Monday, January 5, 2009

My Husband Salah

Meeting my husband was a HUGE change in my life.

God has blessed me with a most extraordinary loving husband.

I have to back up a bit...bare with me as I widen the lense alittle to give a better glimpse...

I was 36 years old when I found Jesus. I had grown up in a Methodist home but never knew Jesus. I believed there was something, God or higher power, that kept it all together. I did not feel it was not necessary to go to church, read the Bible, nor to speak or think about Jesus. I had not ever drank or done drugs. When I was in high school, I was the most boring person. I did not date in in my high school days. I did not date in my early adult days either. I had crushes and little sparks of interest. I have to admit something very personal about myself, when I care for someone I care deeply! I would not merely go for the one night stand or just for fun fling. I was searching for the ONE and only. I spent years agonizing in heartache over a missed opportunity. I wasted a lot of time wondering why not "this one". I did not have intimate relations with a man until I was in my mid-thirties. Even then it was only twice until I was blessed with my husband. I was helpful towards others and did the occasional random act of kindness. I went carefree along in my little life doing it “my way” believing that I had gotten this far all on my own. I was a tough little girl. After all isn’t that what the world tells us we are to do? Not to mention, we are not to let on that we are miserable and hurting and might need help. I am amazed just how wrong I was.

My personal and deliberate road to finding Jesus started in the late '90's when I purchased my first computer. I hooked up to the internet and vroooommm I was off. I had posted a personal ad here and there. I met a few men. It was all so thrilling to share thoughts and feelings at first. Then reality would hit and it became clear that their intentions were not the same as mine. This up and down roller coaster adventure of emotions and sharing only added to the already disenchanted heartache I had locked inside of me. I felt doomed to never find 'the one' for me.

It was in January or so of 1998 when the person who would lead me to Christ answered my personal ad. We met and started 'dating'. During the course of conversation, he asked me if I believed in God and Jesus. He had been concerned because I had stated that I believed there was a God but did not have to go to church or anything. I was a arrogant in spirit against God. He mentioned to me that his uncle attended a church in the town I was living in at the time [he actually lived somewhere else]. We talked about church. He asked if I would be willing to attend his uncle's church. I agreed without blinking! So we went one Sunday in February of 1998.

The church was an Assembly of God church. I had never been to a church like that in my life. The music and the sermon were none like anything I had experienced. At the end of the sermon, the pastor invited people down to the altar. I had no idea what that really meant. The man I had come with walked down and knelt before the altar. He stayed there quite awhile as did several others. I walked down to kneel beside him. I was checking on him. He looked up at me and stated that he needed this today. That he was changed and he was glad he had come. I was polite and nodded my head, inside I was thinking, ok whatever.

We went to lunch after the service. He talked about Jesus and the change in his heart. I had no clue what he was referring to and merely acknowledged I was listening. He told me as much as he enjoyed attending the church, he would not be able to continue going since he lived further away. He mentioned to me that I should keep going. He asked me if I would be comfortable going by myself. There was no thought involved, I answered “yes” right away. It never dawned on me to second guess the question or wonder why I would even go. I told him I would go and I did. I went back every Sunday. I even began a member’s class to understand the principles of the church. I did all this BEFORE I was saved.

I was curious as to what “being saved” meant and why these people were so willing to kneel at the altar. In the few times I had attended service at my church; no one ever walked down to the altar let alone kneel down there. The only one who I ever saw allowed in the altar was the minister and the occasional wedding party and baptism. The altar was this forbidden place that only a “special” few were to enter. At least that is my foolish interpretation of how I viewed church. I wanted to understand why people were drawn to walk down and kneel at the altar in front of all these people. It seemed showy and like a drama at first to me. The service and the music was another mystery to me. How could they get away with playing such amazing music in church? They had drums, guitars, keyboards, etc. It was a band. The Pastor talked about the Bible like it was this living book. He made it seem like the people in the Bible were real and sitting right next to me. This was a fascinating concept to me. I had never thought about the Bible, Jesus and church as being real. There I sat Sunday after Sunday listening to God’s Word.

Then it happened, Psalm Sunday 1998. I was sitting in my seat, listening with all my heart and soul. I don’t even remember the message that the Pastor was sharing with us. The only thing I remember was the part where he asked us to bow our heads and pray with him. There in the middle of the prayer, I gave my heart to Jesus. I let go of all the anger, frustration, and the pain I was holding inside. I gave all the memories, all the suffering, all "the whatever" over to God. It has been a daily choice ever since to maintain a personal relationship with him.

It has been a most precious walk learning about Jesus.

In the Summer of 2002, I met my husband after corresponding with him over the internet for two months. I was very skeptical about meeting him after all the other let downs. But oh my, God knew what He was doing when He brought us together. We married in March of 2003 after seeing each other through Salah's double by-pass surgery. We saw each other in our worst and best times. I prayed about it over and over and over again. With all that happened in the short time we had been seeing each other, I would hear God's quiet gentle voice telling me, "Love this man." I did what He asked me this man. It has been a HUGE blessing ever since.

Salah is originally from Iraq. He ventured into Yugoslavia for a few years attending college and was kicked out to go onto Austria for nearly 12 years. He followed his first wife of 8 years to the United States. He returned to Austria to visit his family and she filed for divorice while he was overseas seeing them. He has lived through some of the most heart wrenching circumstances and is very open about sharing those experiences. He returned to the USA in 1996 and went about his life until God placed me into his life in the Summer of 2002.

I am ever grateful for the honor to be his wife. We visited his family in Austria and Holland in 2007. That was a most amazing gift in itself. Salah and I have recently purchased a 14 acre farmette through God's generous hands. Bringing us out to the country has opened even more opportunities to see God's handiwork in action within our lives and deeper relationship with Jesus.

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