The countdown begins…

One week until I become MRS. Craig.  Whoa.  The time has flown.  I remember exactly where I was standing one Sunday morning at church.  I remember bowing my head and praying “God, I am tired of searching on my own.  I will do it Your way.”  I went home that day and deleted every dating website account that I had.  A week later, I received a message from my soon-to-be-husband.  We connected through Facebook.  We went on our first date 12-15-12.  We went to Outback – where he ordered the most rare steak I have ever seen.  (I like mine on the burnt side.)  We talked and laughed.  While I was trying to hold back from losing my meal, as I could hear his still moo-ing at me and oozing blood, he kindly laid his napkin over his plate so I couldn’t see it.  It was kindness like that, that I would see throughout our growing relationship.  I think we both knew that night, that we were meant to be together.  Our relationship has been a full-speed-ahead-whirlwind-romance, but I don’t think we would have it any other way.  I know, without a doubt, that our marriage will last.  Unlike any relationship I have ever had before, we CENTER ours around Christ.  That was always lacking before.  Last night, Hayden had one of those handmade fortune teller things, where you put your 2 thumbs, and 2 pointer fingers in, ask the person to choose a letter/number, count them out, and then tell them their fortune.  His, instead of a fortune, had questions to ask.  One question asked what our favorite science topic was.  Toby told us his favorite was fossils.  I had no idea he enjoyed that so much.  Then I got to thinking, which is actually what prompted me to post today, it’s good that we don’t know every single detail about each other’s lives.  How boring would that be if we knew everything from the start??  When Toby starts telling a story of his past, Hayden’s eyes light up and he clings to Toby’s every word.  They have a bond like no other.  Toby has always included Hayden in everything we do.  (One of the reasons I love him so much!)  He understood from the get-go, that Hayden and I are a packaged deal.  I look forward to many years together, many more stories to be shared, tears to be shed, and hugs to be given.  So, on 6-15-13, after 6 months of being together, we will make a commitment to one another in front of God and our friends and family.  In six months we met, spent holidays together with each other’s families, welcomed in a New Year, witnessed our young man ask Jesus into his heart and get baptized, became a part of our spiritual family, joined a couples group, got engaged, moved into our first home, Toby was reconnected with a dear friend he graduated with (who also played a big part in us meeting), I was rebaptized, and we are now getting married next week!  Those are just a few highlights!!!  I am beyond excited that I will be able to call Toby Joe my HUSBAND!! 🙂

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From the beginning…

Due to circumstances out of my control, I am starting over in the blog world. If I can ever get to my other blog posts from another site, I will get them posted here. Until then, I must give you an overview of where I’ve been, how I got to where I am today, and where I’m headed.

Where I’ve been:
At 10-years old, I was saved and baptized in the church I grew up in. Most of my childhood memories after that age have either been omitted from my brain or are somewhat of a blur. I do remember my parents divorcing when I was 10. I also remember living with my dad and being ‘forced’ to go to church every Sunday. (Note: I thought this was pure torture when I was a teenager, but I am now thankful that I was ‘made’ to go! Proverbs 22:6) As soon as I turned 18, I knew what I wanted: a husband and a family. So, that’s what I did. I was married at 21, had my blessing of a son Hayden (who is now 8) at 22, and was divorced at 23. (Notice how it was all about what IIIIII wanted.)

How I Got to Where I am Today:
After my divorce, I made even more unhealthy mistakes. No one knows the extent of how treacherous my past was. No one. So I thought. God knew. He was there. He never left me. I put a wedge between us early on and allowed it to just grow and grow. At 29, a hospital stay shocked me back into reality. Lying in a hospital bed, I remember my prayer…for God to ‘restore and renew’ me. I had NO IDEA what He had in store for me. Shortly after leaving the hospital, I knew I wanted to reconnect with God, I just was unsure of where to go or what to do. My aunt invited me to LifeBridge (Longview, TX…best church ever!). I don’t want to say she took me kicking and screaming, but there was definitely much hesitation. I hadn’t been to church in yearrrs! October 14, 2012: I walked into a place full of people who loved God, and I never felt judged, despite me wearing flip-flops and having tattoos. October 17, 2012: Before school, my son asked if he could read a book to me. (He had read books to me before, but never asked in the way he did that morning.) As I was getting ready, he started reading from his step-by-step Bible- a book that he had in his room, but had never wanted to read until that morning. On the way to school, I heard a song that was life-changing: Rhett Walker Band’s “When Mercy Found Me”. I went back home, looked up the lyrics, and cried. “My mind found peace. My soul found hope. My heart found a home.” Talk about some spiritual warfare going on….whew! I reached out to my aunt. She told me someone from LB would be calling and to answer my phone. Apprehension, Fear, Worry. At that time, the phone I had, in the house I was living in, had the worst possible reception…EVER! I was thinking “Oh great, someone from the church is going to call, at a really desperate time in my life, when I truly need to talk to someone, and my phone is going to die.” A man I had never talked to or met called me that afternoon. Pastor Cameron Strange. I’ll have you know that my phone never died during that phone conversation. Tears pouring, weight lifted, he spoke life into me that afternoon. I rededicated myself to Christ at that time. I will forever be grateful to God for that moment, that man (who later became the link between me and my future hubby), everything and everyone that had brought me to that moment, and everywhere He directs me in the future. Unhealthy ‘relationships’, mental and emotional torture brought on by my own sins, putting myself and my son in very dangerous situations, and yet, I’m still here, which leads me to…

Where I’m headed:
Being a BABY in Christ for 20-years is pretty embarrassing to admit. In the time since I’ve rededicated myself, 7 months, I have greatly matured spiritually, even walking on my own now! When I finally let go of trying to seek out who I was supposed to be with, I realized that He was preparing me for my future husband and that He just wanted me to let Him handle it, instead of trying to do everything myself! Stubborn me!! And wouldn’t you know, Toby and I found each other, when we both handed it over to God. Whodathunkit?
We are now raising Hayden in a God-centered home. I had the recent privilege of leading my son to Christ. To know that no matter what happens here, we will one day be reunited ETERNALLY, with each other and JESUS, WOW!!!!!!!!!! I have seen my future husband mature spiritually as well. He had been out of church for a long time when we had met. I brought him to church with me, and his growth amazes me. It is so exciting to see where God is taking us. We are embarking on a 40-day journey called “What on Earth am I Here For?”. To continue from the previous paragraph, despite all of the unhealthy choices that I’ve made, I now know that it’s not about ME! It’s about HIM! And that I’m not here by accident, that He has a purpose for me still being here. Looking back, there were so many times that I could’ve easily been taken out of this world, yet He brought me through for a reason. I just had to go through all of the JUNK to get to this point…where my desire is to trust Him, follow Him, turn to Him, glorify Him. In this study (by Rick Warren “Purpose Driven Life / What on Earth am I Here For?”), he states “Big God, little problems; Big problems, little God”. This could not be more true. When we focus on me, me, me, and WHY, we forget about the WHO (God) and WHAT (to fulfill God’s purpose; to glorify Him in whatever we do). I encourage you to take the 40-day challenge: The Purpose Driven Life / What on Earth am I Here For?; It’s 40 days. God sent His Son to DIE for us, to wash us clean, to have eternal life…Surely, you can give him the next 40 days?

So…

This is just a snippet. There are many more details to my story. This is just a brief overview. I am not perfect. I still have struggles of my own. But the biggest difference now, is the presence of God in everything I do. When you truly give yourself to God, it is AMAZING how your life will be transformed.

~Courtney
Romans 15:2 – “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”