Vows for One plus Family

Dr. Sparkle has had an unusual glimmer in his eyes over the past months. It was extremely noticeable now, why, as he buzzed all around the reception floor and during the well versed steps with his bride in the beautiful white gown.


Second time around, he was as gleeful as any first time bridegroom I have seen.

The past couple of years as we have weaved paths at social events and church, his comments have been, “I’m having fun dating.” A strong Christian man with a heart for missions work, a sailor, guitarist and grandfather, he was not necessarily looking for marriage right now. But Cupid hit and e Harmony helped and ….

We attended his wedding in a beautiful chapel in Sacramento at the end of a summer night. Candles glowed peacefully from the end of each aisle.

The minister stated it was a “bidding of the Spirit.” It was “Two hearts marrying—best friends with God as the indispensable partner.”

“It is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helper.” The minister also addressed the community would also be a refuge and help. With that said, all the children came forward from both the Good Doctor and his new bride.

They stood together(infants in tow) spanning the altar facing the bride and groom—who now exchanged vows with their acquired children..

“I promise I will be a good husband to your mom. Each of you will always have a place in our house as your new home.”

“Will you love and honor_ (new spouse)_to be part of our new family and accept them joyfully? Will you support us?”

Together the children and grandchildren answered, “I Will”

It was a wonderful experience for me to see their family vows. It shows the children how him important they are to the success and true joy of their parents.

It creates a platform for a strong launch and beginning, which all blended families need, no matter if the children are out of the house or still being reared.

May God bless all the weddings and families he brought together this summer and that are continuing into the fall. We pray God’s humor, courage, laughter and love, peacemaking skills and listening skills. Oh, and the gracious speech of Christ with one another. Something we can practice all the time, married or single! Amen and amen.

When Waiting and Dating is Grating pt 2

Red Light, Green Light

Neil is noticing something about Janet every time she’s around he has a common thought, “I’ve never met a woman like her before.”

The next time, we were stuck at a table for 3 hours in Sausalito the night Janet sat next to me. “They wouldn’t serve us.”  The whole time I talked with Janet I could also see this other woman I’d been flirting with. After that night I left saying, “Janet won.”

Slow to trust, they started building a friendship. Janet treated me like no woman had ever treated me, Neil squeezed her hand over dinner. She was my friend. We just had a friendship to begin.

“We began emailing,” Janet said. “And we’d share Scripture and talk about God…it wasn’t about us.”

“We’d share our thoughts, Neil said. About God. He smiled.

On Valentines Day, Neil gave Janet a card and he wrote a jingle with an ending, “Will you be my Girlfriend?”

The next year and a half they grew their friendship continuing to be part of their social circles in dancing and church and hiking.

“Every time I went out with Janet  I’d run home and mark on my bathroom mirror green light.  I had put up a red light, green light chart on my mirror when I got serious with God about His way in dating and my search. The list had what things were red lights for me and what were green lights.

Janet was all green lights. I never had a red light with Janet. Again he smiled a love smile that comes from true love and a heart that knows he has a treasure.

‘My fiftieth birthday, Neil had left a message on my phone to take me out to dinner. I had been dog and cat sitting. “I wonder if he knows this is my birthday?” I thought.

After dinner he gave me a card. Janet pulled a note out of her wallet.

A  poem Neil had written that started “to my best friend,” and ended with, “your genuine as can be, I know you’re the one for me… will you marry me?”

“I didn’t want a big wedding,” she said. “We eloped.”

“Even now,” Janet stated, “this morning on my way to work God gave me a Scripture. Then Neil called me later and shared…the same thing.” She shook her head and smiled. He squeezed her hand.

“It happens all the time.”

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”     Song of Solomon 6:3

When Waiting and Dating is Grating pt 1

Last night I walked the streets of Los Gatos after dinner with a couple holding hands along the quaint town of Saratoga-Los Gatos. They looked like any other couple in their fifties but—the first anniversary either will have celebrated is in July.

            “We didn’t kiss until our wedding night,” Janet whispered over dinner.  “We would…hold hands.” She had been an overseas missionary in her twenties- the same time Neil called it quits with relationships.

Neil looked up after a bite from his enchilada. “It was better that way. I had so much pain from relationships.” He shook his head. “It was terrible. In my twenties I decided, forget it! I’ll just be alone. I did really well for a long time, in my business and working on my property, 40 acres and a cabin, near the coast.

When I turned forty I told God, ‘If you want me to be married Lord, you are going to have to make me lonely for a mate, because at this point I’m fine.’”

Janet, on the other hand, said it was always hard. She struggled inside her whole life, now recalling mornings on the commute train to her job in San Francisco. “It was awful…alot. I cried many days and felt the pain (of her desire for a mate)… but now,” she paused. “It was like what they say about childbirth and the joy of the child after labor.” She swung Neil’s hand, “It was like the pain all washed away, all those years. I can’t remember now.”

