The Word Became Flesh…

If you missed the last 2 posts…Change of Heart….Just in Time (3.18) and MGV – Barton and Roberts (3.19), you may want to read those first!

After reeling off my medical information, Louis was released from his job as first aid provider before I was.  He went to check on the kids.  I reminded him of the meat on the grill…which he had already thought of while on his way out of the house earlier.  (See how the Holy Spirit guided us through it all?!?!?)  It was funny when the paramedics asked if I was a nurse and I told them No…I got my medical training watching Marcus Welby and Medical Center as a child and ER as an adult.  My extensive medical expertise must have given it away.  🙂  I was finally released from my position and the paramedics took him away (it took 3 men to lift him on the gurney…as Frank was not a little guy!).

inside bullet hole at bottom of the stairs

Although the detectives wanted to speak to me right away, I was allowed to go inside and change my clothes.  When I entered into the house to head up the steps, I had a surprise waiting on me….a bullet hole under the window at the bottom of the steps.  Yes, a stray bullet came inside the house.  I am soo thankful that no one was climbing the steps at that time!!!  So now…we have experienced a little Law and Order, some ER and now we have CSI goin’ on.

While sitting at the dining room table talking to the detectives, I heard some wailing, screaming and crying outside.  I wanted to desperately go and console whoever it was, but needed to give my account of what had happened.  Later, I learned that it was Frank’s mom.

Nichelle, my neighbor and true sister, came over and sat with us on the front porch.  I am grateful for Nichelle, as she brought a peace along with her.  I called a few prayer warriors to cover us during this time. Although I left out a few of the details, I, surprisingly, called my mom as well and told her what was going on so that she could pray.  I was worried that it would make the news and didn’t want her to see it there.  But, I also didn’t want her to worry.

bullet hole from outside

After everyone was gone and it’s about 11:30pm, Louis and I finally get to eat our dinner…while standing up at the kitchen counter…eating our pork tenderloin with onions with our fingers.  You could tell the adrenaline was pumpin’!  This is when we both agreed that we HAD to go to the hospital.  So, Louis and I venture up to MCV.  If that was my brother, son, friend, husband, boyfriend…I would want to know what we knew.bullet hole from outside

It is in the Gateway Building of MCV that our relationship truly started to develop.  This is a story of racial reconciliation, a story of grace and mercy, a story of faith….

This true account is what gives me my life…and mission….scripture….

The Word became flesh…and moved into the neighborhood.

John 1:14 MSG  Holy Bible

MGV – Barton and Roberts

So…If you didn’t read yesterday’s post (Change of Heart…Just in Time) be sure to.  Otherwise, this one MIGHT not make a whole lot of sense.

I wonder…what would have happened if we decided to go out to dinner that night…or if we hadn’t gone out on Saturday night…or if I had in fact kicked Louis to the curb before this night….if I hadn’t given him another chance like my friends were encouraging….or if we had met back in the summer of 2007 instead of the end of December. ANY number of decisions could have changed the rest of this story…in SOOO many ways.  Personally…I’m thankful they turned out the way that they did.  So, I had a change in heart…just in time…for such a time as this.  To be there…the night Frank got shot…..4 weeks after Louis and I had our first date.

Let’s pick up there.

view from the breakfast nook window (Frank was between that pothole and the gutter)

It was about 8:30p on that Sunday night, January 27, 2008.  After seeing the crime from the breakfast nook window, Louis went running out the door…stepping off the retaining wall (this was b4 the fence was built) onto the sidewalk and into the curb where the victim laid.  He stopped and just looked at him for a moment…and I wondered…what is he doing?  And mentally screamed…Give him first aid!!!  I found out later that Louis was stopping to say a quick prayer before he did another thing. (Shame on me!!!)

I ran back into the house to grab some towels sitting on the dryer and some plastic grocery bags to use as gloves.  I had been first aid trained many years ago, but have never had the use for the training (gratefully).  Neither of us are medically trained, but we did have the Holy Spirit to guide us…and that was all the wisdom we needed!  Louis took his lower body and I took the upper body.  Frank was laying on his right side with his head in my lap.  Not knowing whether a bullet had hit his spinal column or not, I braced his head in my lap.  At that time, we found 3 wounds – left shoulder, gut and left leg.  Later we learned that he was shot 9 times – left shoulder, left leg, right upper chest, right hand, and 5 times in the gut.

view from the back door/deck

As he laid there while we attended to his injuries, I encouraged him and asked him a few pertinent questions ~ name, next of kin and her number, who shot him (he didn’t know), age, etc.  Only one other person came to his assistance, held his hand for a moment, prayed and ran back in the house.  I was so thankful for my neighbor!  No one else came.

