Thursday, December 22, 2016

The story

Where does the story begin? Obviously, it begins long before our lives began, with the Creator of the universe, the Good Father Who knew us before we were born (Psalm 139) and has shaped our entire lives. On that note, it is worth examining the opening chapter of the book.


Seth grew up near Taos; his dad built the family home at the end of a dirt road - a house with only solar electricity and no telephone. He was homeschooled until 2nd grade, then finished elementary in tiny Tres Piedras. 

Meanwhile, Rebecca lived at the end of a different dirt road, also with no phone. Electricity, yes, but limited running water. She went to public school through 2nd grade, then was homeschooled. 

Their lives took distinct paths during teen and early adult years, but one has to see the hand of God in the simple, family centered, country beginnings that shaped the small children.

Now let us fast forward to the current chapter of life.

Thanksgiving, 2015

Rebecca had spent Thanksgiving Day with the Fuchs family. As always it was filled with laughter and a hard time from the teenage sons. Tyrel, the youngest, was on a mission to “find a husband” for her. He sat in front of the fireplace asking questions, finally handing her his phone. “Here, I made you a Farmer’s Only account.”

She blushed and smiled and he took the phone back, flipping through profiles. They laughed as they found people the family knew and better prospects they did not know. Tyrel insisted on sending “flirts.” “I’m going to get you a husband for Christmas.” 

“Yes, but you have to pay for it!!!!”

“No, I’m not going to do that.”

After she got home that night, and for the next day or two, she mulled over the idea of internet dating. Rebecca had realized in the past year that she wasn’t as “emotionally strong” as everyone thought, realized that the desire of her heart for a home and marriage has not changed, and realized that in the Bible, people often took action: Abraham didn’t lament the lack of godly wives for Isaac - rather he sent his servant to fetch one. 

She called her dad and laughingly told him of their Thanksgiving pastime. Due to some amazing testimonies of online romance that he had witnessed, he laughed with her and added, “Well, do you want me to pay for it?”

After she hung up, she reacted. “I’ll pay for it myself!” And she did. After a few discouraging days on Farmers Only (it’s amazing how much conceit can manifest in a paragraph), she decided to go all out and see if Christian Mingle had more options.


Christmas was coming, and Tyrel wasn’t done. He found a book online called How to Get Married After 35. Unable to convince his mom to buy it as a Christmas present, they sat and read the free parts with Rebecca. She couldn’t convince herself to spend 30-40% of her budget on the online pastime, but she had to concede the point that one had to marry a human, not “perfection.”

The days and weeks and profiles on Farmers Only and Christian Mingle were interesting. She emailed several guys, from a cowboy in the Dakotas to a missionary candidate in a city in Canada. Many were nice and some were serious (while some were quite obnoxious). It was kind of discouraging, though - no one quite fit. As she tried to imagine one coming into her life, the picture didn’t work.

January, 2016

Meanwhile, sweet Ms. Ruth at church came to Rebecca. “I am praying some Scriptures for you, but I want to ask you. Do you want to get married? Or is it like that one verse, ‘I would not have you ignorant brethren’?”

Rebecca laughed and said she did want to get married.

Ms. Ruth gave her Psalm 84:11b and Genesis 2:18. No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly... It is not good that man should be alone. I will make a helpmeet for him.

Rebecca wondered if she was being too picky, but the process really wasn’t that much fun anymore. By mid-January, she had decided that as soon as her subscriptions to the websites expired, she was done. One day she saw that a “country-looking” man had viewed her Christian Mingle profile. She clicked, and she liked what she saw, but she had a couple of reservations. She starred the profile to go back and look at later. The website says those stars are not visible to the person with the profile, but the mobile app has a glitch, and the stars show....


Seth had viewed Rebecca’s profile. He had liked much of what he had seen, but certain things worried him due to past experiences. He moved on.

But then Rebecca starred his profile. He had to think about it. He wondered if it was of God. He went back.

So a couple of days after the first view he sent a “smile,” a simple little message that could be sent for free, just to see what happened.


Rebecca got the smile, and she had to admit she was excited. She answered. And waited. For almost a week, she got no response - which was OK, her subscription expired on Friday anyway. 

On Thursday night she received a long, cheery email - from the mobile app, meaning someone had taken the time to type correctly on a phone. She was impressed and excited. They emailed almost every day for the next month (she renewed the subscription). She “listened” as this man prayed through a job change and move, saw his love for his family and his careful thought in decisions.

Finally, a month later, he told her she could call him. NOOOOOOOO! That was a scary thought. She texted him (she feared that emailing her number would cause him to think it was a “DO NOT CALL” farce because of all the 0s) and told him he could call her. He texted her back, but he didn’t call for 3 days (during which time, she told her dad about him. Dad’s response? “A diesel mechanic is way handier than a cowboy!”) And the first night, when Seth called, sensible Rebecca was giddy. They talked for over an hour, texted for a couple of days, called again. By the middle of March, they talked on the phone every night.

