Henry & Vanessa Dotson

Henry and Vanessa’s union didn’t manifest like your traditional fairytale, but that’s not to say it doesn’t come with a fairytale-like proposal and wedding. Some might suggest they met by happenstance while they would say they were on two separate paths and God navigated their circumstances so they would meet.
They both attended a general body meeting of a community service organization, which is where their paths first crossed. Then, as part of her intentional networking plan, Vanessa made the first move and reached out to Henry about a position available at the company he worked for. Henry would say God worked it out so that they would end up working together at the same company in the same department.
Vanessa and Henry developed a close work relationship and eventually a friendship. Henry was married with one child and a second on the way. Vanessa was single, never married, and without children. Vanessa eventually became a family friend. Social visits were infrequent, but they did take place. On one occasion, Vanessa visited the family and braided Henry’s wife’s hair while she was expecting. Henry’s family attended Vanessa’s graduation party after she earned her Master’s degree. Most of Henry and Vanessa’s socializing was limited to going out for lunch on work days.
Henry suffered a surprising and crushing blow when his wife announced she wanted a divorce. Henry was so confused that when she said it was time to go Henry asked, “Where are we going?”
Vanessa was there for Henry quickly in his hour of need as a friend. But she did not want to become involved in a “rebound” relationship started by Henry out of desperation. Henry was not interested in that scenario either. He was deeply wounded and thinking only of reconciliation to save his marriage.
In retrospect, Henry would say part of the reason God placed Vanessa in his life was for a time such as this. God knew from the very beginning of time that Henry would receive a crushing blow from his wife and he would need a female friend, with only his best interest in mind, to be a key member of his support community.
After Henry’s divorce, Vanessa remained a family friend as he adjusted to life as a part time single parent. She would visit the family occasionally and participate in family events. Over time, their friendship became closer as Vanessa continued to date and Henry remained uninterested in a romantic relationship of any kind with anyone. His focus was on his children and growing in his relationship with God.
Three years after his divorce was final, Henry became interested in having a God-centered marriage as described in the Bible. He decided to wait on God and prayed for Him to bring his wife to him. Henry reasoned that it was God who said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Adam was unaware that he even needed a partner. It was God who brought Eve to Adam and Henry wanted God to do the same for him. Henry had no clue at that time who God would bring to him. He just had faith that God would answer his prayer.
Henry prayed that God would not only bring his new wife to him, he also asked God to make it crystal clear to him who she was so that he would not be mistaken. Henry had learned from his painful divorce and a few unsuccessful short-lived attempts at dating afterwards, when it came to affairs of the heart he could be, in his own words, “a little dense.” God did answer Henry’s prayer and He did it in a way that only He could do.
Once again in retrospect, Henry could see how God had navigated the circumstances of his life and Vanessa’s life to bring about their fairytale-like proposal and wedding. Once Henry made his petition to God, God began to act on his behalf. God knew before Henry asked that Vanessa was the one for him. God had been working on Vanessa’s heart all along while Henry was going through his trials and tribulation brought about by divorce and trying to date again his way.
Vanessa was able to witness firsthand and up-close Henry’s exponential growth in spiritual and emotional maturity. Vanessa was able to see that he was a man of integrity and trustworthy. Henry’s character and willingness to be led by God caused Vanessa’s emotions to stir and change toward Henry. She became attracted to the man he had become, exactly what she was looking for in a husband. But she kept her feelings to herself.
It wasn’t until Henry sought Vanessa’s advice during his last ill-fated attempt at dating his way that Vanessa revealed her true feelings to Henry. Despite that clear sign she was the one, Henry still did not fully get it. Finally, and faithfully, God spoke to Henry in a miraculous way so that it was unmistakably clear Vanessa was the one.
At Henry’s 40th birthday party he experienced a moment where his senses were altered. Vanessa appeared as if a light was shining on her and the rest of the room had dimmed. He heard God say in a voice audible only to him:
“Henry, I know the desires of your heart. I know you want to have the kind of marriage the Bible talks about. You asked Me to bring you a helpmate as I did for Adam. I have brought Vanessa to you.”
Henry knew it was the crystal-clear message he had prayed for. December 25, 1997, in Franklinville, New Jersey, Henry proposed to Vanessa, and after a little hesitation, Vanessa made it official. On Friday, September 4, 1998, Vanessa and Henry were married in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Their love has continued to grow and they have shared many adventures since then.
This is another example of a journey of faith in God that was taken by Henry and Vanessa. It shows how the decisions we make and the consequences that result depend on what or in whom we place our faith.
Our Journeys of Faith was created to be a place where people will find inspiration to live their lives as their authentic selves. To live an authentic life requires faith. To live an authentic life requires us to travel on journeys of faith.
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