Life with Louis is FUN!

Life with Louis is just plain ole FUN! He’s great to be silly with. and…he’s really really good at it, too! And for those of you who were upset with Ben as Batman…. I think Louis would totally rock it!

Thanks for a great time at your wedding, Sara and Sam! Many blessed years for the two of you!  (Side note….sorry it looks like I’m flipping the bird in the 3rd pic! Not at all intended! Promise!)

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How I Know My Wife Married the “Wrong” Person

FROM MARTI:

Louis and I have been married a whopping 4.5 years. I had been single for 45 years before we married AND lived alone since college. The post above sums up some of my experiences while dating… looking for “Mr. Right”. After talking honestly and openly with some single girlfriends about how hard it is to be married….one friend asked, “Do you think you settled?” My response was “NO WAY!!! I might talk about how hard it is, but it’s gotta be MUCH harder for Louis to be married to me. I’m a mess!”

“Singles today (and most married couples too) are searching for super-spouses that simply don’t exist. People expect far too much from their spouse in all the wrong areas.”
AMEN! That’s an area I still work on…daily. God and Louis, forgive me. Louis may or may not be my ‘soul mate’, but he is the other half of my pair (Luke 10:1). I’d take that any day. Love you, Louis!

CROSS-SHAPED STUFF

wedding 2
Photo Credit: Suni Danielle Photography

Today my wife Lindsay and I celebrate our two year anniversary. Two years ago, we tied the knot and took the plunge. Two years ago, the cutest girl in Indiana was taken off the market! Two years ago, we launched the beginning of the rest of our lives. Two years ago…

And after two years, there’s no hiding behind the dinner-and-a-movie façade of dating life any longer. I can’t buy enough flowers to conceal it. I can’t open enough doors. I can’t say enough “I love you’s.” She knows (and painfully, so do I) that she married the wrong person.

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Once Upon A Time…

there was a single 40+ year old woman who wondered if she would ever get married….

Yesterday was the 3rd Anniversary from when I married the other half of my pair, Louis.   And it’s also the 4th Anniversary from the first time we spoke…on the phone.  Time and time again, Louis and I have told this story of how we met.  We try to tell it quickly, because we don’t want to bore the asker or monopolize the conversation, because the whole story could very well take all evening!!!  LOL  I laugh, but it’s true.  But, to leave out the details would not be honoring to God, because that is where you will find God….in the details.  And…I HATE details…usually.  But, He loves the details of our lives.  In this story, I love the details.

During Lent a couple of years ago, I started documenting the story of how I moved into my community and my life since, including the events leading up to meeting Louis.  If you want the details of the story, start reading here (click the links), The Chair, where I begin telling the story and read forward to Don, Luke, Jesus & Marti, and SWF Seeks Other 1/2 of PairBe Still.Just for my friend, Jeanine…For Melissa, Michelle and Jeannine….the list grows 🙂 in honor of Judy O’Hara and Change of Heart…Just in Time.  The story picks up at 4 months after I moved into my community.

Louis and I need to practice telling it a lot quicker, but yet still glorifying to God…so let me start here, for those of you who don’t like the details.  🙂

I was in my forties and wondering if I would ever get married.  If it was in God’s plan for me.  After Don Coleman gave me a scripture, Luke 10:1-7, my prayer changed from a future husband to “the other half of my pair”.  Friends were praying with me.  (As a matter of fact, there are several friends that I still pray will meet their other half!!!  I haven’t forgotten!!!) God used so many people in the process.

OK.  I have written that paragraph over and over again.  I can’t do it!  Can’t leave out the details!!!  I give up!!! So…you will have to read it from the blog!  But, I do want to point out some of the things I learned…

