Wow where do I begin? Well let’s start with my side of the story. After being hurt, used and abuse I found myself all alone with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. The last thing I wanted was another woman to hurt me or to hurt my children. I was done with dating, I was never going to get married again I felt like I’ve done my best. Being a devoted person father and husband, two failed marriages I thought no one would ever give me another chance but I knew my children needed a positive mother figure in their life and they deserve a happy structured family. I guess I was being selfish. I had been hurt too many times and I didn’t want to go through all of this is but after seeing the pain in my children’s eyes and my son telling me that he wants a family and he also wants to have me and my mom stories to share with his friends. He just wants to fit in. He wants to have what everybody else has which is something at that time I knew I could not give him. I knew I needed to start talking and dating again even though I did not want to. I can’t find the right woman if I don’t start talking and dating I needed to stop being selfish and do what’s best for my children but where would I go? Who should I turn to and does anyone even exist who would love and accept my children as much as me? For fear of being hurt again I sat down and made a list of qualities that I wanted to find in a woman and I purposely made that list impossible so that I could not find her… she can’t break my heart and hurt me if she does not exist. Did I just accidentally mock Heavenly Father? That night I had a dream I was sitting in the temple and someone whispered to me she’s ready and she needs you. I woke up laughing and said there’s no way not again! Days and weeks went by and the pain grew in my children’s eyes I knew something had to be done so I decided to sit my personal feelings aside and give this one more try. If she’s out there I will give it my all one last time… A few days later I realize I’m the only single member in my ward so where would I go? I started to feel the desire to move to Tennessee again its always been my dream to live in the mountains of Tennessee. but I wasn’t ready to move just yet I knew no one. I didn’t know where to go I just wanted to give up that night I prayed and I said Heavenly Father if she’s out there if she exists where do I go and how do I find her? wow did I just really say that I don’t want to date I don’t want to get married again I definitely don’t want to get hurt again. Shortly thereafter I received an email from a dating site I laughed and said nice try I’m not going that route again nor will I waste my money so I deleted the email. The next morning I was preparing to go to church I was going to talk to the bishop about singles wards in Ohio and Tennessee the bishop was not there so when I got home I laugh and said I have more important things to worry about Wow did I just accidentally mock Heavenly Father again? That night I received another email from the same dating site it said one day left for your free trial so I thought okay what’s it gonna hurt it’s free it’s only good for three days maybe I could find somebody to talk to we’re not going to date definitely not getting married so I started a profile. I met some people nobody had a connection some of them were creepy some of them just wanted to rush into marriage and I said I’m done with this why do I even have a smartphone anyway I hate computers so I ignored it.
Months later I was laying in bed and noticed I had a message from that site it was a list of possible matches I laughed and said Wow this should be entertaining so I looked through the profiles and saw nothing but red flags and thought to myself I’m so glad my membership expires tomorrow I flipped the page one more time and saw the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen. I thought to myself wow she is beautiful I read her profile looked at a couple pictures and thought why is she on this site and why am I typing a message to her I don’t stand a chance this is just a waste of time nobody like that would want anything to do with me. I sent the message anyway she’s just gonna laugh she won’t want anything to do with me and my profile will be gone tomorrow anyways little did I know that she would respond back!
We shared some messages I could tell she was probably a little annoyed considering I’m such a slow typer and I hate going through my email and the site to read and send messages. So we exchanged phone numbers and began to text, texting led to phone calls, phone calls lead to laughter then one night during an 8 hour phone call we bagan to feel a connection and became friends neither one of us wanted to date. Marriage was the last thing on our minds but hey we have somebody to talk to. Somebody who listens. Somebody who cares. Wow did I just say that a woman who cares?
Anywho days and weeks weeks turned into months as time went by she picked up very quickly when I would go to work when I would be home, what time Gavin gets home from school and when he’s leaving for school. She knows our schedule better than I do! She knows me better than I do! I know that because I tested her not in a bad way it was just purely accidental…
One night while we were chatting we were talking about the feelings that we’re developing between us, her guard was up and so was mine. Our guards came down but then they would go right back up again. that’s when it slips and I said do you really even know me she looked right at me with a tear in her she told my life story! She also explained how I was feeling, what I was thinking and where I was in my life at that time. Then after telling my childrens life stories I was all amazed and that’s when I said “Jacqueline Marie Clark I love you!” Wow where did that come from? I don’t even know what true love is and I never miss use those words, cause I know how much they can hurt and it does hurt… I love this woman so much it hurts!
As time went by and our feelings grew stronger. I remember while she was visiting her parents for christmas she sent me a video.
