Monday, April 19, 2010

The Diamond Ring!

Although this post is not adoption/orphan related, it is a story about a relationship and how God took it to a new level to bring His destiny into reality - to produce fruitfulness for His kingdom. In spite of my "stuff" the Lord used my words to give me what I didn't know I needed.

Mark wanted to get married. So did I, but not as much as Mark. Maybe I was a little apprehensive about tying the knot since there weren't many marriages I admired. Maybe I was afraid the lurking muscle disease would someday scare Mark away - if I got weaker, would he leave me? What ever the case, I told Mark I'd marry him after he got me a "honking huge diamond ring and proposed on one knee in a very romantic setting." I knew a huge diamond would put the brakes on marrying since we were both fresh out of Bible school and volunteering full time at an inner city ministry in Providence, Rhode Island. The only money we had jingled in our pockets.

Winter in Providence is
sssoooo cooolllddd - FREEEEZing to be more precise! Every now and then, Mark and I would spend afternoons at the mall, just to be somewhere warm and walk around talking. He would ALWAYS slow down and pause in front of jewelry store windows....

"Hey, Lisa... look at this ring..."

"Yeah, nice. I need to check out some cards at the Hallmark store. Let's go."

Then, one freezing winter evening...
we were at the mall...
Mark stopped at the jewelry store window...

and there it was...

The Ring.
(not the actual ring, but it looks like it)
I stared at it. Niiiccce! Now, I'm not really into big rocks, gold and all that, but this was a very pretty ring that I knew Mark could NOT afford, so we went into the store to take a closer gander.

The sales woman, who's hair looked like she'd kissed a fan on full speed, came toward us with a booming voice. I was sure the whole mall could hear her ask us what we'd like to see.

"The ring in the display." Mark replied proudly, putting his arm around me.

"OOOOHHHH, HOW EXCITING!" Miss Fan-kisser shivered and was off to retrieve the diamond.

When she returned with the rock poised to fit on my finger, I gulped... and put it on. She told us the price, and then Mark gulped.

"SO, TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELVES!" Miss Fan-kisser beamed, holding my hand to show off the huge diamond to Mark. He smiled, smitten or nervous, I wasn't real sure. I proceeded to tell her my testimony of how God saved me from a life on the streets that was filled with drugs, booze and other rancid stuff; how we met at Bible school, worked with kids, youth, and homeless at a ministry downtown. She hung on every word. She loved the stories about soup kitchen, children's story times, and that we each lived in houses with no heat where addicts slept...

"OOOHHH, YOU'RE REAL CHRISTIANS!" Then she proceed to have all the other salespeople huddle around (apparently she was the manager) and had me tell the testimony again.

After the second rendition, the crowd dispersed, and Miss Fan-kisser stood there staring at us with this silly grin... Now I started getting nervous. Suddenly, and softly this time, she spoke,
"I'm gonna give you this ring at a discount cause I like what God's doing in you two."

"What's a discount?" Mark stammered. Her reply made Mark pull out his credit card and slap it on the counter. The beautiful ring this lady was practically giving us clinched the deal for Mark. He could have it paid off interest-free in a few months.

Well, let me tell ya, I got "cold feet" fast and not from the weather! I needed to pray, and pray some more. I asked Mark if we could decide tomorrow. His smile didn't flinch,
"Sure." He dropped me off at my place, and I laid my concerns before the Lord... my fears, my trust issues, my independence... and then God spoke...

This ring is a symbol if how much Mark loves you, Lisa. It's beauty shines, reflecting My Light. It's so big, you can't miss it. It has three stones, with the largest in the middle as a reminder that I am in the midst of you both. And this love costs Mark everything; like Jesus' love. It's a love that I have given him.

I felt like the Lord was telling me not to be afraid to take Mark as my husband, like He told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife.

We got the ring. (Although when we went back to the store, Miss Fan-kisser was not there; a new salesperson looked at us like we had 10 heads when we told him the price we were quoted. He went into the back office, returned with this dumbfounded look, and sold us the ring for the agreed upon price.)

On a beautiful spring day, along the shores of the Narragansett Bay, Mark sat me on a bench, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He placed the "honking huge diamond ring" on my finger and hugged me into his heart.

It's been almost 20 years of marriage. Mark loves me with a unending passion regardless of my physical limitations which have gotten worse over time. He loves me in spite of my cranky attitudes. His love still
"shines in the Light, is so big - it attracts attention, and still costs him everything."

Today, no matter how unknown the future is, no matter what crisis face you, no matter your history of abuse and neglect, KNOW for certain that your
heavenly Father is Light, is Big enough to attract your attention, and His Love for you costs Him everything. Expect HIS hug to bring you into HIS heart!

Living in an eternal embrace,


Kat said...

God's love just astounds me...beautiful, just beautiful.

Renee said...

Oh what a beautiful story...I never cease to be amazed at how much God works in the details of our livse with an unconditional love! Thank you for sharing this precious reminder for all of us..

Mom Of Many said...

Oh sweet friend,
I love your story...and I love it even more cause I know you and Mark....I could totallyhear you saying some of the things you are hysterical. Anyway, I am glad you said yes!! xo

Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five said...

What an awesome, sweet, beautiful story of God's work in your life. I'm so glad you linked it!


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