Cottage Street. A house I dearly love. I haven’t lived there in over 20 years, but as I drove up to it today my heart felt full. So many great memories were made there.
After Bible school I moved back home with my dad in Willamina for a while. That was a good time for me. I had a full-time job, babysat on the side, and had a little more time to be with my dad. Yet, I was growing up and it was time to move to Salem to join Our Father’s House Church. In the early 90’s this was a hub for house churches and a few ministries.
I learned SO much here.
I learned that you can have green hair, dreadlocks, and so many piercings and still love Jesus. I learned that if something feels a little off then it’s probably off. I was naive and robbed by addicts more than once. I learned that Salem has a lot one one way streets and its best to not go down them the wrong way!
This is also the place where I met the man I would marry. He was tall, thin, and played guitar. I met him before I moved in. There was a fundraiser for a girl who was heading off into missions. I walked in and he looked at me, laughed, and said, “Those have got to be the ugliest socks I’ve ever seen!” You see, I was quite the sock lover. I shopped at stores like “Socks From Mars”. This girl didn’t wear ordinary socks. I was the only person I knew that had rainbow knee high toe socks. (They were so uncomfortable, but original for that time.) Despite our initial meeting we became friends. He encouraged me to be that writer I dreamed of being and not let anything hold me back. He’d say, “You want to be a writer? Then write. Writers write.” Back then I was too scared to write anything outside of my journal or letter to a friend.
By this time I had decided that I wanted to become a missionary. I wanted to pursue a career in nursing so that I had a way into any country. I didn’t want to go on short-term missions; I wanted to go live somewhere and influence the community around me. I had an opportunity to go to a college in the Midwest that I thought was perfect for me. There was classroom work, but there were also several ways to get experience in the field. It was time for me to go.
One day I went to this young boyfriend of mine to tell him of my plans. I told him I would be back. He looked at me and said, “Don’t expect me to wait for you. Absence makes the heart forget.” Like a flash of lightning a thought seared itself into my brain. “If you don’t marry him, no good Christian man will ever want you.” So, I stayed. I chose him.
One day we were driving along in my ’76 Dodge Dart when the “Going to the Chapel” song came on the radio. He looked at me and said, “Let’s go to the courthouse!” We got our marriage license and married 2 days later in my pastor’s living room.
The day before we were married he was asked why he wanted to marry me. He listed a lot of great qualities and characteristics he saw in me. When I was asked the same question it was one thing: because he loves me. Terribly unhealthy and not something easy to recover from…for either of us, I’d guess. I imagine that stung him a little.
We are no longer together. Last Thanksgiving would have been our 20 year anniversary. While I have no regrets, I sometimes wonder what pain I could have spared all of from had I known my worth back then. What if I was confident in the fact that I do hear from God? What if I knew that following my God-planted dream would get me the love I so desired?
Tomorrow I wrap up week 1 in the series “Am I Enough?” I’m excited to hear what week 2 brings us.
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