Rebecca was impatient. Once Seth was all moved to Colorado, it was her opinion that he ought to go ahead and come meet her. But he didn’t come. They discussed visiting one another and doing things together, but he didn’t come. 

“Well, he’s not 40 years old and unmarried because he’s spontaneous,” Dianne Fuchs reminded her when they discussed the matter. And the time was good. Long phone conversations covered some of most all of everything under the sun.

Early in May, Seth broached the subject. “I reckon I ought to come see you.”

They planned a weekend. A few days later, Rebecca found out it was the weekend of the spring when the Fuchs really needed help. It was the day to AI (artificially inseminate) the cows, and her cows were running in their herd. She asked Seth if it would be OK. He was excited to work cows.

May 13, 2016

She worked all week, and on Friday after school, she went to help the Fuchs gather, while Seth left work in Colorado for the 6 hour drive south. After gathering, they had to make lunch for the following day, and straighten things up. By 9:00, the Fuchs were exhausted and ready for bed. Rebecca was tired, too, but the kitchen needed cleaned and Seth wouldn’t be there until 11.

She talked on the phone to her friend Jen. “Are you excited?” Jen asked.


 “Did you do your makeup? What are you wearing?” 

“I don’t have any makeup with me. I put it on this morning. I’m wearing my jeans and t-shirt from school, and I’m kind of dirty because it was windy this evening. He’s not going to fall in love with me for my looks anyway.”

Jen was worried. Rebecca had too much going to be worried.

At long last, Seth drove up. It was late and dark and both were tired when he stepped out of his pickup, but it was like greeting an old friend. He gave her a hug, she showed him to his room next door to the Fuchs’ house, and she went home to sleep.

It took Seth a while to wind down and the 5:00 a.m. alarm did NOT make his day. For a few minutes, he thought the whole plan was ridiculous, but he went out anyway to meet the strangers with whom he was staying, and after he was fed and given a cup of coffee, he brightened up - enough to very pleasantly say good morning to Rebecca, who was saddling his horse. 

The day was not the most beautiful for cow work. The morning was cold and wet, unusual for May, and AI-ing cattle is not the most exciting of work, but Seth made an impression. He stayed on his horse without a wreck, got out of the way without being told, stepped in where he could help, and even his lack of sleep didn’t make him cranky. Rebecca’s only wish is that she had saved the snapchats taken as they stood around and watched the cows go by.

Finishing at a reasonable time, the day warmed slightly and it was time for a date. At this point, Rebecca was wondering if Seth actually “liked” her, or was just being polite because he had driven a long way and was making the best of the trip. The afternoon proved that the warm friendship, built through hours of communication ,was grounds for romance. They drove and hiked to the springs, fixed dinner, sat and talked.... Church and lunch and a walk the next day, and it was hard to part.

So went the summer. Rebecca’s sister-in-law was going to Cortez two weeks later, where Rebecca could stay with her great aunt and spend the weekend with Seth, meeting his sister, seeing his apartment, and enjoying some beautiful country. A few weeks more and he was meeting her parents. Everyone was happy and polite, but taking Seth on a tour outside, Dad showed him the backhoe attachment for the skidsteer. “All I’ve used it for is to dig graves....”

They spent the 4th of July in Taos with Seth’s mom and friends. Because Seth had to work late and Rebecca is always lost, thus needing to arrive before dark, she beat him there and had dinner with his mom and step-dad. Neither that, nor anyone she met (no one would tell stories), scared her away. Another weekend in Taos with his family, he came to the county fair, she went to Colorado to visit.

Rebecca was sure by this time. At times, something would make her doubt, some attitude or behavior of Seth’s that she feared would turn negative in the future, then they would talk and he would say, “God is working on _________,” and God did work. 

Seth was sure, too, but he wanted to do it right. They planned her birthday weekend. Thinking only of driving and sleep, she planned to stay at her parents through Sunday. He wanted to be back in Santa Rosa Sunday morning. She didn’t see why it was a big deal, but they changed the plan. 

Seth’s version of Saturday’s events:

I went out with Rebecca’s dad to milk the cow. I waited until Wendell closed the gate, and got down to milking the cow. I made sure the gate was latched securely between the two of us and told him I had something I wanted to ask him. I prepared myself to run for the safety of my pickup, took a deep breath, and let the question fly: May I have your daughter’s hand in marriage? Turns out all my precautions were unnecessary...

Actually, I waited for him to finish milking and wasn’t even scared to ask because I knew in my heart that it was God’s will for us to be married. 

