Monday, April 21, 2014

My Real-Life Love Story....

In the last several years, I've taken a love to reading.  I was never a huge reader in the past and always thought, "what's the point when I can watch the movie," however, I started reading one day and haven't stopped since!  I am a very picky reader and read mostly read Christian-fiction.  Recently, I've tried a few books outside of my normal genre and they were pretty good but one category that I have never been able to really enjoy- is Romance.  I have many friends and family who really enjoy reading Romance Novels and there is no judgement here from me on their decision- however, for me- just not my cup of tea!  I had someone recommend a book to me not long ago that was a romance and I decided I would be open-minded and give it a whirl but I found it cheesy, boring and very unrealistic.

  Why you ask, do I not enjoy a good romance novel?  Because I have experienced, first hand, the most romantic, selfless love story anyone has ever read in my own personal life.  Compared to my love story- any non-fiction Romance is down right cheesy!  Some of you may know most of my story but for those of you who do not....I hope you enjoy.

Thirteen years ago, I was a Senior in high school.  I was a Christian who was still leaning the ropes of what Christ expected of me, I was also actively looking for that love that lasted forever!  See I knew the love of Christ but I had never really experienced the love of Christ- ( you will understand what I mean by that later on).  At Graduation I was dating my high school sweetheart whom I also thought loved the Lord like I did!  I went on to marry him at the young age of 19.  Three months before I married him- he threw me through a wall- yet I still married him!  Love is so blind when it is infatuation!  For two years, I hid the fact that I was being abused, mentally, and physically.  Then one day I was dragged down the hallway and thrown from my apartment barefooted.  I went to his family for support but was told if I wanted they would put me on a plane back to my parents- so I kept quiet-and we went through counseling.  Just when I thought things were beginning to look up, and we were talking about having children- I caught him with another woman.  He sold his truck and took all that money he got from it down to an attorney and filed divorce papers.  I thought my life was over!

I spent that Thanksgiving and the whole month of November- on the floor in my kitchen, praying that God would put my life back together.  I was 10 hours away from any of my family, my closest friend was in Colorado, and I was completely alone!  In December I packed up my Jeep and drove 10 long hours back to my parents house praying and asking God the entire way, "Lord- I don't think that I can get through this alone, not knowing that one day I will have a family, not knowing that one day I will have a husband who loves me!"  I begged God  "PLEASE LORD send me a man who loves you more than me, and me more than anything else!"

It was the first time in my life I felt like I had absolutely no control over anything!  One night when I got back I was at a small group meeting and our small group leader decided to do a foot washing.  For those of you who don't understand that- back in biblical days washing someone's feet was a way that they showed hospitality and respect. It's something that isn't done much now days and can be a bit humbling when it is done to you!  That night I remember like yesterday because it changed my life! As our leader walked from person to person washing their feet, I began to get very uncomfortable!  At first I began getting angry because I didn't want him to do that to me!!  I was not above him, I was a dirty, worthless person that no one wanted! I didn't want him to do that, I didn't deserve for him to do that!!  But it didn't matter what I wanted because he was going to do it anyways!!   For the first time I realized the price that Jesus paid for my Sins!   Here I was feeling dirty, unclean, unwanted, thrown away, and no good for anyone else- and Jesus didn't care one minute about that, he saw me as someone who was beautiful and worth dying for.  That night as my feet were washed by one of my most respected friends, I imagined myself arguing with Jesus, pleading with him to not get on that cross- DO NOT DYE FOR ME!!  Do not throw away your perfect, sinless, guilt-free life for someone who is dirty, used, sinful and broken!!  Please Lord I'm not going to change, I'm always going to be a sinner!!  I'm always going to do the wrong thing, and disappoint you!! I always disappoint everyone!  Then I heard the Lord whisper to my spirit, "I have already died for you, I chose to die for you because you are worth it!"

That was the first time I realized exactly how much Christ loved me!  He knew that I would sin again- he knew that there would be sins in my life that I struggled with EVERY DAY for the REST of my LIFE-- yet--he still died for me.

A month after I moved back home to my parents, I met Nathan.  I knew the minute he walked into our small group that night that he was everything I had ever wanted in a husband.  I thought that there was no way he would ever be interested in someone like me, especially since I had been married before!  We became friends and quickly grew close.  After a few months we were inseparable!  He was my best-friend!  I was too scared to have a real relationship outside of that friendship with him- although after 2 weeks he was begging me to run away and get married- I didn't want to make a mistake again!  What if I messed up again!!  What if he wasn't who he said he was?  So- we went on dates- which normally consisted of us singing praise and worship in my room together, or going to church.  I pushed him away, treated him terribly because I thought if I could get him to leave me, then I could avoid hurt later.  But he stuck around.  Finally I begin taking a class on inner-healing.  Through that class the Lord healed my broken heart and at the end of that class he spoke to me and said, "Toneka, you asked me for a man like Nathan and I've given him to you, now you can either accept him, or I will take him away from you!"  That day was the first day I told him I loved him!  We were engaged a month later and married 6 months later.

The bible says in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."  John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him, shall not parish but have ever lasting life."

It is 13 years later and I can tell you that I have two amazing men in my life who love me so much they would be willing to lay down their lives for me.  Jesus Christ, and my sweet Godly husband.  No Romance novel could ever compare to my love story, and no love could ever compare to the love I have found in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and in my sweet God given husband!

Since tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday, this past week our family sat together and watched "Jesus of Nazareth."  When it was time for Jesus to be put on the cross my sweet Little-Bear cried her heart out and kept asking, "why won't he save himself mommy?!"  and I would answer her, "because honey he didn't want you to have to go through that, he did it for you, he loves you so much that he died for you!!"

Needless to say we do not do the Easter Bunny at our house.  The kids get a treat from us but Easter isn't about a bunny bringing treats for us, it is about the fact that a stranger gave his life for our own, it's our day to celebrate the greatest love story ever!!

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