Well, I began babysitting Ella (Five years old, adorable, very smart, and a little sassy!) and Harrison (Four years old, and very cute in his “chicken hair”, and very energetic!). We did lots of things together, from seeing the Healthworks Museum in South Bend to nature hikes, to riding bikes, to eating in the cafeteria at Fairhaven and attending Little Lambs class on Thursday night also at Fairhaven. I strove to be a good disciplinarian and yet love those children and their family. I saw the community of Ogden Dunes, Indiana, and more particularly, the house at 1 Woodland Trail as my mission field, and knew the Lord had led me there. You see, I don’t believe in this “hit and miss” theory about jobs, meaning, pick up one here for a week, drop it, and try something else. I believe that God wants us to be diligent and hard-working, and therefore, He has a particular job out there for ME, where He wants me to earn money to live and serve Him, but more importantly, where He wants me to be a shining example and witness of Christ’s saving power. And that is the true reason God put me in the Deporter family’s life. Katie Deporter allowed me to take the children to Little Lambs, a children’s class at Fairhaven Baptist Church, and to tell them Bible stories, and teach them things about the Lord. I explained to her that what I believe is the Bible, first and foremost, for that is the only thing in the whole world which will endure FOREVER (Matthew 24:35). And I went further to say, as is true, that Fairhaven Baptist Church also only teaches the Bible.
Well, as some of you may remember, my mother’s cancer had come back with a fury, and somewhere in February or so, she really took a turn for the worse. It was a tough time of praying, caring for mom, spending nights in the hospital, and trying to fulfill your other duties as well, along with finding peace from God amidst the trial. Many dear friends from church spent long nights in the hospital with my mom, and made delicious meals for us back at the house, cleaned for us, sent cards, and in so many other ways, demonstrated their true Christian friendship. And I firmly believe in that kind of local church, brotherly love in ‘bearing of one another’s burdens’. Well, my mother passed away on March 13, 2009, and although difficult, I saw God work in amazing ways which alone afforded me much comfort and peace. I invited Katie Deporter to the funeral, and she was there. Preacher gave a wonderful message where the Gospel was clearly explained. I called Katie later that day, and asked what she thought about what the Preacher had spoken of. We talked, and although she did not understand everything about salvation, she had been under conviction, and it would continue. We had several talks about salvation since then, and we still do from time to time. I pray for them often to trust in Christ as their only Saviour from sin, and thus be genuinely born again. It was not a mistake I received that job…but the result of the infinite love and mercy of God on one family. Since seeing firsthand that God had placed me there for a purpose, I felt great responsibility to accomplish that purpose. And still today I continue to pray for them.
Well, once again, I was earning an income. I continued to give what God had laid upon my heart, and began to see God’s blessing upon simple faithfulness. Every month there was the exact amount to give, and every month there was plenty and more than enough for any other needs I had.
Now I was in earnest with the wedding plans! Bridesmaid dresses, and flowers, the cake and punch, hairstyles and attendants! (Wow am I glad all of that is over!…Everyday married life is far better than any frivolous ceremony! –for all of you future brides!) But where do I begin to name the blessings from the Lord?
Before I even began to search for a wedding dress, one was offered me from Mrs. Kara Mitchell. I tried it on, and it fit perfectly! I did not even have to have it altered! I paid not a cent for it, and was spared all the time and annoyances of having to try to discover a modest wedding dress in the world of today! A friend from church made the cake for us, and while we did pay her, I am sure we got a good deal! Other dear friends, Mrs. Gaus and Mrs. Mitchell, put together the flowers, which turned out beautifully! Mrs. Mitchell also decorated the auditorium and helped clean up, I think. Mrs. Brady, Mrs. Alvarado, and others helped decorate and set up the reception hall. Holly Almanza, a good friend, did my little sister Lindsey and my flower girl’s hair as a wedding present, and Katie Deporter, for whom I worked, paid a friend to do my hair and the hair of two of my bridesmaids. I must say too, I never thought of asking her to do my hair the way she did, but I LOVED it! She did a wonderful job! A dear friend, Victoria Campos made the bridesmaid dresses, and was available for immediate alterations!…She did an amazing job, why, the dresses were almost perfectly fitting at the first try! She also made dresses for two of her daughters who were attendants. Then, to top it off, she used the money I paid her to send a little girl to Fairhaven’s Summer Camp, where she would hear the Gospel –truly a blessing spoken of in Proverb 8:18 as “durable (or, “lasting”) riches”! God is good! So many people were asking to help, I almost ran out of things I could have them do! two of my other friends even bought a few food items for us to take on our honeymoon! My Dad, who is one of my heros, and one of the dearest people in the world to me, labored tediously over a brass monogram chisled out with tinsnips for the cake. And it was beautiful! And another good family friend offered to make peppermint patties with me for the wedding, while also offering me wonderful advice about marriage which was invaluable since I could no longer rely on my mother for that! And I am sure there is more I have missed!
Now exactly one week before Dustin and my wedding was the wedding of Brian Boots and Sarah Swangim. I guess you just kind of assume that your wedding day will be bright and sunny, without a cloud in the sky. After all, no one advertises stormy weddings, or the ones where the crepe paper wilted, tore, and fell because of rain! They never show the photos of brides dashing from the car to the auditorium amidst a thunderstorm, do they? But that week before, it was just a thunderstorm, rainy kind of day, and it made me realize that my wedding might not be a nice day…there very well could be rain! Well, thankfully, for Sarah and Brian’s sake, the rain did clear up some by the time of their ceremony! But nevertheless, I tried to prepare myself for the worst! It was true, though, that the decorations, the flowers, the dresses, and the day are not really the important thing, but just being married. A friend said,”When the day’s over, and everything’s said and done, you end up married, and that’s what counts!”
Well, the days approached quickly, and before I knew it, it was the night before the wedding! I was a bit stressed, and knew the next day would be full of it’s own pressures. So I decided I needed a good, long devotional time alone with the Lord and His Word the next day. I did not sleep well, as could hardly be expected, the night before such a momentous occasion! But I got apart the next morning, and begged God for His help and strength.
Our Lord is so good to us, even in seemingly trivial things! He gave me a calm spirit through the whole day, and not only that, but I was able to really enjoy the time getting hair done, joking with relatives, getting pictures with bridesmaids, and even picking bugs off my dress with the girls while taking pictures! Then, in the ceremony, something so comical happened as to make the day unique from any wedding in the history of Fairhaven Baptist Church, and to impress it as a precious day forever in our hearts! Preacher forgot to say, “You may kiss the bride!” So Dustin whispered, “Preacher, Can I kiss her?”!!! And he did…our first kiss ever! What a special memory to always treasure! And to top it all off, God gave us a BEAUTIFUL day! It was sunny, the lake behind my house was sparkling, the sky was cloudless, and it was everything I ever wished for! (Not that anyone with a less-than-beautiful day for their wedding is any less-blessed of God, of course, but in our case, it was one of the blessings He so graciously afforded us!)
Now, I could have kept all of my money that year for myself, and tried to buy every wedding supply for myself; I could have poured over the wedding magazines for hours, searching for the perfect idea, but I could never have dreamed up all of those details that God put together so wisely. Everything turned out perfectly, and God showed us His hand through it, along with revealing to us the true friends we had all around. And at the same time, He was using the money I gave to Him each month to help missionaries around the world, bless believers, and win souls to Himself. All of the millions in the world could never buy such “riches”!