When I was sixteen, God told me I was going to marry Sam Steere.
There were just a few problems with this. 1) I’d never spoken to Sam before. And 2) I didn’t grow up in a church where God talked to people, so I thought I was going insane.
Despite my concerns about my mental health, I really believed that God was speaking to me. And if it was God, he must be telling the truth. I knew it was crazy, but I also had a strange peace about it. I didn’t know why or when or how, but I knew I would marry Sam Steere.
Of course, I didn’t tell anyone about this. Who would believe me? So I held on to it for a year, quietly turning it around in my mind. During that year, Sam was inescapable. I’d seen him play piano at our mutual (large) church before, but now he was showing up everywhere I went. College fairs. Local plays. Coffee shops. I felt like he was haunting me.
The peace that I’d initially felt quickly turned to impatience. Part of me was curious about him, but mostly I just wanted catharsis—whether for good or bad. No one had ever taught me what to do with a divine prophecy. Did God tell me so I could do something about it? Or was he just…letting me know? Doing nothing was starting to feel silly, so I decided it was time to act.
First, I needed more information. I knew who Sam was, but I didn’t really know much about him. I perused his Facebook page, where I discovered that he liked Pride and Prejudice (swoon) and wrote music in his free time. He was also currently working at Starbucks, which would make it very easy to casually run into him.
Now, I should note that stalking boys was not a common pass time of mine. Although I’d had occasional crushes before this point, I’d never pursued them. I liked being independent. My daydreams were about careers—not romance or marriage. So all of this was extremely out of character for me.
But I went to Starbucks. Every week. Like a creep.
Until one day, Sam took my order.
“It’s Sam, right?” I said in what was meant to be a casual voice (but probably wasn’t).
Sam looked up from the cash register, and I could tell he had no clue who I was. But he was all politeness, “Remind me where I know you from…”
I went on to explain that we went to the same church, and I had seen him play with the worship band. We chatted for another minute, during which I admitted that I didn’t really like coffee (rookie mistake). Thankfully unfazed by my confession, he suggested a hot chocolate with special syrup, and I agreed to try it.
I drove off to school filled with sugar and adrenaline. The exchange had gone well. No fireworks, but I hadn’t crashed and burned either. I wasn’t sure where it would go from there, but I felt good that I’d finally introduced myself. That was enough…or so I thought.
Later that day, I fainted. To this day, I can’t explain why. I’d never fainted before, and I wasn’t sick or hungry. It happened completely out of the blue.
Even though I came to right away, the teacher still deemed me unwell for school. She even made me take a wheelchair down to the nurse’s office. I was a little embarrassed, but soon realized it could be just the excuse I needed to reconnect with Sam. I hopped on Facebook (yes, this is a true millennial love story) and messaged Sam, playfully accusing him of “poisoning” me and making me faint.
He took the bait and offered a profuse apology for accidentally putting poison instead of syrup in my drink. He also struck up a conversation about a movie I’d recently “liked.” We started messaging back and forth, realizing that we had a lot of common interests.
Soon, the topic turned to faith. Sam came from a charismatic background, where he’d seen healing and miracles. He believed that God spoke to people. And not just on special occasions.
I was floored. Sam’s beliefs completely matched my experience of God. I hadn’t had the theology to explain it, but I’d sensed that God was closer and more involved than I’d been taught. I still thought it was weird that God would arrange my marriage, but the more Sam and I talked, the more I didn’t mind.
Sam saw me in a way that no one else ever had—right down to my spirit—and he was kind and gentle with me in a way I hadn’t expected. Eventually, our friendship turned into romance. Six years later (after a lot more story that I’ll save for another post) we got married.
We’ve now been married for six years. We spent our newlywed years traveling the world and teaching people about the nearness of God. More recently, Sam has been tenderly nursing me through Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and singlehandedly caring for our three-year-old. I don’t know what I’d do without him. He is exactly the person I needed but never would have known to ask for.
But, of course, God already knew that.
Photo: Fully Alive Photography