Our marriage is a story of the goodness of God and how He took our broken lives and, through His love, healed our hearts and made us one.
Richard’s Testimony - Returning to God
I received the holy ghost as a teenager at age 19. And being a “good boy” from my youth, who did well in school and never “got into trouble”, I did not really value or seek to understand the new life God had given me through His Spirit.
Slowly, I started to develop misconceptions and wrong ideas of who God was and His role in my life. So I chose to distance myself from what I didn’t understand. I moved from my home in North Carolina to California under the guise of “making it on my own, being my own man, and discovering the world,” but really it was an attempt to run away from God. The lure of “freedom and liberty” living by the beach in Southern California, soon turned into a lonely, hollow life without real connections or close friends. For ten years my time was spent in entertainment trying to fill a void. A void that deep inside I knew could only come from one source, yet all along not ready to admit the truth to myself. One morning in 2004, staring at myself in the bathroom mirror, words came out of my mouth that startled me. “Richard what are you doing with your life?” As I gazed at the stranger in the mirror, I finally admitted to myself that I was wasting my life. I needed and was ready for something more. For the first time in ten long years I was wanting to listen to the voice of Jesus that I had been ignoring for so long.
Over Thanksgiving 2004, I returned to visit with family in North Carolina and attend the prayer meetings at Pastor John’s house. I went with an open heart and a longing to hear from and feel Jesus again. And Jesus rescued me through the overwhelming love I felt from God’s people.That love changed something in my heart and was a turning point in my life.
From that Thanksgiving turning point, it took several years, some very painful experiences, and a heart breaking death of someone very close to me before I fully submitted and returned to God. Through those very painful times, Jesus comforted and rescued me again with the overwhelming love I felt from my brothers and sisters in Christ. In March 2008 I moved from California back home to North Carolina.
Amy’s Testimony - All In God’s Time
God planted a desire in my heart to have a marriage where a husband and wife learn and grow together in the Lord being led by His Spirit. He gave me a desire to live by His standards and teach them to my children. He gave me the desire to love and be loved and to have peace in my home. He gave me the desire for financial stability and to be free from the burden of debt. Basically, He put the one true desire of living a simple, happy life in Jesus in my heart.
I have learned that God will give you the desires of your heart, but sometimes in unforeseen ways. I wanted a happy, peaceful home and just over a year after I received the Spirit, Jesus put me through one of the hardest trials of my life to get me there. Without explanation, my now ex-husband left me one day while I was at work. Taking our two children from our home, he left the state, and filed for a divorce. I could not have survived the shock and the pain if Jesus had not given me strength and carried me every step of the way. But he did. I was devastated, but I could not follow my ex-husband back into the kind of life we used to live. Instead, I continued to follow Jesus, believing he would take care of me and work all things for my good.
I had never been alone before, and there were times after my ex-husband left that I felt lonely, even though God had put me with a family in Christ that loved me very much. So, in January 2007, when I began to have thoughts about Richard, I questioned myself as to why I was having them. Was I allowing the loneliness I was experiencing for the first time in my life to guide my thoughts and desires or was it something else? After praying about it one afternoon, I sat down and wrote God a letter. I poured out my heart to Him, reminding Him that Richard lived in California (at the time) and I did not want to go down a road that would lead to more hurt. I remembered reading in the Bible that we are to test the spirits to see if they are from God, so I asked God to send someone to tell me “It’s all in His time” and then I would know that the thoughts and feelings I was having about Richard were from Him.
A few days passed. Then after a Sunday morning prayer meeting, a sister in the Lord from Louisville walked over to me. In expectation of saying our good-byes I reached out to hug her, but to my surprise, when she hugged me, she whispered in my ear, “It’s all in God’s time.” My heart leaped! However, I knew at that time I was not in a place where I could even think about pursuing a relationship with someone. I had too many hurts and fears and needed to grow in the Lord, but I believed that in God’s time, with His help and love, I would. A year later, in January 2008, Jesus sent me on a life changing journey to Louisville, Kentucky where I went through some very difficult trials that resulted in wonderful experiences with him. All were perfectly designed to teach me to trust him with everything in my and my youngest daughter’s lives. During my time in Louisville, while going through those difficult times, I would sometimes feel discouraged. And Jesus would send me encouragement along the way.
One very special time of encouragement came through Pastor John when he prayed for me at a prayer meeting during Thanksgiving 2008. He told me, “God has something good for you.” Sweet touches from Jesus and the anointed words of my Pastor carried me through many trials. By April 2009, after living in Louisville for just over a year, I had conceded and Jesus succeeded in liberating me from a deterring fear that had vexed me for many years. What a wonderful blessing it is to learn to fear the Lord and not man.
Jesus had accomplished in me what he wanted me to learn from my time in Louisville and over two years had passed since writing my letter to God about Richard. Now I felt ready, but wanting to wait on God, I asked Him, “How will I know it’s time?” In the book “The Happiest People On Earth”, Demos Shakarian had prepared a long elaborate speech for his wife-to-be, Rose. He rehearsed time and again those passionate words. But when they were alone together for the first time, his long prepared and oft rehearsed speech left him. He could not remember a word. Instead the only words he blurted out in that moment were “Rose, God wants us to be together.” Demos was horrified at the words he had spoken, but to his astonishment, Rose began to cry. Those were the very words she had prayed to hear her husband say to her first of all. Touched and inspired by that heartfelt moment between Demos and Rose, I told the Lord that I would wait for Richard to tell me he’s been thinking about me, then, and only then, I would know it was His time.
Richard - Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
The following year and a half after returning to North Carolina was a time of spiritual healing, seeking God, building faith, and learning who God truly is. Often that learning comes through unexpected ways. I had a lot of wrong ideas and worldly influences to overcome. So at times my ability to take in what God was teaching me was slow. One morning while praying in the shower I felt the Spirit say within me, “If you would seek Me, the way you seek . . . .” It was not necessary to finish the sentence. Immediately I knew what Jesus was saying to me.
