Kelly: I had just entered college and was still living with my parents in a small Louisiana town of less than 3,000 people located about an hour outside New Orleans. Living in an out-of-the-way place with virtually no good prospects for a husband (or so I thought) and also the aftermath of a disappointing dating relationship, I told the Lord that I was finished with dating. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what He had waiting for me just around the corner.
I had fallen in love with Tim Sheppard’s music through Christian radio and had all his albums. During my high school and college years, I always attended his concerts any time he was ministering in the New Orleans area.
In May of 1981, Tim came to New Orleans again, and there I was, sitting in one of his concerts worshiping the Lord. I thought he was cute, but I wasn’t even sure if he was single. Besides…he would never notice me. I was just another person in a very large crowd of people.
Two weeks later, I received an envelope in the mail. Inside was a handwritten letter from someone claiming to be Tim Sheppard. I thought it was a prank until I noticed that the envelope was postmarked from Dallas, Texas. Later, I found out that Tim had tracked me down by contacting the concert sponsor who brought him into New Orleans. The sponsor just “so happened” to know who I was from the description Tim gave.
Tim said some encouraging things about the way I worshiped, but overall, I would say it was more of a get-to-know-you letter…or so I thought. I decided to write him back, and we began to exchange letters.
After a few weeks, Tim started calling me. Then, toward the end of June, he asked me what I was doing for the July 4 weekend. I told him I didn’t have anything special planned…that I was just going to be with my family and some friends. So, he asked if he could come visit my family and me, and I said…YES!!!
I was so nervous when he flew in to New Orleans that July day! Writing letters was one thing, but what would I actually say to him in person? Would we even “hit it off”?
Well…we did! I remember attending church together that weekend. No one could figure out how Tim Sheppard ended up coming to my little home church, and that he was with me!
After a weekend with my family and me, Tim flew back to Dallas and kept calling me every day for two weeks. Then, he offered to fly me to Dallas to meet his family, and I said…YES!!!
On our first evening together in Dallas, we joined Tim’s parents for dinner. Afterwards, he and I stayed up late to visit, and he asked me to marry him! (He had begun writing me only two months earlier, and we had only actually been together for less than a week’s time!) Tim said his proposal was conditional upon both his and my parents’ complete approval. He was confident that the Lord would speak through them to give us direction, and if any one of our parents didn't have peace about us moving forward, we would either postpone or completely cancel our plans. And I said…YES!!!
Both of our families said YES!!! They believed we were supposed to be husband and wife. We all realized there would be adjustments in marriage that most couples talk through and work out during their engagement. However, since Tim was in full-time ministry, there wasn’t a way for us to spend more time together in person (since I lived over 500 miles away). We did spend countless hours on the phone talking, though. We kept the phone bills as a reminder. :)