She was 19.
He was 21.
She was “grounded” from going out of her dorm room after getting in trouble for a party that she didn’t have. He had flunked the Naval academy and was kicked out of IA State University twice.
The date was October 31, 1975. Two wild college kids met for the first time at a halloween party. Little did they know what the following 38 years had in store for them…
It was no secret they were completely taken with each other from the start. He had a big head of hair with a twinkle in his eye, she carried a hippy vibe with long hair parted down the middle. Five months later, they surprised their parents when they announced their engagement. Six months after that, she became Mrs. Timothy Overturf.
Two days after getting married, they moved to Detroit. Mom laughed as she explained, “It sounded exciting. We just wanted to leave Iowa.” Dad was familiar with the area and so off they went. “We were so poor,” dad told me between chuckles as he remembered the table that rocked back and forth from the legs being uneven, “we could hardly afford to get by on what we had.” But they had each other and they were adventurous. And there was one thing they were sure of, they never wanted to have kids.
“It was humble beginnings. I applied for a job and your Dad waited a year to apply for school again so we could get on our feet.” After a year, Dad decided to give school one more try when he applied to Lawrence Institute of Technology to study architecture. His hard work and dedication paid off when he graduated with flying colors.
One year later, on back to back days, my parents realized their need for Jesus and their lives were turned around. The change was immediate and the desire to learn and grow was immense. They were learning together, meeting with friends, and living more intently.
It was around this time that Dad decided to go into the ministry. There were days of studying and long nights of typing papers. It was a team effort between my parents, and where my mom found her love for peanut M&Ms.
During the next 30+ years, Dad joined the military as a Navy Chaplain, they had 8 kids, moved 14 times, went through several deployments – including Dad in Iraq for over a year – and are enjoying the growing number of in-laws and grandkids.
There were difficult times they had to fight through. Times when bills had to be paid and cars broke down. Times when they were tired but children had to be fed. There were days when, literally, all they could do was trust God. But the stories live on. The perseverance lives on. The good times outweigh every single hard time and the laughter is always louder than the tears.
They say, “when you know, you just know.” I once heard the words, “Real love is fighting like hell to hold on to every moment you have with her. It’s making a life together and making it work, no matter what happens. You want a love for the ages? I think that’s great. Prove it. Make it last. They can take away a lot of things, but they can never take away what you two have together.” [cool points to whoever can name who said that]
Love is so much more than a feeling. It’s finding someone who doesn’t want to change you, but who brings out the best of YOU. Love is someone who sees your quirks and says, “hey, me too!” Someone who will get up early to catch the sunrise with you. It’s someone who believes in you enough to push you out of your comfort zone. Love is knowing you could lose it all yet fighting for the possibility of winning.
But, this is so much more than a love story. How do you go from flunking the Naval Academy and being kicked out of college twice to a Captain in the US Navy. How do you go from wanting no kids to giving up your career so you can spend your time investing in their lives. This is the story of God’s grace. A story of God taking the broken and making something beautiful.
[photo by Caroline Lima Photography]
This is the story of my parents. I’ve watched them go through thick and thin, laughter and tears, struggle and celebration.
Happy 38th Anniversary to the best two parents a girl could ask for!