Friday, December 19, 2014

A Very Personal Answer to Prayer that has Sustained my Hope

Twenty-two years ago today, I married my sweetheart and my best friend for time and for all eternity. 

Back then I only had a small glimpse of 
the wonderful life that he would bring me. 

Our story is one of those that bridge time and space...

I think I loved my husband from the first moment that I met him.  In third grade I went home and wrote in my journal, 
"I love Scott Clarke and I'm going to marry him someday." 
I shared these feelings with my family and friends, and as I grew up I held tightly onto that hope.  I remember going to slumber parties and being asked, 
"Who do you like?" 
To which I would reply in a dreamy voice, 
"Scott Clarke… and I'm going to marry him someday."
My friends rolled their eyes, giggled, and laughed and frankly did not believe me.  Despite this reaction, I emphatically announced,
"I know I'm going to marry him!"
When I was eleven and Scott was fourteen, he taught me and my sisters swimming lessons. When I was thirteen, he asked me to help him untangle Christmas lights at our church youth group while we were setting up for a church dance. He talked with me all night, and I came home on cloud nine and wrote the whole incident in my journal. Later at various church dances, I patiently waited for his older, sophisticated girlfriend to go to the bathroom before I asked him to dance. I think in those days my happiness depended on whether Scott showed up to the dance.  

He was three years older than me and so we never dated. I was always too young. When I was fourteen and fifteen, he taught my younger sisters swimming lessons. I made excuses to stay and watch the lessons.  I would come and sit beside the pool and dangle my feet in the water, and he would tell me about his most recent dates.… taking his girlfriend to a Beach Boys concert and getting stuck in the mud afterwards.  Oh how I longed to be older and to be that girl in the seat next to him.  

Often I would go home after those lessons, and lay on my bed and daydream about the future. In my mind I saw a clear picture that I would rehearse over and over.… 

I knew Scott would return from his two-year mission for our church when he was 21, and that would be the end of my senior year of high school.  I would attend his homecoming talk in church and afterwards tell him what a great job he had done. He would look at me in surprise and exclaim, 
"You've grown up! " 
Then he would ask me out, and we would fall in love and get married all before I turned nineteen. 
That was my dream... 
at least until I turned 16 and could finally date.  

Scott was away at college with a serious girlfriend and a mission to serve. So I set that dream aside.  My senior year came and I was very much in love with another boy off at college that I was sending on a mission. I had different plans for the future, but a few months before Scott came home from his mission he reentered my mind.  I found out that the girl who was waiting for him was no longer waiting, and this "what if… " lingered in my mind. 

Despite all my new plans, I felt compelled to just see if my old dream had any chance of coming true.

Scott's homecoming talk was the day I graduated from high school. My mother thought he would speak at 11:00, but his congregation met earlier at 9:00, and we missed it.

I couldn't believe that after all of the years of waiting that I had missed it! 

In an attempt to console me, my mother called his mother and made arrangements for us to stop by and visit with Scott on the way to my graduation.  We visited and as we left his house, I turned to my sister and said, 
"Nothing will ever come of that. " 
Little did I know that he had entirely different plans.  The very next day he called, but I was not at home. When I returned my mother said, 
"You'll will never guess who called." 
After a few failed guesses she told me "Scott Clark called to ask you out." 
I was flabbergasted! 
My knees buckled and I literally fell onto the floor in surprise. 

He called back and we went out. I lied about having a boyfriend and before the date was even over, he asked me out for Saturday.  Saturday rolled around and we spent the entire day together. We walked around the zoo, went to the College World Series, and ended up back at his house to watch a movie. The conversations of the whole date had centered around what he wanted in a wife, his plans for the future, and my plans. As we sat down together, I began to feel very panicked.  I blurted out, 
"I'm really getting freaked out here. I've never dated a return missionary before and I just graduated from high school… " 
He stopped me and said, 
"I want you to know that there are some things that I know right now that you don't know and everything is going to be okay."
The way he said it, so calmly and with such assurance, calmed me. After he dropped me off at home I was very pensive... 

I felt the need to pray. 
I wanted to find out what he knew. 
I climbed into the shower and began to talk to God, and as I did, I had one of the most spiritual experiences of my life.  
I heard a voice as clear as day. 
I do not know if that voice was out loud or if it was just so strong in my head that it felt as if it was out loud. It said, 
"You are to marry and Scott, you need to say goodbye to J-----, and you're going to get married this December. " 
This was not the experience I was expecting, yet it was so intense, real and physical to me that it sent me to my knees in tears.  

