Wedding Bliss

My fiance and I have shared our story to anyone who will read or listen. I will share my version.

I used to write a political blog through a publication which I enjoyed. I made many friends through the years and have kept loosely associated with some of them. My moniker was ‘Str8_talk.’ (Not associated w/McCain!) One of the other bloggers I met was Jonathan Alligood, known as ‘Good Al.’ I occasionally read his posts. I had gone through a very anguished  relationship and I wasn’t looking to marry again or date anyone. At first I was adamant that I wouldn’t marry again but later I said “God will have to show me if I am to marry again, then I will know it is meant to be.”

I was writing from Kansas City, MO when I first encountered Jonathan through blogging. We found out that each of us were on Facebook, so we connected in that venue just before I moved in with my daughter in VA. I was looking to converse with someone who shared similar beliefs to mine. We shared what we both learned or believed in our faith in God’s Word and we had some very lengthy discussions on the Bible. We agreed on just about everything and we grew in the Lord together.

Fast forward to my son-in-love’s transfer to North Carolina, which is Jonathan’s home state. Jonathan had shared with me about a church in a suburb of Jacksonville, NC. I really enjoyed what he said about their beliefs and it felt right in my spirit (the spirit that I received through my salvation). I told him I would visit there because I would be looking for a home church.

And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. Ephesians 1:13 (NLT)

The day I walked into Kingdom Life Fellowship (then known as Praise Tabernacle) I knew I had a church home. It was good, the worship and the message were phenomenal and I knew I had found rest for my soul. I am not a bystander though and I plugged in wherever I could. I worked a couple of times through the food bank and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting those people. If it weren’t for the generosity of my daughter I might have been one of ‘those people.’ I also helped with other areas, and served two days in the soup kitchen. I want to share the joy and peace God has given me. I love people of all types, isn’t that what we are encouraged to do?

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. Isaiah 61:1

I met another guy through a different ministry who asked me “What are you looking for in a man?” I told him “I am Not looking for a man, I am in a relationship with God and it is the most important relationship in my life.” I have continued to seek God first in my life. I wasn’t looking for a relationship or someone to marry. I just wanted to know God more; if and when I was meant to be involved with someone God would show me.

In December, I met Jonathan face to face. In the past, he had been at our church to hear teachings and the theatrical performances by the drama team. He came to see a play that our drama team put on which I was privileged to be a part. The next day he came over and visited for a few hours. By this time we were good friends and we shared more of the Lord. We knew each other better than friends we’ve had for most of our lives because we had a strong spiritual connection.

In January, I attended a seminar at his church three hours away with another friend from my church. This was not to see him but to continue on my spiritual journey and learn more about God. There were two sessions on Saturday and one on Sunday morning. During the praise and worship portion of the service, I felt like God told me “Jonathan will be your husband.” It was quite a shocking revelation but I had said all along that God would show me who, when, and IF I was to marry. I said “Okay God, you will have to show him as well, then I will know it is from you.” I didn’t change in the way I acted towards Jonathan but God was working on my heart in how I viewed him, moving from friend to eventual partner in life and ministry. I continued to be his friend, knowing that if God was in it, He would work on his heart as well.

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 

Obviously, if you know us or looked at the title, you know that God did start revealing to Jonathan that I might be the woman for his life. In April I mentioned to Jonathan that I wanted to go somewhere and shoot some photography. I asked his advice on the state parks since NC is his home state. He told me he might not be available on that Saturday and I asked him why he said this. I hadn’t been hinting for him to go, I just wanted his perspective as a native Carolinian. He said he needed to get out and he would like to go. We spent the day together at Raven Rock State Park hiking the beautiful trails with the dogwood in peak bloom. That evening we went to an authentic Italian restaurant where the song playing when we walked in was “I Can Only Imagine.” This seemed to set the tone for the day. 

        

After dinner, we went back to the park for more hiking. We ended up getting caught in a thunderstorm together and walked back in utter darkness except for the occasional lightning strikes and light from the small flashlight which I had grabbed before we set out on our second hike. We managed to get back to our cars by making all the right turns.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

We have had many dates since April and feel very blessed to be in each other’s lives! On July 23rd, Jonathan proposed to me at my church. We will be getting married on August 20th! We look forward to a shared ministry together.

You may read Jonathan’s version of our story here: 

Good Al is Getting Married to Kimberly


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Example

“I will not be like my parents. I won’t do or say the things they do.” How many times in our young lives did we say this only to find out when we have our own children, we say or do the same things as our parents? I have found myself saying or being in this situation while I’ve raised my children. Sometimes I have thought “I have become my mother or my father.” I had good parents, I know some who have not. They raised me to follow God. If that was the one thing they imparted to me, it would be enough, because the example they taught me to follow is Jesus, not them. 

