Updated: Feb 26
“So many things had changed in my life, and I was desperately trying to keep up. And now, God had brought me Trent. After my difficult divorce, I seriously considered being done with men—for good. How much betrayal and pain could one person be expected to take? I didn’t really know—I just felt I had been given more than enough of my fair share, plus being single had its advantages. Yet, despite everything, I still believed in the God-ordained sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. I knew plenty of others who were happy in theirs, but, I didn’t know if I would—or if I even wanted to—get married again.
Heavenly Father had a different plan.
About a month after my divorce was final, I came across a post that Trent had written on Facebook. We were both in a Latter-day Saints singles group online, which was a resource for information regarding Church-directed local activities in the area where I lived. I’m not sure why I joined in the first place, except I was lonely. COVID-19 isolation was raging, in-person church was no longer a thing at that time, and on my days off from work the clock ticked slower than ever. I did not want to date anyone—I was too broken—but I did want someone to talk to that could relate to some of what I was experiencing.
Trent had written, “Through great trials can come unexpected truth and light.”
The Spirit touched me through those words. I knew a lot about “great trials,” and I also had experienced greater truth and light as I’d walked through them, with the Lord. My interest peaked, especially because the most important thing to me, in my life was putting God first. As I looked at pictures, and other posts on Trent’s page, it seemed like he shared the same priority. He had recently lost his wife after a two-year battle with cancer—my heart hurt for him. I saw he was an author, something we had in common, and he had just moved to Utah and was house hunting. I had just finished that process and was closing on my new house in a few weeks. I looked up his book online, it looked like he had gone through a big transformation in his life. I was impressed.
I felt several times I should message him, but I ignored it because doing so felt awkward and uncomfortable. But when the feeling wouldn’t go away, I finally listened and acted. My message to Trent was several paragraphs long, ending with wishing him luck on his house hunting and saying maybe our paths would cross sometime. His reply was two short sentences. I felt embarrassed for being so open, yet what I shared in the message had felt right.
Over the next few weeks, we started texting back and forth, and he clarified some things going on in his personal life that explained his initial response to me. His honesty was very comforting. I also ordered his book and read it.
At the end of the month, on my birthday, he asked me out.
I turned him down. I told him I wasn’t dating—just looking for friends.
His response was he didn’t just want to be my friend—he wanted much more. That was scary for me, because of all I had recently been through and was still dealing with in therapy. But I felt drawn to him.
We decided we would meet in person the following Sunday afternoon at a park, to study Come Follow Me and have a picnic. I was adamant it wasn’t a date—just hanging out as friends. I had a lot of healing to do.
Our daily texting increased, and Trent began to occupy my thoughts. Something was definitely happening between us. One morning, a few days before our pre-arranged meeting we decided we didn’t want to wait any longer. We made plans to meet later that same afternoon. After that, we saw each other almost every day.
We had a lot to talk about, and a lot to discover. Every time we were together, we prayed together. We wanted to feel Him, and hear Him—and we did. Miracles started happening, answers to prayers came clearly, and our love bloomed and grew. We were engaged a month later and married a month after that.
Along with many spiritual experiences and confirmation that God had brought us together at that exact time, we also experienced opposition. “The adversary’s greatest power is to give us fear, to tell us that what the Lord requires will be too uncomfortable, too impossible to do. But as we obey, the Lord will fill us with love and inexpressible joy.”¹
The suddenness of our intense relationship was hard for many people in our circle of family and friends, and they weren’t quiet in their protests or opinions, especially a few very close to us. It hurt and created a struggle. In many ways we understood. After all, if we had been giving a friend or one of our adult children, we would have told them the same things—to take such a serious commitment slowly and not rush.
But for us, we knew God had other plans, and we knew we needed to listen. He taught us, we needed to give others grace. We didn’t necessarily understand His timing either, especially because both of us were still grieving—Trent, over the recent loss of his first wife, and me from trauma and a recent divorce. Because our relationship was young, there would be a lot of growing together after we were husband and wife. We learned to, “not question too much…for the God who ordained the beginning can be safely trusted with the end, as well as with all that lies in between.”²
Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, we were unable to be married and sealed in the temple at the same time. We had to be married civilly first, and then sealed.
Since Trent was sealed to his first wife, I struggled with feeling “second.” I knew I loved him, but I knew he had had a happy marriage for many years before God brought us together. On one hand that was a comfort—he knew how to be truly committed and how to respect and honor a woman as his wife. But it was also hard not to wonder where I would fit. It was confusing at times, but Trent wanted to be sealed to me. When I prayed about it, I felt being sealed to him in the temple was what God wanted for us, but I struggled with my own mortal doubts and fears of truly belonging to him. I wrestled with understanding, “until we subdue ourselves to the Lord, we can only experience frustration and pain. When we subdue ourselves to His will, we are filled with peace and dignity in all circumstances, no matter how challenging.”³
The morning of our sealing was windy and cold, but we were glad it wasn’t snowing. We had a one-hour drive to get to the temple, it felt a little surreal it was actually happening. As soon as the temple, with its single central spire and stained glass windows came into view I felt overwhelmed with excitement and love for my husband, and the eternal covenants we were about to make. Inside, as we knelt across the altar and looked into each other’s eyes, I was filled with greater love and overwhelming peace. I heard Him reassure me I was exactly where I was supposed to be, and I was reminded He had brought Trent and me together. He had orchestrated all of it, and it was His blessing, His plan, for us. He had been telling me that all along the way despite everything—it all came down to where I chose to focus. It was my choice—to choose the joy—and now, in His house, He was giving it to me fully. I received reassurance that my earlier doubts and fears were unfounded: I wasn’t second to Trent’s first wife—I was equal. The worries and fears I had fought, our initial concerns over getting married then sealed, others’ opinions, the length of our courtship, my broken parts, and the past—all of it was swept away in the temple that day. He reminded me to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). The sealing room was filled with light—His light, and it surrounded Trent and me in warmth. We had His promise and blessing at the beginning of our eternal marriage.” (Diony and Trent Heppler, God Is With Us-How We Hear Him, pgs. 145-149.) Our prophet, President Russell M. Nelson has taught us how important it is for us to focus more diligently and fine-tune our listening skills so we can better hear our Savior, Jesus Christ. He has counseled that when we do this, “we will be guided to know what to do in any circumstance.”⁴ One place we can hear Him is when we attend the temple. The temple is His house and is a place of peace, refuge, and learning. In the temple, we can take part in sacred ordinances that bind us to our Heavenly Father and our loved ones, which helps us stay and continue on the covenant path to return home.
You can learn more about the authors, Trent & Diony Heppler, and their books, by visiting their website at www.ichoosechrist.com.
Payson Utah Temple photo courtesy www.ldstemple.pics
¹ Enzio F. Busche, “To the Ends of the Earth,” Ensign February 1985.
² Myrtle Reed, “Old Rose & Silver,” G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York and London The Knickerbocker Press 1910, p.157.
³ Enzio F. Busche, “To the Ends of the Earth,” Ensign, February 1985.
⁴ Russell M. Nelson, “Hear Him,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2020, 89.