I cried for a good 45 minutes in the shower trying to wrap my head around this new piece of information.… 
Trying to come to grips what this would mean for my life… 
Thinking of the boy whose feelings I would deeply hurt… 
And knowing that I was not in love with Scott. 

I composed myself enough to climb into bed, but when I saw my sister lying there, I broke down in tears again. I had a strong realization that this was my last summer with her and that deeply saddened me. 

A few days later, I left for a week long trip with my school math class to California. I told the girls that I was rooming with that I would be getting engaged when I got back. I think they were a little surprised and didn't believe me. 
I spent a week in deep contemplation.… offering a lot of pairs to be able to forget about J---- and to fall in love with Scott

When I returned home, Scott came over, and we went for a walk.  I said, 

"It was good to have this time apart... I got a lot of things figured out. " 
He replied, "Me too... What did you get figured out?"
In response I blurted out, "I'm not telling you."  With a little hesitation I continued, "What did you get figured out?" 
He looked at me deeply for a moment and then replied, "That you're supposed to be my wife.
I sighed, "I know," and then without  a pause I asked, "Do you have an iron?"
Having just revealed the deep insights of his soul, he looked at me with the most confused look on his face. This was not the response he clearly had expected.  I quickly explained that while I was in California I was thinking that I needed to get an iron for college, but knowing that we were going to get married, I had wondered if he already had one. He just shook his head and laughed. If only he had known then what he was getting into by marrying me....

 And that was it! Seven months later, after my first semester of college, we were married two weeks shy of my 19th birthday. We began the insane job of finishing his chemistry degree in three years and my physics degree in two. Then we were off to medical school and residency  where we had all four of our children.  I thought the difficulties of my life are over after those rough 11 years. We were like any couple... we had our ups and downs, but Scott loved me deeply and I think with an intensity that I did not fully understand or reciprocate until after he died.

Why did I have such a strong experience and know so young and for so long that I was to marry him?

I think that knowledge was to propel me through my life right now. I needed to know that I did not make the wrong choice. I needed to know that I married the man I was supposed to marry even though his life would be cut short. Because of that experience 22 1/2 years ago, I never question that decision.

In the past two years, the depth of my ability to love has increased.  Not just the love for my husband, but for my children and for people around me that I serve.  

  • I know the bond between Scott and I has not been broken. 
  • I know that as long as I am true and faithful to the covenants that I have made with God, that His promises are sure.  
  • I know that we will be together forever as a family.  
  • I believe relationships can be strengthened on the other side of the veil.

I feel a greater closeness to, love for and understanding of my husband.  That love and understanding has come as I have turned to God. I have found that by turning to God and drawing closer to Him that I draw closer to my family in the process.  

This life is about learning how to love… 
How to love God more and others more.  

Sometimes I feel that is unfortunate that it took the death of my husband for me to really realize this truth, but my understanding now makes me grateful for that event. For I see it as only a temporary event...
a temporary separation that allowed me to learn some very important things...

things that will make me a better person in the eternities. 

I shared a lot of very deep personal emotions today partially to honor my husband and the love that he showed and continues to show towards me, and partially because I felt very strongly that someone needed to hear this today. I hope whoever you are, that you find comfort and that you find strength to get through the difficulties that you are facing.  More than anything I hope you feel love from God, if from no one else....because that is the love that has sustained me and continues to sustain me.


  1. I stumbled upon your blog post and I think I needed to read it tonight! I'm 5 weeks into this journey of being a widow and I have six young children 3 - 15 years old. I appreciate your insights and thoughts that you shared. Thank you!

  2. Wow that is powerful! It was what I needed to hear today. My brother has been gone for 5 months and this very day would have been his 22nd anniversary also!

  3. Thanks for this and all your posts. I found your post about how you approach saying your morning and evening prayers especially helpful. Can you explain in a similar way how you approach scripture study? Thanks for all your insight.

  4. I am 11 months a widow. Young children too. Thank you for sharing your story. I feel blessed to know we all have a story, a prayer answered, a moment of reassurance that we have not been forgotten on this mortal journey.

  5. My Husband passed on Jan 22 and your story has some similarities to mine. Thank you sharing your story,it helped me so much

    1. Sharon, I noticed you have a mission son out as well. Please find me on FB. Look for Veronica Connell Clarke friend me and I will private message you