Fourteen years ago, a woman from Ohio texted a Bible verse to the wrong number. However, instead of ignoring the message, the man on the other end responded and now they’re a happy family of eight.
“I think 100 percent of the relationship was orchestrated by God,” Brenda Rivera Stearns, 36, told The Epoch Times.
Brenda who was born and raised in Mexico moved to the United States with her mother and three sisters when she was 12 years old. After living in Minnesota for ten years, she moved to Georgia and lived there for a year.
During this time she would make the 700-mile journey to Ohio to visit her mother and younger sister. It was on one of those trips that Brenda met her sister’s friend and saved the contact to her phone list. On a fateful day in 2009, Brenda, who was working in a photography studio, wanted to send an encouraging message to all her contacts including to the new contact she had added but was interrupted by a call and decided to save the message as a draft.
“I didn't get a chance to send it in the morning,” Brenda said. “I got busy at work and forgot all about the text. Later, I got home and I remembered, I'm like, ‘Oh, I was gonna send that text. I'm gonna go ahead and do it now.’”
To her surprise within 20 minutes of sending the message, Brenda received a reply from the new number saying: “Amen to that, who is this?”
Puzzled by the question, Brenda replied that she was Roxy’s sister and they had met on her visit to Ohio. However, the stranger on the other end said that they hadn’t ever met her and went on to introduce himself as Isaiah Stearns.
He added: “By the looks of your text, I can tell that you love God. That's awesome.”
But that wasn’t all. “Now, from Isaiah’s perspective, this is what gives me goosebumps, because that same day, he was getting ready to have a new phone plan with Verizon, the phone company,” Brenda said.
But after following the instructions to set up a phone network, Isaiah, now 41, was told by Verizon that there was an error, thus he was presented with a new number that no one in his family had. But 20 minutes into setting up the number, he received a text from Brenda.
“I think it's interesting that if I had sent that text in the morning, he would have never received it,” Brenda said. “And the person that helped him at Verizon, if they hadn't had an accident with the first number, I think he would have never received it either.”
The following day, Isaiah decided to give Brenda a call. However, she ignored it thinking that it was “weird” as she had already apologized for sending him an accidental text, but secretly hoped that he would leave her voice mail, and that’s what Isaiah did.
"I remember in the voicemail, he said something like, ‘Hey, I just wanted to let you know that the text was very encouraging to me.’ And at this point, he didn't know if I was a girl or a boy,” Brenda said.
Brenda decided to give him a call back since she found his voice very comforting. During their first conversation, they shared their backgrounds, Facebook profiles, and more. She also learned that Isaiah was from Ohio and suggested that they should catch up if she ever visited. However, the conversation didn’t end there. They continued to text and call each other.
“I think because we were so far away from each other … our phone conversations were very meaningful,” Brenda said. “We quickly discovered that we had a lot of things in common, and I felt like maybe I was falling in love with him. But also, I was very hesitant because I never met him.”
A month after the accidental text, Brenda shared her feelings with her mom, who suggested she could go “spy,” on him. Instead, Brenda set up a lunch date for Isaiah, her mom, and her younger sister in Ohio, while she was in Georgia.
During the whole meeting, Brenda was really nervous. But all her worries were put to rest after her mom called her and without any hesitation gave him an 11/10 and told Brenda, “You're going to marry this guy.”
Assured by her mom, Brenda followed her heart, and they both quickly fell in love. Brenda’s mom suggested she invite Isaiah to spend Christmas with them in Minnesota, where her older sister lived. However, the photography studio that Brenda worked at couldn’t give her the vacation time she asked for. So, Brenda, who had made a promise to spend every Christmas with her mom and sisters, decided to quit her job that day and move to Ohio.
Back in Ohio, she stayed with her mom with a plan to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. While there, she met Isaiah, who lived in Dayton about an hour from her mom’s house. It was Dec. 1 and it was the first time they'd met in person.
“I remember for our first date, we went on a walk at the Newport Levy,” Brenda said. “[It] was very peaceful, I just remember feeling very at home with him.”
They also committed to making their relationship official. For the next three months, their relationship blossomed, and on Valentine's Day of 2010, Isaiah took it one step further by proposing to Brenda. Four months later, on June 27, 2010, the couple tied the knot at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Centreville, surrounded by close friends and family.
“I think it's interesting because that was the month that my lease was originally going to end if I hadn’t quit my job,” Brenda said. “Now looking back, I feel like everything happened really fast. But I remember at the moment it just felt right. It didn't feel rushed.”
Reflecting, Brenda said that although Isaiah was completely the opposite of what she'd envisioned in a partner, she liked him for his core values, beliefs, and who he was on the inside. However, Brenda was exactly the person Isaiah was looking for.
From the beginning of their relationship, both she and Isaiah, who works for the government, knew they wanted to have kids and have welcomed six children: Victoria, 12, Veronica 10, Samuel, 9, Vanessa, 7, Benjamin, 4, and Ezra, 1.
Although life is very chaotic and busy as a big family, Brenda said she is grateful that she and her husband work as a team. Despite working full-time, Isaiah helps with household chores.
Brenda, who has been homeschooling her children for the last six years, has taught them that they’re an integral part of the family and that without them they can’t function.
The faith-based family starts and ends their day with a prayer and says they feel like God is in 100 percent of their life.
Sharing the secret to a successful marriage, Brenda said: “Selflessness, I think that word will really describe it … not looking into it was best for you necessarily, but what’s best for all of you, putting others first.”
She also credits her relationship with open communication, trust, and love.
Reflecting on her own meet-cute, Brenda believes that, “you don't have to try really hard to look for love, love will just find you. Love is all around us.”