Then, Frank stopped talking to me.  As his head laid in my lap, I encouraged him, prayed and stated, Frank…I know you are scared. I know that you are hurting.  But, we are here to help; and you are going to fine.  If you can’t say another word, just call on the name of Jesus.  There is power in just His name.  At this very second, Frank reached up with his left hand and grabbed my thigh.  I knew then…that he was calling on the precious, healing name of Jesus.  Frank would indeed live.

Although we had told the kids to stay inside, I remember looking up to see Lil Mike standing on the retaining wall looking down.  What a frightening scene for a 14-year-old to see up close.  Not to mention, I found out later that he knew Frank.  I yelled for them to get inside…only for them to move to the front porch where they could still see from a distance.

The first responders (police, fire department, and ambulance) started to arrive.  It was so surreal.  Watching over Louis’ shoulder as the yellow tape was strung and people started gathering behind it.  Fire Trucks. Police Cars. Sirens. ambulance. One officer gathered information from me while I was still with Frank.  The paramedics arrived; and I was able to given them vitals:

Satan meant for him to die, but our Lord.  He has other plans for Frank!

Change of Heart…Just in Time

So, the love story continues….although at this point, I wouldn’t yet call it a LOVE story.  I was still not exactly loving Louis, but it had only been a little over 3 weeks, right?  Not sure I believe in the whole “love at first sight” thing.  But, anyway.  Louis and I had date night every Sunday night.  It was awkward sometimes for me.  Still is sometimes.  What in the world was I doing dating (now married to) a pastor.  I am NO where near pastor’s wife material.  Aren’t they the ones who lead women’s ministry, wear pink and act prim-and-proper?  Aren’t they the ones who model a Proverbs 31 Woman?  Not exactly my style, right?  So, that in itself was a bit much.

THEN, Louis had to go and invite me to his official installation service at his church (where he had been an interim pastor for a few years) on January 20, 2007.  Do I go?  Do I not go?  This is weird!  Who am I to him at this point?  It’s going a little fast!  But, I went!  Thanks to Florence for going with me!!!!  It’s funny now to think I met his 2 good friends, Bob Fitch and Chic Silver…sitting right behind me…for the first time.  I remember Bob insisting we hug….because “we’re huggers”.  (btw – glad I was there for it!)

The kids were getting to know Louis and checkin’ him out.  I was Miss Marti, you know, a surrogate Mom in many cases.  So they weren’t too sure about it.  Not to mention…it was different….different than what most of them experienced.  Louis was a total gentleman.  Treating me with respect, he opened the car and house doors for me (still does actually!!!).   Needless to say…he didn’t spend the night with me.  And we hadn’t even kissed.  The kids actually got to watch Louis court me…and they had many questions about that as they watched us.  I’m glad that we got to show them how it can be….how it should be.

Me and Louis in 2.2008

So, I had prayed for a change of heart, and got it on our first Saturday night date!  For some reason, I got to see the real side of Louis Williams, and I liked it.  After eating dinner and listening to John and Kim play (yes..they were the first to meet us as a couple!!!).  Although it was a “school night” for Louis, we stayed up waaaay to late considering he had to preach the next morning.  But, it was fun.

Trust me…this is leading somewhere!  Stick with me.

Sunday night date night comes along, and we decided to stay close to home and throw something on the grill.  For a number of reasons, we didn’t get around to eating until late.  The kids were already back from youth group and 2 of them, Tony and Mike, were hanging out watching football and doing laundry (theirs!  Not mine!)  Louis was getting ready to check the meat one more time…and was walking through the breakfast nook (the windows on the right side of the 1st floor).  This is when it all began.  Gunshots…and a lot of them…went off.  It sounded like it was inside the house.

