Monday, February 7, 2011

A Church Love Affair

Lord, whoever he is, I do not want to meet him.

Those were my thoughts the first time I clapped eyes on 6'5" brother who looked to be a mature Steve Urkel.  He was clapping his hands and excitedly jumping up and down, scaling pews. I wish I was making this up, but as we know, facts can be stranger than fiction. 

As  a believer returning to the fold, after four years of losing my mind,  I was struck at first by Mr. Urkel's joy for all things God. Beyond that, I was not interested. I had not been filled with God's spirit and stood transfixed in service that day wondering,  what's the big deal? I thought I knew God, but "those people" clearly knew something I did not. Some church-goers were on the floor, some were jumping, some were crying, some were running around the sanctuary. I thought does it really take all that to express yourself to God? Looking back, I get a good laugh at myself because I understand that those expressions really are just an inkling of how much I love God. 

Well, shortly after uttering my tidy little prayer about Mr. Urkel, a mutual friend thought it would be a good idea to introduce us. By this time, I am annoyed with my friend and God. God, I thought we agreed that I didn't want to meet this guy. Apparently not.

As time progressed (roughly a year and a half),I began to get to know Mr. Urkel through mutual friends. I found him to be thoughtful, caring, intelligent, and giving. We would have potlucks with mutual friends, prayers, endless debates on Sunday sermons and what the preacher meant. We would work together in evangelism and juvenile detention center ministry. He would assist my friends and I with transportation. we would work his nerve by never being on time (its a college thing), we would minister to our peers on the college campus and he would come out and support us. This was great, I thought. This was what the brotherhood of believers was all about. Breaking bread, sharing the Gospel, being kind to one another. Mr. Urkel became a big brother to me (I had 4 brothers, 1 sister, and a tribe of uncles and aunts and was a tomboy in my early years). He was brother away from home. Things were going great. 

Then... my friends began to make suggestions to me about Mr. Urkel. Of course I rebuked them and attributed their comments to the devil and wishful thinking respectively? Me and Mr. Urkel? You're out of your mind, off your rocker, and whatever else I could think of...bless your little insane heart. Well, after trying to speak through my friends, mentors, and even my family members (my grandmother, the late Leary Mae Davis, christened him her grandson-in-law when she first laid eyes on him) I was in a very exciting discussion about how I had spent my summer when God spoke to me and told me Mr. Urkel was my husband. I stopped talking mid-sentence because I just could not believe that God would say that to me!
Afterward I laughed until 3am thinking God was playing some kind of joke on me! And I made my friend stay up with me all night because it was her fault (go figure)! For two weeks I fasted and prayed, thinking God would change his mind, but it became clearer that he was the one. I was pretty upset about it. It turned out, that he had been dealing with the same thing so we both agreed to not communicate with each other. 

I was actually upset at God. I had been growing in my relationship with God and me and my room mate at time had a prayer closet we shared. We would actually see each other on campus and race back to our apartment to see who could get first dibs on the prayer closet. This time, I got there first, and I had a bone to pick with God. The conversation went like this: God, you made me fall in love with you. I don't want or need a man. I'm not ready for it, and I don't feel like it. No one can love me like you can.

To the which God pointed out that he wouldn't give me what I was not ready for. It's because you love me first that I can trust you with another man's heart. I won't say that my anxiety went away in that instant because they didn't. I had to shift my thinking. Mr. Urkel, the guy I didn't want to know anything about, was to be my husband!??? Sure, I had spent time getting to know him spiritually, but naturally? No. I wasn't interested in what he liked or what his favorite color was. Are you kidding me? This was a purely platonic relationship.

Well, turns out we had more in common than I would have thought, both spiritually and naturally. We both realized that God had put us together spiritually and it was up to us to walk out this heaven match on earth. We got engaged. Yes, we went from friendship to courtship. Two years and ten months of Relationship Boot camp later, we married. I don't regret a minute. I say this because God gave me what my Spirit needed, not just  what my flesh wanted (I had 3 proposals the summer before). 

My friends realized just how much of a sense of humor God had when he put me and my husband together. Yes, we had a lot of apologizing to do and we still get a good laugh over our slapstick comedy courtship. The verse that changed our life was Heb 6;10. We had heard a sermon preached concerning this scripture the night God told us we were meant for each other. Every year, near our anniversary or on it, someone preaches that scripture. We turn to each other and smile, knowing that it is God's reminder of what we are to be in the earth. A reflection of his love. We pray that we mirror how Christ loves the church and how she loves him right back.

During our courtship, we had times of doubt but God kept confirming his covenant with us. We had times of trial and scandal, but God's truth stood, We had times of adversity, even after we married, but God continues to prove himself faithful on all fronts. We learned that marriage is spiritual first. It is a mystery intended to reveal God: 

     God is Faithful. God keeps covenant. God is the Husband of one Wife. God loves us Forever.

I encourage you as you are searching (Gentlemen) or waiting (Ladies) for God's best, to prepare to be the very best you can for God and the one He has intended for you. You will be entrusted with showing another soul how much God loves them exclusively. The very person may be closer than you think. Blessings!

Update: Here is Robert's point of view:

Loving another soul is and having that soul love you back is probably the greatest miracle of Humanity! I never fit in with women, was always ridiculed, abused, and was severely broken heated with rejection of marriage proposals. I just wanted to share the deep love I had in my heart, look at stars, talk, listen to music, pray together, show my art work to them, feel their emotional warmth....I THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER FIND TRUE LOVE!! (Almost crying now...) When I gave up on love and finding a lover of my soul...God dropped a UFO (an Unbelievable, Friendly, and Outstanding) young lady that I tried to refuse from getting close to me. Then God cracked open my shell of loneliness, sorrow, mistrust, painful baggage and SHE LOVED ME BACK AND SAID YES!!! I love how God just breaks a man down and pieced him back together with an eternal lover!!! Shantae Charles I love you and love every day of you these past 18 years !