Julie and I have certainly had our ups and downs, but I love her today, just as much if not way more than that day that I sobbed through my vows. She is my best friend. She’s a very good woman. She’s the Proverbs 31 woman for sure.
As I look back at my life, in light of this anniversary, I see what an incredibly blessed man I am. Wow!!! I remember being in that kitchen, Deneen Griffin asking me, “McKrae, do you think you would ever want to get married one day and have a family?” I didn’t know how to respond. It was so completely counter to the life I was living and who I was at the time.
The Lord started working on my heart. He’d been already at work, through the times of feeling used, alone, but through this couple–Roy and Deneen–who had befriended me. They asked me to church. Roy would ask me to breakfast and ask me life searching questions. The Lord drew me to Him. I didn’t know it was Him at work at the time, but He had a plan. He had it all planned out. He was loving me to Himself, and away from my life, and to my future with Him.
After receiving Christ, one of the first things that the Lord impressed upon my heart was to start praying for my wife. Every single day for over five years, I prayed, “Lord, prepare me for her and prepare her for me. Lord, you called me a sheep. I’ll miss her, so please don’t let me miss her.”
I got involved in Church right away, struggling to find my way and getting involved in counseling. I moved from my small house to across town to a bigger one because the homeowners were going to sell. I got a housemate, a friend from my childhood who knew of my past, to share expenses.
I started with a dating service, to try to help me along this process or maybe help God along. One bad date after another. Eventually I became engaged to a young woman. Everyone was pleading with me to not marry her, that we were not right for one another. It went bad, through unrighteous action of mine that (fortunately) ended our engagement. My roommate had moved out, for my pending wedding.
I moved churches, due to the person I had been unrighteous with was at that church. I found First North, and my new roommate, Wayne. Wayne was a good guy, and we did almost everything together. He talked all the time to Julie. I had been oblivious to women at the time, coming off of this very bad experience in my life, though still saying my daily prayer. Wayne talked for hours, almost daily to Julie. She was like his counselor it seemed. He came into the kitchen one day and said, “Why don’t you ask Julie out?” I looked at him like he was crazy. I said, “What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you ask her out? You talk to her ALL the time!” He said, “I did ask her out. She told me she wasn’t interested in me, she said she’s interested in you.” Wow! What was The Lord up to?
She was in our singles group at church, and turned out lived directly behind our house, about three or four houses back with her parents. Our first date, I said to her as we left the neighborhood, “I’m looking for a wife. If you’re looking for a husband, great. If not, we’ll have fun tonight, but we won’t go out again.”
Later in our dating relationship, between “I love you and will you marry me,” I asked her what she thought about me saying that to her as we left the neighborhood for our first date. She said, “You don’t know how relieved I was to hear you say that.” Turned out, Julie had been five years without a date. She had been in so many bad dating relationships, she had told The Lord, “Don’t bring me another man, until You bring me my husband.” She went through a tough five years of finding herself and becoming satisfied with being single. The one thing that attracted me to her was that she did not need me.
The last 17 years have been nothing short of amazing and God filled, terrifying, yet inspiring. Julie has been there for me through every single moment. The worst of times was when she was at her best. She could have left me through them, but she pressed into The Lord, prayed for me, and encouraged me. Julie has always been the one person I could call when I was struggling, be honest and real with. She is my very best friend and I want to spend the rest of my life with her.
I love You Lord!! Thank You for my life that I have today, that I could have never dreamed possible and could have never had, were it not for You. You sought me out; You brought me out; You raised me up; You are all about who I am today and what my tomorrow’s and future hold. Blessed is the Name of The Lord!