Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Beginning

I had finally reached a point where I really was not looking to date anyone. A three year relationship had ended just months before and the last year of that relationship had totally beaten me down. My self esteem was gone and I really felt that there was not a guy out there that would love me as much as I loved him. So I gave up. A month prior to visiting this church, I had prayed a very sincere prayer. It was January 1st, 2001, a night I will never forget as long as I live. I was lonely, afraid and had a horrible sense of not feeling loved. I lived alone in an apartment in Irving, Texas (Las Colinas) so of course on that New Years Day evening, I was by myself. After my great grandmother died, I inherited a beautiful wingback chair and I sat in that chair when I would read my Bible. But that night I decided to kneel at that chair instead of sit. It was a moment with God that really changed my life. I envisioned Jesus sitting in that chair and me kneeling at His feet with my head in his lap. The brokenness allowed me to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. The pain I was feeling had been building up for years and years. Finally it all came to surface and I talked to Jesus as my Savior. I shared my heart and all that was in it. While doing so I missed having a Dad. I missed having a Father that would stroke my hair and tell me that everything was going to be okay. So that night, I laid my head in that chair and envisioned Jesus telling me that He would take care of me. As He stroked my hair, I knew everything would be alright. I journaled that night and I wrote what I felt like the Holy Spirit had revealed to me. "Today is the beginning of a brand new season for you. There is healing you have yet to experience but now it's time. Allow me to love you like you have never been loved. Allow me to heal that precious little girl. Allow me to give you all that you have ever dreamt of. The plan I have for you is like nothing you ever imagined. Now it's time to rest. Rest in my arms while I change everything." I always know when the Lord has spoken to me because I can find scripture in His word that goes with what He has revealed to my spirit. After a couple of hours of praying and journaling, the last thing I prayed and also wrote in my journal was this. "Lord, I do not want to date anymore. I am almost twenty-five years old and I know that I want to be married. I don't know when that time will come but as I focus on you, please do not allow me to become distracted by dating. The only man I am interested in is my husband. Until you are ready to bring him into my life, protect me from dating anyone else. "

Walking into a new church that day, I had on idea that I would meet someone that would change my life forever. I new I needed to find a new church and I new that I wanted to experience God in a whole new way. But I had no idea that all I needed, all that I had ever prayed for would be inside that church. My prayer time with the Lord had become powerful. I was experiencing God in amazing ways. He was revealing himself to me in ways I had never experienced. Even now when I am feeling disconnected, I go back to that time and try to figure out what I was doing that caused me to walk so closely to Him. It's really simple. I was chasing Him. I was doing everything I knew to serve Him and honor Him. I was truly falling in love with my Lord. I was saved when I was five years old and I have never had a time in my life when I walked away from Him. But there are distinct times in my life that made for huge spiritual markers. This was one of those times. I was on a mission and no one was going to get in my way.

After that night on January 1st, I journaled constantly. In the midst of writing in one particular journal, I felt like the Lord was showing me that I needed to buy a new journal and hold on to it. So one night in Wal Mart, I picked up a little spiral notebook and carried it in my purse. I was still unsure what I was supposed to do with the journal because I already had one that I was currently writing in. A few days after buying it, I was driving in my car praying. It was then that I heard the spirit of the Lord say, "Write to your husband. Write about this time in your life. Write what I am doing in your life. Be faithful to writing. Share your worries, your fears, your dreams, your desires. Share your heart." Back then I did not tell anyone about the things that the Lord was revealing to me. I was afraid to say things like, "The Lord told me to do this or I heard the Lord telling me.." But now, I can write and say these things with boldness. We all experience God differently and while some have a hard time understanding that the Lord can actually speak to us, I know that He has spoken to me. Through the years I have learned when it's Him and what He's saying.

