When I met Barbara Tippets, she told me how surprised she was in high school when her cousin's nephew, who knew her from the school bus, first tried to set her up with Wayne Tippets.
Her surprise wasn't in the nephew's efforts to play Cupid.
She was amazed that the boy had even been aware of her in the first place.
That's because Barbara had a shell around her.
She said she lived much of her life as an observer, thinking she was, in fact, invisible.
Barbara sees herself as living proof of the New Testament Scripture found in Ezekiel 36:26, because she eventually learned to walk out into the light of the world.
"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you," says the Scripture in the King James version.
The 79-year-old woman still remembers noticing the nephew who became her match-maker. She recalls exactly the stop at which he always got on the bus.
But Barbara had no idea that he ever had the opportunity to give her any attention in return. After all, she said, she had always dressed in the most bland colors in an effort to avoid detection.
Barbara vividly recalls putting up tall walls 62 years ago, when her future husband tried to ask her on a date. She agreed to meet her now-late husband only briefly, with plenty of others around. She refused a ride in his car.
But there was another miracle in this fantastic tale. Wayne Tippets asked his future sweetheart on a second date.
And Barbara, who wanted most not to be seen, would find comfort for many years in hiding behind a man who was legally blind.
"He was very people-oriented," Barbara said of Wayne, giving him credit for the way he used every bit of his 5 percent eyesight. "I just kind of hung on his coattails."
When we compared notes, Barbara and I each admitted to experiencing profoundly healing moments in our lives, where we were able to shed the thick shells we had used to protect ourselves.
Barbara believes God had a hand in taking her shell away, because she was forced to finally open up to other people through her church service.
"Because of Him, I finally did something that forced me to get out of myself and into others," Barbara said.
She said discovering how to relate to others has given her great joy.
"It was a whole new world with people in it that I didn't have to be afraid of," she said.
A person cannot experience faith and fear at the same time, Barbara told me, explaining her great transformation.
The more fear a person leaves behind, she said, the more faith may enter his or her life.
Barbara had other moments in her life that likely gave her opportunity to fear.
She broke her back the day before she was to marry her sweetheart, and the wedding was delayed for six months.
Barbara never worked outside the home, and her children say she never once tried to bring attention to herself.
Her daughter, Marilyn Tippets, said her mother has spent her life holding up a blind man whose accomplishments she championed, happy to be smiling in the background.
And Wayne's accomplishments were many, from running a store to becoming a Realtor to serving as a leader.
"We never appreciated Mom's sacrifices until we were older," Marilyn said.
When Barbara's longtime disabled husband developed Parkinson's disease and dementia, she took all the necessary steps to keep him home until he died Sept. 11, 2011.
There were moments when her ailing husband was not himself, and he said things to her that hurt, she said.
But Barbara said she could overcome whatever his anger produced, because she knew in her heart that the man who had provided for her for so many years loved her deeply.
Her words seemed to illustrate the Scripture found in Matthew 11:28-30 in the New International Version.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest," it says. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
While Barbara saw herself open up over time, her daughter saw her transformation all at once following the passing of her father.
"A few weeks after Dad died, a few family members had gone to a restaurant for dinner," Marilyn said. "Right in the middle of dinner, Mom stood up and walked over to another table where a man was eating alone. She says, 'Excuse me, but aren't you 'so-and-so'? It turned out to be someone she and Dad had known years and years before. They talked for just a couple minutes, then mom came back to our table. Me, my brother and sister all just sat there in shock, staring the whole time she was talking to him."
Marilyn said having a more assertive and sociable mother has taken some getting used to.
"We are all very proud of her," she said.
I wonder what the world would be like if all people were able to find their inner courage for change and transformation in order to share their God-given talents and love.
I am hoping there are those who will read about Barbara and make a goal to change something within themselves and to grow.
Contact reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228 or email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter at @jfrancis.