Saturday, February 28, 2015

True Love Stories: It Began with A Song

Fireworks happened on the 4th of July. No, not the kind you see light up the sky in brilliant streaks of red, white and blue. It was the kind that lit a deep love in the hearts of CJ and Deedré. It is a love that led to marriage and a lifetime of happiness between this couple not only committed to each other, but to God and His people. 

Today's featured true love story is a real gem. I hope you will not only enjoy it but be encouraged by the journey God took CJ and Deedré on together. It's a beautiful story. I believe you're going to love it. 

But don't take my word for it, see for yourself...

It Began with A Song
CJ and Deedré's true love story

Our story begins in Plantation, Florida—a suburb west of Fort Lauderdale—on a Friday night, during praise and worship rehearsal at my local church. 

As the rehearsal was getting ready to start, in walks a new face with one of the members of the praise team. Her name was Deedré and I was immediately captivated by her eyes but tried to stay focused on the rehearsal. She was later invited to join us in a song. After hearing her beautiful voice, I was convinced she needed to be a part of our praise team. Little did I know that she was also trying to recruit me for a singing group with a mutual friend. The next day we exchanged phone numbers, both intending to recruit the other. When I finally called her a week later, we spent hours on the phone laughing like two old friends. It felt like we had known each other for years. This was the start of a friendship that was originally brought together by music. It was at a time when neither of us were looking for a relationship, yet simply enjoyed being in each other’s presence. 

A few weeks later, I invited her to a potluck at the home of family friends. Somehow, everyone left the two of us together and ate in another room. We talked, laughed, played Truth or Dare and by the end of the evening we shared our first kiss. It was 4th of July! 

About a month later, after another potluck, I walked into the living room where Deedré was with a sticky note and a pen stuck to my back. The sticky note said, “Will you be my boo? Yes, no or maybe?” When I walked in, she didn’t see it at first. So I pretended to have an itch on my back and asked if she could scratch it for me. Then I turned around so she could see the paper. She began to laugh and then checked “yes” while hugging me. This was now two months after we met and we were now officially boyfriend and girlfriend.

Not long after we started dating, Deedré got the chicken pox. My family and I took her in and took care of her until she recovered. Whenever we tell this story, Deedré shares that this time meant a lot to her because it showed her that I would be there for her no matter what. This was evident when I had the privilege of meeting Deedré’s mother, Dulcie, who’d been battling cancer. She passed away a year later. One of the last things she said to me was “Take care of my daughter”. It was as if she knew what was coming and wanted me to be there to pick up the shattered pieces of Deedré’s heart. It was later confirmed by God when I asked Him what I should do for Deedré during this time of grief. He stopped me and told me, in a clear voice, “Show her my love!” From that day, I vowed to do just that.

Deedré always told me that if I ever proposed to her, it should be as private as possible. So I decided to make it as public as possible! Our church planned a trip to the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida. At the end of the day, I caught Deedré totally by surprise by having her arrested and brought to the Temple mount by very convincing actors who played Roman Guards. With the entire park as my witness, I proposed to her. About 9 months later we had a beautiful wedding filled with friends and loved ones at our local church. 

Our journey has not been easy. We’ve been through things that would’ve broken more seasoned couples, yet through it all, we are there for each other and God was and is the supernatural glue that keeps up together. We’ve been married for over 8 years and are more in love now than we have ever been before. We challenge, yet complement each other and I thank God every day for giving me such a beautiful gift.

Author bio: "CJ" Claypole S. Cousins Jr. is simply a man who is in love with Jesus. His passion is to live, preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

CJ serves as Associate Pastor for Restoration Praise Center in Lanham, Md. He serves in the areas of evangelism, discipleship and multimedia. He also served as intern pastor at One Place and graduate assistant for grow groups at Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University

CJ holds a Bachelor's of Business Administration, majoring in Human Resource Management from Florida International University in Miama, Fla. He also has a Master's of Human Resource Management from Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University. He has completed his Master of Divinity with an emphasis in church growth and evangelism at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University.

CJ is married to the lovely Deedré Nicole Cousins who is a wonderful support and partner in ministry. 

He is passionate about sharing God's love as seen through the gospel of Jesus Christ in the context of Revelation 14:6-12In addition to preaching and teaching, CJ also loves to sing and write about Jesus.

Mrs. Deedré Cousins' professional bio: Deedré's affinity for multimedia and technology was evident at a very young age. Throughout her childhood, Deedré developed a keen ear for music and a sharp eye for visual art which led to the completion of three degrees—an associate of arts in music, a bachelors in music technology and a masters of art in multimedia communications. 

Her academic and professional achievements have made her passionate about creating innovative and contextual media on multiple platforms. Whether it's producing a news segment for prime time television or creating a human interest web series, recording music projects, capturing still photography, or giving seminars and consultations on social media marketing strategies, Deedré can conceive, create, publish and promote your next big idea.

Bonus feature: CJ & Deedré's Love Story video on YouTube 

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