So, what events set the stage for this story to happen?
[A] Out of desperate unhappiness, I gave my heart to Jesus in April 1981. I had to hit bottom before I could look up. I was divorced in 1977, when my daughter was three; in 1981 she was seven. Her father faded out of her life in sync with fading child support. I would be the only parent Sharon had, so I set two goals that guided my life for the next 11 years.
- To mature as a Christian as fast as I could. Things did not get perfect overnight after April 1981, but the unhappiness and fear were replaced with a measure of peace and joy. I did not want to mess up this relationship with God!
- I resolved to take the very best care I possibly could of Sharon, no matter the cost to me.
These two goals still anchor my life, although they now include my son-in-law and two grandsons. I have never regretted one thing I did for Sharon or what I am still doing for her and her family. It is a priceless privilege and joy, a t rue gift from God!
[B] In pursuit of those two goals, we went to a Friday night Bible study at the Wexel’s house. I never once hired a sitter so I could “go out.” I cherished each moment of each evening with Sharon. By going to the home Bible study with me, Sharon got to play with the two Wexel girls, and I did Bible study and made friends in a relaxed setting. At that time, painful shyness still crippled my life. I needed all the help I could get in making friends. I needed Christian friends to encourage me and help me grow, which was a two-way street.
[C] I “gave all of me to all I understood of God.” And I have done that ever since. I sincerely hope you will not see this as bragging. It is simply the truth. I was VERY grateful that our lives were better and so I clung hard to Jesus and wanted to do what I knew He had said to do. So, I studied the Bible, prayed, attended church, tithed and gave offerings, and made friends with other believers.
My life verse
Many Christ followers have what they call a life verse– a verse in the Bible that they try to live by and that has shown to be true in their lives over and over.
My life verses are Proverbs 3, verses 5 through 6:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (New International Version)
[D] Through living out Proverbs 3:5-6, Sharon and I met the Wexels. As Chapter One shows, that friendship eventually nudged me to face and change my horrible attitude about our finances. By God’s grace, I began making changes so I could give my daughter the gift of an unjealous heart.