I had heard shots before….but from a distance.  Not so close.  We all hit the floor.  I was on top of the boys, calling 911.  Louis, who saw the muzzle flash reflect off the window, crawls over to the windows to look out.  This is when he saw one man on the ground and another one on top of him, beating him.  With the police still on the phone, I crawled to the ½ bath where I could see better…and the victim was now alone on the ground.  After calling out to let Louis know, Louis and I proceeded to go out the back door, to do what?  We had no idea.  We just knew that a guy had been shot just feet from the back door…and we needed to do something

in honor of Judy O’Hara

As some of you know, today I am in DC for the O’Hara St Patrick’s Day Clan Dinner and Party. This marks about 25 years that I have been coming up here….only missing 2 in 25 years.  I forgot to download pics for the blog…so stop by later and there may be some here.

Also…thanks for reading!!!!  And hope you have an awesome St Patrick’s Day.  This post is in honor of my dear wonderful and loving friend Judy O’Hara.  After fighting a long good fight with cancer, she went to heaven a month before I met Louis.  I like to think of Judy whispering in God’s ear….Now, let’s talk about Marti.  It’s about time that she met the other 1/2 of her pair.  RIP Judy O’Hara!  We love and miss you!!!!

More about me and Louis!!!  YAY!!!  I knew I couldn’t keep the romantics in my life happy if I didn’t keep telling the story….

OK…so now…we have my buddy Marc who was praying with me.  Don who was giving me life changing scripture.  Becky and Lowell who were praying with Louis and Jennifer who was just being the messenger, right?  Oh yeah…and about 20 women in my Bible Study and my 2 girlfriends who wrote lists with me.  Could there BE any more people involved?!?!?!?

So….Jennifer calls Becky that night, the 22nd…leaves a message.  Becky calls back on Sunday the 23rd with the number.  Jennifer calls Louis.  Louis says after Christmas he will call…as he was busy prepping for the Christmas Eve Service.  And I hear…after the holidays…which I think after New Years.

So, the 26th rolls around and I get a couple of calls from a number I don’t recognize and I am afraid it’s work…so yes…I screen the call, because I am on vacation!  No message is left.  Then it dawns on me DUH! maybe it is Louis.  So, I call JP and plug Louis’ number into my phone, so I will know that it is him.  Because it WAS him calling.  We still disagree about him not leaving a message to this day!  :o)  But the story is so much better this way!

So, the 27th of December (piece of trivia….yes, we got married a year from the date we first talked on the phone!!) rolls around…this is where it gets interesting…..and I am meeting with a neighbor and his friend looking at their business plan.  They had some business idea that they wanted to pass by me.  My friend had to cut out and left me with the other guy.  I started to get a little nervous.  Something just didn’t feel right.  I felt like I was in a dangerous predicament.  I tried gently to get him to leave…and he wouldn’t take my hints.  We had begun to have some theological discussions….not quite debates….but we definitely had some differences in opinion.  For one…this guy thought he WAS Jesus.  So, I started to pray…Lord, get me out of this.  This doesn’t feel right at all, while still remaining calm.  So after a minute or 2 (which felt like and hour or 2) my phone rang.  Yes…you know what is coming….I look at the phone and it was Louis calling.

I look at my visitor and said..I am so sorry, but I have to get this call.  I had been waiting for this call….like all my life!  So, I did.  and the rest is history.    The guy finally left my home.  Only for me to find out later, that he was in fact a bit dangerous.  He had allegedly stabbed someone previously for have a religious disagreement.  The Lord had answered my prayer for help and brought me the other 1/2 all at the same time!  I thank Him for his protective hand!

Louis and I talked for a while on the phone, and we decided to actually meet face to face.  Louis DID NOT know about Mr December at all.  He was just calling because Becky and Jennifer made the connection.  I let Louis pick our first date (not EVEN thinking about God’s assurance that I would meet him IN December).  And Louis suggested Sunday, which I thought was a great idea..especially after I checked out the date…..December 30th!

God had in fact brought me a DATE (not necessarily the other 1/2) in the month of December.  So, we went to dinner at Edo’s Squid on our first date.  In fact, Louis came back on New Years Eve to attend my party.  I held a NYE party for some of the neighborhood kids to give them a safe place to hang out.  Ordered pizza, played video games, and a few other friends came over as well.  We call this our 1/2 a date….where he first started serving in the community with me.

