To the most patient and lovingly kind man I know. You’ve shown me how to live, love, and how to be loved. From the bottom of my heart “Thank you”. You rescued me from making some really poor choices and you’ve shown me a better way to do life. Thank you for showing the “real” Jesus everyday and what it truly means to be someone who loves God.

It was Sunday, August 10, 2003 and life for me began as it always did that morning. I rose early to head out to church to prepare for worship service. As I arrived, I was met by my adorable friend Joan who greeted me as she always did and we began chatting making small talk. Little did I know, this particular conversation out of the many we’d had would change my life forever.

She began to talk about how a few gentlemen were inquiring about me. They were all athletes, some at Ohio State and some professional. What they wanted with me I didn’t understand. I mean the last several years of my life I was in what I call a “consecration bubble”. I barely went out to anything in the city. I was somewhat hidden. How did they even know who I was? I was a Bishop’s daughter and a worship leader for crying out loud; certain not to fit into their worlds. We could not possibly have anything in common. Right?

My now hubby’s name came up and I asked, “does he love God for real?” “Is he a giver?” I just wasn’t impressed that easily. I was head over heels in love with God and I couldn’t afford for anything to jeopardize my relationship with Him. Joan answered, “Yes, I believe he does.” I said “Ok, I’ll do it. Let’s set it up tonight.”

Michael and I met at Gameworks that night and boy was I nervous. I’m talking underarms sweating, hands clammy kind of nervous. I came dressed in what I thought would be appropriate for the occasion…wide leg cargos, a fitted shirt, a hat, and some flat shoes. I thought we were going to talk and play games. That was not the case. I arrived first and in walks this tall, handsome man with the most gorgeous eyes I’d ever seen. As I looked across the room as he was walking towards me, I took a short inventory of what he was working with… Tall✅, Handsome✅. He opened his mouth and greeted me by saying “Woman of God”, so lover of Jesus✅, last but not least well-dressed✅.

I mean this brotha came in suited up from top to bottom gators and all. To be honest, I was kind of intimidated. I mean what was I thinking in my cargos and t-shirt. (Very nice t-shirt, but nonetheless still a t-shirt.) To make matters worse I was so nervous and when I get nervous I crack jokes so I was trying to break the ice–it didn’t work. He was focused like a laser beam–a man on a mission seeking his future wife and mother of his children. I have to admit, that kind of focus is very sexy now,  but then, it was just downright intimidating.

So he begins asking me questions about likes and dislikes. Nothing too deep because our mutual friends were sitting there listening to every word. It turned out that he wasn’t dressed up like that just for me, he was on his way to a wedding reception for a friend. This dude had the audacity to ask me to go with him and I’m looking at him like “Yo, do you not see what I’m wearing? No, absolutely not. Not going. When I step out to something like that with you I need to be looking right worthy, of the ocassion. You go and we can meet up later.”

This tall confident 6’6 man says,”It’s all good, you’re with me.” From that moment on, I knew he was my forever love. From the very beginning he showed me the heart of Christ. That was my first true encounter with Abba and that encounter set me ablaze on a journey of discovering the “real” God; My Abba. Just as Michael didn’t care what I was wearing that night because he was honored to have me join him and he was confident that me being with him and being me was enough. He was committed to holding me up even in my insecurity. That’s the same way God feels about each one of his daughters. It’s never been about who we are or what we have to offer. It’s always been about his undying, unconditional love for us that says, “I could care less about what you look like, what you do for a living, how much money you have, or what great things you’ve accomplished or not. I just love you. I just want to be with you…the real you.”

Daughters, don’t be afraid to show God who you really are. He thinks you’re pretty terrific. Afterall, He made you. Now, that’s love defined. ❤️

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