The Woman I Love, Denver Christmas Conference, and a Letter from the Apostle Paul
In my morning devotions yesterday, I finished 1 Corinthians. So this morning, naturally, I started 2 Corinthians. As I read verse 12, an unexpected avalanche of memories swept me away. All of a sudden, I was in Denver, Colorado wearing a blue shirt in the upstairs of a restaurant talking to a beautiful woman. That was a dozen years ago, but it might as well have been this morning.
It was January and unusually warm for Denver. I was there for a conference with Campus Crusade for Christ called Denver Christmas Conference (DCC as we called it). Over the semester break, a bunch of us had made the 14-hour road trip from mid-Missouri.
I was wearing a light blue shirt that had a picture of a buzzard on it—weird, right? It was my college flag football team jersey. We were The Scavengers, a name in “honor” of our team leader. And my shirt had the following written on it: “2002 All-Campus Champions.” I wore the shirt with pride. (It’s funny, I competed for 5 years in Division 1 college sports, yet the highlight of my athletic career occurred playing competitive intermural flag.)
And I was in the upstairs of a restaurant. Downstairs was the noise; upstairs was the quiet—the place to talk, to listen.
And a beautiful young woman was with me. Her name was Brooke. She held my hand and I held hers.
We were about to begin dating, or courting, or something. I’m not sure what we were calling it. But it wasn’t an ordinary relationship we were going to start, at least I prayed it wasn’t going to be ordinary.
I remember telling Brooke that I had never been in a godly dating relationship before, but that I was committed to figuring it out. Not much of a sales pitch, I know.
Then I read 2 Corinthians 1:12 to her.
Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace. (2 Corinthians 1:12, NIV)
Paul said that his relationship with this church was characterized by holiness and sincerity, and not “worldly wisdom,” and all this by “God’s grace.”
I told Brooke that I wanted this for us: Holiness. And sincerity. And love. And by the grace of God.
I didn’t know what a relationship like that was like, not firsthand anyway, but I wanted to strive for it. And I wanted for Brooke to do that with me.
And she said yes.
I don’t know if she knew all that she was saying yes to, but she said it. We said it. And I am so glad. My bride and my sweetie and my friend, said yes.
That night in Denver, in January, in the upstairs of a restaurant, wearing a shirt with a buzzard on it, we prayed together. Then we went downstairs, and then back to the conference center where we went to a concert; Bebo Norman played his acoustic guitar and wore a red t-shirt and a stocking cap. Brooke sat on my left.
That was almost a dozen years ago.
This is what I mean when I say an avalanche of emotions and memories swept over me this morning as I read 2 Corinthians.
God has been exceedingly good to me in giving me Brooke—my wife and my best friend.
Thank you for saying yes, Sweetie.