“So what happened?  How did you meet?” I asked.

Neil tried again after forty. “God answered that prayer and boy, did I start feeling the pang of loneliness. So, then I dated but it still wasn’t good—I wasn’t doing it God’s way,” he shook his head.

 

“I told God, again after dating my way, ‘Okay that’s it. You pick my mate. I don’t care what she looks like. I don’t care what I want. I want you to pick my mate and I will do what you tell me’.”

 

Janet had developed some male friendships, and interests but nothing serious…since her twenties. She basically did not date. She hiked and began dancing with a lot of singles from her church group.

 

Both Neil and she went to a large singles group. “We were around each other two years…always in a room of people.”

“I noticed Neil one time at church after we spoke briefly after a service. We shared our views and it was so weird, he felt exactly like I did,” Janet smiled.

“It was a one minute conversation,” Neil added. “But the same thing happened for me. It was like we thought alike. In that minute I knew there was something different about Janet.”

Janet started praying and thinking about Neil. She found herself noting where and what Neil was doing whenever they were in a gathering after that. Neil tucked the “Click” he experienced in the back of his mind.

She gave him her email to contact her for the dances…and he lost it.

I thought about her sometimes and wanted to contact her but I couldn’t find her email. Months later, I found the paper with her email on the floor behind the dresser one day. I included her in our dance list group.        

           

“She didn’t know this until after, but both times she sat next to me, I was

struggling with these other women in the group I liked.” Neil organized the dinners before dancing. Sometimes there were 30-40 people at a restaurant talking. Two of those times. He landed next to Janet.

The first time, “I had dated one gal and we were still…” his voice trailed. So one night at dinner Janet is on one side and she’s on the other. After two hours talking to both, and the games I was feeling from the other one, I left saying, “Janet.” But I still didn’t do anything about it.

 

“I didn’t know they were dating, or had dated.” Janet said. I just thought she was a friend or acquaintance.”                              

(To be continued next Friday)

A Heavenly-Minded Man

A year ago a Bayside Singles Yahweh Sisterhood leader, met her soulmate. When I asked  if she would  share her story for“Ring Connection.-“Yes, I pray that many will be blessed and also that our story gives hope.”   Thanks again for sharing Wendy!

 

Glen and I met "online." We both registered with a singles website "BigChurch.com." One day, I received an invitation to meet for coffee.
 
I had been "internet dating" for approximately two years. It was fun meeting different guys and listening to their life adventures. I really enjoyed meeting men that had a great love for Jesus.

Most men were more interested in talking about themselves and gravitated more toward "worldly" ideals instead of the heavenlies.

 I always went with the attitude and a prayer of, "Okay Lord, what do you want me to learn from this person or if this meeting is for me to say something from you, so be it, give me your words/message."

I had also prayed that if I were to meet "Mr. Right," that God would let me see Christ in Mr. Right's eyes and hear Christ through his voice so I would have no doubt that this was a relationship worth investing time in.

 I would ask God to immediately reveal any "red flags" that I should be aware of…and God was always faithful in doing so. I would pray before each meeting that Jesus be with us and for His protection over me. My main interest was to honor God in searching for a relationship and to listen to Him and not focus on "my" desires.
 
I agreed to meet with Glen on a Saturday afternoon. I went without expectations and was really caught off guard when I saw him walking across Starbucks parking lot. He had a wonderful warm smile and as we got closer, I noticed his beautiful blue eyes (one of my hearts desires that only God knew about). I had intended to have a quick cup of coffee and be on my way. We had an amazing conversation about how God had blessed us in good times and throughout bad times in our lives. It was absolutely wonderful to talk to someone who so freely and with great passion, shared his love for Jesus Christ. The intended, "quick cup of coffee" lasted more than two hours. He then invited me to have dinner with him and I agreed.

 Five months after our first cup of coffee, we continue to invest time in a wonderful relationship that, first and foremost, honors God. We are engaged to be married and I look forward to being his wife.  He has proven to be a man that is honestly doing his very best to mirror Jesus and believes in the Word of God as a guide to life (another one of my hearts desires in a husband).  
p.s. There were no "red flags" when I met Glen and I knew immediately, at our first meeting, that God had presented someone very special into my life.
 
I posted this one year ago- Wendy has now been married close to a year- IT seems it takes a heavenly-minded woman to recognize a heavenly-minded man and, vice-versa. Keep close to your ideals. Strive for excellence.

In His Time He makes All Things Beautiful Pt 2

Denise and Mike's story, continued from last week

 

"When my children were young, they had attended classes at church under a man who was the head coach in Children’s Ministry named Mike. At the suggestion of my good friends, he had joined my worship team in singles, and I was just getting to know him. God and I knew that I wouldn’t date anyone in singles, especially as a worship leader.

