Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Autobiography - Part Four

Following is the final installment of my autobiography which was written as a requirement of The Bair Foundation - our foster parent agency. For the previous three parts, scroll down to read previous posts.

Not long afterward, I began to desire a husband. So – I made a list of the qualities that I wanted in a mate. The first three things were absolutely non-negotiable.

1) Someone who loved the Lord with all His heart, mind, soul and strength.
2) Someone with the same beliefs as I.
3) Someone with a servant’s heart.

Then I had a whole page of "it would be nice if..." he were between the ages of 40-45, he were taller than I, he had chest hair!, he liked antiques, canoeing, hiking, etc. I and my Christian counselor literally began to pray over my list!

One September day, I was watching the local Christian TV station. They were having a pledge drive to raise money. The Lord prompted me to call in a pledge. While on the phone, the prayer partner asked me if there was anything about which she could pray for me. I said, "yes, as a matter of fact, there is. I would like a godly husband." So she prayed and she wrote the request on the pledge card. Richard Roberts (of Oral Roberts University) happened to be the guest on the show that day. About 30 minutes after I called, someone handed my pledge card to Richard Roberts. On the air he said, "Deborah is pledging X amount and she has a prayer request...I see the request...I’m not going to read it on the you see it Oleen?" He then handed the pledge card to the CEO of the station –who was present on the show that evening. Oleen read the card. Richard said, "Oleen, I feel impressed to pray right now." And he then began to pray..."Dear Lord, I pray that you will make this request manifest in a way that she will KNOW that the answer only could have come from you. Place this person in her life - may it be a ‘suddenly’ an ‘unexpected’ answer and may she be blessed. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen."

As I sat and listened to Richard Roberts pray for me - on the air - there were tears streaming down my cheeks as I felt the presence of the Lord in my living room. I cried and cried –and thanked the Lord in advance for answering my prayer. And then I sat back and forgot about it. I went about my daily living, believing that God would answer in His time.

Three months later on Christmas day, I was home alone feeling sorry for myself because my family had celebrated Christmas together the week before. All my friends were with their families and I was alone in this house which I had previously shared with my partner. All the memories of all the past Christmases spent together were flooding my mind and I was very discouraged, thinking that I couldn’t possibly ever know the joy of a right relationship with someone. I turned on my computer and soon found myself in a Christian chat room. I hadn’t visited this site before. The ‘room’ had about 15 visitors that afternoon. Everyone was chatting about what they had for dinner and what Christmas gifts they received. I just didn’t feel like taking part in all the merry well-wishing and thought that this was a big waste of my time. Eventually I typed, "Well, since none of you is ready to prophesy that you’re my future husband, I’m outta here. Merry Christmas everyone." And then, just seconds before I clicked the "exit" button, someone typed, "Wait, don’t go." My very first thought was, "Oh, who is this bozo?" The person said, "Can we talk? Can we go in a ‘private’ chat room?" At this point, I KNEW that he was probably NOT the type of person with whom I would enjoy conversing –especially after hearing all the horror stories of men attempting to "pick up" women online for nothing more than a casual online "sexcapade". Nevertheless, I agreed to go into a private chat room and chat.

Without knowing anything about me, other than my name was Deb, I was 40 years old and I lived near Pittsburgh, Pa, this person began to share his testimony with me. As he began unfolding the events of his life and I watched the words spell across my computer screen - just by reading his words, I knew that He loved the Lord with all his heart. Also, I couldn’t believe that not only was he a Christian, but he was a member of the same denomination as I. And not only was he a member of the same denomination, but he said that he was on the staff! Wow! - "A Pastor?", he said he was the Chief Operations Manager with a staff of seven people under him. Their job was to clean and maintain the church and the adjoining Christian school. A big job for a church of over 1000 members. At this point, the Holy Spirit said, "Deb, there’s the servant’s heart that you requested"...It was at that moment that I KNEW I was going to marry this man.

We talked online for over five hours on that Christmas Day....and then talked online again for the next several days before I got cold feet and told him that I didn’t think it was going to work out –he lived in Florida and I lived in Pennsylvania. I knew that I couldn’t live in Florida because of the heat and how it would affect my MS. He honored my request to not pursue the relationship and the emails and online chats stopped. Until a week later when I said to myself, "Are you nuts? God has placed this man in your life and you’re going to let him go?" I contacted him and said that perhaps I was too hasty in my decision and that we should try again.

We spent countless hours on the internet and on the telephone getting to know each other. Over the next few weeks, I was able to check off EVERY item on my "list". Without a doubt – this was the man that God had suddenly and from a very unexpected place –had brought into my life.

Randy flew up to meet me in February. While visiting, I took him to McConnell’s Mill State Park. It was a beautiful, sunny day with a temperature in the mid 60s –very unusual for February! We walked along the path and then stopped by the creek to rest. He pointed out that carved into the boulder behind us was a cross. Just then, a breeze blew some seeds down on his shoulder and I picked one up that was in the shape of a dove. I showed it to him and at that moment he said, "this is the perfect time"....and he got down on one knee, opened a box which contained the most beautiful ring I had ever seen - and asked me to be his wife.

