Wednesday, September 16, 2009

9 years - really 15

Today we celebrate 9 years of marriage and 15 years of our life together. Next year I will have spent half of my life with this wonderful man. Last year I shared our story. Here it is in it's entirety if you want to read it:
I love the story that God gave us surrounding our relationship and I thought that in honor of our special day I would share with you are beautiful story of redemption.I went to school at a small private school in Fayette, Alabama. John started this school our 11th grade year. He was a football player and I was a cheerleader (really?). We became fast buds - really just friends to start with. We really had fun laughing and cutting up together. Every time he saw me in the halls he would say "Hey sugar." It was a fun relationship that, surprise, surprise, turned into more of a love interest rather quickly. So he ask me to go on our first date together for Friday, September 16, 1994. The night before we had a football game and I of course was elated to be cheering for him on the sideline. Oh those high school days.
So we went on a double date with some good friends and well that started a relationship that is celebrated 14 years tomorrow. Our years in high school were good but rocky. We both broke up twice during the next two years only to always end up together again. The fall of 1996, after graduating high school John proposed to me and of course I said yes. We spent 1 year at the JuCo in our home town where his mom taught before moving to South Alabama.
I had gone to church off and on during my life and would have said to you I was a Christian. I tried to be a good girl. John on the other hand, did not even believe in God. I specifically remember a conversation we had our senior year of high school (I even remember exactly where we were and what we were doing) in which he told me that something drastic would have to happen for him to believe that there is a God. I continue to love him and later planned to marry him so that tells you where I stood spiritually as well. So our Sophomore year of college we moved to University of South Alabama. I planned to be an Occupational Therapist and well John just planned to follow me down there and decide later. This move completely changed our life!!!!!
We moved to Mobile in May of 1997 and I started summer classes. Oh, and we were living in a townhouse together. I met a few girls that summer that I started spending time with. I really saw a difference in their lives and how they lived and what they talked about. When fall classes started they invited us to a picnic that Campus Outreach was having to welcome the students back and meet the new ones. John wanted to play intramural football and one of my friends had told me that a guy there was putting together a team. So he decided to go with me. I remember meeting JK for the first time. He was flipping burgers and he said "My name is Jonathan King, but just call me JK." He had that sheepish grin on his face that now is so endearing to my heart. We met several people that day and had a blast. Some of those people have become our life long friends (even though we stink at keeping in touch Todd Russell!!!). So John began to play football with JK and his team. Several girls starting initiating time with me as well. At this point, I would have told you that I was already a Christian and was ready to re-dedicate my life to Christ. For me, now the big part was getting John - who said something drastic would have to happen for him to believe there was a God - to believe. John came home from the first practice and said JK approached him afterwards and started talking to him about God. He said it was ok and JK challenged him to read the book of John. So he did - and well after a thousand conversations with JK the drastic thing had happened.
JK came over to eat dinner with us one night (I remember he was wearing this red Alabama sweatshirt - that he was wearing at my house this last Christmas 10 years later :)) He talked with us alot about the book of John and clearly shared the gospel with us. For me, I realized that the key thing I was missing was not the belief in God but the lordship surrender. That night, October 27, 1997, John and I both prayed to receive Christ together.
The night that we became Christians, Jk, left the house and did not say one word to us about our living situation. He began meeting weekly with John and teaching him how to study the Bible. I got hooked up in a Bible study as well. It was a little over a month later that John and I really became convicted about our living situation. So I found a roommate for the spring semester (quarters then) and John lived on JK's couch for about a month until he could move into the dorms. (we later ask JK and Tammy why they never challenged us to move out and they said they knew the Holy Spirit would do it in time and that He would be a true conviction) That summer, John went to SBP and I stayed behind for OT school and meet one dear friend that taught me all I know about marriage and parenting - Emily Teague. I wouldn't have traded that summer for a 1000's SBP's. Late fall of 1998, John and I decided it was time to break off our engagement. It wasn't an issue of our feelings for each other quite as much as it was about knowing if this was God's will or ours for us to be married. It was hard because our lives were completely interconnected. We still spent time together and kinda acted like we were together until the first week of SBP 1999. This was the week that John decided that it was time for us to not spend any time together. We had to really sort this out and it was so hard. So the summer was spent completely apart doing our own thing. I stayed after SBP to babysit and John left and spent a week at my parents river house alone. He said he really needed to be with the Lord and decided if God's will was for us to be together or if it was just what we had known for so long.
Often when I share this story I tell people that I felt like Abraham walking up the mountain to slay Issac. God had told me to lay this relationship on the alter. For me it was not a question of my feeling for John - I loved him and had always loved him even in those silly teen years it was real. So I chose to obey God because I believed His word to be true. Jer. 29:11 became my sustenance during this time - it kept me going. I could not see that John was not the best for me but God gave me the faith to believe that He had my very best in store and that He would give it to me if I chose to trust Him and surrender my wants and desires. This was probably one of the hardest 3 months of my life. (Jill do you remember :))
About a month after school started, John ask me to go to lunch with him on a Wednesday. I had a terrible sinus infection but I was not about to pass up time with him. (I had told the Lord that I wanted to marry John and that I would trust him to show John otherwise and close the door if it were not the best. I knew I couldn't trust my emotions so I ask the Lord to slam it shut if it needed to be.) So we went to lunch and talked about our summers. After lunch we went to the park near South and sat by the lake and we continued talking about our summers for 2 hours. It was great because, he was my best friend and I hadn't talked to him all summer. After that talk, he told me that he felt like God had given him a solid answer about our future and he pulled out my ring and ask me to marry him again. I was completely shocked - we had been sitting there for 2 hours!!!! Of course I said yes and bust into tears. God gave him back to me and I feel completely blessed!!!

1 comment:

Jill said...

Beautiful story, thanks for sharing! I never new the full story and I am glad that you shared it. God is awesome! May you have many more years together.