When God Winks – Love

What you see here is what greeted Shari on the afternoon I proposed. Most people would say three weeks is just too short of period of time to plan a wedding. A lot of life was crammed into those 21 incredible days, plus we had so much affirmation in the God Winks which paved the way to March 19, 2011, their was no denying that Saturday would be the day when Shari and I became husband and wife.

Regardless of the size, weddings require planning, coordination, and organization in order to insure the day is filled with memories. Time usually is the best friend a bride and groom have to guaranty those memories are good memories. Our wedding and the variables that went with it…schedules, location, catering, musician, rings, etc…each obstacles in their own right at some point, all somehow fell in place as the day approached. And those who know us and our story, saw first hand all the God Winks in those 21 days, even my car being broken into two days before the ceremony.

Our God Wink Story

Shari and I met in 2008 while we attended different locations (campuses) of North Point Church. I was a member of and served at the Buckhead Church campus, and Shari was a member of and served at the Alpharetta Church campus some 15 miles away. As much as I would have liked to participate in Fusion (our singles program) at my home campus, Buckhead, making two trips downtown on a Sunday just didn’t make much sense. Fortunately for me I had the option to join the Alpharetta group and in our eyes that was where the God Winks began for us. And despite meeting then, both of us were in different places and that was all it was meeting and going our separate ways for the next two years.

Random, Fate, or another God Wink

In the spring of 2010 we both signed up for Fusion again, and yes for me once again Alpharetta…not Buckhead. Odds were about the same 400+ singles randomly assigned to 7-8 different host homes, yet we find ourselves not only placed in the same host home, but also in the same small group within that home. Coincidence, chance…destiny…we know it to be one big defining God Wink!

Something clicked this time, it was different; we were different…different people in places. I knew enough about Fusion to know just being placed into the same home didn’t guaranty we would always be in the same small group, and small group offered the best opportunity to really get to know one another. So I took matters into my own hands and rigged the name tag process so we would be in the next 4 group gatherings. Only problem with my strategy was I had to miss the second to last meeting as I was recovering from cancer surgery. After learning why I missed Shari contacted me on Facebook to let me know she was thinking about and praying for me.

Could Cancer Be A God Wink?

Cancer, believe it or not, for us is a God Wink which connects us because Shari, a 12 year breast cancer survivor wanted me to know she knew what I was going through and that she was there for me. You see up to that point in my cancer journey I perceived myself as damaged goods, as far as relationships go and I had put that part of life on hold. In my eyes everyone has been touched, hurt, and saddened by cancer and I had a hard time percieving why anyone knowingly and wantingly open the door to the potential for more sorrow. Fortunately for me Shari’s big heart influenced my flawed thinking as our friendship blossomed into romance.

People, Places, and God Winks

I would be remiss not highlighting a few of the people I feel God used to make our wedding so special and who each brought God Winks into our lives March 19, 2011.

photo credit Cindy Brown © cbrownphoto.com

Jan Jacobs, whose home is where we met, whose home where Shari and I reconnected last spring during Fusion, whose home where Shari & her sister Michelle were randomly placed in group link this winter, whose home she graciously shared with to be married in after Shari shared our story one evening during her small group. And another example of how real life happens in the circles we allow God to place us in each day, not just in a row on Sunday mornings!

Debbie Causey, with North Point Ministries which represents North Point Church (Shari) and Buckhead Church (me), who heard our story and with discernment, understanding, and compassion allowed for us to let the churches which played such a significant role in our coming together be at the heart of the covenant we made March 19. Our God Wink with Debbie came from my involvement in NPM’s care network and Shari & I meeting her last November during the Hope Mentor commissioning service which facilitated our first conversations of pre-marital counseling.

Mike Teston, pastor at North Point Church, whose guidance, direction, and counsel steered us through our pre-marital sessions and to whom we are so grateful for officiating our wedding and laid the ground work for leading us…as man & wife… into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Mike’s God Wink came in the timing, a morning wedding, had our ceremony been scheduled at any other time that day Mike wouldn’t have been able to officiate.

Casey Darnell, who made our ceremony so special by singing Third Day‘s Your Love Oh Lord as our gathering song, Chris Tomlin‘s All The Way Our Savior Leads Me as Shari & I separately entered, and Tomlin’s Our God Is Greater as we said our vows, exchanged rings, kissed, and celebrated with friends and families. The God Wink in Casey’s participation was the sheer fact that he was available, as this was his first weekend in Atlanta since before Christmas touring with his band.

SQuire Rushnell, author of When God Winks series, odds are we may never meet but you should know the role When God Winks played in my life and how I use those “Winks” as dots to connect the picture God is painting for my life. Shari and felt no ordinary guest book would do for our wedding day so we asked our friends and family in attendance to sign our copy of When God Winks as our guest book with a sentence or two of the God Winks they saw in our lives.

Oh yeah…one more person…Whoever Broke Into My Car , a special thank you for reminding me I’m not in control of my life and things are better that way. Had I been in control, my wife’s engagement ring along with the two diamond wedding bands would have been in the Subaru backpack you took after breaking out the window of my Forester two days before our wedding. Thankfully a final adjustment had to be made and had not the jewelry been delayed coming back for lunch they would have been in the backpack and not back at the jewelry store, something Shari and I believe to be a God Wink. While I am truly grateful Shari’s rings weren’t in the backpack, because they never could have been duplicated, I do hope you found my bible along with my medical records which outline my 2 year cancer battle. I hope you spent a moment or two glancing through those records because they illustrate how in life we all face challenges and trials from time to time. I’m sure the shear fact you stole from me indicates you too are in the midst of trial and were left with very few choices. I can only hope that at some point, despite whatever it is you’re facing you come to recognize the Bible, maybe even my Bible offers a new path to a new life.

My prayer is for you or whoever comes across my Bible is that in some way you recognize this good fortune is part of God’s plan for you to embrace God’s grace and the salvation He promises to all who come to believe. And if the loss of my Bible allowed for that to happen in someone’s life…well I think that would be the greatest God Wink of them all!!

Would anyone like to join me in that prayer?

~Tom

trusting God period!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kelly-Dameron-Johnson/1682798901 Kelly Dameron Johnson

    Wow!  Tears here this morning as I read this post. I’m thankful for people like you who recognize God’s Winks.  Blessings and prayers to you and your wife!

    • http://tommartinatl.com/ Tom

      Kelly,

      Thank you so much for your comment and your prayers, both mean more than you know!
      I apologize I haven’t acknowledged them before now, somehow I overlooked the comment when Shari & I on vacation and while I took my Hiatus.

      Take Good Care,

      Tom