Sunday night continued to be date night for us.  Louis would come over about 3 or 4pm.  We’d hang out with the kids…watching football, etc.  Then, we would drop them off at youth group before going on our date.  So…he’s serving SBH with me from the get-go.

The kids were asking all kinds of questions.  Were we dating?  Were we having sex? (although they were WAY more crass than that…but this is a G-rated blog!) Have we kissed? etc.  This will have to be a whole another post one day.

You see…there was one problem….I really didn’t like him all that much when we first met.  Nothing really in particular…just didn’t like him.  My co-workers were cheering me on….Just give him another chance!!!  Don’t be so hard on him!  etc.  I wasn’t quite sure that I really knew him.

By the end of January..I had to have a LOOOONG talk with God about this. Rarely do I know what God is up to when He is doing His thing. And…this was one of those times.  I had a LOOOONG talk with God. Saying….basically….God….I don’t want to waste any time with anyone who is not THE one.  But, I really don’t like this guy so much….he’s a nice guy….just not for me.  So, I KNOW you introduced us in the crazy way for a reason.  I KNOW You know what I need…and I want what YOU want.  So…IF this is the guy…you need to change my heart and change it fast, because I’m about to kick ’em to the curb…..and kick him soon.  So…change my heart, Lord…if this is the one.

As you know…I had prayed for the other 1/2 of my pair…to serve SBH.  If that happened to be my husband…that’s just icing on the cake.

For Melissa, Michelle and Jeannine….the list grows!!! :)

If you are late in coming to the story…you MAY want to consider reading the past posts….go to the bottom and click Louis and Me!  This is where you will find each post in order…telling the story of how I met the other ½ of my pair!

OK…picking up where I left off in the story of how I met the other ½ of my pair.

So…I had asked the Women’s Bible Study on Faith to pray.  Which they promised me they would!  I was still believing in what God had told me….that I would meet the other ½ in December.  My buddy Marc had confirmed it stating that he felt I would meet someone in 4th quarter.  Again…we could both be right!

Early December comes, and Marc asks if I had met “him” yet.  I responded no, not yet…God still has another 21 days.  He hung his head hung LOW!  I had never seen him quite like that before.  He starts apologizing to me….telling me that he thought he had heard the Lord correctly….thinking that I wasn’t going to meet him.  I would have NOTHING to do with it.  Telling him NOT to give up…that I was STILL believing.  That is what God told me…and I am holding Him to it.  I may not have mentioned this before, but when I prayed….I kinda gave God a deadline.  Having heard that you should pray specifically, I prayed that I would meet him by the end of the year.  Then, God said it would be in fact be December.

Previously, Don Coleman had told me about this guy that he thought I should meet back in the summer, but he never called.  Other than that…there had been ZERO interests!  But, I was believing!!!

At that women’s study, I had the great pleasure of meeting my now good friend Jennifer.  On Saturday, December 22 we went to dinner after church.  We were just getting to know one another and were just hanging out when she asked if I had met “Mr. December” yet.  I obviously said No.  But I was still believing…God still had 9 more days!  We laughed at the Mr. December idea and continued to eat.  Then, Jennifer paused, set her folk down and said…so, I’ve been praying about this…and I think I am supposed to tell you.  There’s this guy….

I was like WHAT?!?!  This “guy”?  She continued to tell me about him.  I sat there and shook my head “No!  There’s no way!  He’s not interested!”

I couldn’t believe it.  My new friend Jennifer was sitting across the table telling me about the SAME guy that Don Coleman told me about months prior!  I just KNEW it was the same guy….and I said….JP, he’s not interested.  Don’s already told me about “this guy” (I didn’t have a name at this time!).  Jennifer was convinced that it couldn’t be the same guy. She didn’t think that Don and “this guy” knew each other.  So, I got Don on the phone.  Once I filled Don in on our conversation, he simply asked…what’s his name?  And Jennifer told me….Louis Williams.   Lo and behold, Don AND my new friend from the bible study were telling me about the SAME GUY!!!  6 months apart!!!  Needless to say…we were a little in shock!

So..the first thing I do is google him….NOTHING.  Yes guys….we google you!!!!  So, be careful what you put out there. do the same!  LOL.

The rest of the night, I kept saying…Jennifer, really?  Is this for real?

