Indestructible Joy

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Josh:

 

I have a great story to tell, and will try to give you the very abbreviated version here.

Around 2006 a business acquaintance, John, and I got acquainted on a more personal level, and went on a few dates. About a week into this ‘dating’ phase, I learned that John did not share my faith in Christ, and did not believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the Life, so I told John that I did not want to continue a dating relationship.

John got pretty upset with me, and asked me if I knew how “Intolerant” my viewpoint is. 🙂 I said “yes, actually I do know that some people consider my belief intolerant,” but reminded him that I was not asking him to change his views….I just was not willing to compromise mine. Then I told him that my relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship in my life, and if God ever decides to bless me with another husband, He will share my faith and be my spiritual leader.

So after this conversation, John called our mutual friend Shawn and relayed this conversation, anticipating that Shawn would agree with his assessment that I am a religious fanatic with intolerant views, but Shawn told him he SHARES my beliefs!

Shawn recommended YOUR BOOKS to John, and John went out that afternoon and purchased two of them (I believe they were More than a Carpenter, and Evidence That Demands a Verdict) and began reading immediately.

I had already invited John to attend church with me before this ‘break off’ so I called him to see if he still wanted to go. He said he did, and so we went, and he seemed to enjoy it. He was certainly intrigued by my commitment to my God and beliefs. I asked him if he would be willing to read The Purpose Driven Life with me and he agreed.

So, over the next 40 days we read, and discussed, and he came to church with me. I watched him transform before my very eyes. It was so incredible. Throughout this process, I prayed every day for God to protect my heart. I did not want to fall for John if he was not sincere and genuine in his seeking, or if this was not God’s plan. If my role in this relationship was just to be a witness and lead him toward a relationship with Christ, I sure did not want to step beyond that role.

But as you have already figured out, it was much more than that.

Our courtship grew out of this 40 days, and very quickly, John expressed his desire to marry me and become my spiritual leader!!

John was like a sponge, soaking up the Word of God, feeling like he had so much to ‘catch up on’…and experiencing such rapid growth.

We were married on January 5, 2007, and I have never been so happy before. It all came to an end on February 24, 2008…John had a heart attack while playing soccer and was gone instantly. It was such a shock and the bottom literally dropped out of my world. We only had a short 13.5 months together as husband and wife, but I am so thankful for that time.

Although John’s death was a huge shock to all of us, it was no shock to the Lord. He knew that John’s time was short, and I am so thankful that God used ME to reach John! What an honor that is…and I am proud to be his wife and know that I WILL see him again in heaven!!

Over the past couple of years, I have come to see how God used Shawn too! Let’s say that John and I had connected without Shawn and the three of us had not forged such a friendship…I don’t believe that John had another Christian friend that he would have called that day! But God connected all 3 of us, so that Shawn was the one John called, and Shawn was there to point him to your books!!

Today I was hoping for the chance to tell you our story, and let you know that you played a part in it too. Thank you for writing these books. God is using these books to change hearts, minds, and save souls. Thank you for listening to this story.

May God richly bless you and yours.

Denise

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