Happily married with six kids, their relationship started with a text message from an unidentified number.

Brenda Rivera was just being a good friend when she texted the Bible verse “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.” It was only when the reply came that she realized she had texted the encouragement to a wrong number.

When Isaiah Stearns heard his phone beep, he looked down to see a text message from a new number. The message itself stopped him in his tracks. He had been struggling for a bit, and the words were just what he needed to read to get his life back on track. He hesitated only for a moment before replying: “Amen to that. Who is this?”

How a Message From a Wrong Number Raised a Man’s Spirits

woman typing on her phone
Photo by Anna Shvets

And while Brenda was inclined to mark the whole thing up to error, Isaiah saw nothing but providence. “I viewed it as, this is another person who can help me in my walk with God,” he said. Brenda apologized, but Isaiah thanked her. He couldn’t stop thinking about the perfect message that came “accidentally” to his phone at the perfect moment. So he called Brenda the next day.

Brenda saw the unfamiliar number on her phone and let it go to voice mail. She admits to being “a little creeped out,” but when she listened to the message that Isaiah left, she let her guard fall a little. Isaiah said that the Bible verse had really brightened his day, and he seemed very genuine.

“So I decided, okay, I’m going to call him back,” she said. The two had a lighthearted conversation and what Brenda describes as “an immediate connection.” Although Brenda lived in Georgia at the time, she learned that Isaiah lived less than an hour from her family in Ohio. Maybe, she told him, they could meet up next time she was in the area.

In the meantime, they became Facebook friends. When Brenda saw Isaiah’s photo on Facebook, she at first thought that, with his shaved head, he just wasn’t her type. “I pictured myself with a dark-skinned, curly-haired, Spanish-speaking guy who loved salsa dancing. Basically the opposite of him,” she said. “Isaiah was bald and he didn’t know how to dance.”

How Taking a Chance on the Wrong Number Led One Woman to the Right Person

But the romance was already brewing. Brenda and Isaiah talked on the phone for hours. And one day, they finally did meet in person. As Brenda started talking to her mom more and more about him, her mom insisted on meeting this guy. So Brenda arranged for them to meet one day for lunch. Isaiah happily agreed to be put to the ultimate test — and he passed with flying colors. 

After the lunch, Brenda was eager to hear what her mom thought. Brenda’s mom was smitten and gave Isaiah an 11 out of 10. She told her daughter that he was the one. Brenda was shocked — and thrilled; she couldn’t agree more.

Fast forward more than a decade, and Brenda and Isaiah Stearns are the proud parents of six children between the ages of one and eleven, three boys and three girls. “I love us so much,” gushes Brenda. “Sometimes I’ll just look at my children and my husband, and I wonder what I did to deserve all of this.”

Isaiah would say that she sent the right text to the right number.