Long story short….Louis had spent some time with Don back in the summer sharing his heart.  A few months later he had dinner with friends Becky and Lowell.  Becky felt called to pray for Louis that he would meet his “God Woman”.  She is a busy woman, mom, wife, volunteer and professional.  Becky doesn’t have time to be a matchmaker, but she mentioned to Jennifer that she was praying for Louis to meet someone.  This was shortly AFTER I shared the “Mr. December” with my Bible Study.  Rather than jumping on it, Jennifer took time to pray about it first, which I sincerely appreciate.

Now it’s 12.22.07 and Becky and Jennifer went to work to get Louis and me connected….just a couple days before Christmas….when folks are busy, traveling, prepping for the day.  But, I think we all had forgotten about the December deadline.  Plus – I was now kinda freakin’.  Could this ACTUALLY happen?!?!?!? Really????

Side note:  Now, before you think too poorly of Louis….there had been a break down in communication back in the summer.  THAT is why he never called.  But, later you will learn that God’s timing is PERFECT!

A View from the Porch

Louis and I have a couple simple ministries to build relationships with our community…that cost virtually NOTHING!  Since there is a lot of foot traffic in SBH these are great ways to meet our neighbors.  Living on a corner lot has its advantages!!!  Join us any time!!! We do this with intentionality in warm weather months!

Front Porch Ministry/Chillaxer

Front Porch  Ministry or Porch Chillaxers – We grab something to drink and a snack and just SIT on our front porch.  We meet more neighbors this way than any other.  Some will even come and sit on the porch with us.

Fire Pit Chillaxer with our Missional Community

Our neighbor Brian (from Camaroon, West Africa) eating his first roasted marshmallow!

Fire Pit Chillaxers – We grab some marshmallows and build a fire in the fire pit welcoming our neighbors to join us.

What’s the view from your front porch?

Here’s ours.

Isn’t it the BEST ? ! ? ! ? !

Everett and LouisLiterally...our view from our front porch

Just for my friend, Jeanine…

I have to admit…I have been very preoccupied the last couple of days.  I typically write the first draft of my post a day or 2 in advance….and then tweak it as the “due date” looms.  Well…due to distractions that regular life has brought me AND the recent funeral today plus the death of my neighbor’s grandson…I’m doubly distracted and not processing very well.  So, I’m picking an easy (and welcomed!) topic today!  Back to Louis and Me!!!  YAY!!  I can hear my friend Jeanine cheering!  She encourages me to write more…and not to leave her hanging because she hasn’t heard the story before!  So, Jeanine…this is for you!!!  Thanks for your encouragement!!  I need it!  btw – check out her beautiful photography blog by clicking her name anywhere in this post!

Ok…so I left off with praying for the other ½ of my pair and Don telling me about a guy who never calls….right?  If you need to catch up….click Louis and Me! in the sidebar to the right…

Our 3 Lists Written in 02.07. 1 down...2 to go! (Yes...out of focus on purpose!!!)

Marc continued to come into work…encouraging me…and telling me that he had been “puttin’ in knee time” for me!  I still had my own copy of the list that I was praying over…along with my 2 friends’ lists (who I am STILL praying for!!!!!).

The work merger had been announced in the spring…and we were alllll wondering…whether our jobs were moving to St Louis (StL).  That fall, the word came.  Yes, my team’s jobs were moving.  I was a leader of about 40 people in 2 locations, Richmond and StL….with about 25-30 people in Richmond…and they were deciding that all the jobs had to located in StL.  I was praying for my team and me…for good decisions. (btw – some of them are still looking for jobs if you know of any open HR/Recruiting gigs in Richmond!!!)

I spent a many many night on my face asking the Lord if I should move to StL.  I said…if that is what you are asking, then that is what I would do.  I asked Him if I would meet my other ½ in StL?  But that just never landed on me right.  The Lord had said I would meet the other ½ of my pair to serve SBH.  So how could I move, right?

But, I prayed for confirmation.  And received it.  I told my manager that I would NOT make the move.  No amount of money or job position could convince me to move. But, fears set in.  How would I make a living?  Where would I get a job, etc?  It was definitely a faith building time for me!  I had to trust the Lord.

Meanwhile, I was sooo sure that I was going to meet the other ½ in December 2007, I stopped praying for it!  Yes….let me repeat, I stopped praying for it to happen.  I even told Marc to stop praying…but he insistently prayed although I said that God had already answered.  (Love me some Marc Lundy!!

