Wife of the Month

090120I would like to nominate April for “Wife of the Month”.  For the month of September, she can use the special parking space.  That is, if she was here in America, and if she could drive.  She has completed the immigration process, but can’t take the final step because her country is still in “lock down” mode, so the U.S. Embassy isn’t doing interviews.  Being separated is difficult, but I can see how God has used it for His glory thus far.

Last week, I sent her the following message, and though it is personal, she agreed to let me share it:

Baby, I love you! I simply love you, because you have God’s DNA in you, and it shows. In you is peace, joy, faith, hope and love. Of course the greatest of these is, love. Because love, never fails! Baby, when you look back over our short marriage, you can see a trail of love that has dripped over the mountains we have overcome, and across the ocean that separates us now. Without love, God’s love, we would not have come this far. The story of “Mark and April” would have been a short one, but as it is, our story, is still being written.

I couldn’t wait any longer Baby April. I know our 18 month anniversary isn’t until next week, September 1st, but I just had to let the words above out. I was unable to contain them any longer. So Happy Anniversary, April. I am so happy to be known as the American, who married April Joy Santiago Cruz, and has so far, survived.  I am a lucky man who is blessed by God. He loved me so much that He hid you from the eyes of others, for such a time as this. I know two, maybe three of those men looked your way, but because of your wonderful faithfulness to God they gave up in their pursuit.

Our story, feels like it is taking forever to be written, but I know we are steadily moving every day toward his destination for our lives. Baby April, each day it gets easier to love you, because you, like God, are love.

To you April, the love of my life,
Mark

I am grateful for God’s love, and for his tender nudge to try marriage again, after checking the “Divorced” box for 24 years.  April struggled with her singleness a lot, and most who knew her started believing  “marriage” had passed her by.  But God had a plan that took years to connect two individuals who were 8,149 miles apart.  It’s like He set her on a shelf, so she would be available for me that one Friday afternoon, in October 2018, when I first saw her face on a Filipino dating site.

It’s hard to trust God, who doesn’t always share what He is up to, but when you do, it’s worth it!  God is so amazing, and I am so grateful, He first loved us.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Heard God

081420“The voice of the Spirit of God is as gentle as a summer breeze— so gentle that unless you are living in complete fellowship and oneness with God, you will never hear it.” – Oswald Chambers

I had two dreams, in the same night, several days ago that was kind of strange, and no, they weren’t brought on by late night pizza.  In both dreams, I was being instructed on how to write this blog.  I was told to make it more, “grunge”.  What is “grunge” I asked myself.  I had heard of it before.  Webster says, “The untidy fashions typical of fans of grunge”.  Okay, so how does that relate to writing my blog, I asked God.  Is that writing wearing casual Friday clothing on steroids? I sensed as though it meant to write more “raw”, “revealing”, if you will.  I draw from my life for inspiration or examples, but not always in detail that reveals personal feelings.

A week ago or so, I was feeling down, and depressed, because Covid has caused my wife and me to remain apart longer than needed.  I haven’t held her in my arms for over a year now, and that hurts.  With the current conditions, I could not see a path for us to be together any time soon.  We are done with the immigration process, and she just needs her medical exam and her interview at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.  Then she would get her Visa and come home.  It is difficult to be apart from one you love, and even harder when that person loves you back.  I have tried everything I could, even emailing the embassy to see if they would do a “tele-interview”.  They said, “No.”

I cried out to God, I begged, and I pleaded.  To make things worse, He wasn’t saying a thing, or if He was, his answer was so soft I couldn’t hear it.  Then, I confessed my attitude to a friend, who listened and didn’t just quote scriptures I had heard so many times before, but he assured me God knew and then he prayed for me.

An hour later, as I was writing a blog, I came across a scripture in God’s word, and I realized God was speaking to me and to my circumstances.  My smile came back, and my heart felt like a ton of bricks had been unloaded, the heaviness was gone.

God does hear us, and yes he cares about what his children are going through, but it is so reassuring to hear his voice.  He can speak to us in many different ways, like through his word, dreams, through others, blog post, and that still small voice inside, if we calm down enough to hear it.  God also knows what we have need of, before we even ask. (Matthew 6:8)  Remember this: If you aren’t hearing God right now, it has nothing to do with him loving you less.  He’s just waiting for the right time, for when it will make sense.

Has God miraculously made a way for my wife to come to America? No, but now I have understanding as to how He plans on using this for his Glory., I’m okay with that.  My friend called me back a few days later and I told him, “Through a scripture, I heard God, and I am good now!”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Good, But Best

good, better and best word written by 3d hand“The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not quite good enough.” (Oswald Chambers – My Utmost for His Highest – May 25)

Confused?  Let me explain.

We can be confident, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]”. 2 Tim. 1:7 (AMP)

Therefore, with our free will, we should be able to make good, sound, decisions for our own lives.  I felt like I had done that.  I retired from AT&T, at the age of 55, and instead of buying an RV and traveling, I decided to move back to my home town to take care of my father, to write, and occasionally speak publically.  I was happy with these good, sound decisions.

Not my will, but thine be done.

Life was, and would have remained good, but I always yield my choices and decisions to God.  Before my father passed, not long after I had moved back, we had some great moments fishing again.  (Not to tell a fish story, but we managed to “keep” 167 fish in only 3 outings.)  I bought a house I really enjoyed living in.  I was getting used to my new, good life, but God wanted “his best life for me”.  (Kind of sounds like something Joel Osteen would say.)

You see, I had been divorced for 24 years.  I kind of wanted to be married again, but was content being single.  Looking back, I see all the people God had put in front of me to work on my heart toward marriage.  One Friday I found myself filling out a profile on a dating website.  I submitted it and there she was.  From all of the women presented, the one, who would later become my wife, stood out.  I could see the love of God radiating from her postage stamp size photo.

To make a long story short, I contacted her, we texted, then talked, and then video chatted via Messenger.  I went to the Philippines to visit her and the family.  One month after returning home from the trip, I put everything in storage, rented my house out, and moved there to marry her.  It has not been a “cake walk”, but we always had love to build on.

While waiting for her immigration process to be completed, we have grown together, and lately started dreaming about our future.  There are several things beginning to open up, and reveal to us the will of God, for us, as a couple.  I love it!

You see, I could have continued to be single and have a good life, but because I surrendered my will to God, I am now living the best life I could ever have.  I thank God for loving me so much.  And ya know what?  He loves you too, just as much!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.