Recently, I studied the words ‘labor in vain’ in the Bible. The verses I looked up are as follows:

“I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing.” Galatians 4:11 (NLT)

“Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.” Philippians 2:16 (NLT)

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” I Corinthians 15:10 (NKJV)

This morning I thought; I wonder, did my parents say: “I have worked and tried to raise you to be the best you can be and has all my hard work paid off?” Then I think of the many ways we disappoint God, but still he chooses to have a relationship with us. My children (two are grown) have turned out well, but I don’t take the credit and sometimes I’ve said that they turned out as they have, in spite of me. I have tried to give them the example of God to follow as well, because I am definitely not perfect. If they are following Jesus and reading the Word, they have the best example they can have through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the best counselor they have.

“Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.” Hebrews 12:7-9 (MSG)

I have prayed a verse for my children through the years. This doesn’t let me off the hook, but if I failed in any way, hopefully I expressed the importance of following God in their lives. The verse I have prayed for them is:

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6

Prayer today: Father help those around me to look to you. May my life be an example of Christ. May people see the Christ in me. Thank you for being my father and my counselor.

Time Alone with God

I have been an exhorter in the past and I want to re-establish my role by encouraging others.  My question to you is; how often do you have time alone with God? If we’re too busy for God, then we are simply too busy. When I allow God to be in charge of my life, I am amazed at how much more productive I am. When I put Him first; everything falls into place. I have developed five points on how to put God first in my life. Five is the number of grace and the acronym I have used spells out the word GRACE.

G – Getting to know God:

We can’t reach others without first having our own time with God.  We have to know what the Bible says in order to share it. So why do many of us try to live a Godly life without having personal time with God? When we study the Bible, it overflows to the rest of our life.  Out of that wealth, we are able to minister to and encourage others. What we put in is what comes out. If I FILL my heart and mind with the Bible, there is not any room for negativity. We can strengthen our relationship with God by communication and observation otherwise it won’t grow. With our friends we listen and find out as much about them as we can. This is how our relationship with God should be; sharing and communicating, finding out everything we possibly can about Him (getting to know God). Satisfied living comes through knowing God. Matthew 5:6 (Amplified) “Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be completely satisfied.”

R – Refusing self:

Just as we should ask about our relationships “What can I do to make this relationship better?” we should ask about our relationship with God. When we focus on what we do rather than what we can get, we become selfless instead of selfish. When we put our own self first we are giving into our weaknesses.  In Galatians 5:20-21, the Bible speaks of idolatry. The definition of idolatry is “excessive devotion.”  This could mean loving ourselves more than others. Jesus’ example was to put the needs of others first by being a servant. Luke 22:27 “Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.”

A – Asking:

Asking for wisdom and making our petitions known before God is how we should pray, simplicity is the best approach. Our time should begin with prayer. “Never stop praying.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 We should have confidence in our prayers just as Abraham did.  When Abraham prayed that Lot would be spared from the destruction of Sodom, obviously he had confidence in that prayer because we read he had slept that night.  Genesis 19:27 “Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence.” If Abraham didn’t believe Lot would be spared, I don’t think he would have slept.

C – Charging

Letting God be the one that charges us up. Most people don’t try to withstand a trial or problem without running to God in prayer. But why not just be hooked up to God all the time? Think of yourself as a three-prong electrical plug. The bottom prong is for “Grounding!” That grounding should plug into the Bible. Notice how it is fatter than the other two and relate that to how much we should draw on the Bible. Then take a look at the other two prongs.  Notice how they are wider at the tip? Those prongs represent our outstretched hands in worship. Once they are ‘plugged into’ the socket they are harder to pull out. Now, take a look at the holes in these prongs, relate these to ears. These two prongs make the circuit complete and if we are not listening to God along with praying, worshiping, and reading the Bible, then our circuitry is incomplete. I know people who cut off the third prong because it doesn’t fit. They take a risk of getting shocked. We need to be careful that we don’t cut off our relationship with God by only praying and not reading the Bible, which makes a one-way relationship.  Also, if we were to tape up the holes on the prongs, and we only went to God in prayer, then how can we hear? In Romans 10:17 the Bible says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”

E – Exalting:

When we hear from God, how can we help but exalt or worship Him by praising Him in spirit and song? Exalt means to raise in rank, honor, power or character. We should exalt God far above everything and everyone. I love the song “How Can I Keep from Singing?” by Chris Tomlin. This is how I feel about God. I cannot keep quiet about all the things he has done for me. Worship is so important in our daily walk, it isn’t just for Sunday, and God loves to hear our praises! “But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.” John 4:23

We live in such a “give me” society that it’s no wonder we expect God to do everything while we just carry on until we ‘need’ Him. Grace is freely given, unmerited favor, the Love of God, and the influence of the Holy Spirit in us to strengthen us. God gave us his best through Jesus Christ and his death on the cross, a perfect sacrifice, his resurrection, and the Holy Spirit. He graced us with the Bible, but what have we given in return? Sometimes we offer a mere pittance of a prayer before our meals or a ritualistic prayer before bed when God deserves our best! The very least we can do is give of our time to communicate with Him. I encourage you to show God honor for the grace he has shown you, he loves you and wants to bless you by communicating with you. Have some time alone with God today and every day. Your life will be better because of the time you spend.