I want to preface this story by saying that I always ask God to show me in His word what I need to do before making any big decisions. I also was in the habit of reading a Psalm and a Proverb everyday at the time of this story. After my first husband died, my future son in law kept asking me if I was reading my Bible. I would tell Him no but not to worry, I wasn't mad at God, I just didn't feel like reading. I should have been persevering anyway, but I wasn't. We have a bad tendency to push God away in bad times instead of running to Him like we should. The day of the funeral, I read the Psalm and the Proverb for that day because I knew that I was concerning my future son in law. I read Psalm 142. When my son in law got to the house I read it to him. Verse 4 says: I looked to my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I told him that is exactly what happened to me. His eyes got real big. But I said listen to this. Verse 7 says: Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me. I told him that means everything is going to be okay.
The church my daughter and I attended was planning a trip to Israel. We had always wanted to go and this time we could afford the trip. Our pastor offered to pay my daughter to follow him around and take pictures for him. She is a great photographer. We both prayed about it and even though we had always wanted to go, we didn't have peace about it and finally made the firm decision not to go. As it turned out, had we been on that trip, we would not have been able to do hurricane relief work after hurricane Katrina and would have not met Loyd Teakell.
We had some friends who were in Gretna, LA doing hurricane relief work and they were sending out emails saying that help was needed there. At the time, I wasn't sure what God wanted me to do with my life now that my husband had died and my daughter really wanted to go and help out in Gretna. I told her we would go and while we were there we would seek God to find out what He wanted us to do next.
We arrived in the evening right after everyone had finished dinner and had gathered for a time of praise and worship and testimony. We found a seat and I was looking around at everyone, just sort of trying to get the feel of the place and the people that were there. Right away, I noticed a man who was really focused on worship. I also noticed that he was cute. I thought to myself that he probably had nice legs. And so I looked and he did. Then, I began to inwardly scold myself because here I have just walked in to a worship service and I am checking out a man's legs instead of entering in to worship. I did my best not to look at him for the rest of the evening.
After the service, we were told where we would be sleeping and that in the morning we would be on the team of our friends. The service I mentioned and the place where we would meet to have breakfast and dinner was a big warehouse on a big dock in the Mississippi River. There were 2 old coast guard ships parked there that were owned by Friendships Ministries. This was to be our home while we were there. They showed us to the women's room that consisted of a lot of bunks 3 high and a small bathroom. I got a bottom bunk and my daughter picked the bunk above mine. When I laid on my back, I could put my thumb on my nose and my pinky on the bottom of her bed. There was also a railing along the side of the bed that could not be lowered. I was a little claustrophobic the first night and hung my arm and leg out between the rail.
At breakfast the first morning, the cute man was sitting at the table with our friends. We joined that table so we could find out what we were supposed to be doing for the day. I asked this man what his name was so that I wouldn't seem rude. He said something that sounded like Low...ed. I asked again and still didn't understand. I thought about asking him to spell it, but decided that it really didn't matter anyway, so I just said oh or ok or something like that. Later (since it really didn't matter anyway, right?) I asked someone else what his name was. It was Loyd. I don't think I would have ever come up with that from how he said it. So, anyway, my daughter and I went about our day with our friends. The purpose of our group was to go from house to house and find out what the specific pressing needs were for each family. We would also tell them about Jesus and pray for them. When we returned that evening, we were told that they needed some more volunteers for the chain saw group. Our friends had enough people in their group so my daughter and I volunteered for that group. We both like to experience different things.
During our first day with the chainsaw group, I got a major headache. It was super hot and humid there and I spent a lot of time in the shade trying to get rid of the headache. The men on the chainsaw group would cut down limbs and the women would drag them to the curb for pickup later. I told my daughter that evening that if I kept getting a headache like that, we were going to have to go home in a couple of day instead of staying two weeks like we had planned. We both prayed and I didn't have another headache the whole time we were there.
The second evening after dinner and worship and testimony time, my daughter and I went out to sit on the dock and look at the river. Loyd was already sitting out there. We sat down anyway, but not real close to him. He started chit chatting with us when all of a sudden my daughter looked to see what time it was and said that she had to go because she had told some people that she would play monopoly with them. She was gone before I had a chance to say anything. What in the world did she think she was doing leaving me alone with a cute guy?! What if I wanted to play monopoly?!! I was so nervous and scared. I had been married to the same person for 19 years. I did not know how to talk to a guy, much less a cute one.
So anyway, Loyd knew how to talk and began to tell me his testimony. During the middle of it, I really began to feel God calling me to get alone and pray. I needed to give Him my all like Loyd was talking about. I didn't want to be rude, so I kept listening for a while, but finally it got so strong that I was in tears and I told him that I didn't want to be rude, but I had to go pray. And I just got up and left. Kind of like my daughter had done to me. Maybe it runs in the family. :) I figured he was going to think I was the rudest person ever, but I didn't care because I needed to pray and after we left New Orleans I would never see him again anyway.
