A Little Girl Lost

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Love


Earl’s arms around me assured me that I was OK. After work the night before I’d gone to his apartment and told him I was going to The Caravan. He said, “If you drink too much call me.”
I didn’t drink too much, and I didn’t have a good time. The usual raucous crowd didn’t draw me in as I sat by myself at the bar nursing a warm Budweiser. Anger seethed through my veins. I had changed. What do I do now?
When I saw Earl the next day, I burst into tears and said, “I wish I had just gone home last night.” He wrapped his arms around me and said, “I love you.” He had spoken those words to me before, but as I calmed down, he looked into my eyes and continued, “Will you marry me?”
“Yes. Yes. Yes!” I wanted to get married right away, but Earl insisted we wait a respectable time. We set the date for December 29, and shopped for my wedding gown and my engagement ring together.
We found my gown at the first bridal shop on our list! White lace covered the simple white gown and formed elbow-length sleeves. I tried it on and it fit perfectly. The “V” neckline lengthened my already long neck. The bodice fit my small chest and the skirt was long enough that I wouldn’t need to have it altered. I turned around and around looking at my reflection in the room of mirrors. I felt like a princess in a fairy tale.
Shopping for my ring happened the same way. I saw exactly what I wanted at the first jewelry counter. “This is it.”
Saturday afternoon, December 29, 1985 my sister, Bobbi, nervously helped me put my gown on and checked my hair and makeup. My friend, Demita, came in and said, “Let’s go upstairs now.” She directed me to the sanctuary entrance. She settled my veil in place before slipping into a back pew.
I nervously peeked into the sanctuary and saw Earl and our pastor, John, standing at the altar. When the Wedding March began, I stepped into the sanctuary. My bouquet shivered and my mind whirled as I made my way to my future husband. I focused on Earl’s blue eyes. How had I missed the love they held for me?
John opened the service by reading 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter. We quietly repeated our vows, exchanged our rings, and John said, “Earl you may kiss your bride.” He did so with a grin that matched mine—from ear to ear. John presented us, “Reverend and Mrs. Earl Dickerson.”

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:5-8 NIV).

In Christ,
Berta
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Love – God’s Way


Do you remember Valentine’s Day in elementary school and your hope that your friends would have special cards or candy hearts just for you? You went through your cards one by one with pride and felt the love of your friends.

\When you reached middle school and began testing the water with “going steady” and “dating,” you blushed each time you saw him/her. In high school, relationships grew more important, raising many on the status pole. You were in love and you wore his/her class ring proudly. You’d fight anyone who dared to breach your relationship yet break-ups happened.

We left high school, met new friends and made a few wrong choices as we grew into adulthood. Our desire to be loved ripped our hearts out time, and time again, yet we continued to search for the elusive.

When I met Earl, we ate supper together several times a week at the hospital where we worked. After two months, he told me he was moving back to Atlanta to complete seminary. I asked him when he would be back and he said he didn’t know if he would return to Memphis. We hugged for the first time and he left.

My heart broke. I cried rivers that evening as I remembered his strong embrace and the musk scent of his cologne. I didn’t know I loved him then, I only knew it hurt to say goodbye.

Reunited a few months later we continued eating supper together. When he asked me out one year after we met, I declined. He asked again, and The Reverend John Jones read 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, at our wedding six months later.

I didn’t know the Lord when I met Earl, but He knew me, and He had a plan. In the 28 year’s Earl and I’ve been married Jesus became my Lord and Savior, we’ve pastored four United Methodist churches and we’ve raised our daughter in a Christian home.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV).

In Christ,
Berta

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Thank you,   
Berta
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