Most of my friends know that my husband and I met and married in a whirlwind. We got engaged two months after we met, then were married four months after that. When I look back, I feel I should apologize to my family for giving them heart-attacks. I’m sure there were plenty of rumors about whether I was pregnant or insane or something.

What many people don’t know, however, is what an instrument of healing he was for me. I feel led to share this incredibly personal story, not to shock you, but to share how good God is.

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.” Joel 2:25-26

They say “The Lord works in mysterious ways,” and he does, but sometimes when you look back, it’s amazing how it all falls perfectly into place.

When I was younger, I was so hungry for love, that I bought into all the things that society and peers tell us. I was fairly popular in High School, and I did well in school. But I was heavily into the party scene.

It wasn’t till college that it started spinning out of control.

When I was a freshman, I was at a party of football players, cheerleaders, dance team (which I was on), and various other sports, when I blacked out. I came to the next day in an apartment, and realized that a terrible thing had happened. Another dance team freshman was there, too. She ended up leaving school the next week. I can only guess that we were drugged, since there were two of us in the same place. I still have no idea what exactly happened, but I stuffed the pain in the back of my mind, pulled myself up, and went on. I quit the dance team, and got involved with my music friends instead of the jocks, but the scene wasn’t too different there. Lots of partying, etc. Many other awful things happened as a result of my self-destructive lifestyle.

As I was searching for God, a supposed Christian guy came into my life, and started “helping” me discover Christ. His motives, however, weren’t entirely pure and it was very confusing. You can imagine. God used all that I was learning, in spite of this guy, to prepare me to receive Him.

In 1994, I finally realized that Christ died to set me free from my sin. All I had to do was turn from my ways, accept Him as my Savior and commit to allow Him to change me. And boy, is he faithful to do it.

There is a little more to the story, but here is the bottom line. Two of my friends and mentors, Reed and Tab, had waited until their wedding day for their first kiss. My heart leapt when I heard this! It was so foreign to me, but it was so incredibly romantic and pure, that I decided it was what I wanted. For once, I wanted to do this relationship thing right! So I made a promise to God that I did not want to kiss another man until he was my husband. I made the decision that I would NOT be taken advantage of again, and I knew God would bless me for desiring to do things the way He was calling me to.

I went on a few dates after that, and when I shared my desire to wait for any type of physical relationship, I judged the guy’s reaction. If he said he would respect my decision, but didn’t really have a passion for staying pure himself, I was gone. A few times it was extremely hurtful, because I really liked the guy, and they didn’t really understand why it was so important. However, I knew my God would be faithful!

Then came Judd. He says he knew the minute he saw me that we would be married. We spent so much time together in the next few weeks, and one night, talking in his car, I knew he was the one.

J: “I want to tell you something, but you’re going to think I’m crazy.”
S: “No I won’t, come on.”
J: “OK, I’ve decided that the next time I kiss a girl, I want it to be on the alter at our wedding.”
S: (speechless! Tears escaping down my face) “REALLY?!!”
J: “I know, it’s pretty insane, but I feel really strongly about it.”
S: “No, no. Actually I’ve said the same thing, and I’ve been waiting for someone like you.”
J: (sheepish grin) “Oh? Cool.”

The rest is history. You should have seen my Italian Catholic family when the church erupted in applause as we kissed. I was sure I’d fall down and faint right there on the alter. It was beyond romantic! (And let me just tell you, in this case, you don’t have to test drive the car before buying!)

This story is why I will NEVER doubt that Judd is my soul mate. The one I was made for. I never understood the scripture in Ephesians before God brought me this wonderful man after His own heart.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Eph 5:25-27

How can a man cleanse a woman by washing her through the Word? With this act of obedience to God, my husband, along with Jesus, erased all the abuse that had been done to me in my past life, and presented me to himself as a radiant bride, holy and blameless. I am bursting with thanks to my God, and my husband, for their faithfulness!