:4). My name is Kristy Dykes, and I write Christian love stories for Barbour Publishing...perhaps because I live with a hero husband. At this site, I cover marriage, romance, and Christian fiction. These book titles make me smile--and offer great truths: Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy and Sometimes I Let Him Sleep, Love Extravagantly, Every Marriage Is A Fixer-Upper, Red-Hot Monogamy.
A recent article in the newspaper caught my eye entitled, "Happiness In A Tube." It's about the fusses between husbands and wives about the toothpaste tube. The writer says, "In the olden days, toothpaste was a paste, and it came in stiff, foil-like tubes. Squeezing from the bottom of the tube was critical. But few could resist placing a big thumb print in the plump middle of a new tube." He goes on to say that this caused many a fight in his own marriage.
Terry Fox ran 3,339 miles across Canada at almost 26 miles a day with a prosthesis due to the loss of one leg to cancer. His efforts led to the development of the Terry Fox fund which has raised almost $350 million for cancer research. When asked how he managed to keep going in his cross country run, with exhaustion and fatigue setting in with yet thousands of miles to go, he answered, “I just kePT running to the next telephone pole.” In other words he stayed focused on short incremental distances that he felt he could do, and that led to running over 3,000 miles!
It is amazing what can get done if we’re just determined to stay focused and committed to the task. There is a Japanese proverb that reads, “Fall down seven times, get up eight times.” Norman Vincent Peale said, “It is always too soon to quit.” We should never give up on our hopes and dreams even when it seems almost impossible.
1. Admiral Robert Peary attempted to reach the North Pole seven times before he made it on try number eight.
2. In its first 28 attempts to send rockets into space, NASA had 20 failures.
3. Oscar Hamilton had five flop shows that lasted less than a combined total of 6 weeks before Oklahoma!, which ran for almost 269 weeks and grossed $7 million.
4. Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections and was let go from various jobs before he was elected President of the United States.
5. The disciples fished all night before they caught more than a boat full when they followed the directions of our Lord.
I can still hear the words of the lady runner who passed me near the end of my first 15k (9.3 miles) run. She was repeating over and over, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…” As she passed me, those words got in my spirit, and I, too, completed the race through Christ who strengthens me.
What dream do you have that you are tempted to give up? If it is a God-given dream, let God show you the way to turn your dream into reality. He has a way of turning impossible situations into glorious testimonies. Just run to one more telephone pole. Give God a chance to see you through. He will not fail.
J. Allan Petersen, who wrote extensively about marriage, said:
Most people get married believing a myth--that marriage is a beautiful box full of all the things they have longed for: companionship, sexual fulfillment, intimacy, friendship. The truth is that marriage, at the start, is an empty box. You must put something in before you can take anything out. There is no love in marriage; love is in people, and people put it into marriage. There is no romance in marriage; people have to infuse it into their marriages.
A couple must learn the art and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising--keeping the box full. If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty.
Is your box (marriage) empty or full?
If this story is true, it's a tender love story with a delightful O'Henry twist:
John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with a rose on her lapel.
His interest in her had begun 13 months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf, he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell.
With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he shipped overseas for service in World War II.
During the next 13 months, the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like.
When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting--at 7 p.m. at Grand Central Station in New York City.
"You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel."
So at 7 p.m., he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen.
John himself tells the story from here:
A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears. Her eyes were as blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive.
I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small provocative smile curved her lips. "Going my way, sir?" she said.
Almost uncontrollably, I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the beautiful blonde girl. A woman well past 40, Hollis had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. A red rose was tucked in her lapel. She was more than plump, her thick-ankle feet thrust into low-heeled shoes.
The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away.
I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow the beautiful blonde, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own. And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle.
I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather book that had introduced me to Hollis and with which she would now identify me. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful.
I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. "I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard," I said, "and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me. May I take you to dinner?"
The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. "I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit who just walked by begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she is waiting for you in the restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!"
It's not difficult to understand and admire Hollis's wisdom: the true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive.
"Tell me whom you love," Houssaye wrote, "and I will tell you who you are."
Yesterday I was in line at the store waiting to check out.
"They're a gift from God, you know?" I said.
She looked uninterested and shrugged then turned away.
I felt so bad inside for those children as I waited in line and kept hearing her bark out orders to sit. I thought of all the women with empty arms, and here, this woman had two precious children, and it appeared she had no motherly love. As I expected, they got bored and started whining, and then I felt really bad--irked, even. Didn't she know you're supposed to provide snacks for little children in waiting situations? And maybe a book--even read to them? Or give them a favorite toy? Apparently, she had no parenting skills whatsoever.
It was my turn to get checked out. I turned around and told her to go ahead of me. She didn't even thank me, just pushed her buggy around me.
Seconds after she reached the cash register and talked with the cashier, she muttered an angry, "This isn't my day!" and stormed off in a huff.
"What was that all about?" I asked the cashier.
"She wanted to cash a check, and it was missing a signature."
As I drove home, I thought, That certainly wasn't a Christian love story. Christ's love is patient and kind and longsuffering, and it isn't rude or easily angered (1 Corinthians 13, the famous "Love Chapter"). Oh, I know a mother can get harried. I've been to the grocery store lately with my daughter who has a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old. But this lady had deep problems, and my heart ached for her, and for her children.
"Lord, wherever this young mother is right now, bless her. Encourage her. Show her Your love. Equip her to care for these precious little souls. Take care of them. Protect them. Keep them in Your love and watchful care. Amen."