So, I went on the deck of the boat and cried out to God that I was willing to do anything He wanted me to do. I would even go to Mexico and live in a grass hut if that is what He wanted. I just wanted to know what to do and I would do it. (before I had told God that I didn't want to go to Mexico--I don't really know why) Nothing noticeable happened that night. I just cried and prayed and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I felt like I had been wrapped up in a cocoon and now my head was sticking out and I was looking around amazed at my surroundings. I didn't feel like I was out of the cocoon, but it was a beginning.
At breakfast Loyd asked me if I was feeling better. I told him about how I was feeling. I don't think he really understood what I meant, but he knew that his testimony had touched me. We started sitting out on the dock every night talking and I hear more and more of his life story. He told me that he didn't think he would get married again. I told him that God was not going to send him to NASCAR without a wife. I had no plans or hopes to be his wife at this time, I was just convinced that there would be too much temptation there and that God would provide him with a wife.
I don't remember how much time went by, but I was starting to have feelings for Loyd. I didn't like it because it seemed to soon. It was not what I taught my kids etc. One night on the ship Loyd took me aside and said that he wanted to talk to me. He said that he was starting to have feelings for me and I admitted that I was too, but it seemed so fast. He said that we should pray about it together and held out his hands for me to hold. I didn't want to hold his hands. I thought why do we have to hold hands? Are we in middle school? But I did hold his hands and he prayed and then went to let go but I was still holding on. He looked at me and asked if I wanted to let go and I shook my head yes but held on tighter. By this time, I was crying. I was scared and confused. We separated and I went to go read my Bible. I read my Psalm and Proverb reading and I read Psalm 142 again. It was just how I had been feeling; that my soul had been set free from prison. I knew that God was telling me that it was okay that things were moving fast.
A few days after this, hurricane Rita hit Lake Charles, LA. Lake Charles is the headquarters of Friendship Ministries. They asked Loyd to help out there and to drive a truck back and forth from New Orleans and Lake Charles with supplies. The first day he was gone he texted me. I had told him that I didn't really like texting. He said that he did because you could say things that you would be afraid to say in person. I said that if you were afraid to say something in person, then you probably shouldn't be saying it. So anyway, we texted back and forth a little and then he sent me a text that said he wanted to kiss my smile. I freaked out and thought that this must be one of those things that you don't want to say in person. I didn't know what to say. There was no way I was going to kiss him. We hadn't known each other long enough. I had already told him that I would wait up until he got back from Lake Charles, but I didn't know what to do. I didn't answer that text at all. I played over and over in my mind how to say no when he got back. I was driving myself crazy, so I got out my Bible to read. I got to Psalm 85:10........righteousness and peace have kissed each other. I pushed my Bible away and said out loud, "No way!" Then I heard a still small voice say, "That's the way you said you want Me to speak to you, are you going to pick and choose whether I'm speaking to you or not?" Wow!!!
So, now I was super nervous because I was going to have to kiss him and it was going to be weird to kiss someone new after all of these years!!! So, he got back with the truck and we did kiss and it was weird at first. But we kept going back in forth from our little hiding place to the truck to see if they were finished loading it and it got less and less weird.
After a few more days, they asked Loyd if he would just stay on in Lake Charles and cook there. He requested that they move my daughter and me there too. The ship there was not as comfortable because it had no air conditioning. My daughter and I were on bathroom duty there. Loyd and I continued to talk and to realize that the Lord was drawing us together. Loyd started talking about marriage like it was a given and I went along with it for a while, but then I decided that if I was going to get married again, I wanted to be asked. Loyd had already told me that he didn't want big fancy wedding rings because he had had them before and it didn't mean anything. He said that he just wanted simple matching gold bands when we got married; nothing fancy.
The next time he brought up marriage, I told him that if I was going to be married again, I wanted to be asked. He said that he didn't have a ring so he didn't think he could ask. I told him that he had said that all he wanted was two simple matching gold bands so they would not be given out until the wedding. A light went off in his head and he dropped to his knee and asked me to marry him right there. I, of course, said yes. I knew God wasn't going to send him to NASCAR without a wife, but I sure wasn't thinking it would be me!!
Up until this time, I hadn't really talked much. I wasn't trying to deceive him into thinking he was marrying a quiet woman, I was just nervous about talking about myself and if there was too long of a pause, Loyd would just start talking again. :) So, when I told him that I knew how we could get his ministry started, he was totally shocked. I told him that I had a rather large bank account that was not enough to race NASCAR, but that I thought it was enough to at least get started. I told him how God had told me that I was going to use that money on my new husband. (see my testimony) He was overwhelmed at the goodness of God.
We left for about a week to get some things settled and came back and got married on the ship in the Mississippi River. We wore work clothes because that is what we wore when we met and we were going off to do more work for God. When we got married, we had known each other for 6 weeks.