When Keith and I knew we were supposed to get married it was a God thing. God does that, He knows our strengths and weaknesses and He knows us personally so He knows how best to speak to us. Therefore, the way He speaks, can be different, well, because people are different....so more for the sake of writing this down for our kids to see Gods sovereignty, here's our story.
Keith and I had been close friends all through college (since Fall 1995), for 3 1/2 years. We were involved in ministry together, we hung out together, we were in leadership together. We were together a lot.
My last semester of my senior year we had a collegiate ministry leadership seminar where a lady came and spoke about our life's mission statement and how to write your life's purpose statement. I'm not usually the global big picture thinker so when asked to come up with this I wasn't good at it. I prayed "Lord, give me a vision for my future," then I squeezed my eyes shut really tight and tried to see it. Something came to mind after a long time, probably three minutes. I wrote that down and folded it up about ten times. I didn't think that I should share this at all, it was hard enough to write down and think that far, 10 years, in the future. Then she said to share it with those beside you, which thankfully happened to be my roommates and closest friends.
I showed them.
It wasn't grand, it didn't have anyone's name in it, but it was kind of scary (meaning there were unknown steps) and a dream (meaning I didn't really know if it was literal or figurative). But it was pretty unique and specific in a couple of areas.
Then the speaker said, "Is there anyone that would like to stand up and share what they wrote with everyone?"
I got dry mouth and had a quick one sided conversation with God that went something like this..."God you know it was hard for me to write something down without knowing if it will happen, that was courageous enough, right God? So you don't want me to share it out loud or anything right?"
"Ok, thanks God, I didn't think so."
I stopped sweating and listened to people as they stood. Keith stood.
I wasn't surprised. I already knew he was a dreamer, a visionary, someone who was moving forward compelled by love.
What he shared (things I promise we had never ever talked about before in any of our late night kitchen conversations in the past 3 1/2 years)...
Was suspiciously the same as what I had written down. Specific parts of it.
My friends on both sides of me had their elbows in my ribs and in a strong whisper said, "You have to tell him!!!"
Tell him what? That we wrote the same thing down? Why would I do that? Nope I don't think so.
Earlier that day we had planned for Keith to come over and grab a movie and hang out. Not uncommon, because all of us were friends. When the seminar was done, Keith walked up to us and said, "Why don't we talk instead of getting a movie?"
While we were getting drive-thru take-out Chinese food my roommates convinced me to agree that if he asked me I would tell him. Well, when Keith arrived my roommates mysteriously decided they wanted to go to bed instead of talking and they made their exit.
Smooth ladies. Thanks.
So we sat down and he asked me what I wrote.
My best friend and I talked for three hours. Wondering if there was something bigger happening.
I asked a lot of questions to God over the next four months. I was deciding what was next when I graduated, I was interviewing for internships in college ministry...I was asked to serve in Georgia, I accepted.
Keith looked different. I know that sounds girly, but he did. Not since our freshman year where we painfully flirted about three times then he asked out someone else had I thought about us being in a relationship. Now he was truly my best friend. It would be a big step and my best friendship was at stake if it didn't work.
I prayed for direction a lot everyday. I prayed for peace, God's unspeakable, unexplainable peace.
June 20, 1999
While journaling my prayer that morning, I wrote these words down, "I know that I will marry Keith, please help him to say this before I move away in 6 weeks." I re-read what I wrote, because I kind of didn't plan to write that.
I moved to Georgia. Keith had not said anything about our future.
I left peacefully but prayerfully because technically there was no plan for us to ever live in the same town again.
One morning I was praying and journaling and God gave me a vision of Keith and I married, working with college students, in a church that's really different. I didn't know what all of that meant, but that together part was beautiful.
Since Keith hadn't lead any future talk yet, I didn't think I should tell him. I wanted desperately for a man to lead in decisions and spiritually if I was to marry him. So I hadn't told him about my prayer back in June. I wanted him to say it first.
So that night on the phone Keith said, "Tonight during a worship service I had something really strange happen."
I was intrigued of course. Then Keith wasn't sure he should share it. I then quickly and almost quietly said I had something strange happen to me that morning. We both vocalized it was about the future and after great deliberating, decided to share.
He said almost exactly what I had written down while praying that morning. I said, "Let me get my journal and I'm going to read exactly what I wrote down this morning. "
Nothing we had talked about before.
I was shivering, but I wasn't cold.
We were quiet, silent actually.
Keith had a flight arranged to come visit and a hurricane hit the coast of Florida and delayed him. He told me that he would drive if he had to. For some reason he really needed to see me.
Then he read me the lyrics to "I could not ask for more."
We hadn't said we loved each other because (being such close friends) we knew that we both desired for those words to come closely to a specific important question. But when I hung up the phone...
He loved me. I actually said it out loud to myself. "He loves me."
September 20, 1999
He came to visit.
He told me he loved me.
I said it back to him. Then I found my journal and read what I wrote back in June. I didn't want him to think that I was simply echoing his words, but God had brought me to that place too.
As we pursued what was next God affirmed three things to us...
We were to go to seminary,
work with college students
and move out of Texas.
We had an option in the Atlanta area, there was a seminary extension, a healthy church that would hire him as collegiate pastor but wanted to hire me as children's minister.
There was the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, seminary, college campuses, but that was Texas.
Then there was this large junior college in Vancouver,WA where we could work together and both attend seminary but with nearly no pay. Since pay wasn't part of what God told us but the rest was there we said yes!
We were engaged March 10, 2000 (that's a great story for another time, surprise proposal on a beach in Florida...it's good I promise. That was the day Keith proved he can never act like he doesn't know how to be romantic).
...and married September 9, 2000.
Had a wonderful honeymoon in Cancun, packed our life in a Honda Accord and U-haul trailer, and moved out of Texas, less than two weeks after we were wed.
God began the work on the vision He had given us.
We got married.
Then moved to Vancouver, WA, worked with college students.
Went to seminary, graduated May 2004.
And there was another piece of this vision that hadn't come to fruition yet...being a part of a church that's really different...