During my singleness I had been very active in singles leadership and had the chance to attend many conferences. I also read whatever book I could on Christian single parenting, healing, and various other Christian books that really ministered to me during this time of my life. One conference that really impacted my life was the Song of Solomon conference with Denton Bible Church pastor, Tom Nelson. I first attended the conference in 1999. It was a cold February day as I sat in the back of the church and listened to this awesome pastor/teacher. I wept numerous times. The conferences are based on the book of the same name in the Bible. It is God’s view of love, sex, and marriage. I had only wished that I had known some of the information and what to ‘look’ for the first time around. I had grown up very sheltered and naïve. I later found out that there is more than the man going to church, being raised in a Christian home…so much more. Anyway, this conference changed my life in how I viewed my situation. I wanted to have what Tommy shared about his relationship with his wife Teresa. I was willing to wait on the Lord for that. I had NO idea how much this conference would impact my life! One thing that really stuck in my mind that day was Tom telling a story about a young man with three small children. He choked back tears as he spoke. He told a story of marrying this young couple and how several years and three children later the Mom had died of cancer. He asked that we pray for this young man. It had been a year since her death and they were having a hard time. I remember sitting in the pew sobbing for this little family that had lost so much.
The night of the Christmas party it was time for Mike to drive me home. We had not really had much of a chance to talk to one another. It had been uncomfortable because everyone was assuming a great deal and giving us a hard time. I had no idea, however, that Mike had already been talking about me when he left my office that day over a week ago! There had been a conspiracy to introduce us but the Lord had the final say. We had even been at the same football game but never crossed paths. I am so thankful for the way we met because it is just another reminder of how the Lord orchestrates our lives.
As we were driving home that snowy evening I began to get more comfortable. He was easy to talk to and the conversation flowed. Imagine my surprise when he was sharing about his past and told me about the man that had been his mentor and spiritual father. I will never forget him asking me, “This great man pastors a church in Denton, Texas, maybe you have heard of him, Tommy Nelson?” I about jumped through the roof of the car! Have I heard of him? Oh my goodness his tapes are playing in my car. I have read his books, attended his conference, and been to Metro Bible study in Dallas to hear him!!! We went on to talk forever that evening. I had a great time and he walked me up to the door and that was it...no hug, no kiss, just a great big smile. I was reeling from excitement and could not wait to call all my friends. My son commented when I came in that he liked him and so did Sparky. Sparky is our little dog. He hates strangers. Well, for that matter he can’t stand most of my extended family. When Mike came to pick me up earlier in the evening he reached down to pet him and my son and I both said, “NO” but too late…he was already petting him. Sparky never even barked at Mike! It was so strange because he barked at everyone.
I had a huge list of people to call that night. They all had to hear about my big evening. I was on the phone most of the night and then when I went to bed I could not sleep. I got onto my computer and typed my heart out. That is what I usually did when my heart and head had so much going on.
Earlier in my singleness my parents and siblings had made me vow that if the Lord brought someone into my life again that I would agree to not go out or marry them if anyone in my family had felt it was not right. I had agreed because we all had been so hurt by what I had endured. I wanted their wise and Godly counsel. The very next morning after our date my youngest sister headed to my parents home and told them that ‘He has arrived, the man for my sister is here!’ "God has brought him to her!" Ironically, Mike's late wife Jennifer was from my hometown but had moved to Texas after graduating high school. In an even more interesting twist my youngest sister had known her through her high school boyfriend, who happened to be Jennifer’s best friend. I just could not believe that there was a connection between my family and this Texan. I was wondering if he would call me or see me at church the next day and then the phone rang, with anticipation I picked up the receiver and heard, “Hi, Vickie, this is Mike”….to be continued