I took notice of boys at a pretty young age. At six, I confidently declared whom I was going to marry. Anthony Clark was destined to be mine! Alas, it wasn’t to be.
One summer I went to day camp at the park district just outside my neighborhood while my mother worked. (Am I kidding? I went to a day camp EVERY summer!) This particular summer, there was a guy at camp who was all the gorgeous that my pre-adolescent self could stand.
I didn’t have braces yet at the time — a definite strike against me. My hairstyles were probably worth two strikes. Nevertheless, I was determined to shoot my shot. I couldn’t very well write my crush a love note. If that got out, I’d have to move to Missouri to get away from the embarrassment.
“DJ” was known to wear wristbands. Oh, how I wish I could recall how I got them from him. What did I say? How clever was I? I have no clue. I suppose I wasn’t too sharp because I seem to have blocked the memory. The memory I should’ve blocked? The one where I saw him talking to someone not orthodontically challenged and who was more his age. Why forget? Because that was the moment that I walked up to them, KISSED his wristbands, and threw them at him before running away!
I tell you this because it would be another few years before someone took me to church and plugged me in with people my age who were serving God openly. The heart I wanted to give away so much would be safest in His hands. I had no clue how much I needed that space to express love as vulnerable as I was then. That initial introduction to church didn’t prevent me from making bad decisions or getting into wrong crowds and precarious situations. Thankfully, no matter how long I was away or how wrong I was, the church became a place where I could always return home.
When I finally began learning balance in human love, the consistency of those who displayed a heart for God and people changed me forever. One of my favorite love stories in the Bible is when David encounters Abigail in 1 Samuel 25. Abigail’s husband Nabal was prideful and gruff and had the misfortune of offending David, a great warrior. In response, David decided to wipe out every male associated with Nabal.
May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave as much as one male of any who belong to him. I Samuel 25:22 NASB
Clearly, David is not one to be toyed with! Luckily Abigail intervened by esteeming David and reminding him of his future destiny, which softened his heart. Later, David remembered how she spoke to him. After her husband died, he made her his wife!
The first time I heard it said that ‘In every man, there’s a king and a fool; who you speak to is who you’ll get,’ was from my former pastor, Dr. Robb Thompson. What impresses me about this story is Abigail’s wisdom to address the king in David, likely knowing that going to try and change the “fool’s” mind wouldn’t have succeeded. She loved God, but she also loved the people that would die as a result of her husband’s foolishness. Her tactic to save them wasn’t her beauty or anything external. She used the Word of God that had been spoken over David’s life.
Similarly, I believe God is tugging on our hearts about how to love and cover our alliances. Like Abigail, we have to love God enough that we can exercise wisdom, especially if the actions of those close to us threaten to bring death to our front door. Back in my wristband-kissing days, I didn’t have the sense to know that choosing a partner for myself solely based upon looks could set me up for disaster. As a result, I spent time with lots of fools and likely passed up some future kings. Oblivious to how to embrace what my heart truly needed, I spent years living the phrase, If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I can only credit the grace of God that I’m now spending my days and nights with a king whom I love to esteem!