"I Believe in You and Me" is a song to that comes to mind when I think of today's featured true love story. Whitney Houston sung that song so beautifully on the soundtrack to the movie The Preacher's Wife (1997). It was a classic movie in which Whitney plays the preacher's wife and Denzel Washington plays an angel of God sent for divine intervention.
The song lyrics talk about how she believes in miracles and God sent her a miracle because the man in her life is a dream come true. Such is the case for Mrs. Angela Ruth Strong. God restored her from heartbreak to happiness. Here's the story...
Angela Ruth Strong's True Love Story
My love story is one of remarriage. So there’s a sad story that comes before this one. But I think like in every romance novel, the darker the black moment, the more powerful the conclusion. My black moment included, and I quote from one of many counseling sessions, “I can’t keep a husband, I can’t get a job, my kids don’t want to be with me, and I’m in trouble with the law.” Thankfully, the ridiculous charges were dropped, my kids became my best friends and I got a job I loved working in the publishing industry. But I still didn’t have a husband.
Enter Jim Strong. Great smile. Sporty. Intelligent. Funny. Loyal. Hard-working. And oh yeah, he could sing. The man of my dreams.
I knew I was in love with him the moment he came home from a softball tournament in Reno with three stuffed bears he’d won for my kids by playing a pitching game at Circus-Circus. Not only did he bring them home, he wore them home in his backpack with their heads poking up behind him like they were in a baby carrier. Plus, he’d been sending me pictures of the bears the whole weekend so I could show the kids. Pics of them buckled into the back of a taxi and sleeping in a drawer with blankets and pillows. *swoon*
But I was scared. Oh, how I was scared. See, right before my ex left, I’d had this talk with God. I’d been reading Psalms and decided to repeat David’s prayer of, “God, you are my all.” But then I thought, “Is this really true?” And I thought about how David had said, “Test me.” So I cried while writing in my prayer journal, “Test me.” And it just so happened that was the same week my ex started his affair.
I knew in my head that God wasn’t saying, “You want a test? I’ll give you a test.” I knew it had been Him preparing me. “You know I’m your all, Angela. You know it.” But I’d still made the connection of telling God to test me with my ex-husband leaving. So whenever Jim said to me, “You’re a gift from God,” I could never say it back. Because what if I hadn’t passed my test yet? What if God was going to take Jim away, too?
It was on a jog where God opened my eyes. And the funny thing was that I’d been praying, “God, open my eyes,” but thinking about something completely different.(God knows how to answer the questions we aren’t smart enough to ask.) He gave me this verse: "Every good and perfect gift is from God"(James 1:17).
Everything about Jim had seemed too good to be true. But if he really was that good, then he would be a gift from God. I ran home and looked up every scripture I could find with the word “good” in it.
First one: Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).
Last one: Now you have seen that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:3).
This was the moment where I finally accepted Jim as a gift from God. I bawled my eyes out. Overwhelmed with gratefulness. Because I really didn’t deserve him. (I’d been in trouble with the law only a year before, remember?) But God gave Jim to me anyway.
He rescued me because he delighted in me. –Psalm 18:19
Jim proposed in a movie theater. I thought we were going to a movie. I had a mouth full of caramel corn when I realized that the preview was really a slideshow of us. And that all the other movie viewers were really friends and family.
We got married in the English garden at my mom’s tea house. Dad did the wedding. My son walked me down the aisle to the song “How He Loves Us.” The kids shot silly string at us when we kissed. Then I hopped on the front of Jim’s decorated knee cart (Achilles surgery—another story) and we rolled away to the sound of a Harley revving its engine. There was also a carriage ride involved. And my daughter’s stuffed rabbit joined us for our first dance. The evening ended with him crooning to me like Michael Buble. “I’m feeling good…”
It was better than a fairytale because it was real life. But the thing about real life is that our tests never end. We still have Achilles issues and the blending of families and the headache of finances. But when I feel like we can’t handle anymore, I remember the lesson I’ve already learned.
God will rescue us because he delights in us. So in knowing that God is the hero of every story...we can all live happily ever after.
Angela Ruth wrote a book! Here's the book cover and blurb: On shoot in beautiful Sun Valley for her newest film, rising starlet Emily Van Arsdale meets handsome stunt consultant Tracen Lake. Despite their different lifestyles, the adventurous duo shares a bond. As filming wraps up, will Emily be able to leave Sun Valley--and Tracen--behind?
Buy Angela's book, http://amzn.to/163rDPT
Author bio: Angela Ruth Strong writes romance as well as middle-grade novels. When she's not writing, you can find her teaching aerobics, hanging out with her hubby and three teen/tweens at home in Idaho, or on some new adventure like winning a hamster ball race. She'd love it if you'd drop by to visit her at www.angelaruthstrong.com and share your story with her.