When I was in middle school, 8th grade to be exact, I realized the importance of my spiritual salvation. I had been saved at a younger age but I rededicated my life to the Lord and, as a result, I made the decision to not date anyone who wasn’t a born again Christian. I use the term “date” very loosely because, in 8th grade, no one is really going out on dates. Honestly, I can’t remember if that was a tough decision or not. I just knew it was right for me.
My churches Youth Leaders, at this time, were a married couple that had two daughters a little older than me. I can remember countless times we spent at their house for pool parties, games and other youth group activities. The wife was like a second mother to me. She would come over to watch me get ready for school dances. She would scold me if I was ever rude or disrespectful to my own mother. She was always there with a hug or smile but mostly she was always praying for me.
One day, we were discussing boys (as is usually the topic most young teen girls are obsessed with) and she said that we needed to be intentional about what kind of man I should marry. I said the first thing my young mind felt was obvious, “He needs to be cute.” She smiled. “Well, he needs to be a Christian, too,” I said. She nodded and then said, “He needs to be a committed Christian.” I agreed and that day we said we were going to ask the Lord to bring me a cute, committed Christian to be my husband someday. We termed it my ‘3C.’ From then on, she would say, “I’m praying for your 3C, are you?” (Funny side note, when my parents learned of this my Father tried to add a 4th C – cash! Ha!)
A few years later, when I was in High School, my sweet Youth Leader passed away – way before any one of us felt it was her time. She had a weak heart and the Lord decided to take her one morning while doing some chores around the house. I remember being devastated. It was over 20 years ago but even as I type this, there are tears in my eyes. I still miss her. God used her to bless my life in countless ways.
I met my husband a few months after I graduated from college. Actually, I had always known him. He attended the same church and his father was our Music Director. He is about 11 years older than I am so we didn’t really hang in the same circles. The winter after I graduated, our church choir was joining another church choir to sing a Christmas musical. We had to practice at this other church and my husband offered me a ride. We got married about two years later. On our wedding program I put the following,
‘In loving memory of Bernadette Calloway – today I marry my 3C.’
That was almost 14 years ago. Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. He’s really not big into the fanfare and I think I may be more excited than he is. You see, a few days ago, I was doing some running around getting stuff ready for the celebration when all of a sudden I was overwhelmed with emotions. I was pulling into the garage and I thought about how lucky I am to be married to such a wonderful man. To be with someone who is so good to me, who loves me and shows his love is so many different ways. My mind immediately went back to my youth leader and I started to cry. This woman was so intentional about praying for my 3C. God used her to plant the seed in my mind and heart. She knew it was important and how much joy it could bring long before I ever really understood its impact. How awesome that God heard the prayers of a 14-year-old girl and brought a wonderful, Cute Committed Christian to me. Sometimes, I smile thinking about how he was right under my nose the whole time. I think my Youth leader would have gotten a kick out of that too. Someday, we’ll laugh about that together.
In the meantime, let’s celebrate! Happy Birthday, Babe. I’m so glad you were born. -XOXO