Sunday, September 21, 2008

Part Negative 1--Gregorio y Viviana

Well, folks, here it is by popular request. So, to my four faithful readers, here goes....

"Part Negative 1" because I have to give you some background.

The Lord saved me at age 18. I was brought up in a home that did NOT put the "fun" in "dysfunctional." I never saw anything done right, as I've said before, let alone marriage. All I had for my teachers was what I found to read (being a voracious reader--still am), which pretty much consisted of "True Story" and "True Romance," and other such junk. If you don't know what those are, I'm so happy for you! Pure trash. So much so, that when my dad got together with his girlfriend when I was 16, he asked me what he should do, and I, FOOL that I was, said, "If you love her, go with her." How sorry is that! Forget about 19 years of marriage and 3 children and the vows you made before God. Sigh.

I was the only daughter, with two younger brothers. I was The Boss. Now put that together (getting ahead of myself here) with The Baby, with two older sisters who spoiled him and got him everything he needed, and the fireworks start. Imagine. But I digress....

After starting my "romantic life" at age 12 (which I DO NOT recommend!), I had lots of boyfriends, with relationships I started and finished. Got a lot of those in by age 18 when God saved me, and He saved me out of my worst relationship, which "was the best of times, and it was the worst of times." God was so merciful to me to release me from my bondage of sin!

So, now that I was a Christian and single, I was ready for God to send me single to Africa as a missionary for the rest of my life. I knew I was forgiven, but felt I was not worthy of a Christian husband, with my past. So it was just me and the Lord Jesus for a year and a half.

The Lord was SO good and kind and tender to me during this time (as He always is, but especially so then). I was basking in knowing God, being forgiven (bliss! a clean slate), and having a new heart that loved God and wanted to serve Him with everything I had. It was such a precious time. I would have been perfectly content to live like that the rest of my life, even go to Africa, if He would go with me. GOD taught ME, GOD led ME, GOD loved ME! I couldn't get enough of Him.

The Lord sent me a necessary friend in the form of a male, and we had a great time challenging each other from the scriptures. I learned a lot from him, and I thank God for him. God used this friend to protect me and encourage me and ease my loneliness after leaving such an intense ungodly relationship. I had a crush on him for a while, but that passed. (There's a hilarious story in there, too!) He told me that one day God would send me a husband, and that he would pale in comparison. I had great difficulty believing this, as he was a pretty wonderful man.

Our pastor was a former youth minister, and we had a VERY young church, with maybe 2 married couples, and those were older. LOTS of teens! It was quite a neat time in my life, and I decided to go to *bible college* (called *"bridal college"* by some), as our pastor had. At this time I was still very rebellious towards rules and regulations. Then I read, "rebellion is as the sin of *witchcraft," and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry." Many sighs....

A moment for Part Negative 2. There were some Christians in my high school, but I hate to say that they were extremely unpopular. They were what we would today call "the nerds." (What DO they call them today?) Remember this is in the days of MINI skirts and bell-bottom, hip-hugger pants. And the Christian girls dressed VERY modestly, in long dresses and skirts (just like I wear today!), and the guys wore high-water pants, which were SO uncool! And they passed out *Chick* tracts in the lunchroom, which I thought were hilarious. My friends and I, I'm ashamed to say, were their persecution. Double sigh.

Back to Part Negative 1. So I go to this "bible college" in Florida in January. Talk about not fitting in! I was like the "bull in the china shop." Many of the girls had high-pitched voices and talked so "plastic-ly," quoting verses in a way that, to me, was so fake. (An aside: Grace, I so sound like you there, don't I?) And here comes Miss-Bass-Voice-Viv. And a few of the Christians from my school were there, and, the first time they saw me, they looked as shocked as I imagine the Christians did when they saw Saul in the Christians' meetings! (Anyway, someday I'll blog about THAT adventure. I was a disgrace to the place, I think.) I tried a relationship there, but it didn't work out, thankfully. That's another funny (as in "ha-ha") story....

I had a great time in this "bible college," which I put in quotes because it was hyper-Arminian, with such a false gospel it was horrendous! I stayed out until 1 AM, when curfew was at 9:30 or so, "fellowshipping at IHOP," which was NOT an acceptable excuse! I snuck out all the time to the married couples' dorms to watch "Creature Feature,"the monster movie, on Friday nights. What a dodo.

So, there I was, involved in a junior-high bible study with two guys and having a ball. (Did I mention our "bible college" was the old *Hollywood "Beach" *Hotel in Florida? Between the bay and the ocean--what an incredible place! LUXURY!) I was SO not-dependent on anyone but God! I didn't need anyone. I had my summer set up. I was going to stay in Florida, work with the bible study kids, and have a blast serving the Lord.

Now here comes May, end of semester. My former roommate (another pitiful story) tells me they've got a carful headed back to San Antonio, with room for ONE MORE. Do I want to go home? NO. She asked me so many times, and my answer was always the same.

Until the day before they left. I got so incredibly homesick I felt I was going to DIE (not an exaggeration!) if I didn't go "home." (WHAT home?) I confirmed my spot in the car, called my married friend and asked if I could spend the summer with her and her husband and two little children, and I was set.

Back to Part Negative 2. Heard lots of sermons on dating and marriage (none on courtship), so I had my "list" ready! "Saved, *soulwinner,* no previous marriage or children, no debt, taller than me (let's be reasonable, eh), and HANDSOME, so our kids would have a fighting chance, and blue eyes (ok, so Greg's eyes are technically green, but they do look blue when he wears certain colors...)." I had gone steady with an Italian, a Mexican, a Puerto Rican, and a black guy, amongst many others, so I was pretty open that way, as long as he was saved. I had also purposed not to start any relationship again (let him start it), and not to be the first to say "I love you." Also, I purposed that the next man who told me "I love you" would have to have the next words be, "Will you marry me?" or I was going to walk away. (Wasn't I sensible? Pretty pitiful, eh.)

Back to Part Negative 1.Went back to church as soon as I got there; I was going to be our pastor's secretary for the summer. And the first meeting I attend back home, there is this amazingly handsome man, a GI from Lackland named Greg, putting in an air conditioner.

Coming up--Part 1. Continued....

PS If this is TMI, please let me know, and I'll abbreviate it. For those who think it is: We got together, we got married, and here we are, 33 years, 7 children, 13 grandchildren later. That's the short story.

PPS Love to my four faithful readers! You're the BEST!


Misty said...

Mike said you were posting tonight, so I have been waiting :) Keep writing I sure like this story. love you

Grace said...

love you, mom! you've almost made me late for yoga with that one:)

Heather said...

I love it. Keep writing.

sarahdodson said...

go, ma, go