Saturday night Rebecca’s parents had a birthday party for her. Her godchild opened all the presents with her, and aunts, uncles, and friends like family excitedly greeted Seth as they showered Rebecca with love. Seth felt a little bad. He had nothing to give her.

September 4, 2016
Sunday morning, Seth knocked on the door. Rebecca was dressed for church, and he said, “Oh, you have a dress.” 

“We can still go for a walk!”
They walked through the front pasture, laughing at the kitties at their feet, winding up on the rocks overlooking the house. Seth put his arms around her and took her hand, slipping something on her finger. “Will you be my wife?” It was a clear morning, cool but not cold, and they talked on the rocks, continuing over coffee.

It was the best birthday present possible. He had talked to her dad to receive a blessing, planned carefully. He had a card with Scripture from Song of Solomon, for both believed it was of God that she “come away with him.” They planned a December wedding, though it would require her to move mid-year, for neither wanted to continue the driving or the distance. Rebecca’s brother said Seth was just cheap and wanted to combine holidays with wedding expenses. They had known each other 7 months and 1 week. The wedding date would be 11 months and 2 days after that first email.

The ring Seth used was actually the wedding band; he wanted her to choose her own engagement ring, so that Monday they went ring shopping. Rebecca was overwhelmed (partially by the price tags, partially be the sales people). Seth finally was left with the choice, a ring far more beautiful than Rebecca could have chosen herself - just as God had given her a man far better than what she could have asked for herself.

Fall 2016

The next few weeks were exciting; the every other weekend visits continued in Taos, at her parents’ ranch, in Santa Rosa. Seth’s Colorado job situation changed - no fault of his, but his company didn’t have business like they had before. He decided to move, though there were no jobs in Santa Rosa nearly equivalent to what he had there. He found a job and began to pray through the future. Rebecca’s landlords and dear friends gave him a deal on a couple months rent to get him by until the wedding. Being able to see each other daily was a new and growing experience in their relationship.

And here we are. Two backwoods kids, gone from no phone to internet dating and a relationship built on a cell phone. A first date AI-ing cattle, an outdoors wedding in December... and Rebecca is getting a husband for Christmas.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ephesians 6:22-32 Pictures of the Church

Abraham’s son needed a bride.

Isaac couldn’t marry a foreign woman. He and his family didn’t just sit and wait. Abraham sent a man to find the bride. Genesis 24

And so our story began on Christian Mingle. Seth sent on the site to find his bride. Rebecca decided the site might be the servant.

The Son of God chose a bride - a people He would choose out of a sinful world. And He did not wait for them to seek Him. He came to earth to find His bride, and still sends the gospel out for the world to hear. Ephesians 1:4, Romans 5:8

Rebecca saw Seth’s profile, but she wasn’t sure. She marked it, but she wouldn’t contact him.

And so the world hears of Jesus. He sounds good. He is good. But are they really interested? John 12:40

Seth sent her a smile. Rebecca responded with an email. 

So Christ touches the hearts of His people. It may be a sermon. It may be a verse. It may be a kind follower of Jesus, but He reaches out so people will respond to Him. 
I John 4:19

They emailed for a month. He impressed her - long, well-written emails. Could this guy be for real? And then came the phone calls. She learned to appreciate the warmth of his voice and to anticipate the care he extended in conversation.

What happens when we begin to “seek” the Lord because He seeks us first? We hear His Word and we learn. The Spirit touches our hearts and we begin to sense His person, that there is something of Jesus that we want. Luke 24:45, Isaiah 55:1, 3, 5-6

And finally, after months, Seth came. Rebecca was terrified. What if he didn’t like her in person? But he did. From that first meeting, both knew that the relationship had a purpose. 

The fear of the Lord is a good thing. He is holy. And we are sinful. And when we really understand Him, perhaps we fear we are not good enough. Yet He knows us before He loves us, and when we encounter Him, it is for His purposes. Zechariah 3:7, Romans 3:23-26, Ephesians 1:4

After what seemed like long weeks of waiting, on a beautiful morning in God’s beautiful creation, Seth proposed. The next day he left, but he would come again. He left the ring, a seal... and he was going to prepare, for the wedding day was coming.

So our precious Lord, once He has sealed as His own, has gone, but He will come again. He has gone to prepare a place for us, our home in heaven, and what a joyous day when we get to live in His presence forever! I Peter 1:8-9, Ephesians 1:13, John 14:3, Revelation 19:1-10

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Songs, Prayers, and God at Work

I posted those words in a blog post last summer, about forgiveness (they're posted on my wall, too). And I posted the lyrics to “Love’s Not Safe,” my prayer song for relationships.

Little did I know how God would test my statement of faith in His goodness.

In January, my prayer song changed. With all of my heart I joined the music:

Make me empty/ So I can be healed...

