Today’s Miracle Monday is the testimony of Sister Ruth Gehly, and it answers the question, “How did God lead you to your spouse?”
My father’s job moved my family many places when I was growing up. By the time we landed in Alabama, life blossomed and my world began to revolve around my social life: girlfriends, dating, church youth group, Friday night football games, spend-the-night parties, school clubs and activities, and the independence that comes with learning to drive. Talk about a bombshell when I learned the news that we would be moving to West Virginia. I will never forget the teacher who told me that we were moving to a very “dirty” city. What was happening?
The next year-and-a-half was not great. It was so awkward stepping into a world where social circles had been established for years. I always felt on the perimeter. And, yes, the chemical plants in the big city nearby cast many unpleasant odors downwind. Most of all my heart ached to return to where I fit in and felt loved and accepted.
When it came time to look for colleges, I was relieved and excited because of the fresh beginning that lay before me — only this time, the beginning would be my choice and not the result of what I was told would be. I could have looked back to seek new beginnings at one of the big schools down south where old friends would be going, but somehow, I knew that I would no longer fit in there either. Instead, I sought a new and different direction.
I applied and was accepted at a number of colleges and universities nearby, but each one that I visited felt strange. The moment I stepped on the campus of Grove City College in Pennsylvania, however, I knew — for the very first time in my life — it was the place I was “meant” to be.
There were many hurdles to conquer my freshman year: living on the perimeter of a dorm room with roommates whose values were extremely different than my own; studying philosophies and subjects that were very foreign to me and not always easy to understand; living many miles from home that never really felt like home; my heart aching for things in the past that were no longer meant to be; knowing that I needed God but not really knowing exactly how to find Him.
Then one day, I was introduced to a very handsome and quiet young man named Joel. We interacted socially through a Christian group on campus. Other girls had their eyes on him, so I politely kept my distance until the day he asked me on a date. He was so good looking and so sweet … such a gentleman.
By the spring of our freshman year, we knew that our relationship was very special.
Periodically, he would take a group of us to his home located in a little town called Fredonia, Pennsylvania. We went to this little church called The Church of Jesus Christ that stood by his grandparents’, Russell and Ethel Cadman’s, home. I learned that they believed in the Book of Mormon and had a great understanding of prophecy. They were wonderful, welcoming, down-home folks (not cult-like) and his mom, Martha Gehly, sure made the best pot roast and rhubarb custard pie. Joel and his brother, Art, loved to hunt and trap, a world I really knew nothing about. But Joel also liked to fish, and that was something I absolutely loved to do. And thus began the love of a lifetime.
Our college days are some of the sweetest days of my life. Even though I thought Grove City was the place of my choosing, I fully believe and understand that it was God’s design and destination for my journey…the place where I would meet the man He had handpicked to become my lifelong companion, best friend, (fishing partner), and true love — the man who would not only share life with me but lead me, by example, in my personal journey to finding and serving the true and living God.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.