Saturday, October 10, 2009

Love Story, Part 6...Out of the Miry Clay...

..."I began to see light at the end of the dark tunnel I lived in, and soon I would step out from the Darkness and begin walking in the Light of Christ!"...

(If you'd like to read parts 1-5 first, please scroll to the bottom)

I was working at the Deli in Florida. In a dead-end relationship, daily slugging my way through this thing called life. Though it couldn't appear so to me, God had me exactly where He wanted me. Every Sunday afternoon, a group of people would come into the Deli for lunch. Happy, friendly people. There was one woman in particular that took an interest in me. Jo Ellen always remembered my name, she was interested in my life, my son, my situation. She often invited me to come to church with her and her husband, I always declined.

Church wasn't for me. I had grown up going to church every Sunday, nothing was lived out in my home, I didn't see a reason for it. I had a relative that had tried to "force" Christianity down my throat for years and I didn't want a life like hers, it looked fake and painted on ~ lavish buildings with ornate design, expensive clothing, faces caked in make-up and mile high hair, gossipping lips, carnal lives, just didn't seem real to me.

However, Jo Ellen wasn't like that and I was intrigued with the real joy that poured from her life. One day I was leaving work, and she followed me out into the parking lot. She told me that she really felt the need to invite me to church that evening. For some reason I said yes. I didn't have a dramatic transformation that night, but I liked what I saw and felt, I loved the way the people all seemed to genuinely care for eachother and even for me, someone they didn't even know. I attended her church for a month, searching, learning ~ I actually understood what the pastor was teaching, it was straight from the Bible and it all made sense.

Jo Ellen, often called me during the week to ask me how I was, she would take me to dinner and talk to me of spiritual things. One evening, after dinner, we were sitting on a bench at the church playground, and while my son played on the swings, I bowed my head and opened my eyes...I finally found the Love that I had been looking for all those years. I put my life into the hands of my Savior, Jesus Christ. All things had been made new!
(Our first Christmas with Christ!!!)

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the
old things passed away; behold, new things have come."
2 Corinthians 5:17


"Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has
been approved, he will recieve the crown of life which the Lord has promised to
those who love Him."

James 1:12

When you become a Christian, you begin to learn new things. New things about God's Word, Christ, how to live for him, why we should. We also learn things we wish we didn't, things about hypocrisy and "fake" Christians. Not everything is "good" behind the doors of a church, that's why we need to trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit and pray for discernment.

Capt. Mike had come to know Christ. He was what I call an "instant" Christian. His eyes were opened to a reality he had never known, and he made an immediate U-Turn. He wasn't yet attending a church, but he made every effort to get his hands on the Word of God. He got a Bible, read, studied, began to listen to Christian music, watched christian programs.

Eventually he met a neighbor who was a Christian. He taught Mike to play the guitar, and he began to praise the Lord with his own voice. Mike and his girlfriend began to attend this new friend's church, where she soon made a profession of faith. However, after a period of time, it became evident that her profession had not been a true heart change. In the end, she ran off with a married man from the Praise and Worship team in that church. Coming to Christ doesn't mean you won't face hurt and hardship, but it does mean that Jesus will walk through your pain with you; He will be your strength and comfort.
(Mike gettting baptized...this is Florida people, we do things a little differently here!) :)

I was not an "instant" Christian, I was more like the "percolated" took some time. I was blessed to have my dear friend Jo Ellen, leading me step by step. It wasn't that I was a rebel, I was just clueless to things that now seem obvious. She carefully taught me about modesty in dressing, clean language and how it reflects the condition of our hearts.

I learned some things on my own too, not all men in the church are what they appear. I was a single young woman, but a very naive and new Christian. A lesson I soon learned (through the Church's singles group) was that many men inside the church aren't that different than the ones outside the church, they are often times just really good at hiding their true selves...discernment is a valuable tool in the Christian life.

So close and yet so far...

Now here are some fun tid-bits to chew on until next time (which will be the last piece to this puzzle)...

**I attended Basic Training one year before Mike. He purchased the "Basic Training Video", which was filmed while I was there. I never actually show up on the video, but all the girls in my group do, so I'm in there "somewhere"...I always think it's neat that years before we met, he had me in his shelf. :)

**Mike came to Christ before I did, and on Sunday afternoons, he would often go with friends (Jo Ellen and Patrick) to a Deli after church ~ the same one that I worked at. It's likely that I took his order, or even made his sandwich. I love the idea that I was making his lunch long before we even knew eachother. :)

**After I came to Christ, Mike and I were attending the same church, but we just didn't know eachother yet. We had a mutual friend, Angela. She introduced us once, but since I was with a boyfriend, I don't remember it. Mike remembers, but since I was "taken", he took no interest in me.

**In another instance, I was at a housewarming party for Angela, when I saw a "hot lookin' guy" walk in...I vividly remember that he was wearing black jeans, and carrying a motorcycle helmet, and his! Years later as we chatted, Mike and I figured out it was him that I was admiring! God just didn't want us to meet yet, we weren't ready for eachother.

The next Love Story post will be the last,...I hope you come back to find out how we finally met and fell head over heels in love! :)


  1. I like your distinction between an 'instant' conversion and 'percolating.' Rich imagery! And a very good story.

  2. Sigh. I love your story!!! I too like how you described different conversions. I've heard our Pastor describe believers as different types of trees - some grow fast and tall, others grow slow and strong, and still others are like bonsai trees - hard to see the slow growth, but it's there - a little each day.

    Isn't it neat to look back and see how God placed you in just the right places? So wonderful! Looking forward to the end!

  3. Man oh Man you know how to keep us comin back don't ya ;) What a cliff hanger!!!

    Seriously, this is a beautiful love story ~ between you and Mike AND between you and your Heavenly Father!

    sooo glad you are sharing with us...can't wait to hear the rest

  4. That is too neat that you all had met but didn't meet!

    I see nothing different about your husband's's all water and as long as he was able to be fully immerssed, it's all good!

    I was baptized in a tub!


  5. Kathy,

    I love your story writing skills...but more than anything I've loved watching the canvas that God was working on. He is such an awesome painter. I can't wait to see the finished portrait!

    I love you!

  6. Kathy, YOU KNOW I will come back to read the conclusion of yours & Mike's story!! It's so awesome how God put all the pieces together!!!!

  7. What a blessing you are! Ain't God good?! It's amazing to think back, compare notes, and realize you probably crossed paths with someone before you actually met him/her. Too-also how so many of us went through such similar, yet so different, experiences here and there. You're a great writer - you should write a book. 8-]

    Love ya loads, sisterchick!
    Have a JESUS-filled day! ^i^

  8. :::sigh::::

    This is good.

    So very good.

    When is the next segment??????????????

    Today, you should come over for hot apple cider and fresh apple donuts that melt in your mouth. It is a crisp autumn day with the wind blowing and the leaves turning, perfect for a chat with a good friend. :)

  9. Hola Kathy!
    I am just here catching on your blog and I enjoying part 6. I will come back to read part 7, I can't wait for it =)
    I LOVE your STORY♥