Four months later, after having not even known each other six months, Randy and I were married on June 2, 2001. I wish I could say that the road up to that time was paved with roses, but it wasn’t. My pastor - one of my closest friends at the time, refused to marry us. He said, "But Deb, you’re moving so stinkin’ fast!" It didn’t matter how fast it was. I knew. We knew. God had brought us together and we absolutely knew that we were going to get married –with or without his blessing. He and his family did attend the wedding and in fact, asked the blessing at the reception –but he held to his convictions that we were moving too quickly and wouldn’t perform the ceremony. We had my mother’s blessing and Randy's parents’ blessing and the blessing of all of our family and friends.

Our wedding was the day that I had always dreamed it would be – filled with music. I surprised Randy and sang to him and we had so many vocalists and musicians that one of my friends refers to our wedding as, "The, I mean, the Musical"!

Here are the lyrics to the song I sang to Randy on our Wedding Day:

I asked the Lord for someone
and I always knew that in God's time and in God's way
it would be someone like you.
All my hopes and all my dreams
were suddenly fulfilled.
It's almost unbelievable
our love is in His will.

Only God could love you more
for He gave me this love I have for you.
What a blessing to know He's your Lord
For only God could love you more, than I do.

I'm tempted to be saying
that we met by chance.
But God was there at every turn
In every circumstance.
To share this life God gave me
seems such a fearful task.
But every moment we have shared
is more than I could ask.

Only God could love you more
for He gave me this love I have for you.
What a blessing to know He's your Lord.
For only God could love you more, than I do.

We have been happily married for five years. Olivia was born 23 days after our first wedding anniversary. She was 2 ½ months early and the Lord spared both of our lives. (But the retelling of that miracle would involve another four or five posts - at least!)

Several months ago, the Lord laid it upon my heart that He had something He wanted me to do –foster parenting. I began praying about it, never saying anything to Randy. One evening while watching television, he said to me, "Deb, what would you think if I said that I would like to look into us becoming foster parents?" My jaw dropped. I knew then that we were on the same page and that this was something that was authored by the Lord.

We were asked by the foster agency to share about our spiritual life. I think perhaps you can tell by my story where my heart is concerning spiritual matters. I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and it is my deepest desire to see others come to know the saving knowledge of Jesus. His love for me and the grace that He has bestowed upon me has been incomprehensible to me. I am undeserving of His love –but He loves me - unconditionally. My desire is to make a difference in the life of a child. If there is a way that I can share the love of Christ –in a practical way –and love a child who perhaps isn’t receiving the love that he or she deserves...if I can be the only "Jesus" that they see....I would be honored to be used of God to be a foster parent.

We have the support of our family, our friends and our church as we pursue this dream. We attend Lifeway Church of the Nazarene –which by the way, had you told me I would one day be involved in a Nazarene church, I may not have believed you –me being a diehard ‘Pentecostal’ A/G girl...but this is where the Lord has led us and we’re so happy serving him in this church. Randy recently taught a Bible study series and I am on the Praise Team –doing what I love to do most - singing and leading worship. I have shared with Randy and with my family and friends that while I am convinced that I am supposed to become a foster parent because this is a ministry where the Lord is leading me, at the same time, there are moments when I’m scared to death. I have to believe that the Lord is going to take all my apprehensions and fears –all the ashes of my past –and exchange them all for beauty - to glorify Him alone. He promises in His Word that He will equip us to accomplish the tasks that He calls us to do. I’m trusting Him to do just that and am looking forward to being used for His glory to help make a difference in children’s lives.

Thanks for "listening" to my story. My prayer is that my story, my testimony, if you will, has been a blessing to you and that you will be even more convinced than you already are, of what an awesome God we serve.
God Bless you!


Margie said...

what a great testimony! i am in awe of God. He is so good!

kim said...

We serve an awesome God indeed. Thanks for sharing your testimony. Those will be some lucky kids, for sure!

Becky said...

awh man! that was great! thank you so much for sharing!!!:):)

Birmingham Girl said...

Ta dah!! It's just as moving the second time I've read it!
I LOVE your wedding picture! I think everyone that is married should post their wedding picture, they're always so beautiful. Of course I'd have to dig mine out of the dust of nearly 41 years..hey it may have disintegrated by now!
Seriously, I loved hearing your story again and now I'm just waiting for the comments of people's lives that have been changed by reading it.
God Bless you both...Olivia too!

Deb said...

Regarding my wedding photo --I don't look like that anymore ---so I'm told. I have new glasses which my friend tells me are "all that"....and he says that they show that I "really know what's going on because after all, glasses say a lot about a person!" He cracks me up because nine times out of ten, I don't have a clue!

Sara said...


Birmingham Girl said...

All my glasses say about me is that I'm as blind as a bat.

Anonymous said...

Your life has been redeemed by the Lord and He's surely blessed you with a "match made in heaven" hubby! Thanks for sharing suce a GREAT testimony.

KayMac said...

Your story makes me worship our glorious God. BTW, I think we would love to hear your testimony about Olivia and how God saved you both.