“God says that He’s preparing an Isaac for you, and that the Holy Spirit will be your Eliezer and will draw the two of you together at the appointed time.” ~”Reverend T” Mississippi, Spring, 2004
JD and I finally unofficially/officially met late one weeknight in 2009 at church. The leadership at the church had decided to construct a new platform, which required tearing out the old one and some closets on either side. Although we spent most of the night working in the same vicinity, we still did not address one another directly. During a dust-filled, exhausting evening, I learned two things about him–his name, and the fact that he was very strong.
Shortly afterwards, his face appeared in a “friends suggestions” box on Facebook. By this time, the Lord had instilled in me a love of networking. I was beginning to come out of my shy phase and to learn to appreciate making new friends and introducing them to my old. This was especially true for people who I didn’t see in the regular rotation of church activities, perhaps because I had spent so many years as the new face in churches and automatically assumed others had as hard of a time getting connected as I had. At any rate, God’s working in me gave me the boldness to send him a friend request; an uncharacteristic action for a girl who had always been the one to sit back and let the man initiate any form of friendship.
When JD accepted my friend request on June 22, 2009, he combined it with a short “hello” message thanking me for adding him and asking how I was. Over the next three days, we exchanged about ten messages centered mainly around Bible study, Jewish tradition, prophecy, and learning Hebrew. By the time he sent me his phone number on Day 3 (he was going out-of-town and did not know how much internet access he would have), I felt like we had always been friends.
I texted him my number on the way to the wedding rehearsal of a dear friend of mine. We texted back and forth throughout the evening, and I discovered that in addition to our love of diving into the Word, we also shared a similar sense of humor. After an extended season of God refining me as gold in the fire, it felt so good to laugh.
JD invited me to attend a Bible study at his house on the first Monday in July. Although I was afraid it would be somewhat awkward (I did not know any of the regular attendees very well), I agreed to go, and again found that he was a humble leader with a wonderful grasp of Scripture. I came away from the evening challenged, inspired–and slightly confused because he and his roommate had exited rapidly at the end of the study carrying a baseball bat and a hammer (I later learned that they had thought someone was trying to break into the roommate’s mother’s house). We had yet to actually talk in person, and I felt an odd mix of disappointment and relief when the night ended without a face to face conversation.
As the days continued to progress, JD and I continued exchanging texts and occasionally talking at Bible study or church. The timeline of those first few months we knew each other has blurred together in my mind like a frame bordering a few shining moments: the Wednesday night late in July when he and some friends spent a night ministering on the streets of New Orleans and the Lord sent me to lock myself in the church and pray for several hours; the following Monday when he returned from a beach trip with his family and dropped a bag of seashells he had collected for me in my lap at Bible study; the sudden pang of shyness I felt upon meeting his sister for the first time that Thursday night; the disconcerting camaraderie I felt later that night when he and I together began ministering to a mutual friend. I was wholly unprepared for the rush of emotions I felt while singing (and thus observing) on the platform the night the Lord filled him with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. My unexpected friend was slowly proving himself to be an equal partner, and it made me nervous and wildly happy all at once.
To my credit, I was very blunt with him about my desire for us to just be friends. I knew that he was beginning to look at me as more than just his friend, and while I loved talking to him and his interest flattered me, my heart was not free. I later learned that he had already spoken to his mother about me and she was praying for both of us; however, at the time he was merely another name on a list of almost two-dozen men the Lord had allowed to walk through my life in a two-year period.
We had our first “we will never be more than friends” conversation mid-September, just before he had to go out of town for several days with his job. For almost a week, we did not communicate at all–and I missed him terribly, but was resolved. For almost two years, I had been Abraham offering my Isaac and longing for the Lord to finally provide another way. I was determined to hold fast to faith. Meanwhile, the Lord was slowly making me Rebekah instead.