I heard a story some time ago now that deeply touched my heart and I captured it in writing. It's worth retelling.
She had been no stranger to some hefty relational disruption, pain, disappointments and sufferings. The challenges that come with all of this were in her face from the time she was still a child. But at around age twelve a goodness was set in motion that would inaugurate a tested and true redemptive narrative into the midst of her young life. She found Jesus. (Of course...we all know that he actually reached out through the Holy Spirit and found her!)
Her new community of faith became her extended family and throughout her teen years, she courageously chose to invest much of her time and energy into learning about knowing and following Jesus and serving the people in her life...both young and old...for the sake of her Savior.
When sorrows, fears and temptations would rise up to confront and and seek to overwhelm her, she would often retreat to a sacred space on the church property that is known as "prayer hill" to pour out her heart in conversation and communion with her heavenly Father. Up on prayer hill is a large cross that has helped the pilgrims to this place to find their center in Christ once again. It had obviously become a very special place for her and she continually grew strong in spirit and wisdom...despite a profound "alone-ness" that she would often struggle against. It was on prayer hill that she would hope and believe that she actually was not alone.
A few years back, she was pursued by a young man (who had already caught her eye) and they agreed to become boyfriend/girlfriend. Their friends and teachers could immediately see the good chemistry and good effects of this new relationship in both of their lives. This man had enjoyed both the favor of God and man from his youth and his heart had become full of Christ's love and passion. They quickly fell in love in a deep and genuine way.
That summer, the young man had the opportunity to go and work in her home town while she was doing an internship with her church's youth ministry. Some months before , he had purchased a diamond ring that he was hoping to put on her finger sometime that summer...if she would say "yes" to making a commitment to spend their lives together and become "one flesh" in the sight of God and people. He, of course, had heard about "prayer hill" and knew the special place that it held in his lady's heart.
It was during that summer, after he had gone to prayer hill to prepare a small table with some refreshments, that he subtly suggested to the young lady that they make a trek to this sacred place during the beautiful sunset and to which she joyfully agreed. He followed her up the hill. When she saw the table, without looking back, she quietly informed him that they probably needed to leave as they were obviously disrupting someone's event. Then...as she turned to look at him...he was on his knee holding out the precious token of his love for her. The table had been set for her! It was a perfect moment in the midst of our quite imperfect world. An amazing day had dawned for them both and their lives would never be the same.
She said "yes" and they kissed. Then they prayed at the foot of the big cross and committed their love and relationship and its future to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It was on her special place on prayer hill that she would come to know and be reassured that indeed...she is not alone.
The wedding happened at sunset May 28, 2010 in Phoenix AZ and guess where?...in the beautiful outdoor forum that lies beneath the shadow of...prayer hill. We are so pleased to be the parents of this wonderful man, Mike Sullivant. And were overjoyed on that amazing day to welcome an inspiring and beautiful young woman, Jeri Jensen Sullivant, into our family circle.
Jeri is a vibrant and radiant young woman who, after finishing her Masters Degree with high honors at Washburn University this past May, has now become a family field counselor helping at risk families in the Kansas City area.
A VOICE OF HOPE
Michael Sullivant's Blog
I am a child of God, husband, father, grandfather, spiritual father, author, speaker and hope coach.