So I began writing to my husband on January 31st. On February 11th, just a few days later, I met Jeremy. My Mom and Step-Dad (I hate using the word step but I have to for all of you because I have written about my real dad a lot) were in town from Houston and decided to go to church with me. The church I was visiting was actually the church that my Mom had grown up in. For all of you Christian Music lovers out there, the Pastor of this church was Dan Dean from Phillips, Craig and Dean. His wife was my Mom's best friend growing up so that was kind of the reason I had decided to visit. I had heard the music was incredible so I was excited to visit. When my parents and I walked through the door, we sat down in a pew. In fact, this pew was a pew pre-destined for ME. There are many more details to this story but the most important detail to share was who was sitting behind me. It was Jeremy. He was smiling, of course. He always has a smile on his face. People comment to me all the time how Jeremy always has a smile on his face. It's a contagious smile and one that I was not about to forget.

(I did not know Jeremy in this picture. This is the church where we met. Also this is the church where he was saved before I knew him. This is my favorite picture of Jeremy's smile because even as he was coming out of the water from baptism, he was smiling. That is the true Jeremy, always smiling.)

Pastor Dan preached a sermon about how we need replenishers in our life. He said that we all need people to come into our lives that will replenish us instead of draining us. His focus was Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 . I have a mark in bible on those verses with the date February 11th, 2001. While I was listening to his message, it was another moment when I heard the spirit of the Lord speak to me, "Your husband is behind you." Right away I felt like maybe I was crazy. Many thoughts were racing inside my head. " Why on earth would God bring my husband to me so fast? Wasn't I going to have to wait and learn something else? Surely after praying that prayer on January 1st, my prayer would not be answered so soon. Or did God really mean that my husband was behind me physically?? Or did he mean my husband was in my past, an old boyfriend that would come back into my life? Could it mean that gorgeous guy sitting behind me with that wonderful smile? There's no way that guy would like me! He's too cute!" Seriously, that's the exact though pattern that went through my head. After the service was over, my parents wanted to go down and say hi to Pastor Dan and his wife. While it was a reunion for my Mom, it was a tough day for me but exciting too. The message was powerful, the guy behind me was really goodlooking and I was still thrown off by what I felt like the Lord had revealed to me. And then, it got better.

Pastor Dan asked if he could pray for me. He said that while he was speaking during his message, the Lord showed him that the message he was giving was for me. Before that day I had never spoken to Dan Dean. He didn't even know my name and he really did not know anything about me or what I was currently going through. I was just in shock that the guy I had heard sing on the radio for many years was concerned with praying over me! Again, God revealed himself to me in a whole new way. Pastor Dan prayed for me and afterwards he looked at me and said these words. "Amanda, God has got something big for you. I don't know what it is but I feel it. I don't know what you have been praying for but He's getting ready to answer your prayer! You need a replenisher! I don't know if it's a friend you have been praying God would send you or a husband but this person is about to come into your life and love you like you have never humanly been loved. This person will bring about healing that you have needed. When it happens, BOTH of you will instantly know (then he snapped his fingers) that this is from God! So sit back and let God do it!" Okay, so now I am speechless and let me tell you I'm a believer too! God was definitely moving and I was excited!

Did I mention that the guy sitting behind me, Jeremy, overheard me talking to someone, realized I was single and invited me to his lifegroup that week? Again, an act of God because this guy, now my husband, is a very shy person. That was not like him at all. So my parents and I left and grabbed something quick to eat so they could head back to Houston. My Mom has a whole story of her own about that day. She knew Jeremy was the one but she did not tell me that day. That night I pulled out that journal I had been using and wrote to my husband. I was still doubtful, I was not convinced that the man I met that day was my husband. From his looks, I sure hoped he was. But, I just couldn't imagine the Lord answering my prayer for a husband so soon.

Tuesday night came, February 13th and I went to the Bible Study at Jeremy's apartment. And the story begins!

(Tomorrow is our five year Wedding Anniversary. Of course I will finish the story! I have been trying to post a picture to this but blogger is not letting me.)


Anonymous said...

That is such a great story of how you guys met ;o)) Truly a God thing!

