Monday, July 11, 2011
STILL THE ONE
9:45 p.m. Today's project was to spend the day with the man God designed for me from before the foundation of the world, just as He designed me for Steve.
We met at a home Bible study taught by Tim Weeks, now pastor of Calvary Chapel Grass Valley, but a leader at Calvary Chapel Riverside, in 1980. I had just gotten saved and had only been attending Calvary for a few weeks when I was invited to the Friday night study hosted by John and Cindy Collins. Pastor John Collins is now head of the Harvest Crusade ministries). The group was comprised of several singles and some couples. I remember thinking that Steve seemed very quiet, but was also very handsome sitting over in his corner!
As a divorced single mom with plenty of the world behind me, I wasn't looking for any more boyfriends; in fact, I was convicted to leave an ungodly relationship I was in. One Wednesday night at church, I made my decision, and with encouragement from more mature believers, I moved my son Sean and me in with my mom in Mentone, east of Redlands. But, despite moving 20 miles further away, I kept coming to Calvary, got inolved in children's ministry, listened to Bible studies constantly on the radio, and felt especially compelled to keep coming to the Friday night study.
It's funny, but one of my favorite songs that Steve and I listen to on my iPod is "Coffee Shop" by Landon Pigg, about the compulsion a young man has for coming into an old coffee shop day after day, when it dawns on him that he's coming to see a girl who works there. It's a plaintive song in a minor key, and always brings tears to my eyes, because God compelled me to persevere in attending the faraway study I loved and learned from, because that's where my future husband was! Steve never missed, either...
Yet we never had a personal conversation until one night Tim had us break bread and pray with another person. I don't even remember how Steve and I ended up partners--other than God did it! I don't think sparks flew, but we began talking one on one from that point on. He told me later he'd been praying for a wife ever since he bought a house in Riverside on his own. But I wasn't praying for a husband. Being a single Christian with lots of new, wholesome, funny and encouraging friends, and now teaching at Grace Baptist school where Sean attended preschool, made every day a joyful adventure! I lacked nothing, or so it seemed to me.
But the single life was not to be for long. Just like Abraham's servant, a type of the Holy Spirit, brought Rebekah to Isaac while he was meditating in a field (Genesis 24:62-65) so the Spirit brought me to Steve, in a white Thunderbird rather than on a camel!
Among our single friends, another yong man had shown an interest, and I think we had coffee together once, but just as friends. Then Steve and I and two male friends from Bible study went to see the movie "Popeye" at a theater near the Tyler Mall. He and I sat next to each other and had some personal conversation that sparked an interest. I believe we occasionally went to Wendy's and out to pizza, but in a group most of the time. Not what you'd call a hurried courtship!
One night at an "afterglow," where believers would continue meeting after the service on Sunday evenings, using the gifts of the Spirit and praying, God told me clearly that Steve was the man I would marry. So be it, there's no arguing with the Lord!
We began dating and by January 1981 we were holding hands at Bible study! Sean liked Steve because he fixed his broken toys and slowly became the father he was missing. (Steve adopted him 2 years later). Steve proposed on Valentine's Day and on July 11, with our families and church friends in attendance at Calvary Chapel Riverside, with me wearing a lacy, designer white gown made for me by my maid of honor, and Steve in a tan western-style tuxedo, we were married.
God has given us a wonderful life, raising our five children and now in early retirement because of his Alzheimer's. But when we embraced one another this evening, we could have been those newlyweds in Palm Springs in 1981--only better!
Thank you, Lord, for Your creation and plan for marriage, the best way of life this side of heaven!