Sooner rather than later... Yip, that's what I said. I honestly didn't think I would hear those words come out of my mouth for a while, and everything in the physical seemed stacked against me. I would soon be out of a job and heading to Baton Rouge to volunteer my time as an intern. And all of a sudden, I had a wedding to think about? No ways.
The month of September was a difficult one. I needed to hand over my situation to the Lord to take care of, and looking back, He sure took care of it. At the time though, it looked pretty bleak.
Julie and I felt confirmed in our relationship, but as much as we wanted to be wholly in each other's lives, we couldn't. She was in Thailand, and I was in Cape Town... for a reason. I had resigned from my job, but God challenged me to stay focused and committed to working as hard as I possibly could until the end of October. The west coast mine, just past Ludzville, was my mission field, and the harvest was ripe. Julie and I were 1) being used in the places God had us and 2) being taught lessons that were equipping us for the season to come.
As I said in Chapter 18, "It was clear that He had me on a mission of purpose, and my only job was to be obedient." God honors obedience, and during the next two months, He spoke to the core of my heart—about me being a father to many kids, some born from my wife, some adopted. Julie would be my life partner, and we'd live a life that looked different to what we'd ever known or dreamt.
Today, I look back on our emails and am reminded of how we sought the Lord above each other, of how we wanted our romantic relationship to be a fruit of our hearts to God. It was a constant battle, one that I'm glad we perservered through.
Julie encouraged me with these words that month:
Jesse once told me that a lot of her friends who are married to really great men struggle with replacing God in their lives with their husbands... because their husbands fulfill so many of their needs. I think I told you in Mozambique that I foresaw the same struggle for me... I want God in #1 and you in #2. But I'm going to be super tempted to move you into #1. The problem is, if I put you at #1, I'm really putting myself at #1. Without God at center, I can't be the person I'm supposed to be for you. I won't be able to love or serve you the way I'm supposed to.
Over the next two months, I really, really, really wanted to make this a priority. I want to deny my flesh and sacrifice everything. I don't know what this looks like, but we'll figure it out. I'm just asking you to help me. I'm not even going to ask you to understand, because I know you do.
I'm so blessed by you and your heart. You have such fervor for the Lord, and I'm so excited to come alongside you sometime soon. I want to do nothing but support who you are. You are so talented and gifted and capable. And to whom much is given, much is expected. I think God has big things in store for you... and yes, for us too. But definitely for you as a man of God. Don't ever stop chasing Him. You're one of the most willing and audacious people I've ever met.
Julie always called me up and never brought me down. Her encouragement and the light she brought into my life was constantly edifying. She gave me the platform I needed as a man to seek the Lord and lead well, and now, I can see how those words, spoken over me a year ago this month, are coming to life.
To read our full story, please visit our Love Story page.