As I watched I was blown away at how talented she is. She was playing the piano and my heart was racing! I watch the video several times then a thought crossed my mind…”Wait a minute this is on my list!” I opened up my scriptures found the list and began to cry for whatever reason I had been ignoring that list. I reread it prayerfully near the bottom of the list it states “she has to have the ability to play the piano” and then it struck me. I read the list numerous times as I read the list I thought about our conversations, our emails, our text messages, our video chat, dreams we shared and feelings towards each other.
She has everything checked off on the list with the exception of loving and accepting my children as much or more as she loves and accepts me. My hopes were high but then I got guarded up again she doesn’t even love me. She hasn’t even met my children. Savannah doesn’t even know about her then it all fell into place she told me she loves me!
The next day Savannah was looking through pictures on my phone and said “daddy who is that?” I said ” my friend jackie” She said “WOW she’s beautiful!” that afternoon she spoke with jackie on the phone it was a precious phone call.
That night after getting off the phone with jackie I knew that someday we would understand what’s going on between us…
Valentine’s Day finally arrived it was a wonderful weekend and my best trip home. You see I was born and raised in Ohio but my heart belongs to Tennessee it always has. I’ve always had a connection there. I’ve always dreamed of living there I’ve been prompted many times to move there I have a very strong attraction to Tennessee. As I prepared to leave and we held each other and cried it was at that moment I knew why I was attracted to Tennessee! I knew why I was prompted to move there and I knew why there was such a strong connection. It was Jackie all along!
A few weeks later Jackie had the opportunity to spend a week and a half with me and my family. That time was valuable and precious we learned a lot, we laughed a lot, we grew a lot, we cried a lot but more importantly we came to an understanding of why things are happening the way they were.
Our connection became very strong and very clear some people may say we’re taking things too fast but we believe its just right and Heavenly Father is guiding us every step of the way.
We had the opportunity to kneel and pray together. We knew at that moment we were going to be married someday! WOW why are we talking about getting married? Let’s have fun the rest of the time you’re here! We played, we laughed, we had a wonderful time she got to meet some of the family and we had the opportunity to get lost in conversation several times.
We were able to clear things up, we now have a very strong understanding of each other and it is clear the path we are on was made possible through years of broken roads, burnt bridges, broken hearts and night after night of sorrow and pain… We know we have what it takes to be a successful family, happy and healthy but when we tried to decide we were not going to worry about that at this time and enjoy being together, we’re going to continue to talk, to learn, to laugh, date, chat and we’re going to travel back and forth as much as possible… But at the same time we cannot ignore certain things, certain feelings, certain dreams and definitely… we cannot ignore divine revelation! As we drove back to Tennessee I was lost in deep thought I knew I was going to have the talk with her father but when and how? He’s a very busy man I’m very busy too I have a very hectic schedule. I don’t have the opportunity to travel as much as I used to. I work long days at times working six and seven days a week! But it’ll happen I know it will be here shortly. I had the opportunity to speak with her father on the phone. I remember that conversation very well we talked a while I felt comfortable, I felt at peace then I popped the question the awkward silence for a couple seconds felt like a couple of hours then her father said yes! And said we had a good plan. After getting off the phone with me I dropped to my knees and cried I also prayed and thank my Heavenly Father.
As time went by Jackie and I got lost in conversation we started to make plan. We knew when we wanted to get married even though I haven’t popped the question yet. Its not that I don’t care or that I was getting cold feet, I just knew that it had to be special and unique. I wanted her to be happy. I wanted it to be a special day for her so she can smile, she can live her dream, she can talk to her family and friends and have that experience which she so deserves and has wanted for so many years. She desires to have the girly talk and say “he proposed to me!” she also needs to show off the Ring but there’s a catch… you may have seen the post on Facebook… My original plan was to make it big and spectacular but that’s not her. She also needs pictures or a video cause I know she would want to put something on Facebook. She would also want to share the moment with friends and family so I tried to think of plan B which I had to scrap. After spending time in the temple one weekend her and I were chatting on the phone I was at work she sent a couple text messages then went to bed but thanks to my impeccable timing for some reason I knew I had to do it right then and there! But she’s not here it doesn’t matter to me it matters to her! So I called… as the phone rang I said to myself “this is it it’s all or nothing” she answered the phone we talked a little bit I told her to videotape the phone call… she was confused and so was I.
I couldn’t believe I was doing this so I poured my heart out and then I asked her to marry me but the thought hit me that’s not good enough I don’t want to marry this woman I want her to have the opportunity to go to the temple which she so desires! To go and be sealed for time and all eternity at that moment she laughed and cried she said yes!!! Then told me that I was stuck with her forever and that’s when I became the happiest man alive!
I will be the luckiest man alive because I will be sealed to the most wonderful woman in the world the only woman who has answered my deepest, most heartfelt and sincere prayers