This is my love story. I thought it was sweet, but never realized how nearly 10 years later that God would be using it to teach me yet again.
God is like that, though, always killing two birds (or three or four) with one stone.
My husband and I met at a crawfish boil through a function of Shoreline Christian Center. We were working as interns for the TV ministry. I was a journalism major, he was an RTF student.
He fell instantly in love. Me, not so much.
I mean I knew he was a “catch.” He genuinely loved Jesus, his goal was to make videos for Christ, he loved history and thrived on preserving our nation’s Christian heritage. He was easy to talk to. We became fast friends since we were working side by side editing the mega church’s weekly television broadcast.
You Can’t Force Yourself To Move
I knew he liked me. I wanted to like him. I tried to like him. Some days I acted like I liked him.
But like a pendulum that has swung too far off center, I swung back (usually the next day) to the opposite extreme. When I did, I was cold and stand-offish.
Poor guy. He didn’t even know what to make of it all.
The truth is that I hated myself for doing that to him. I mean, he was such a great guy.
My girlfriend would say, “You’re going to marry Noah.”
I would scream back, “NO!”
Promptly, she would yell back, “AH!”
But I wanted to believe her.
Minus his horrible urine colored Hanes t-shirt, gigantic old-school Doc Martin chanclas, coke-bottle thick eyeglasses, and bright blue denim Old Navy carpenter shorts from 1990…he was wonderful. (Yes, I was THAT shallow).
But something was keeping me from him. Something I, myself, could not remove.
You Can’t Force God’s Hand
Then it happened.
As a roller derby girl, I had to practice Monday and Wednesday nights. This meant no Wednesday night service for many, many months. For a couple weeks the Lord had been speaking to my heart to attend a Wednesday night service, but I never did…until one of our beloved Roller Derby girls died.
I was heartsick. I needed Jesus. And for the first time in a long time, I went to a midweek service.
It happened to be a communion service, one where the entire service was filled with worship and no sermon was delivered.
As I took communion on my knees, weeping for this dear sweet mother who was now gone, the Lord spoke to my heart about Noah.
“The thing that has kept you from Noah is now removed.” (This does not imply the woman who died kept me from Noah, it just happened that the events coincided.)
It caught me off-guard. I hadn’t even been thinking much about him. In fact, it had gotten so bad between us that our only communication was via email because that is all he could emotionally handle.
I had crushed his heart after my last attempt at “trying to like him” and then going cold again.
The only times I spoke to him was work-related.
Like the time I called after the heartbreaking incident to remind him of his on-camera appointment for the following Sunday. I had tried to talk to him to restore our friendship.
“Whacha doing?” I said.
“Shaving my head…listening to Mega Death,” he responded angrily.
“Uh…okay…you’re on Camera 3…bye.”
You could say we were a little on the outs. So it took a little bit of humility on my part to go up to him after service and ask what everyone was doing after church.
He eyed me suspiciously (as did his close friend who obviously did NOT want me to tag along).
“We are going to Hula Hut,” he said.
“Can I go?” I asked.
I can’t remember the answer, but it must have been somewhat affirmative because I did end up tagging along.
Noah and I talked the entire time. His friend was stabbing him under the table with a fork, trying to remind him of all the heartache I had caused him.
Noah finally turned to his friend. “DUDE!!! STOP IT!!! THAT HURTS!!!”
Long story longer…we shut the place down and were forced to stand outside in the cold sprinkling February rain and chat.
Little drops of water were settling on his coke-bottle glasses. And that was it…the thing that broke the floodgate.
Seriously, drops of water on his glasses.
A little backstory: I hate my glasses. I prefer wearing contacts for so many reasons, but sometimes I would wear my glasses while I jogged early in the morning and would get these little specks of water. It was SOOOO annoying. I had to take them off and wipe them…over and over.
But something about the fact that he was struggling with something I despised made me connect to him on the level I always had wanted to.
His struggle was my struggle. We were the same. We were one.
I knew in that silly moment that I would marry this man.
And I did.
Aww…so sweet. End of my Christian love story, right?
You Can’t Force Your Husband To Move
Here is some background for the second part (in 30 seconds or less…hopefully).
My husband has struggled with feeling not totally connected to God. I mean, he knows he’s saved. He loves God, but just like our love story, something has kept him from fully experiencing the Lord as he knows he should and could.
I’m a bootstrap girl…meaning I have (for longer than I can remember) relied on my ability to “pull myself up by my bootstraps. “Until recently, I really believed that I could manhandle my way through my relationship with God as if it was all by my own effort. Or at least mostly by my own effort.
The Lord has since corrected my thinking. But you can imagine this thinking has affected how I view Noah’s situation and my dealing with him.
Why can’t he just “break on through to the other side?” I would ask myself.
But what the Lord has revealed to me is that just like I couldn’t make myself fall in love with Noah, Noah can’t make himself connect with God on the level he desires.
All I wanted and prayed for was to fall in love with Noah, all Noah wants and has prayed for was to connect with God deeper.
All my forcing just led to disappointment and heartache. Same with Noah.
My friend’s promptings didn’t change my mind. Just as my well-meaning “wifely advice” has not changed Noah’s mind.
God Moves All Things in His Timing
It took an act of God. Removing that thorn, or whatever it was, to finally get there.
Likewise, it will be an act of God to remove that thing that keeps him away from a deeper and truer relationship with the Lord.
No amount of bootstrapping can make it so.
My struggle during our love story wasn’t just a one-time thing between Noah and me. It is about a church, about someone you know, about you and me.
Yes, we should try…try…try to follow God, to do his will, but sometimes bootstrapping it just won’t cut it.
Sometimes, only God can remove the splinter that is tormenting you.
So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6 (NIV)
There are some things that we can control, but then there are others that are just out of our control.
Wisdom comes from knowing the difference.
Is God Teaching You Something?
Think about your relationship with your future spouse (or if you are already married, think about your courtship with your husband). Is there something God could be preparing you for