Saturday, August 20, 2011
I was setting up for kids club when I saw Ruth coming into the room, and I greeted her… the first thought I had was, “ She looks like a nice girl.” And later after ministry, the thought that kept repeating in my mind was, she seems like such a nice girl but I thought she was a distraction and I kept pushing aside my thoughts about her and prayed without words in my mind, rebuking my thoughts to myself, thinking it was from the enemy.
Kids club prep was in full motion when I arrived at the church and I was looking for Emele when Wilson introduced himself and helped me find her. Kids club prep can be kind of crazy and stressful and everyone was running around but I noticed right away that Wilson was working hard but calm at the same time. I always look for people of peace and he stood out to me from the very first day as a person of great peace. And he was REALLY good looking, and caught my eye. I was looking ahead to the weekend with friends in Tyler and a wedding so I was not thinking too deeply about anything. After Kids club, Wilson helped me carry my bags to Emele & Ofa’s house; and I thought…. Hmmm, he is a servant, too. After he left, Emele said, “Ruth, he is a good man.” I said, OK, but still was thinking ahead to my time in Tyler.
(a few days later)
I thought Ruth left for good and I was thinking to myself that I wish I could see that nice girl come back to the base sometime so I could get to know her more. I had that thought in my mind all weekend. I was praying that if God wanted me to know her more, that he would bring her back. On Tuesday, I went to Emele & Ofa’s house in the evening for some food and surprisingly, I saw Ruth in the kitchen preparing food. I had a joy in my heart and I helped her peel vegetables. We were talking the whole time about our YWAM stories and where we had come from. The next couple of days I got to know more of Ruth and I was struggling to ask her if we could go for dinner. The very last day before she flew out, I prayed and the Lord gave me boldness to go ahead and speak the very words I needed to speak to Ruth.
I, of course, was more then happy to have help in the kitchen! ☺ He started to grow on me over the next few days. We were both at the YWAM Dallas base for a limited time to decide about moving there so we worked on a lot of things together. Within a few days, I was really starting to notice him but was pushing aside my feelings because he was not doing anything that led me to believe he was interested in me. There are a lot of nice guys in YWAM, so I thought… he is just being nice. On Thursday, he asked me to go to lunch but I already had plans with Velda and asked if we could do dinner instead. At lunch with Velda, she asked me what I was doing before I leave and I mentioned dinner with Wilson. And then I heard myself and said, “Do you think it’s a date?” Velda said, “I don’t know, it could be. Is it OK if it is?” I said, YES! He is a great guy.
(a few hours later)
Ruth & I went to a Mexican restaurant near the YWAM Dallas base. We ordered some food and started talking about ministry and what we wanted to do in the future. Most of our interested were the same. During the conversation, I was trying to take my time to ask about dating her. Culturally, I was struggling because back on the island we use a third party to talk to someone about a relationship. I felt a lot of pressure to come out from my custom of dating. The pressure grew so strong that I took a break and went to the bathroom to pray. I prayed for God to give me confidence and the words to speak to Ruth directly instead of through someone else. I heard a soft voice after prayer, saying, “You are in America. Approach her the American way.” That gave me more confidence. And I came out, sat back at the table with Ruth and told her, “ I have something to say, there is an important topic I should talk to you about.” Ruth sat there peacefully and told me to go ahead and share. I told her, “ I have so much peace. I want to start a relationship with you.”
We walked around for a while before we settled on the Mexican restaurant. Our little dinner turned into 5 hours of conversation and we were both surprised when we saw the time. About halfway through dinner, I was thinking… OK. This is a lot of nice. If this is not going anywhere, I will be so confused. Wilson is one of the most open people I have ever met and had no problem sharing about anything I asked him about. When he finally got around to asking me if I was open to starting a relationship, I was ready to hear it. I responded that I felt the same way. But I needed to hear from God. I was hoping that God would release me back into missions but the last thing He had clearly said, was to go to Indiana. Wilson made it clear during dinner that he was called to missions long-term and I did not want to distract him from that. I was feeling drawn to Dallas but I just needed to hear from God again. I didn’t have any question about Wilson but just about whether God was taking us both in the same direction. Wilson was OK with that and since the restaurant was closing, we walked back to Emele & Ofa’s for tea and more conversation. I texted Barb and said, “I think I just had dinner with my husband.” At the end of the night we said a very sad good-bye, not knowing when we would see each other again.
