“You look pretty today.”
Surprised by the statement, I turned to find my husband carefully studying my features. It wasn’t like him to give out random compliments. In fact, I was hard put to gain one from him even when I put forth the effort to dress up.
I told him thank you, and then got up to go look in the bathroom mirror. My private perusal told me what I had already known. No make-up, unbrushed hair, and the last time I wore this orange sweater he had said I looked like a pumpkin. Did I mention that I’m fat? Well, I am.
Nothing about my appearance had changed. Was he being insincere? I didn’t think so. My appearance had not improved. It was his attitude that had changed.
For two thirds of my marriage, I had lived with a verbally abusive man who, at his own admission, didn’t love me. I married a Christian, but then he had gotten away from God and things had spiraled downhill from there. For years, I prayed for him to find his way back to God. I knew that was the key to turning his attitude towards me around.
Then we got the news that he had non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. His daddy had died from the same thing, but his daddy was an alcoholic. Because of that, Tommy had never even drunk one beer. And now he was dying from the same disease. How ironic.
So we began the process of him dying. Let me tell you, he didn’t go through this alone. In some ways, it is harder on the spouse of the dying person. I did stuff in taking care of him that I never thought I’d be able to do for anyone. There are moments of anger, depression, and fear like I had never felt before. What was going to happen to me?
You ask this out loud, and you will be judged. One thing I was sure of- I would never remarry. I would never again take a chance on another man. I couldn’t go through another loveless marriage. I told a friend this—one who knew what I had endured. Instead of judging me for thinking about my future without Tommy, she lightened the mood with a joke, leading to a conversation which I would later use when writing Irresistibly Yours. After having this conversation, Bo Manning showed up in a series of dreams. Some of these scenes ended up in the book too.
But then a miracle happened. A few of them, actually.
Tommy got things right between him and God. He got a new liver. And then, he made things right with his wife. I hardly recognize this man I’m married to now- the one who randomly tells me I look pretty. I feel beyond blessed by this second chance God has given us.
About a year after his transplant surgery, the memory of Bo resurfaced. I realized Tommy was my Bo—my second chance at love. I felt a strong urge to write the story. I talked it over with Tommy and asked if it would bother him for me to write this book.
His answer said more than he did. “If you feel lead to write it, then write it. Besides, it’s part of my testimony now.”
So I did.