Sometimes it is just the stories. There are literally thousands of story books. I just finished one that will change your life. I titled it JUST THE STORIES. God has a story book about you, that records every event in your life told from his point of view. He is the best writer and the the most accurate, for he only sees the truth.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.…
Melinda when I met her. 1975
My wife and I are days from our wedding anniversary. I married the woman of my dreams. I am different because she chose to love me. However, this state of mind was not always my address. My address was a delusion, “I design my own destiny, determine my own fate, and choose my own future.” And my life exemplified the characteristics of my belief system. Working hard. Focusing my attention toward success. Desiring to be rich. And feeling the muscles tighten up the back of my neck and toward the temples. When you are the source, stress becomes a daily friend, with reoccurring headaches as brothers.
Now, I have peace and I want you to have the same. I just released a new book JUST THE STORIES, and it can help you find that place of LOVE and PEACE.
In my youth, my eternal Father knew I was missing something, but I was in the dark. He continued to reach out to me on countless occasions, and surrounding me with demonstrations of love. I received numerous invitations to enter a personal relationship with him, but my focus on daily struggles emptied my reservoirs. Then he opened a door for me to unconditional love. The most important door in my life opened the day I met my girl.
The first time I saw her seems like yesterday. The leaves were falling and the cool winds were blowing when our family pulled up in the Independent Baptist Church of Red Bank driveway, beside the church parsonage, and next into the back parking lot. My family and several friends had come into town from North Carolina. We came into town to attend the Youth Harvest Celebration, complete with a hayride, pumpkin carving contest, refreshments with hot chocolate, and a special speaker.
I stepped out of my family’s 1976 blue Dodge van. I was the visitor, and at seventeen years old, I was looking for girls.
My brother Mike, who lived in Chattanooga because he was attending Tennessee Temple University, attended this church. He walked up behind me, “What do you think about her?” He pointed at the girl I was staring at. I don’t know how, but he saw our eyes meet.
I said, “She looks a little plump.” She was actually very slim, but donned layers of sweaters. Of course, I said this to throw my brother off the scent. What I could have said was, “She is beautiful and I am in love…”
Melinda and Steve in Hollywood, California
I didn’t believe in love at first sight, but that night made me a believer. I began to work out a plan to make a great first impression and secure her heart. As our eyes met so did our smiles. I knew. My heart was smitten.
I felt the rush of excitement and infatuation all the way to my toes. The creativity that hit me in my quest to win her attention and affection was simply unbelievable; ideas for the team pumpkin carving contest, the way to get her attention while riding on the hayride, and the strategy to get her undivided attention in the last event of the night.
The walking beauty with bright blue eyes was on an opposing team during the pumpkin-carving contest. My team won. Yeah! Our eyes met again, and she knew I did it for her.
Next, the entire youth group climbed into the back of a box-truck filled with hay. She was sitting with the guy she came with, a friend who was too old for her. She was fifteen and he was a friend of my older brothers, a rough twenty-something year old in the middle of the 1970’s. She was being a polite friend. So I thought to myself, “I will start a hay fight in the middle of the truck, and he (her date) and my brothers will jump in and finish it. This will then give me an opportunity to meet her, and sit next to her.” I threw hay at my brothers, then at him, and a fully-fledged hay fight erupted. It was fun for them, and totally sensational for me, my plan worked. I sat down next to her and introduced myself, “Hi, my name is Steve, What’s yours?” She said, “Melinda Troxel.” And she said it so fast that I couldn’t understand her. So I said, “I’m sorry, what’s that again?” She said, “Melinda Troxel.” Again, so fast I missed it. Then I said, “I am sorry; could you slow that down a little for me, please?” Then, I heard the sweetest voice I ever heard. “Melinda Troxel.” Ahhhhh! I caught the prize.
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When we returned from the hayride, we stood in line to grab some snacks and hot chocolate, and then sat down to hear the speaker. But, before the meeting started, I noticed her standing in the front and surrounded with mostly guys.
She then came back to me and said, “Do you want to come up here and sit with us?” I felt a conflict inside me, I wanted to be with her, but I didn’t want to be just another guy in her crowd. So I said, “No. But if you want, you can sit here with me.” She said, “Ok.” I don’t remember a single thing that speaker talked about. I am sure it was good, but I had her beside me. All I remember was the sense of love and affection.
Something happened inside me and I felt it. I took her home that night, and the rush of love and affection although overwhelming did not end. I can still smell the strawberry lip-gloss she wore. I was taken and she owned my heart. You will enjoy the fresh look at Just the Stories.
Now it is more than 35 years later, and we have enjoyed a lifetime of fun, family, and the kingdom of God. I have a lifetime of memories that speak to me about God’s unconditional love. My delusion, “I design my own destiny, determine my own fate, and choose my own future.” is not as rewarding or fulfilling as loving God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving your neighbor as yourself. The creation is all about love.
God is always speaking through the circumstances of your life, but the interpretation of these circumstances must be guided into truth. When you receive these life changing lessons and revelations of wisdom, write them down. There are many people who will be lifted to a new level in life when you share your story. When I met my girl, I experienced another facet of God’s love in the story of my own life.
This story was taken from my new book, Just the Stories.
 1 John 4:7