Earl and I talked as we ate supper together several times a week at the hospital where we worked. A year flew by and I hadn’t thought much about our relationship until he surprised me one evening, “Would you go out with me?”
“Are you crazy? No.”
I’ve told him so much. How can he like me?
A month later, he asked again, “Will you go out with me?”
Reluctantly I agreed and on a hot July evening in 1985, I sat waiting for Earl in the hospital parking lot. (I wouldn’t tell him where I lived.) My palms were sweaty and when I saw his baby-blue Thunderbird, I caught my breath. I still couldn’t believe I was going on a date with a preacher. I’d even had my hair done and was wearing the only dress I owned.
Earl got out and held the door for me. My voice cracked as I said, “Hi.”
We ate at The 91st Bomb Group restaurant on the Memphis airport flight line. (Earl remembered that I liked to fly.) Supper went well then we sat in the lounge and watched the runway and airplane lights as planes took off and landed.
We were unusually quiet for us on the trip back to the hospital. He parked next to my car, turned and asked, “Can I kiss you?”
“No!” I pulled away.
I can’t kiss a preacher. I’m too bad.
My exposure to religion happened at a vacation Bible school when I was in elementary school. Classmates laughed at my reading skills and giggled when I sang off tune. One girl said, “You can’t be baptized in my church.” I believed her words and knew I couldn’t be good enough to be a Christian.
What did it take to rescue me twenty-some years later?
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:5-7 NIV).
God loved me before He created me. Earl loved me from the first time we met, through my full salvation and continuing to this day.
God’s patience shown through Earl’s kindness. It poured from his heart every time I cursed. He never called me down unless I used God’s name in vain.
God’s word says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10, 11 NIV). Earl never gave up his “Christian” music—or anything else—no matter how much I protested.
God had laid me on many hearts and those people prayed diligently for my faith walk. (I’d made a profession of faith and been baptized before we married—because I thought a preachers wife should be baptized.)
God’s Son died that I could have everlasting life. Earl lived his faith before me and showed me unconditional love.
Earl trusted God’s word for my redemption. “The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does” (Psalm 145:13 NIV).
I realized years ago that God had sent Earl to me, just as He now sends me to others. An important way of thanking God is by passing it on to others
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19, 20 NIV).