Before long, I joined a short 6-week Bible study at Needle’s Eye Ministries on Faith.  It was now October-November 2007…coming up on the December date the Lord gave me!  Figuring…if there was anytime I needed faith…I needed it now.  This group of about 25 women gathered every week for 6 weeks at their office.  I barely knew a soul!!! After Susan led us in our study, we always closed in prayer.  I shared my story and asked them not to pray for my other ½ in the same way – that he would show…but to actually pray FOR him to prepare him.  I often wondered if he knew what he was about to get himself into.  So, the ladies agreed to join me in praying FOR him.  I thank God for these ladies, whose names and prayer requests are in that journal!  As I look down the list this evening, I wonder what other prayers have been answered?!?!

But, allow me to remind you…nearly 2 years had gone by since I prayed for the “bone” in December 2005.  I had been praying for God to send me a husband.  Over the following year, 2006, the Holy Spirit had used many situations, Don Coleman and Luke 10:1-7 to change my desires and my prayers. In early 2007, I had started praying for the other ½ of my pair in ministry to SBH.  I had begun praying the will of God instead of Marti’s.

Learnings for me,

  • Take prayer requests seriously.  If you say Yes to pray for someone, be sure to do it.  Don’t take it lightly.  It’s serious business!!
  • Be careful what you pray for….you just might get it!
  • I’m often astounded at the sheer number of people God uses in this story.  He doesn’t need to use us, but it is sooo fun when He does.  At any point, if someone said “NO! Lord!”…the story may have turned out differently.  Just like the story of Marcellous.  If Marc, Emmanuel or I had said “NO! Lord!” at any point…the results might look different.
  • These stories consistently remind me of the importance of listening and obeying.  We are robbed of the blessing of being used by God when we say “NO! Lord!”  Like the Nike slogan….”Just do it!” comes to mind!

Jeanine…sorry, I am going to leave you hanging…..AGAIN!  Hugs to you!

Be Still.

Psalm 46:

10.  “Be still, and know that I am God;  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

By the end of the summer….God had told me…not in an audible voice….but in a peaceful kind of way, that He was going to provide the other 1/2 of my pair in December of that year.  I sensed it…I felt it in my spirit.  I was shocked when Marc confirmed it soon after.  He came to me….explaining that he really felt that I was going to meet someone in 4th quarter.  Can you believe it?!?!  We couldn’t!!  We could both be right!!!  We both heard the same thing just differently…because December is in 4th quarter!!!

Now, some of you might be thinking…I don’t understand.  You heard from God?  Did you hear Him speak?  What does that mean exactly??? God communicates in many ways.  One secret to hearing Him…is being silent every now and then.  Kinda hard to hear Him when there is a lot of distractions and noise around.  The Lord often speaks to me through Scriptures.  When I am reading…like back in Luke 10:1-7, the Word becomes alive.  That is why it sometimes is referred to as The Living Word.  You can read scripture over and over….and think you have learned a ton…everything.  Then…days/months/years later you read it again…and something else jumps off the page…like lambs among wolves.  Other times, He uses other people to share with you.  There are many many ways to hear from the Lord.  (You might also remember the stories about Saul/Paul, the burning bush, donkey, etc. as well!)

When you do hear, I’d encourage you to write it down.  Journal.  I must admit…that’s the only way I remember this story like I do…because I keep a journal.  Habakkuk 2:1-2

A couple of  scriptures you might want to read, but there’s a whole lot more!  1 Kings 19:9b-20,  Acts 2:1-4, 17

There have been many times that I needed an answer at a major fork in the road (like moving to StLouis or not) or even something more simple.  or I just needed some reassurance and some peace. I got still and heard from Him who has all the answers.

So…tell me….what is your favorite scripture regarding hearing from God? or tell me about a time when you clearly heard from the Lord.  I’m tired of doing all the talking! 🙂  It’s your turn now!  Feel free to comment!

If you want to talk about this more….don’t hesitate to contact me!  Would love to chat about it with you.  Or…go to your Pastor if you have one…and explore more.


SWF Seeks Other 1/2 of Pair

In addition to all the craziness…I still hadn’t met the other half of my pair!!!  Allow me to refresh your memory.

Born in 1963….I was never married.

December 2005….at 42 years old I prayed for the bone….God answers!