  • God loves the details in our lives.  Don’t be afraid to share them with Him.  Nothing is too small or too big for Him.  He works in the details.  Don’t overlook them. Actually…watch for them!
  • God uses other people.  If you feel the nudge to talk or do something, pray about it.  It just might be the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  Then, do it.  If people weren’t obedient, they wouldn’t have been part of the story and witnessed God’s movement.  God would have just found another way to get it done.  He doesn’t HAVE to use us.  He chooses to use us.  He chooses to allow us to be part of His mission.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE that!
  • Pray specifically and radically. Yes, I gave God a deadline…I want to meet “the other half” by the end of the year.  Some people think that is crazy or bossy.  Whatever.  I just call it praying specifically. Praying the what seems impossible is praying radically.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask others to pray with you.  Find a couple of people you trust to be transparent with your “stuff” and ask them to pray expectantly.  Then, watch God move.
  • Remember…sometimes, it takes time.  It took 2 years since I prayed the first prayer!!  I know some of us are waiting longer than that for our prayers to be answered.  There are prayers that I haven’t gotten the answer I want yet.  But, He hears us and He answers us.
  • Read the Bible. Meditate on His Word. See what God says to you through it.
  • Make time in your busy schedule to read the Bible, meditate and pray.  You gotta get still and quiet to hear His voice.
  • People watch you and your behaviors. We were very conscious of that especially while dating.  Louis didn’t spend the night…EVER. The kids especially watched for us to slip….expecting us to have sex before marriage, which we didn’t.  You probably want to know how we know.  Well…let’s just put it this way.  They asked.  A LOT.  They would try to “catch us”.
  • I don’t fully trust God, but I am learning to trust Him with all my heart, soul and strength.  Still a work in progress.  But, this, along with many other times, reminds me…God is in control.  I just need to follow his leading and be obedient.
  • Regarding marriage:  Lots of people go into marriage thinking…”If it doesn’t work out, I will just divorce.”  I never thought that. Divorce is not an option for me. Marriage, for me, is for life. (I know…there are reasons!!!)  But, Marriage is WORK! Dating is WORK! From the beginning (OK…the 2nd date), I chose to just be myself. I wasn’t going to play any games.  I thought, I need to be real.  This is who I am.  No, I didn’t dump all my stuff…my baggage…in the first month. That would have scared him off, even though the bullets didn’t!  Some ask me if I felt like I ‘settled’.  No. God told me His plan.  I just walked obediently.  Now, 3 years later… is it hard? You betcha!  No doubt! For some short moments, I feel like it’s not worth it. It was so much easier being single! But, as Gary Thomas asks in his book Sacred Marriage… “What if God designed marriage more to make you holy than to make you happy?” Yowza.  That ALWAYS stings a little…ok…A LOT!  Marriage is a ministry.  Louis and I (with God) are one, yet a pair.  We are individuals with our own likes, dislikes, passions, opinions, etc.

But, this I know…we have been called to serve the Lord together…through thick and thin, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, and to love and cherish.  In our whopping 3 years of marriage…we have experienced a little of all that…thick and thin, sickness and health, rich and poor, and better and worse.  It’s teaching me how to love and cherish Louis…more than I do myself.  It’s making me more holy. I confess…I have a loooong way to go.


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.

Peace!


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.


our house…is a very very very fine house…

…as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.
Joshua 25:14

So…we walked the few blocks to the address… This is what I found! THE house…God’s House…the color, the existing neighborhood, the floor plan…and the bonus GWP (gift with purchase). It wasn’t just a corner lot….but an ELEVATED corner lot. (For those of you who live in the city…or on a corner…you know how desirable it is to have an ELEVATED corner lot!!!) Needless to say, God wasn’t messing around! I put the down payment on the house that very day! The Lord had gotten my attention.

There were sooo many details that led to this moment. I have so many people to thank! Specifically…Marc…wow….what would I have done without him!?!? He was a new co-worker that I had prayed into my life that year…and he would go with me at all times of day and night into the neighborhood…encouraging me and praying with and for me! Reminding me…that God has my back…that I COULD in fact do this.  That I was being called. I thank God for friends who encourage and pray!!!

Time went by quickly, but it seemed like it was forever.  God was on the move…that is for sure. During the time between putting the contract on the house and moving in…I changed churches. For close to a year, God had been preparing me for a move that I didn’t know I was going to make. I had been fully involved in a large church in the West End of Richmond, although I had lived in the city of Richmond, not in suburbia for years.  I had been feeling a bit restless. Looking back at it, God prepared me mentally and spiritually for this change.  Slowly, the Lord pulled me out of most of my volunteer responsibilities. By the time that Rob Rhoden made the announcement that he was moving to Commonwealth Chapel (an inner-city church) as the pastor, I was ready to go. There was really nothing to hold me back. No transition of anything. It was amazing!

For the first time, I walked into church that first day, and Sister Chappell greeted me at the door. I felt right at home! You see, my grandmother (Mom’s mom) was one of the founding members of Bethel Assembly of God, now known as Commonwealth Chapel. My grandmother died when I was just 2 years old. Sister Chappell remembered “Holzbach”, as people called my grandmother back then. On a side note, Mom was baptized in water and the Holy Spirit as a child in that building. Mom and Dad and my Uncle and his wife all got married at Bethel.  Mom and Dad celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2007. It was like coming home.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!! More on this later….but 51+ years later, I also got married in that church. But, I am getting ahead of myself!

I found 2 homes the year of 2005.  My church home….and my new home.  I remember sitting on the front porch with Justin – one of my youth kids (then, college kid…now college grad…about to get married!!!!) that I had shared life with for several years.  Wondering why I wasn’t more excited about moving into the new house…why it didn’t seem more surreal. He wisely responded, “Because it’s right. God wanted you here.” God brought me to Commonwealth Chapel and to Southern Barton Heights. Why? I wasn’t sure….but, I would soon find out.

I always considered my house…God’s house…not mine. It’s amazing what will happen when you not only dedicate your life…but your house, your job, your whatever to the Lord. He will use it! Be sure that your seat belts are buckled and your lap trays are in the upright position. Keep your hands and arms inside the ride.

In other words….Hold on! You are in for the ride of your life.