I was praying the whole way home and when I was walking through the airport, I clearly heard God say: I will be with you always, even to the ends of the earth. I stopped right where I was. By now, I knew that these kinds of clear messages don’t come very often and I wanted to see if God had anything else to say. YAAAAAAAY! I called Wilson and told him, “OK, I am ready to move ahead. We need to find a way to spend time together.”
I felt the need to spend time with Ruth to get to know her more. When she called me to come visit her in Indiana, I was so happy! I told my friends about my traveling and my new relationship and they prayerfully encouraged me to travel to Indiana. I took a train ride and Ruth was waiting for me at the train station. We had a wonderful week together. From that moment on, we were both traveling back and forth a lot visiting each other.
We both knew early on that this was from God and had so much peace from God about our relationship. Wilson is more then I ever thought possible and every day I am discovering new things I love about him. One of his longer visits was at the beginning of July. On July 4th, we went for lemon custard with Elmina and then down to the lakeside to watch fireworks. Wilson started telling me all the things he loves about me but he has done that before so I didn’t realize right away that it was leading up to a proposal.
I had a nice diamond ring in my pocket. I hugged her and was telling her the things I liked about her and I asked her, “Do you know you want to marry me? Ruth said, “Yes, I have so much peace with you”. And I asked her again, “Do you want to marry me?” And she said, “Yes, I will…. Are you asking me now?” And I got the ring out from my pocket and put it on her finger. And said, “Yes, I am proposing now.” We both were nervous for a moment during that time, knowing in our minds that this is a special moment for us, A decision to be together for the rest of our lives. We enjoyed the rest of the night, watching fireworks and taking pictures.
He is forgetting some of the things he said. He asked me, “Is this really what you want? This is a day about freedom. You have the freedom to do anything you want in life. This is your decision.” And I said, “Yes!”
And now we have both been traveling back and forth, and as I write I am happy to be sitting beside Wilson and wedding plans are in full swing: the date has been set, guest lists are being written, addresses gathered, decisions being made… It will be a simple wedding with close friends and family. It has been great to talk to his family online and on the phone this week. I wish they could be here… but we will do an Island wedding when we go for a visit.
After the wedding, we will be living in Dallas, working with YWAM Dallas.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Every single time I have ever spoken to a crowd, I would lie awake at night… begging God to speak to me about what to share. Silence would meet me there. These times become more about communion then conversation. Just being in His presence. The next day I would read and read the Word, hoping for something to jump out at me that He would want me to share. Nothing. I don’t want to get up in front of people without being prepared. It strips me to the core and I sit there, waiting to speak, soul bare, desperate for God to tell me what to say. Minutes counting down… and then, at the very last moment; at the right time, He tells me what to say. And it is always something I would be tempted to edit if had the time to do so. As though I could improve on what He wants to say. At least, if I had time, I could edit the parts that involve me… the raw areas He wants to expose… the cracks that need healing that can only come from the salt of the body. I might be able to mask my areas of pain and make it seem softer, not quite as ugly. Perhaps my shortcomings and my sin would not seem so ugly, if I could somehow take the time to expound on why I do what I do… explain it away.
I only use that as an example; this is a cry that has come from every part of my life… a cry I have been aiming at the Lord for a long time about every single thing I have ever needed to know from Him. The answer came when I least expected it…
Having arrived at the airport early for my flight, I found my way to my gate in terminal A and sat there for a moment before I felt the urge to go exploring. Surely there is something healthy I can eat before flying… I found a map and there it was! Red Mango?! It was pretty far away, all the way on the other end of the terminal but I decided to make a dash for it. I speed walked through the multitudes of people, ridiculously excited to have a chance at a completely healthy snack. I was praising Jesus the whole way there, already knowing how tasty this was going to be!