Sarah H. said...

Ha I wish you could have seen the big smile that was on my face as I read your post!!

I know I asked you some time ago to tell me about your story with Jeremy and though I wanted to hear about it right away, I'd never ask you again because if there's one thing I've learnt about you and this blog is that you only speak when the Holy Spirit directs you.

You're SUCH an inspiration Amanda!! You're a true God-chaser and your life shows it. You should write a book!:)

Thank you for your openness!

Last sunday one of my best friends was asking for prayers because she really wants to get married. Can I e-mail her this post?

Much love,

On Fire For Him said...

My, what a post. I just linked from another blog to this one, b/c of your title. Your post had such depth and truth, far beyond the normal "christianeze" that is out there. I identify fully with hearing the Holy Spirit and watching Him unfold plans. I love the fact that He does this for any situation. How beautiful that this is about you and your husband.
Thank you for such a great post. I look forward to reading more.

Wendy said...

Hi Amanda, What a great story about how you guys met! God is so good to give us exactly what we need at the perfect time. My story is somewhat similar. I had given up on dating after a 4 year relationship and months later found my husband and married about a year later. However, I didn't become a believer until a year after we were married (long, but great story).

On Fire For Him said...

I noted you on my blog today - just wanted you to know it, b/c I always like to be aware of who is writing about me, etc. I really appreciated your post. Hope it was okay to write about you. If you are uncomfortable with it, please leave me a message and I will delete it immediately!

BooMama said...

I LOVE stories like this one - can't wait to read the rest of it!

Laura- Swank Mom said...

That is such an awesome story. I have tears in my eyes. You have really moved me.

Kelly Ann said...

I still LOVE hearing this story!! Our Father is awesome!!

Love you!
Kelly Ann

keri said...

that's an AMAZING story. are we going to hear more?!

Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

How wonderful Amanada. Great to hear such a faithful story. I should have been more specific on ours but I did the post real late...or early, however you view it...anyway. You did wonderful. Can't wait to see the pics.

momteacherfriend said...

God is awesome! I love how he works out the details of our lives. And how he speaks to his children. Love it! Love it!

Amanda said...

WOW! I had no idea that my LOVE story would bring so many comments. I know there are blogs out there that receive comments up in the 30'3 and 40's! But, when I see that I have 11 comments, I get excited! If God can use my story to minister to just one, then I am thrilled. Your comments have really, really blessed me today. Writing this today has reminded me of what an incredible story and testimony our meeting each other was! I am still amazed so thank you for reliving it with me!

Kellie said...

I would like to e-mail this to my DH. Just yesterday we had a conversation about hearing from the HOLY SPIRIT. What you said confirmed what I told him. Today we also got a mailing from my old summer camp and it had a story about conversing with the HOLY SPIRIT. GOD is working using all of us and our expierences to minister to each other. I live that GOD lines everything up in perfect timing. I love that GOD is real and that I have found TRUTH. I love that you are so able to be open and able to put these thoughts down so clearly. Love you dear lady.

Chappyswife said...

What a great & precious picture to have & share with your children! Great testimony.

Tammy said...

Wonderful story Amanda! I always love reading true love stories but to hear how God was so powerfully involved is exciting!
Of course, I think God has been involved in all believers lives when they have found their mate...but to hear how He was speaking in such clear ways is so incredible! Thank you for sharing this! I can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

keri said...

happy anniversary amanda!! hope you 2 lovebirds can do something fun to celebrate :)

Kathleen Marie said...

God is indeed the perfect matchmaker. What a wonderful way to meet the man of your life.

Shalee said...

What a precious God story... It reminded me of Ruth, the way He just brought you together.

Thanks for sharing!

Jen said...

You don't know me - I stumbled across your blog from another one, and I have to tell you - a friend gave me a new journal this year and God specifically told me to write to my husband in it. (Being almost 30 and single...some days I wonder if I'll ever meet him)

Your story has encouraged me - far more than you could ever know.