Shortly after, Pastor John and a small group were at the beach for a writing session on the Father and Son book. Jesus visited the small group that was there and filled them with wonderful thoughts and feelings. Rob Nelson was among that group at the beach and sent an email describing his experience and how reading the first few pages of the resulting chapter made him weep. Reading Rob’s email stirred up a desire and longing to have that same type of experience with Jesus and feel those feelings. So several days later when Pastor John mentioned he would be going to Louisville to read that same section of the book with the people there, I made arrangements to go to Louisville to be a part of the reading. I rarely visited Louisville, but my thoughts were focused on Jesus and the desire to experience those feelings Rob described.
Amy - Ready for Something Good
It was now October, and there were no signs, at least that I could tell, that Richard ever had thoughts about me. In my impatience, I began to lose faith that God would put Richard and I together. My doubt and lack of faith became very heavy to me. So one morning, at a point of desperation, I reminded God of what Pastor John said when he prayed for me that Thanksgiving in 2008. Pastor John told me that God had something good for me, and I told God I was ready for it.
That weekend Pastor John was coming to Kentucky to read the latest section of the Father and Son book that they had written at the beach. Richard rarely visited Louisville and knowing it had been over a year since his last visit, I asked God to give me a sign by sending him to Louisville for the Father and Son reading, just to let me know that I was not crazy. Richard came to Louisville, but he did not come to see me. Three and a half years had passed since writing my letter to God. I could no longer keep my feelings for Richard to myself, I needed to tell someone - my Pastor.
Richard - The Text
There were feelings for Amy that I had buried and put on the back burner. I was now in North Carolina and she was in Kentucky (having missed one another by two months - God moved Amy to Kentucky right before I returned to North Carolina. All in His time). Shortly after returning from Louisville, during a conversation with Pastor John, he casually asked if I had ever had any thoughts about Amy. My heart leaped. Yes I had, but I had not acted on those buried feelings nor let anyone else know I had even had thoughts about her. So the next day I decided to send her a text message. But since we had never texted before I wasn’t sure what to say to her.
So I started to type “Hey, how’s it going?” That’s not right. Delete. “What are you up to?” Delete. I typed several messages and deleted them all. Finally, I typed “You’ve been on my mind. Hope all is well.” Send.
Amy - True to Be Good
On October 15, 2009, I was teaching a class to a group of dialysis technicians. Normally I would have turned my phone on vibrate to keep from disturbing the class with phone calls or messages. But this particular day, I had forgotten to turn off the ringer on my phone. Standing in front of the small group of technicians, I heard the sound of an incoming text message. Apologizing for the disturbance, I grabbed my phone to turn off the ringer. When I looked at it to see who had messaged me, my heart stopped and I could barely breathe. It was Richard. I quickly read his message and returned the phone to my pocket. I could hardly concentrate through the rest of the class, my heart was pounding. As soon as class was over and I had a moment to myself, I reread Richard’s message with the words I had been waiting to hear.
That very weekend I went to North Carolina. Saturday afternoon Richard and I went for a walk around Rebekah’s pond. Our feelings for one another that we had kept buried blossomed as we talked. Although Richard and I thought our relationship would be a surprise to everyone, it was sweet to find out that when Jesus puts two people together, those walking in the Spirit are not surprised at all and some even jokingly said, “Well that took long enough!”
The next several weeks were an amazing time. Richard and I had many experiences with Jesus, both separately and together, that Jesus used to knit our hearts together, connect us in the Spirit, and to make us one. I could hardly believe that God was doing such a wonderful thing in my life. He was giving me the desires of my heart which He had planted there from the beginning. One evening after leaving the Curtsinger’s house in Louisville, full of good feelings from participating in a North Carolina prayer meeting over Skype, I began to cry with an overwhelming thankfulness. As I sat in my car at an intersection waiting to turn, I said out loud, “This is too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.” But just then the Spirit spoke back to me and said, “No. I am true to be good.”
Richard - Leviticus 26
During the time when God was connecting Amy and me in the Spirit, I was taking an Old Testament class that Pastor John was teaching to a small group. We were studying Leviticus and that is when I read Leviticus 26. Some people call this chapter the blessings and curses of God. God tells His people, if you will obey my voice and follow my commandments, then I will bless you, your crops will yield, your enemies will flee, and you will have peace. But if you do not obey my voice and do not follow my commandments then I will afflict you. Your crops will not yield, your enemies will overtake you, you will be full of fear. And if still you don’t return to me then I will chastise you seven times more. But if you confess your iniquity, acknowledge that you have walked contrary to me and that I have walked contrary to you, and accept your punishment, then will I remember again the promise to your fathers and will not cast you away. What struck my heart was that this chapter described me. This was the story of my life! The feelings were overwhelming and all I could do was fall on my face and thank God for His mercy and love and restoration. I had been through the chastisements and afflictions of walking contrary to God during my time in California. But then I confessed my errors, took his corrections, and was now back on the path of following His commandments and listening to His voice. And this is the goodness of God, that He is ready to start over again with His blessings. “If you will obey Me then this is how I will bless you.” God’s mercy and love comes back full circle.
God had put Amy and I together and integrated our hearts. During Thanksgiving of November 2009, surrounded by our family of God, we signed our marriage certificate and started a new life together. This is our story of love, our story of God and how He has so richly blessed us. He has blessed us with one another, blessed us with loving brothers and sisters in the Lord, blessed us with our home, and three years later - blessed us with our daughter, Jessa Grace. God is true to be good!
To listen to Richard and Amy sing an original song written for them: "True to Be Good":