My fruit and yoghurt parfait was soooo good… I was grinning the entire whole way back to my gate. The place was deserted. My heart starts to pound and I heard someone call in my direction: “Gate change!!! D6.” D?!?! That is the other side of the airport! I took off in the direction of airport transit and found my new gate, looked at my phone… still early. Whew. I sat down at my new gate, breathing a sigh of relief. And God said, “Good thing you didn’t know about your gate change ahead of time, huh?” My first response (heart still pounding) was, Of course, I would have liked to know ahead of time! I hate last minute changes! He countered with, “Would you have taken time for Red Mango?” Oh. Nope. He got me. I would have rushed off to my new terminal where all I could find was a McDonalds and a candy store. The rest of the day, I was looking back at the times when I yelled at God for not telling me stuff ahead of time… and uncovered many, many Red Mango moments. Some of the times when I have experienced the greatest blessings and deepest communion with God were the very times I would have been stressing out, had I known what was just around the corner. I decided I would have rather had my Red Mango then to know about my gate change. It seemed too easy, so I tried to remember a time when He told something too late… and for the life of me, I cannot remember a single time that He waited too long to tell me anything… So I am going to stop yelling and enjoy the yoghurt.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Ordinary, every day happenings can prelude what I call God moments. While doing dinner dishes, it was still bright outside and the colors danced on the east wall, telling me there would be a beautiful sunset. Dishes abandoned, I left quickly to enjoy the view while driving into the sun. Vibrant colors were splayed across the sky; purples, blues, reds, pinks & orange weaving in and around the clouds as the sun sank into the horizon and I was struck once again by the splendor of creator God’s painting, on the vast canvas for all to see. ‘Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place.’ (1 Chronicles 16:27). I LOVE that God was telling us this before we had the Holy Spirit… He is making it clear: Make no mistake. Just in my creating you, you are my dwelling place. Now. Today. Strength and joy exists IN you. Choose it. His splendor & majesty are before Him, even when we can’t see. Whether a bleak day or in the midst of joyous occasion, its still there; waiting for us to SEE. ‘Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of the nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come before Him. Worship the Lord in the Splendor of His Holiness. Tremble before Him all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say to the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
Tempted to pull over to take a few pictures, I opted to stay in the moment and kept on driving, singing a new song of praise to our maker; enjoying His presence. Do you remember at the very end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, when a select few are getting on a beautiful ship with white, billowing sails at dusk; luminescent skies in the background? I do. I remember being curious… where they were going? And why aren’t more people joining them? I remember the moment it hit me… Peace filled my heart, an inner joy in knowing. They were going to sail into the sunset. Rest was coming. Their work was complete. Various tasks, some seemingly unimportant… others obviously essential; all woven into a much larger story.
I want to live every day like that… faithful to finish what God has for me THAT day. And when the days add up and the work is finished, I too will sail into the sunset… where I will rest as I wait until you can join me on the other side.
Monday, February 14, 2011
As I read, I came across a few passages that spoke to me...
The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isaiah 50:4
I remember a time when being awakened by the Lord in the morning was a normal thing. Lately, I feel His constant companionship but I don't hear Him speak a lot. Its like He just wants to be with me. It has been a time of walking by faith, not by sight... a time of going back and remembering the last thing He said and trusting that if and when He wants to say something to me, He is more then able to get my attention. This was one of those times when it seemed like He cupped my face in His hands as though to say, "Are you listening? Because I really want you to hear me. You are not alone." It was interesting to me that He chose today to say this, because I didn't feel alone.
When I scrolled through my facebook news feed, it quickly became apparent that a lot of people do feel very alone today. It is Valentines Day! Maybe this message wasn't only for me. And then, to top it all off... I was flipping through the stations on the way to work and there it was! "you are not alone, you are not alone..." Leave it to God to be quirky enough to speak to me through a Michael Jackson song...
The other passages are as follows...
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
We call ourselves Creative Community… only time will show us will come of this group of artists. Tonight, I felt a pull to write some of my reflections from the last few days. My thoughts have been wrapped up in contemplating the Father, the original artist, the most amazing creator of all. The creator of life itself.
This weekend was awesome. I worked late on Saturday and it was about 7:30pm by the time I arrived at my friends house. I was greeted outside by Jaquie and Zekie… “Is that your car? How big (old) are you? Are you same big as I am? Why not? Are you same big as Mom? Are you going to be our girlie now? What is your name? Why is your name Ruth?” Both Jaquie and Zekie have chocolate eyes, adorable as all git out. Mama Gloria was inside, holding baby Isabella.
I was amazed this weekend as I got to hold baby Isabella in my arms… Isabella crying in the car unless I gave her my finger to hold onto, Isabella drinking a whole bottle, Isabella smiling! Isabella is a miracle baby.
In December, I was on the phone with Isabella’s mama a lot… especially late at night when anxiety threatened to overwhelm. Gloria’s pregnancy was in danger and the doctors gave very little hope of a good outcome. But God came through and helped Gloria carry Isabella up to 23 weeks! That isn’t very long in a typical pregnancy, I know, but it was part 1 of a miracle. Isabella Raine was a fighter from day 1.
The reason I celebrate Isabella drinking a bottle is because I remember being cautiously excited when at 1 week old, she was able to eat about ¼ teaspoon every 4 hours! She was up and down right around 1 pound for awhile and now she is so healthy! Praise God! Thanks to all of you who prayed for Isabella!
Saturday, July 17, 2010
*family photos, all rights reserved*