While in college, I became friends with a group of Christians that really loved God. They studied His Word and were open and honest about their faith. I was really impressed. Looking back, I think I was more impressed with them than the God they were serving. I started reading my Bible and tried desperately to have what they had.
So much talk in the church is about witnessing. But, I believe that witnessing is doing exactly what those young people were doing. Living and showing Jesus. Being salt and making others thirsty for what they had.
It wasn't their fault that I wanted to be more like them than the Savior they followed.
There was a verse that haunted me about my relationship with Jim. Believing I was a Christian, I knew that I was not to be unequally yoked with someone in marriage.
So, I broke up with Jim. I wish it had been because I loved God and because I trusted Him with my future. But, it was strictly out of fear. I figured if I married someone who wasn't a Christian, He would pay me back with a terrible, horrible marriage.
I told my aunt, who was Jim's neighbor and who had loved him much longer than me, that I knew I had to give Jim up. That God was telling me to let him go.
I remember right where I was standing in her living room when she said, "Maybe God wants you to give Jim up, so He can give him back to you."
Was she a prophet or what?
Jim and I went for months and months without seeing or talking to each other. I was still busy trying to imitate my Christian friends. Thinking that if I acted like them, liked the same things that they liked or hung out with the right people, that I would be like them. And that eventually I would come to love God like they did.
And then one day Jim called. He was asking me questions about my faith. He was talking about spiritual things. He had experienced a personal encounter with Jesus. He had revealed Himself to Jim. As his Savior.
Jim came to Mobile to visit. And we both knew we belonged to each other. Nothing had died during those months we were apart. The only things that had changed were our desires and interests. They were different. We were beginning to seek God together.
And though we have taken lots of detours, and wandered around in the wilderness way too long, and suffered needless heartaches, we are still seeking God together.
The words my aunt spoke in her living room that day were words from God. Although they didn't mean that much to me when she spoke them, I have come to see them as the foundation of my marriage. God gave me my husband. So in spite of the detours, the time in the wilderness and the heartaches we've caused each other, we both know that our marriage has God written all over it.
How did my aunt know that? What made her speak those words to me all those years ago?
I don't know.
But, I do know that we love her and that she loves us. And that her being in our lives is another huge gift from God. Another way He writes His name on our lives.
And. . . today is her birthday!!!
Happy Birthday, Mary Lois!
Me and Mary Lois before I left for my honeymoon.