I’m married now again… but for 12 wonderful (never thought I’d say that!) years I was single. A single mom of 3 boys. Those years of my life formed me through MUCH heartache, difficulty, wrestling and learning to trust God and God-in-me in ways that only trials can. But the overwhelming memory of those years (which ended 4 1/2 years ago) is what happened to me in my relationship with God. He proved Himself to me – and He proved what was in my heart to Himself. [Deuteronomy 8:2-3]
Because of my desperate need, my spiritual life moved profoundly beyond the dry places of doctrine, theology and a belief system. I became His, and He mine. I came to know very personally – the Bridal Paradigm that structures all of scripture. We are not only “The Church” of Jesus Christ – but much more personally… we are “The Bride” of Jesus Christ. He loves His Church… as a Groom loves His Bride – that’s what we are individually and collectively – to Him. I have come to experience the SONG OF (all) SONGS as my own journey’s story-line… a walk of ever-increasing intimacy with Him – my Beloved. And just like this ‘One’ of all Solomon’s lovers… I came to understand that among all the individuals that make up the collective “Bridal Church” – I was “His favorite” – my story is irreplaceably ‘mine and His’ alone.
He cared for me throughout those years – as a husband. He became forever my “First Love.” Ron is a great husband and loves me well… but his love can never re-place or compare with Jesus’. It’s not meant to. He is OK with being No. 2.
One of my favorite stories of His husband care – is the time HE BOUGHT ME A CAR.
I knew my mini-van was nearing it’s last days… and prayed often as we drove down the road – (out loud, so the kids would hear and see how God would answer) – that this car would last until I could purchase a new one. I asked God to pick out the right car for me (because buying a car was not my thing and intimidated me). I told Him I’d trust His choice, but I thought I would really like a Ford Explorer. I had some money coming several months ahead, and as it neared, wasn’t yet looking for ‘the car that God would find me.’
One day, driving through town, I had a few extra moments and remembered an important errand. I had a rental house in those days and I needed to get it advertised in the local newspaper. As I parked in front of The Lynden Tribune I knew I would barely make the time deadline for my Ad. I rushed in, and at the front desk, a woman was giving a verbal advertisement… for a car. As she quoted the year, the make, the condition and the price… my ears perked up. An Explorer, did she say? I looked back out the window. Next to my mini-van was parked a shiney Ford Explorer. “Is that the car you want to sell?” I asked the woman. She said “Yes,” and told me her and her husband loved the car and it was in excellent condition, but their loan payments were more than their budget could handle so they needed to sell. Hmmmmm…. I thought.
Days went by and I thought about that Ford Explorer a little… but I didn’t have my money yet and was not seriously looking. I wondered, “Was that You, Lord?”
Weeks later, driving to pick up my sons from school, I had a few extra moments and remembered an important errand. I needed paint for the rental house before new tenants moved in. I took a quick detour to Vander Griend Lumber to pick out a color. Heading back toward the school… I got stopped at a train crossing. As I sat there, mind racing, I glanced out the window on the passenger side of my mini-van, and noticed a shiney Ford Explorer parked two feet away, with a big “For Sale” sign on it’s windshield. It was the same color, and the thought washed over me – “I think that’s the same car”.
I picked up my kids and drove back to the car to look it over and take the phone number. I told my sons about both encounters with this car and we wondered together, “Is this You, Lord?”
I called that day, and got the same woman I’d met in the Newspaper office. I said I was surprised the car had not sold yet… and told her my ‘God story’ as it seemed to be unfolding. She too, was a Christian, and responded with, “Well, if you need one more confirmation, that happens to be the only day we had it sitting in town, at my husbands work place. He drives an old truck to work because I need the Explorer every single day to haul kids to school etc. That morning he had said, if we’re ever going to sell this car, we have to park it in town where it can be seen – and I happened to have a miraculous day where I did not need the car.” I started grinning.
That evening, my oldest son came home with one more ‘encounter’ story. Before school he and his friends had been waiting outside for a friend who was uncharacteristically late. Luke was telling them the story of mom’s search for a new car. Being teenage boys they asked “make?, model?, year?, color?”… and as Luke was describing it, the very Explorer drove by in front of them. “There it is!” he said.
When I set up a time to meet and test-drive the Explorer, the owner asked me about my current vehicle. They needed a cheaper car that could fit their family! They came over on Saturday morning. I drove their car and they test-drove mine. Both, were perfect. My money had come in that week. I wrote them a check, minus what my mini-van was worth – for exactly the amount I’d told God I had for a new vehicle… and we both drove away smiling….
On Sunday morning a friend at church asked me how I found my nice new Explorer… because she and her husband were looking. I replied, “Oh, you’ll not find one as easy as me – you have an earthly husband!”