Making God the Center

Y’all, I am in tears after reading one of my sweet couples love story on how they met and what attracted them to each other.  They have got it all figured out and I know without a doubt these two will do just fine if they keep putting God first.  What a true gift it is to find a Godly partner.

Here is their story that was shared on the Pinelake Blog, the church they attended while in OT school.

His Story

Kelly and I first saw each other on February 22, 2011 in the conference room at UMC. We were both interviewing to be admitted into the next Occupational Therapy class. Thank God He allowed us to both be admitted our first try! We went over a year of OT school just being friends but then we slowly started getting more serious. I proposed on February 22, 2014, exactly three years after we first saw each other.

Our first church together was Pinelake. There was a significance of proposing at the cross at Pinelake — to remind us that as long as we keep God first in all that we do and if we keep our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in our hearts, we will last. And we will last forever.

A little over a week before we officially started dating I went to church in my hometown. We were still “talking” at the time but I had been asking God, Lord, if Kelly is truly the one for me, and this is who you want me to spend the rest of my life with, then show me. Somehow, someway, give me some type of sign. Anything. That morning he answered all of my prayers in one sermon. The message that morning came from Proverbs 31. It lays out exactly what I should look for in a girlfriend and future wife. Proverbs 31 gives the characteristics of a godly woman. Faithfulness, caring and smart!

“The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:11–12

“She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.” Proverbs 31:20

“She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:26–27

And two more verses that always make me think of her.

“‘Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.’
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:29–30

Kelly fits all of these characteristics perfectly. You can’t help but smile when you are around her. Since the moment we’ve started dating, I have become a better person. A better friend, a better son, a better uncle, just an all around better person. Just being around her makes me want to be better. You have probably seen or heard of this analogy but I like to think about our relationship as a triangle. The two of us are on the bottom two sides of the triangle and God is at the top of the triangle. The more we love and closer we get to Him the more we can love and grow closer to one another.

Her Story

Parker and I saw each other for the first time on February 22, 2011 while waiting to interview for occupational therapy (OT) school. We were engaged three years later to the day. Parker and I were friends for over a year and a half before he pursued a more serious relationship. Initially, I always enjoyed being around Parker because he was so genuine. I never felt he did anything for ulterior motives. He was selfless, caring and personable simply because that’s who he was. Everyone I knew felt comfortable around Parker; he was everyone’s friend. In February of our second year of OT school, my relationship with Parker changed as he began pursuing me on a more intimate level. At this point in my life, I had been single for pushing four years and I was uninterested in starting a relationship unless I felt it could be, for lack of better terms, the “real thing.”

I had been praying specifically for a godly man to enter my life for years and I enjoyed my independence as I waited on God’s timing. As I got to know Parker better, I felt a peace that he was the man God had me waiting for. I could write pages on what attracts me to Parker but I’ll stick to what I feel is most important. First and foremost, Parker loves The Lord. It’s clear to me in everything he does. Additionally, our faith is something we talk about openly on a daily basis with one another. I had never had that in a relationship before and I think it’s imperative. Secondly, Parker takes a necessary leadership role in our relationship. I think sometimes saying a man has a “leadership role” can have a negative connotation, especially for women that pride themselves in their independence like myself, but what I mean is that he is a wonderful example to me of what a strong Christian should be, he holds me accountable and he makes me want to be a better person. Lastly, I’ll throw a few traits into one and although I’m not elaborating on them, I think they’re still of utmost importance. My family loves Parker, he doesn’t take himself too seriously, although we’d rather be together we are able to stand on our own two feet apart from one another, he’s not too prideful to say I’m sorry, and we have fun together regardless of what we’re doing.

On a final note, there’s something I heard in undergrad regarding relationships that has helped me over the years. When I was in BSU at Mississippi State a married couple spoke on what to look for in a dating relationship. The wife said that if you’re in a relationship you need to ask yourself one question: “Do you serve God better with or without this person?” I serve God better when I’m with Parker and that’s all I needed to justify spending the rest of my life with him.

—Parker Gregory and Kelly Sterling

*Photography credits to Jeremy Archer at Southern Blue Photography


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