Shannon Taylor Vannatter – Real life Romance – Part 1 of 3

I’ve been saving this story for a special occasion. The release of my book, White Roses to stores, fits the bill. I’m having two drawings this week. A copy of White Roses and a Special Drawing: if you’ve never won any of my books anywhere, I’ll give one lucky commenter a copy of White Roses and White Doves. Don’t try to cheat, I have a list :). Comment on any post dated Nov 8 – 12 for a chance to be entered in the drawings. Just to help me out, if you’ve never won, say so in your comment. Deadline Nov 13, 8:00 PM Central.

Wedding Kiss

26 Years Later

God’s Awesome Handiwork

When I was fifteen, my father, a school board member, received a call from a desperate mother. Her son had gotten into trouble and quit school. Now, he wanted to come back and finish. This dropout, two years my senior, would be in my class. Drifting off to sleep that night, I wondered what he would be like.

The next day, I saw him and he was beautiful. Most guys are handsome, this guy was more than that. All of the boys at my school wore buzz or bowl cuts. Neither was popular back then. This boy had black, naturally wavy hair to his shoulders, and the greenest eyes I’d ever seen. I decided on the spot, though quite shallowly based on looks alone, to marry him. Several other girls made the same vow and he was soon the most popular guy in school.

As the months passed, the new guy finally noticed me and we began going together. We didn’t go anywhere together, since I couldn’t date until I turned sixteen. As my birthday neared, rumors began to circulate that my boyfriend drank heavily and smoked pot. Raised in church, I never tasted alcohol or tried smoking cigarettes, much less marijuana. Of course, when asked about such things, my guy denied the rumors. I refused to believe the gossip and gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Finally, after months of waiting, my birthday came and my parents allowed me to date. The rumors continued and a strange aroma surrounded me whenever my guy was near. When I mustered the courage to ask about it, he told me the kid sitting behind us in class smoked a joint that morning.

I think I knew, but didn’t want to know. As the school year came to a close, the truth could no longer be denied. We hashed it out, no pun intended. Given an ultimatum, drugs and alcohol or me, he didn’t pick me. I spent the summer in tears and prayerfully placed the relationship in God’s hands.

The week before school started again, my ex-boyfriend came to my house. Claiming to have quit drinking and drugs, he could no longer live without me. Though cautious, I could soon tell the difference in him. Once back together, he even started attending church with me. We dated throughout high school and graduated together.

Fast-forward. My husband and I entered into parenthood later than most couples. After sixteen years of marriage, our lives changed for the better with the birth of our son.

Shortly afterward, I began attending monthly writer’s group meetings. As a stay-at-home-mom, the excursions served as my Mom’s night out. While I learned to write, my guys hung out at a local bookstore and Wal-Mart.

On a typical night, they dropped me off, then went to eat supper at their favorite restaurant before visiting their regular haunts. As usual, my meeting ran late. By the time I strolled across the parking lot, they’d been waiting thirty minutes. Once in the truck, hubby told me of his evening. At the restaurant, secured in the highchair, our little guy threw up. Not just a little, but apparently everything he’d eaten, all day long.

My husband wiped our son down, detected no fever, and ordered their food. Both ate, then raided our emergency clothing stash, and went on their way. Though he’s always a very hands-on father, I would have expected him to grab our child, pick me up early, and head home. I would have.                                               

That night, thoughts of my high school boyfriend made me wonder if he would have coped so well with the events of the evening. You see, that long ago pothead and my incredible husband are one and the same.

During the intervening years, he recommitted his life to Jesus. That pothead I dated all those years ago is now a Baptist pastor. Though, he still has the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen, his hair is almost gone and he keeps what’s left buzzed. He wears it well. In fact, he’s even more beautiful to me now. Not only does the heart of a father beat within him, but the heart of a man of God.

Come back Nov 10 for a romantic interview with me and hubby both answering questions.

12 Responses to “Shannon Taylor Vannatter – Real life Romance – Part 1 of 3”

  • Debbie says:


    What a beautiful sotry you shared. It is a powerful message of love, but also how God can change us, if we just let him in. It is a message we would all do well to remember. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • stvannatter says:

    Thanks Debbie. I enjoyed sharing it. I’m curious, did you know I didn’t change fellas before you got the end?

  • Ruth Fricke says:

    I’ve often wondered how you and Brother Grant met and got together. Now I know. Isn’t it wonderful that he wanted to be with you more that he wanted to drink and smoke pot. That tells me God was working with him back then and still is today. We could not ask for a better Pastor. Needless to say, Gene and I love you both so much and we thank God for bringing you two together and having a sweet son. I didn’t want to leave him out. He is precious. Thanks for sharing your true life story with us.
    I love your book “White Roses” and I am looking forward to reading “White Dove” and the third one. I have not won a book yet but I’m hopeful..

  • stvannatter says:

    Hey Ruth,
    Thanks for taking the time to read the story and comment. We love having you and Gene as part of our church family. I’m glad Grant has been open at church about his past, since I let it out of the bag here. Just teasing. I had him read the post first and make sure he was okay about it. He used to be embarassed, but I think he’s learned, it’s a great testimony. God definitely had a hand in our story and still does.

  • Jackie Eason says:

    I love the story. You should write a book about that! Starting from High School. Myself and Bill love you both very much and speaking for myself, I was a very lonely, sad and a very bad drinker also. But God touched me and changed my life for the better. Just shortly after I was saved God blessed me with my wonderful husband Bill. He isn’t a perfect GQ man, but he is a Christian and loves me for me (what’s on the inside). I adore him and we fit perfect together just like you and Grant. Thank you for all the wonderful stories! May God richly bless you both. You will always have a special place in my heart. Love ya!

  • Jackie,
    Y’all are awesome. Bill is so funny and I’ve always appreciated a sense of humor. Y’all do fit, perfectly.

  • Kim Ferland says:

    What a powerful story – and a great testimony for many young people that struggle in their teenage years. My husband (of almost 24 years) also started out making the wrong choices – and I never would have even looked his way if our paths had crossed in earlier years. But God knows better and brought our paths together in perfect timing! I have already won one of your books, just recently, so am not eligible for the special drawing.

  • Hey Kim,
    It was very painful living the early years, but God is good.

    Since you won White Doves before, the drawing for White Roses might complete your set.

  • Shannon – I already have won a copy of White Roses from you, but wanted to post on the romance. This is such a sweet story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jennifer says:

    I’ve never won a book from you. Loved the re-telling of your romance. God’s hand was certainly evident. Thanks!

  • Hi Shirley,
    I’m glad you stopped in. I love bragging on God and my husband.

    I was praying to God through the whole thing and He heard. He still does.

  • […] Shannon Taylor Vannatter: Real Life Romance (part 2) […]

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