When Dennis asked me to share my version of our story, I was thrilled to get to share what the Lord had done for me (Because we are one flesh, what the Lord did for Dennis, He also did for me). You see Dennis is not the only one who has a story to tell. All of us who have been saved from ourselves, our sin, have a testimony of God's grace that when shared can give hope to the hopeless.
Before Dennis and I had even met I had been deceived that I needed affection from a man to feel complete. Many of those early dating relationships led to the breaking down of the woman God wanted me to be for Him; a pure and spotless bride. Instead the lust of my flesh was strong and so perverted that I thought I could date and eventually marry a Christian man and still continue to walk in sin. When I met Dennis, I had ended an unholy relationship and was looking for something else to fill the void--I longed for love, a touch, and the warmth of a relationship. I didn't realize that the whole time Jesus was patiently waiting to fill this void.
Dennis was a simple man, the kind of man I wanted to marry, and I was also attracted to him. Not knowing all that he was dealing with (sodomy) we began to date. Over a period of three years we dated off and on, mostly off, until 1981 when we graduated. I never understood his mood swings, and often I tried everything I knew to gain his approval (I was an expert flirt) but to no avail. Still I thought our relationship was over and a year went by before the Lord began working in my life (at the same time changes by the Spirit of God also were occurring in Dennis' life).
The main choice I made was to release Dennis to the Lord and to return to my first love, Jesus Christ. God's Word became real to me again and I encountered a move of the Holy Spirit that was real in my own life for the first time. Through a girlfriend, I realized that Holy Spirit is a person I can talk to. I can feel His Presence, and I can even hear His voice speak back to me. Soon after the Lord had filled me with His love, my mother received a letter from Dennis. It had been over a year, but I still recognized his handwriting. Dennis always had been better at writing down his thoughts and feelings so I wasn't surprised that he wrote--but my Mom! Well, he wanted permission to write me and begin our relationship again. I don't remember all tha was said, but my heart was leaping because I had thought this man was out of my life, but now the Lord was going to restore this relationship like He had done with my relationship to Him.
Over the next couple of months we mainly wrote letters and saw each other a few times...this was a different man. He talked about the Lord with me (we had never really discussed this topic much), and he was writing music that was anointed (he was told at college that he couldn't do this). And He also spoke of the Holy Spirit moving in his life, talking to him and even directing his plans and desires for his future. One of those desires was to marry me and I gladly accepted. Because I desired intimacy and did not seek it from the Lord, my past relationships were very much based on the desires of my flesh. I ended up feeling used, and the intimacy I desired was never fulfilled. I had not seen how a man could love me without first using me. But Dennis loved me without using me. We never shared our past; he knew enough to know I had known other men but he also told me he thought of me as a spotless bride, a virgin, in his eyes much like Christ does the church.
Our marriage was good, but there were still cycles of insecurity and the feeling of a constant need of assurance that I was loved. Many of my times of weeping were understood, but the feelings did not go away. In 1987, the truth of being the righteousness of Christ was revealed to me. Lights flashed on in my head and for the first time I knew what it meant to be a new creation. To be alive in Christ Jesus, I am Holy, I am Righteous and I am all of who Christ is. The cycle of self-pity had begun to break in my life. Yet, there was still a lack of intimacy between Dennis and me. I desired that intimacy but I could not understand why there were still barriers in our communication. Three days before Dennis openly shared with our church body, he told me of His past sin, sodomy. My first reaction was not of shock so much as of relief. Now I could unload my garbage and get everything out in the open and go on. Of course, I had questions, but I trusted Dennis and knew he was free and was grateful that he was confident enough in my love to share his most intimate sins. The first time he shared publicly what the Lord did for him was hard for me; all I could do was cry; to see a man so humble and to confess his sins that had been bound up in his heart for years made me love him even more.
At first, I was afraid of what people would think, but I know now it doesn't matter because God gives grace to the humble and He was pouring out His grace and blessings on us.
The blessings were coming by way of children, three by the time he shared publicly, and nine by the time you read this and multiple grandchildren . I count it a privilege to allow God to bless us with children and not hold back from receiving all the gifts He wants to give us. Miracles do happen! Because of both of our pasts medically and in the world's pattern, we could both have diseases that would even keep us from having children. So I rejoice that Jesus saved me for Dennis and saved Dennis for me. There is no other man that I would rather walk alongside and love with all my heart.
Our marriage is great! God is bringing us into a deeper intimacy with Him and subsequently our marriage is more intimate than it ever has been. I know it will continue to grow deeper in the Lord. I wish I could tell you I never struggle with self-pity anymore, but I do know the pattern is broken and I have reckoned it dead in my life. I am no longer the harlot, the manipulator, the deceiver, or the sinner that I once was. I am a new creation and I walk in victory knowing that Jesus Christ is Lord of my life in all these areas. I don't have to walk about carrying sin that has been buried with Christ and is gone. I have been raised to walk in His likeness, His resurrection, His holiness, His purity, His righteousness, His peace and His shepherding. Hallelujah!
In His Love,
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