Thomas and I have been married for almost 9 months; we got engaged last March and married in July. I’m sorry if you don’t enjoy reading other people’s romance stories, please bear with me on this one. God’s greatness is what I most want to share with you today, so let me paint the picture: We met at Georgia Tech and I took him on my first sorority date night. He held my hand as we walked through Uncle Shuck’s corn maze and I fell hard. Crushed big. By the end of the night, I’d seen visions of our wedding and future adorable children. But the date didn’t materialize into anything more than friendship and some apologies for the hand-holding.
Fast forward four years. I’d moved to North Carolina and away from Thomas, dated other guys and I’d just ended a serious relationship. I also had just been declared by my school as an in-state student, which money-wise was a huge deal. My tuition was literally cut down by 2/3rds. It was a season of grace tempered with regret and more grace. Thomas started calling to friendly inquire about my life. It was refreshing to hear his voice, and thankfully I’d learned by then not to hope for more than was stated, so I wrote the calls off as that – friendly.
Three weeks later he asked me to go with him to Georgia Tech’s Homecoming football game. The same day as the football game, however, was my employer’s huge, awesome, extravagant Halloween party. I was scheduled to work that Saturday for the party. Big deal, right?! The boy of my dreams calls me up and asks me on a date… no brainer. Blow off the party and go cheer it up on the football field, right?!
The kicker was that I had told my parents at the beginning of the semester that I would have a $1000 for my tuition the next term. At the time, I had under a $100 in my banking account. See, that semester God asked me to be generous in giving my money away. I was met with several instances where it was clear to me that God needed me to give, so I trusted His voice and I gave. To get the $1000, my plan was to make bank at the Halloween party and use the rest of my Christmas money to pay for tuition. So I kindly told Thomas that unless he had an extra $400 lying around to give to me, I couldn’t join him.
That’s right. I told my future husband – I won’t go on a date with you unless you pay me. <<<ouch>>>
As soon as I hung up, I knew something was wrong. Had I even asked Jesus what He would have me do? So I took some time to pray, sought counsel from some trustworthy friends, and changed my mind. In my spirit, I felt that I heard from God that I could trust Him. That I didn’t have to see how I was to get to the finish line, but that He would get me there. So I leaped with a firm grip on God’s promises.
Hebrews 13: Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have,
for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
6 So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
The date was magical and I’ll spare you all of the wonderful details, except this one: On top of Stone Mountain, peering out over Atlanta Thomas asked to pursue me towards marriage. Dumbstruck, I looked out into the clouds and thought, “this day is as magical as if I’d just stumbled into Narnia.” And that’s what I told him I wanted: magic – a life lived full of God; the winsome life dusted with the fairy dust of faith in Jesus. And yes, he could pursue me.
And that’s what I told him I wanted: magic – a life lived full of God; the winsome life dusted with the fairy dust of faith in Jesus.
Skidding back to real life in Winston with the nickels clinking at the bottom of my bank account, I wondered, “How in the world am I going to scrounge up $1000 dollars in two months?!” Thankfully my fears subsided as I stepped back into what I knew God was calling me to do well that day: my job, my school work, serving at my Church, and loving my friends.
A week later, a letter found me from my school. I had been awarded a $1000 scholarship for the next term that I had not asked for, that I had not applied for. What sweet provision! It could have been for any amount, but it was for e x a c t l y what I needed. Just to make sure, I went in to the financial aid’s office and asked about the award. The sweet woman said, “Lauren, this award became available and I remembered that last year you asked for help and I wasn’t able to give you any. So I thought, who better to get this award than Lauren?” Dumbstruck. At the beauty of God’s pursuit of my heart and my unwavering trust. How He would climb into this world and CARE about me and the nickels in my bank account. Dumbstruck by His extravagant provision and LOVE for me.
When the one my heart had yearned for, for four seemingly long years announced His pursuit of me, the one who has yearned for my heart since the beginning CRASHED in like the waves to declare that His pursuit of me was not to be replaced. That His pursuit could never be matched. And that this man would ever only be a shadow of the rich love Jesus had for me on the Cross.