During the fall of 2022, I raked leaves into a pile in front of my cabin. As I looked around, I began to notice how blessed I was. For instance, I had lost a home in 2011, but now I owned a house that was paid off and thirty acres of land. I’d lost a vehicle in my divorce, I now owned two. Everywhere I looked, I saw manifold blessings. “Lord,” I began as my heart filled with gratitude, “I thank you for restoring me. Save for one thing, I am completely restored, and if You choose not to restore my marriage, I’ll understand. I did a bang up job on destroying the first one.”
After I finished my yard work, I went on about my day. On Sunday morning, while I drove into town to attend church, I felt a nudge in my spirit. “Ask Chassidy over for a pot of beans,” the still small voice said. I shrugged it off, thinking it was just my loneliness trying to cause me to search for companionship. After service, I felt the nudge again, and I decided to chance it.
“Hey,” I said, as I walked up behind her pew. “Do you want to come over for a pot of beans on Friday?”
She cut her eyes toward me and replied, “I’ll have to check my calendar.” I stood there stunned. Did I not do what the still small voice had said? What kind of malarkey was this?
“Okay,” I stammered. “Let me know.”
I walked away as unsure as I had been at fifteen, when I dared to ask a beautiful girl out that was clearly out of my league. Unlike my fifteen year old self, I didn’t get the girl. Well, that went over about as well as a fart at a funeral.
Her answer wasn’t a no per se, but it wasn’t a resounding yes, and I figured I’d never hear from her again. To my surprise I received a call from her a few days later. “Who all is coming over?” She asked, and I quickly made arrangements for friends to join us.
On that Friday night, I made chili instead of the beans I promised. As we sat and chatted, I felt this sense of hopelessness come over me. We had little time to talk, and at the end of the night I bid my friends and her a good night. I watched as they drove down my driveway and out of sight. It’s hopeless; I’m hopeless. Love’s not for me.
The following Wednesday, I felt a small bump in my spirit. Ask her out for lunch. Every bone in my body seemed to tighten when I heard it. Come on, man. Just let it go. I couldn’t. So, I sent her a text and asked her to join me for lunch at Mr. Ribs.
To my surprise, she agreed to meet me.
As soon as we sat down, we began to talk. For three hours, we talked of our past, of our hopes and dreams, and at the conclusion of our lunch, I knew she was the person I was meant to be with forever. From that moment forward, we were inseparable. Like lovestruck teenagers, we sat up most of the nights and talked into the wee hours of morning.
I married that beautiful woman at the beginning of 2023, and I’ve never been happier. My restoration, nay my wholeness, is complete. Well, there was one more thing lacking.
Unbeknownst to many of my friends and family, I was called into ministry at a young age. For forty years, I ran as fast and far as I could to get away from the Will of God for my life. Still, God had a plan, and recently I accepted the call into ministry.
Every ‘never’ I uttered has been turned into a positive in my life. In the darkest parts of my life, God stood by me. When people I loved and cared for turned their backs on me, He walked with me. Joy is much deeper than happiness. He has restored unto me the joy of His salvation. In Psalms 51, King David wrote: Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Like King David, I had made some mistakes, but God extended His Grace and Mercy unto me. Today, on 24 March 2023, I am completely restored, and God’s not done yet. With a joyful heart, I look forward to becoming the man that God wants me to be.
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