Make me empty/So I can be filled...

Make me lonely/so I can be Yours...

Til you are my one desire/ Til you are my one true love/
Til you are my breath, my everything/ Lord please keep makin’ me.

(Sidewalk Prophets, Keep Makin’ Me)

Mark 9:43-47, Matthew 15:1
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Mark 2:17

God answers prayers, even when you pray in song. That should scare you.


One day, early last spring, my heart broke. I don’t say that sarcastically, nor do I mean it in a Texas style show of compassion. In a situation so complicated only God could unravel it, a crisis so spiritual the world would never even call it a fight, I wound up facing a broken friendship.

It’s not that I didn’t bring it on myself. Sin, even the sin of overvaluing people, has consequences. And God had whispered to me that it was coming, that I needed to turn my own eyes toward the cross, and that truth might have to be spoken.

Relationships are never simple; there’s so much more than what is on the surface. And in the weeks and months to follow, I was to learn that I am not the Healer. I could not fix what was broken.

I grieved: tears and prayers and questions. Never before had I understood what it was to question - not to question God’s existence, but His goodness, His Sovereignty, His love. Why, if He loved me, would He allow me to hurt someone in this way? Why did I hurt? How could He work good?


My song changed. It changed more than once in those dark days, and sometimes the songs were the clearest prayer I could express. But God, in His grace, heard the words I couldn’t express (Romans 8:26-27), even giving me the heart to allow Him to change my emotions.

These voices speak instead and what's right is wrong
And I'm giving into them, please Lord, how long
Will I be held captive by the lies that I believe
My heart's in constant chaos and it keeps me so deceived

But if I let these dreams die/If I lay down all my wounded pride
If I let these dreams die/ Will I find that letting go lets me come alive

So empty my hands
Fill up my heart
Capture my mind with You

(Empty My Hands, Sidewalk Prophets)

Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

I could not change those thoughts but God, in His grace, does not hold me as His child because I am good. Even in those gloomy days He knew I would not be made perfect by my flesh, but by His Spirit (Gal. 3:3).

Confession. Patience. Faith - that He works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose: to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-29). Resting with God in the secret place (Psalm 51:6, 91:1). He healed.

Time. Lots of time. And lots of love from family and friends who tolerated me even when I was less than my best. Because the sting was still there. The wound was especially sensitive as I dealt with people. To express my opinions at church was a battle, to collaborate with my coworkers exhausting, to be slighted by anyone - well, I was sure I had poor communication skills, a bad attitude, and no ability to be a friend.

Mid-June was a turning point. And in September, the dawn cracked ever so slightly. My anthems, my way of preaching the gospel to myself, were again songs...

No matter the bumps/No matter the bruises
No matter the scars/Still the truth is
The cross has made you flawless

No matter the hurt/Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain/Still the truth is
The cross has made you flawless

(Flawless, Mercy Me)

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: I Cor. 1:30

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. I Cor. 5:17

Still, one day in December, the curse of that heartbreak again loomed over my head. A disagreement at church, a conflict over what I thought was a kind deed at school. Tears filled my eyes as I told my friend, “I just can’t do anything right when it comes to dealing with people.”

She looked me in the eye.

“What does the Lord require of you?”

I whispered my response. “To seek justice. To love mercy. To walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6:8 had been a memory verse for me years ago, and again recently in Sunday School. Suddenly I realized how wrong I’d been to flaunt myself against the gospel.

To seek justice.

Jesus has fulfilled justice. And He had turned my heart to do what was right.

To love mercy.

I had sought reconciliation. Nothing in me was angry. And Jesus offered mercy for my wrongdoing.

To walk humbly with your God.

To walk humbly. Believing God. Trusting that I cannot fix a broken world, a broken relationship, or a broken person, and because I cannot, I need my God.  He is a “Good, Good Father” Who is perfect in all of His ways. We are searching for answers only He provides.


I had a few more rough days because life just seemed so far from what it “should be.” (I am sure I will have more.) And then came last week. A situation arose for which many of us had high hopes. It could’ve been a dream come true.

It wasn’t. But I am smiling as I write this, smiling as I have been almost all day almost every day since all the drama closed. Smiling because at last, God has given me my joy back. Not because I “did something.” I didn’t change my habits, or memorize a certain amount of Scripture, or learn to meditate, acquire something to fill the void left by my lost friend, or have a vision or conviction.

No, I am smiling because God’s grace, that mysterious gift I do not deserve, reminds me that I do not need any situation or any person for my joy. My joy is in Jesus. He is enough (Gal. 2:20, James 1:2-4, Rom. 15:13, Heb. 11:1, I Peter 1:8-9).

(Songs continue to minister, but the current words of the gospel speaking to my heart are Isaac Wimberly’s poem, “The Word,” linked below).