Friday, April 2, 2010

the (somewhat) brief version

For Jon’s 23rd birthday (3/18), I decided to write out our story in story book form. The scripture at the end (Isaiah 63) really sums up the meaning of this entire blog. It’s our purpose–to preach good news, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom, to comfort, and to provide. He said I could share it with you. Here it goes…(this will probably be the longest of our blog posts ever, just f.y.i)

This is the story about a little boy and a little girl.

The year was 1987. The day was March 18th. In the state of Ohio, the little boy was born. He was the first son born to two proud parents and two older sisters. Not too long after he was born, his family moved back to Texas and two younger brothers soon joined. The family was now complete: seven happy members.

The kids began to grow. Baby clothes turned into Hawaiian t-shirts and squinty eyes soon became “the look.” The girls realized their brothers were not their little dolls any more and became interested in different things. The boys often found themselves outside where their imagination was their favorite toy. Throughout their childhood, the little boy and his siblings each fell in love with Jesus. Not only was the family complete in number, but now they would all be together in eternity.

After several trips to Disney World and great vacations to other parts of the world, the girls moved out of the house: one went to Waco and the other one to College Station. The little boy (who was not so little anymore) excelled in school and track and even found himself king of the prom. It was time for him to move on with life and so he joined his sister at Texas A&M University. His education continued but it was mainly done outside of the classroom. He made lots of friends and joined lots of clubs and even figured out he really liked English…and Greek…and Latin.

That summer he found himself immersed in a completely new world of awkward junior high kids, lots of energy, and funny names, like Opa! He quickly fell in love with this little camp in East Texas. The years went on and his brothers soon followed him to school in College Station: one brother chose a different path and decided the Marines was the place for him while the other brother tagged along closely in his footsteps. The boy grew and soon became a man—not one without faults or hardships but with an ever trusting heart and growing love for his sweet Savior.

On the other side of Texas, in the year 1988, the little girl was born. She was the first daughter in her family and dearly loved by her two parents and big brother. She and her brother would do everything together. They played dress up and soccer and in tree-houses and soon welcomed a baby sister into their family, and the little girl found herself happily in the middle. Not too long after her sister was born, the little girl placed her faith in Jesus. Her siblings were soon to follow. This family was now whole.

They spent lots of time together on family vacations and at church events and ball games. Their faith as a family grew as the little girl’s daddy became sick, but they were united and held tight to their Healer. Time grew on and the little girl grew up. She still played soccer and now cheered on the sidelines, did well in school and, like the little boy, she, too, became prom royalty. Her brother moved out of the house and she followed him to College Station the next year. Her path set before her was different than his: he was getting a degree and then headed to the Navy and she was going to be a doctor.

That summer she ended up close to home working at that camp with lots of energy and funny names, like Sweet Pea, but the little boy was not there that year. She went back to school and became more involved in her club and discovered a passion for discipleship. Her first two years in school were not easy ones and grace was abundantly given as her faith and love for her Savior grew and grew.

This is where their stories combine.

The little boy and little girl find themselves back at that camp in East Texas in the summer of 2008. She was a nanny and he was a senior counselor. It was orientation week and their camps were fortunate enough to eat dinner together where the two of them conveniently sat at the same table. A few weeks later, the boy and girl ran into each other and chatted about Texas A&M and mutual friends.

She was interested. He was oblivious.

Camp ended and they both went back to school in College Station. They saw each other one day in September and wouldn’t again until the following May. Unbeknownst to the girl, the boy was befriending her brother that year. It was he and another friend that suggested the boy take the girl on a little date. So he did. The boy called the girl and they went to Austin thirty minutes later. Conversation was abundant and the two became close friends upon discovery that neither wore deodorant and both wanted to go to New Zealand. He dropped her off only to say, “See you at camp!”

She had made a new friend. He…was smitten.

Camp came and went that summer. The two grew closer in their friendship, but it was the girl who was oblivious that year.

The boy took her to breakfast, and they talked about his decision to not go back to College Station that fall. The boy decided to do a discipleship program at camp, because he, too, loved discipling and being discipled. He came to see her in College Station and took her zipling in the middle of the night. Two IBC rootbeers and an adrenaline rush later, the little girl’s lights finally came on, but it wouldn’t be for another month that the boy would confess his feelings.

“I don’t really have anything prepared,” he started, “but I…I like you.” To which she responded, “I’m scared of commitment,” and knowing that wasn’t the best thing to say, she continued with, “I’d like to get to know you better.” So they did. For three months they spent time with each other and their friends and their families. They talked a lot in hammocks and on pergolas, at parks and in broken down cars. They discovered a shared love for movies and almonds and adoption. They learned they were both ticklish and controlling in the kitchen. They told each other hard pieces of their past and forgave each other for their mistakes. And soon the little boy and the little girl fell in love. Their precious Lord set things into motion and they could not believe the blessings he had bestowed upon them.

And then there was a ring

and a conversation with her father

and a proposal.

The little boy took the little girl on a date. They went to park after park after park after park, and at each step of the journey, the boy gave the girl at gift and told her of his love. He reminded her of their friendship back at camp. He reminded her of their time spent getting to know each other better. He reminded her of his decision to choose to love her. Then he reminded her of the hope they have in their Heavenly Father as the future remained blank before them. The boy got down on one knee and said, “Will you marry me?” and the girl responded, “Yes. Yes! YES!”

This is a story of God’s grace.

You see, the little boy had saved his first kiss for his fiancé, but the little girl, well, she had kissed a lot of boys. But he didn’t care. He didn’t hold it against her. He didn’t make her feel guilty. He didn’t choose to abandon her. No, he looked at her through the eyes of Jesus—he looked at her filled with God’s grace and love—and told her she was beautiful. She was pure. She was his choice. And the best part was she chose him back.

“Deserve is a stupid word,” said Matt Chandler. This little boy and little girl agree. Neither feels as though they “deserve” each other, but for some reason, the Lord has tremendously blessed them both with one another. On a much larger scale, no one “deserves” life with Christ, but He doesn’t care. He loves us and desires relationship with us. But because we are not perfect, we can’t have relationship with God, so He made a way for this to happen.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)
. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and died for one reason—that we may be reunited with the Father for life now and for all eternity.

We’ve all become unclean, and our righteous acts are like permanently stained rags (Isaiah 64:6). Even our good deeds are not and will never be good enough to have relationship with the Father, but Jesus made a way.

For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves. It is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). Grace is our gift. Faith is our gift. Salvation is our gift. We are SAVED—saved from our lies and our idolatry and our pride. We are saved from hell. All we have to do is choose life, life in the Father through the Son.

I have come that they may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). It is a full life, not without trials and sufferings, but a life with lots of hope and blessings if we choose to follow Him.

Choose to say “Yes” to God’s gift of grace and know that He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

The little boy and the little girl love each other very much. But more than their love for each other is their love for the Lord. Their story is just beginning. They know to expect bumps. They know they will fail. But they also know their God will never let them go.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61: 1-3


  1. I love this story of grace and never grow tired of hearing it! I love you guys and can't wait to see all that God will do in your lives! And I get to be an eyewitness!

  2. oooh i love how you wrote this!! and i love both of you! and jon's pic with Jiggs!