Now I was leaving singles.  And I was free from the dating rule.”

 

One night God took the opportunity to ask me a significant, and almost audible question, “Have you considered this man?"  Wow!  So I did. 

 

 He was kind, dedicated, and seemed to love God totally.  I did realize that he liked me—he attempted conversations with me (which I squelched) and had given me a Valentine’s Day card…but he seemed kind of quirky.

 

Mike initiated the conversation one night after dinner. We talked.

He wanted to move forward to dating, but I told him I really needed to see how I felt. Was I comfortable with him? I expressed my fears and hesitations—especially being a single mother. 

 

Mike had a very "wise" response!  "Better than a stick in the eye."

Afterward he kept praying and I kept praying.

 

One evening in my backyard, I said, “God, if you want me to marry this man, I open my heart."  God placed Mike in there at that moment, and I called him to see if he wanted to go to singles that night.

He knew that meant we would be seen together… and what a monumental thing that was for me.  He knew some of my quirks and foibles. I knew some of his. But, more than anything I knew it was God's will.

 

 I had often laughingly said, “I will need an airplane and a banner in the sky for God to reveal his will for my mate.”

What God gave me was peace, and a willing heart and the perfect timing for Him to bless me.

 

 Mike is the perfect man for me. He is the perfect fit for that place in my heart that God had prepared.  And Kostya has had his dad for 7 years!

 

God works in amazing ways…always different, always new

In His Time He Makes All Things Beautiful pt 1

This week’s Ring Connection will be shared in two parts, this and next Friday. This single Mom’s story will encourage your hearts. She is a very gifted worship leader and guitarist who married her husband at 44 years young. However she had met him earlier. It just wasn’t time.

This is her story:

 

“ I struggled in my younger years wanting a husband to help out in life—especially being a single mom. Although it was a difficult passage, I eventually reached the place that it was okay if I stayed single. So much in fact, that I totally embraced my position. I raised my son as a single mom for 14 years and then adopted another son from

Russia

. I became so independent, I didn’t want a husband anymore.

 

 I enjoyed leading worship in our singles group and sometimes acted as a guest speaker. One night I shared the story of adopting my son and what a great adventure God had planned for me. Interestingly enough, I also shared my younger son’s comments with the other single parents in the group.

 

Kostya wanted a daddy. I told him if he really wanted one, he would have to pray for him. I wasn’t looking for anyone else to add to my life. Obviously, I didn’t really comprehend God had other plans…and I was just along for the ride. 

 

The summer of 2000, I was at Kid's camp, our church’s summer camp in the

Sierra Nevada

’s. I felt God telling me to move out of the singles ministry and get more involved in the children’s ministry.

 

I was already doing worship in the children’s ministry. But reluctantly and without understanding why, I did what I felt God telling me. I quit singles.  Looking back now—I see why.

 

When my children were young, they had attended classes at church under a man who was the head coach in Children’s Ministry named Mike. At the suggestion of my good friends, he had joined my worship team in singles, and I was just getting to know him. God and I knew that I wouldn’t date anyone in singles, especially as a worship leader.

Now I was leaving singles.  And I was free from the dating rule.”

 

To be continued next Friday

Ready for a Wife

It seems like women are always “ready” for relationships.

 

On the other hand, how many times have I heard men say, “I’m not ready” or “I’m ready” or “I was ready” (when they met their mate).

 

Last week I met a man who was from the latter category at our church’s marriage function, the Crystal Ball.

 

“I was a single parent for 13 years,” Roger explained to me as I handed him a ticket stub. He was dressed in slacks standing next to his beautiful wife of one year. The white lights suspended from the ceiling of our gym (the ballroom dance floor) and strung like a huge chandelier shimmered in the background.

 

“I was never looking—never felt ready after my divorce,” he said. “I was busy raising my son.

Then, I flew down to Mexico to help with the church missions trip we have every year. It was a wonderful experience,” he beamed. “I helped build three houses—it changed my life….

“One night before I left, it was around midnite and I was wide awake sitting in the back of a truck looking at the stars and talking to God. Suddenly, I heard myself say, ‘God, I want a wife!’” He laughed.

"When I got home I went to singles and within the month…I met my wife.”

 

Granted it doesn't always happen that quick and that easy, but there is still something to being ready…

 

 

He who finds a wife, finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord   Proverbs 18:22

Lasting Love at First Site?

I just read Michael W. Smith's profile on Shoutlife and excerpted the part on how he met his wife Debbie. You will like this story…

"The years 1979-1981 are best written by Michael himself in his book It's Time To Be Bold. From chapter 1, we read:

While playing keyboards for the group Higher Ground, I signed my first songwriting contract with Paragon/Benson Publishing Company. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I was knocking down $200 a week to do something that I loved. Writing songs for a living meant that I didn't have to wait tables anymore, or work at Coca-Cola, or plant shrubs with a landscaping company.

