A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘marriage’ Category

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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Blessed Are the Forgiven

After Earl and I married and moved to our first church as pastor and family, my non-Christian attitude didn’t change. I cursed and complained about the Christian music he played in the car. I continued habits that reflected poorly on his ministry. I refused to attend any service other than Sunday morning worship.

I watched Christians and couldn’t believe what they believed. Some showed me aspects of faith that downright scared me. After suffering years of abuse by men and my sinful lifestyle, I had an impenetrable wall of self-protection. When I felt weak I withdrew believing no one could love the real me, especially God.

Four years and four months passed in tension and turmoil for my family. Then I went on a Walk to Emmaus where the Holy Spirit ministered to my brokenness. I learned I wasn’t alone as new friends shared their stories of sin and redemption. I learned I didn’t have to bear my burden alone. Jesus died on my behalf long before my sins occurred.

When I accepted God’s forgiveness for my sin, He changed my life in an instant. Bible study became my favorite pastime. Reading the stories about my Savior and my brothers and sisters in Christ 2,000 years before, helped me understand God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

We are blessed beyond measure through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ.

I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned

Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
His joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning,*

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (Acts 13:38 NIV).

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” (Rom 4:7, 8 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

*Lyrics: Trading My Sorrows by Delirious

Blessed Are the Forgiven

After Earl and I married and moved to our first church as pastor and family, my non-Christian attitude didn’t change. I cursed and complained about the Christian music he played in the car. I continued habits that reflected poorly on his ministry. I refused to attend any service other than Sunday morning worship.

I watched Christians and couldn’t believe what they believed. Some showed me aspects of faith that downright scared me. After suffering years of abuse by men and my sinful lifestyle, I had an impenetrable wall of self-protection. When I felt weak I withdrew believing no one could love the real me, especially God.

Four years and four months passed in tension and turmoil for my family. Then I went on a Walk to Emmaus where the Holy Spirit ministered to my brokenness. I learned I wasn’t alone as new friends shared their stories of sin and redemption. I learned I didn’t have to bear my burden alone. Jesus died on my behalf long before my sins occurred.

When I accepted God’s forgiveness for my sin, He changed my life in an instant. Bible study became my favorite pastime. Reading the stories about my Savior and my brothers and sisters in Christ 2,000 years before, helped me understand God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

We are blessed beyond measure through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ.

I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned

Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure
His joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning,*

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (Acts 13:38 NIV).

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” (Rom 4:7, 8 NIV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

*Lyrics: Trading My Sorrows by Delirious

He Loves Me

Before I met Jesus, I met Earl and I wasn’t happy to find out he was a Christian and a chaplain. As our relationship grew, some of my old ways fell away by thoughts of pleasing him. He never pushed religion; he just loved me. When he proposed, I would’ve married him that day. I made a profession of faith and was baptized before we married—because I thought a preacher’s wife should be baptized—but I brought a truckload of baggage into our marriage.

More than four difficult years later, I talked to Jesus about my sinful past. He healed my broken heart and I accepted His forgiveness. My life changed—for a few months. I prayed again and again for deliverance from sins and guilt I’d held on to. Then one day Earl said, “Berta, you’re in ICU. You had a wreck, and you’re paralyzed from your neck down.”

Though unable to do anything for myself, I continued to desire those now unattainable sins. As my body healed and my strength increased, I began to study and even teach God’s word. I learned many things:

  • He didn’t cause my injury
  • He didn’t rejoice in my injury
  • He allowed my injury
  • He sent His Son to redeem me
  • He had a plan for my life
  • He disciplines those He loves
  • He loves me!

I pray for God’s strength and leading every day as He uses my physical disability to bring me through to the spiritual life he desires for me.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word…It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (Psalm 119:67, 71).


In Christian Love,
Berta

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