After Michael expressed that he thought I might be the one to lead him to Christ, I think we agreed to read Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. I'm pretty sure this was his idea as he already had a copy of the book at home. The plan was to discuss it together as we read it. However, that never happened. As I remember, we got caught up in our emotions for each other and all we wanted to do was make out. As much fun as that was, in retrospect, I wish I'd kept him at arm's length until we'd had a chance to read and discuss that book.
That part of our relationship was rather short-lived. We ended things in the fall of 1994, and it was several years before we began seeing each other again. By this time, my own walk had become compromised. My "god" was having a relationship with Michael. I don't mean that I was no longer a believer in Christ, but that I was not pursuing Him first and foremost. I was pursuing Michael. I loved Michael and I wanted us to marry and have a family together. Believe it or not, it took a lot of convincing to get him to see things my way!
By the time we got married, he still hadn't become a Christian, but he respected my beliefs and he agreed with me that any children of ours would be raised in the church. He saw that his niece Kiana, and my nieces Rebecca and Sarah, were really grounded. He said he thought their faith and involvement at church had a big influence on their attitudes and behaviors. He wanted to have good kids like them. He was really afraid we'd have unruly teenagers someday. I think he was thinking back on all the stuff he'd done as a teenager!
After we got married, my faith began to grow. When confronted with the difficulties of infertility, I made a choice to draw close to God and trust Him with our situation. I freely shared the things I was learning with Michael, but I didn't beat him over the head with a Bible. I would just tell him about new things I'd learned in my personal Bible study or at church. It was just part of our everyday conversation. Maybe he thought I was nuts, but he didn't show it. As a side note, Michael was always impressed with how I'd know all the answers to any Bible-based category on Jeopardy! Hey, all those years of Sunday School come in handy for that sort of thing.
When he was diagnosed with cancer, Michael readily accepted anyone praying for him. I began to pray over him daily and he was totally fine with that. He would also let me read passages from the Bible to him. But when I'd inquire as to whether or not he was talking to God in prayer, he admitted that he wasn't. I encouraged him to do so and pointed out that if faith was going to be a part of his recovery, then he couldn't just count on the faith of his family and friends. I told him that he needed to have faith, too. I don't know what he thought about that, but as the months progressed I sensed that he was being very passive about the spiritual aspect to his life, and that really concerned me.
To be continued...