I thought my life had peaked and God didn't have to do anything else for me. I wasn't looking for a record deal, a higher salary, or even a girlfriend – and especially not a wife. Writing music, I was as content as I'd ever been, and I labored at it sixteen hours a day. Then one afternoon while I was working in my office, Deborah Kay Davis walked by.

I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. When she passed by, it was all over for me. I was blown away. Totally head over heels in love. I frantically picked up the phone and called my mother in West Virginia.

"Mom, I can't believe it. You're not going to believe this, Mom. I just saw the girl I'm going to marry."

"What's her name?"

"I don't know, Mom. I haven't met her yet. But I gotta go. I'll find out and call you back."

My poor mother! She must have thought I'd lost my mind. But I'd never been so clearheaded in my life.

I left my office and went searching for this girl in the warehouse. Sherlock Holmes couldn't have done a better job of tracking her down, and eventually I found myself standing outside the ladies' restroom, waiting for her to emerge. She walked out. I introduced myself. We were engaged three and a half weeks later – and married four months after that!

In 1982, Michael was asked to play keyboards in a band that was backing up young artist Amy Grant. He also continued to write songs for himself.

The story goes that Amy's managers, Mike Blanton and Dan Harrell could not find a Christian record label that would sign Michael or a young New Yorker named Kathy Troccoli. Believing so much in these two young talents, they started Reunion Records.

Michael made his very first record in 1983 and it was called "Michael W. Smith Project." Michael wrote all the music and wife Debbie wrote the lyrics. The now famous song "Friends" debuted on this album."

This almost makes me believe God can even work in love at first sight!

First Date and Finale

“When I was 28 I led a missions trip for our church. Up until that time I prayed for a mate but it was never the right time. I just waited. But on this trip all the fellows were talking about this woman on the trip.”
The handsome dark man from Calcutta, India described how he met his wife of eighteen years.

 “Now fellas, wait until after the trip. Keep your mind focused,” he admonished the younger men, part of his troupe. Then he smiled and confessed to the audience he chatted with her himself when he could. Wink.

“When we returned from the trip, I asked her out right away,” he explained. The first date I told her, “I have a passion to save souls. He told her God had called him to full time ministry and added, “If you feel this is not what you want in life, you are dating the wrong guy.”
She had seen him in action on their trip and felt a confidence to answer amazingly, “Wherever you go, I will go with you.”

“I had watched my parents divorce,” he confided with the group. “Watched my father walk away from my mother. I wanted a gal I could marry for the rest of my life—til death do us part. A wife who would be my best friend. In my heart, I knew she was the right girl,” the pastor shared emotionally adding, “although I was in Springfield and she was in Dallas.”

“Now, every day I tell her 'I love you.' Not a day goes by that I don’t. Our kids have learned that also so that they will say to me, “Dad , I love you. I never grew up with that.”
God cares about each of us, he ended. He knows our name, our story. He knows the number of hairs on our head, that’s left on our pillows at night. Include Him in our heart issues and trust Him implicitly.

By the time Velter finished his testimony half the room had runny cheeks. God answered the prayers of the little ten year old groveling on the streets of Calcutta to spread the Word of Jesus thoughout the world and… He gifted him a wife and a family.
And no one is more grateful years later, than the humble pastor who once walked the streets as a young boy with Mother Teresa.
And my people wil receive a double portion…and everlasting joy will be theirs Is 61:7

Erwin married for Character

I heard a very interesting talk this week by Erwin McMannus on a DVD called the “Character Matrix.”
He displayed two types of fruit on a table behind him as he spoke on one segment of his speech. It was the part about integrity.
He grabbed a bunch of bananas and threw them one by one out into the audience, saving one for himself. At the given time everyone bit into the banana. They all had the same yellow white interior and the same composition. “Any differences?” he asked.
These bananas had integrity. They all represented the real thing. A banana. When you peel the outside, whala….everyone gets the same thing.
Then he turned around and chopped into a Watermelon.
How do you pick a watermelon? He asked the audience. Tap, tap. It sounded hollow. Perfect. The sound means it is ripe and ready. Sure enough. After each whack, he sunk his teeth into red luscious juice dripping down his arms. There is a tried and proved method how to pick out a “good” watermelon. One that is ready to eat and will satisfy.
The message was to be true to how God made you. If we are true to God and to ourselves and others we are truly walking with Jesus.
And, it really helps to know we are getting the product and not a package when picking out a mate… as Erwin described.
His first date with his wife didn’t go too well.
“You are so full of pride,” she stated truthfully. ( I don’t know how gentle!)
“I don’t need this!” Erwin told himself. “I can date someone who thinks I am special.”
And then he had second thoughts.
“She cares more about telling me the truth—than getting another date with me.”
So, he married her.