Sunday, February 12, 2012

The story He has written...

It was February 4th, 1995.  I was at Gatlins, a country bar (yes, you read that right) with my girlfriends and I saw this bouncer.  This really, really cute bouncer who also happened to be a really good dancer.  Can you say "swoon"?  I said to my friend Joe "Hey, do you know that bouncer John?"  When Joe (pictured on the right with John) said that John was a buddy of his, I asked him to give John my phone number.   After a night of dancing, a large group of us went out to know, those 2 am trips to Denny's after the bar closes kind of breakfasts.  John was on one end of the table, me at the other.  We never got the chance to talk that night.  John left early because he had been working 2 jobs and was beat.  As he left, he walked by, winked, tipped his hat and said "nice to meet you".  I melted.

A week later, I was on a blind date.  What a nightmare...and I'll leave it at that.  I got a page from my roommate.  Ya, I was cool and had a pager....LOL.  I called up my roommate and she said "some guy named John from Gatlins called".  Insert headache.  Dear blind date, I have a really bad headache and need to go home.  Now.  I went home and called John.  He wasn't home.  The next day, he called and we officially had our first date.  February 12, 1995.

Valentines Day.  All the ladies are getting roses.  I was NOT expecting anything....John didn't even know where I worked.  Suddenly, a delivery guy is walking up with a dozen roses.  A dozen roses...are you kidding me??  I looked at the card.  It was from blind date guy.  My heart sank.  I did the polite thing and called him to say "thank you".  His response "my buddy owns a flower shop...I got them for free".  I just laughed.  A couple hours later, one of my co-workers said "oooooooooooh girls, there is a good looking cowboy walking into triple-A (where I worked at the time).  My heart hit the floor.  I looked up.  It was John.  In his cowboy hat and wranglers.  With 2 roses.  He had heard me mention that I worked for AAA and went to several offices before he found me to deliver his 2 roses.  2 roses because it was all the money he had before payday.  I was hooked.

4 months later, we were engaged.  1 year after that, we were married.  And we lived Happily. Ever. After.

NOT!  This is where you can insert that annoying record player needle scratching over the record sound.

14 months after we were married....we were on our way to divorce.  Papers had been filed.  I had moved out and our lives were a mess.  Our marriage was not built on the foundation of Christ.  John was not walking with the Lord, and I had no clue who Jesus was.

By God's grace, we didn't divorce.  Somewhere during the 6 months we were apart, I realized that love was not a feeling, but a choice.  We got back together and God gave us the most precious gift on our 3rd wedding anniversary, Mandy 'Jo' Patterson.  Remember the guy Joe who gave John my number?  After our first date Joe said we'd get married.  We promised him if we did, we would name our first born after him.

2 1/2 years later, Trent was born.  Life was good.  Really, really good.  Or so we thought.

We began to realize how incredibly broken we still were and knew there was something missing in our lives.  At the urging of my father in law, we began to attend church.

Our lives would never be the same.

Within months John recommitted his life to Christ.  I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  Just a few months after that....Funky Fish was born.

And then came the announcement that changed everything.  John said "I want to go into full time ministry!"  YOU WANT TO DO WHAT?  Hello.....WE MET IN A BAR!  God does not use people like us.  Not to mention, you work at INTEL.  People don't leave jobs like that!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How foolish I was.  So very, very foolish.  Obviously I hadn't read my bible all at that point.  He used adulterers, prostitutes and murderers.  He called accountants & doctors to do His work.

We were in for the ride of our lives.  And what an amazing ride it has been.   It's been 9 years since we committed our lives to Christ.  God has allowed us to experience the most amazing adventures.  Carried us through the most difficult trials.  Answered the most amazing prayers.  Remained silent when He needed us to grow in our trust & faith.  Provided financially in ways that humbled us beyond words.  And in His perfect plan AND timing....did just as He promised...called John into full time ministry.  To the job he had prayed for for 7 years.  But since God is our PERFECT REDEEMER,  when He called John to be a Pastor, He called him to be a Pastor over the marriage ministry.  Not only is He our Redeemer, He has a great sense of humor.

And He continues to grow our love for each other daily.  If you would have told me 17 years ago that I would be crazy in love with John, I wouldn't have believed you.  Because the truth is, as I was walking down the aisle, I thought "what am I doing?"   I seriously get giddy about my husband.  And I probably make people sick.  But, I am ok with that.  I love him like I didn't know I could love.  And I believe the only reason I can love him like that is because of Christ.  God loves me in ways that I will never, ever understand.  But in His faithfulness, He has given me something tangible to help me understand His perfect love....John. 

I fall more in love with my husband the more I learn to love Jesus.

I can't wait to see what God has in store for the next 17 years.  I know one things He has planned...and it involves a beautiful little boy in Africa.

And our story continues.....

To God be the Glory.....always.

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