December 2006…at 43 years old…Don brings me Luke 10:1-7 and the Lord speaks to me…to pray for the other 1/2 of my pair….not for my future husband.

2007….I was still meeting with a small group of women.  The 3 of us were not married…and decided to write down what we were looking for in a husband.  So…we each created a list, made copies and shared them with each other, so that we could pray.

Now..Marc (at work) was following my story.  He was very aware of everything that was going on…and prayed with and for me.  He took my list home to include it in his prayers on a regular basis.  He’d come into work…and say…. “Hey Mart!  I put in knee time for you this weekend!”  What a dependable prayer partner!!!  He was such a faithful friend!

One day following our worship service at Commonwealth, Pastor Don asked me if he could “get in my business”.  Pastor Don and I were meeting on a regular basis for breakfast.  He was a true God-send!  He was encouraging me in my own spiritual growth and the work I was doing in SBH.  This particular day…he wanted to know if I wanted to get married.  Yes, I said…I do.  But, that the Luke 10 scripture had changed my prayer.  That I was no longer praying for my future husband…but was praying for the other 1/2 of my pair.

Now, those of you who know Don….think about voice inflection.  Don’s response was “Yes!  That’s what I am talking about!  Yes!”  With his arms pumping in the air.  You know Don!  Now…it kinda caught me off guard…so I didn’t ask him why! (Silly me!)  But…he DID ask me…if I got a call…would I go out.  That is a bit of a crazy question.  I had given up blind dates DECADES ago!  But, I trusted Don and his heart. More importantly…I trusted God.  After all…we had quite a crew praying, right!  Why shouldn’t I expect God to answer those prayers.  When 2 or more or gathered….

Later…I did remember to ask Don….and he told me about a “guy”.  But…that “guy” never called….*sniff*sniff*

But…I kept doin’ my thing….loving God and others in SBH, while continuing to pray.

No Love. No Gain.

Yes...Louis did good on Valentine's Day with Balloons, Cards, Roses and all other kinds of goodies!!!

As you can see in my tag line, Miss Marti’s House…loving God and others in Southern Barton Heights….  I have been thinking about that lately…what does that REALLY mean?  Jesus tells us in the New Testament…to love God with all your heart, soul, strength.  He also then tells us…to love your neighbor as yourself.  So, what does that really look like?  To love like that?

So…I read 1st Corinthians 13 and was struck by verse 3.

3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing.

So…I could be doing all this work…sacrificing my time and money, my hopes and dreams…but, if I am not doing it in love…why do it?  So, how often do I respond to those ads on TV or causes on FB because I feel guilty?  How often do I do something for a friend or family because I am shamed into it? Or…when I strike a check to the local non-profit why does that make me feel better. But…if we are doing this out of guilt, shame or obligation…we may feel a little better in the short run….but, God sees straight through to our heart…our motives.  If I do this without LOVE….it’s nothing.  Don’t get me wrong…I’m not challenging us to stop giving!!!!  I’m challenging us to GIVE MORE!!!! because we respond with LOVE while giving.  Let’s take a look at the rest of the scripture….

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails…..

Not long ago, Louis and I were challenged by reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  Francis challenges the reader to replace your name where the word LOVE appears in this part of the scripture.  So, I would say…

“Marti is patient….” OUCH!!!!  Anyone who knows me…knows that patience is a challenge for me!!!   Louis agrees with me here!  Because he has the patience of Job….He is a positively fabulous role model for me!

“Marti is kind…”  Well, I’m basically a kind person.  But, there are times that I am NOT AT ALL kind!  More than likely, my thoughts are NOT exactly kind at all.  You might not see it…but, God knows my thoughts!  OUCH!!!!

Then…keep reading it….Marti does not….envy (ow!), never… boastful (pain!), proud (burn!), rude (yee-OW!), self-seeking  (not me!), not easily angered (ache!), keeps no records of wrongs (who me?), etc. etc.

I’m gonna challenge you like Francis Chan challenged us….Read this scripture, replacing your name….see what hits you!

So…should I change my tag line to TRYING to love God and others?  Nah…I don’t think so.  I’m doing the best I can right now.  I am loving God and others…and I am learning how to love more….every day.

I’m a work in progress…moving TOWARD Christ…the ultimate lover.