my sweet sixteens


As I sit here, my mind is racing through thoughts of what I should write about today. My posts always begin with the words Joy Story #… So this is my 16th story! Pondering that, I think about a few sweet ‘sixteens’ in my life that brought JOY to my heart.

sweet sweet 15

Sweet Sixteen #1
The year was 1979. I was far from God at this time in my life. I was just one week away from turning 19, clueless about the things of God.  Life went typically like this… get up and go to work, pay our own bills, etc. But I also thought I could do whatever made me happy!  So God was nowhere in the picture.

Then it happened unexpectedly! While I was visiting my neighbor, a man came by to pick up a rifle that needed repairs. In the conversation, he invited us to attend a service that was called a “Sing-In.”  He shared with us about the Holy Spirit and that the Spirit of God still moves today. Honestly, I was a bit nervous about visiting a church that was nothing like the one I was born into. He said that all they would be doing is singing. Well, that was a set up that God orchestrated.

It was Friday, February 16, 1979… and there I was in a Pentecostal night of worship. The moment the singing began, I sensed something I’ve never experienced before. It was like liquid love falling on me. I lifted my hands, which was a new thing for me. I began to cry, not knowing why. I was caught in a moment of pure peace and at the same time, fear and awe! I was taught that there was a God, but it was the first time in the 18 years of my life, that I knew He was real! I trembled in HIS presence. I was gloriously filled with the Holy Spirit and that day changed my life forever. In days, weeks, months and years now, I’ve walked in this new life with my Savior. His name is JESUS! Not only is He my Savior, but He is my Lord.

Let me just say, Jesus has become my All-in-All! When I am afraid, I can trust Him. He will always come running! One day, as I was in a most desperate time in my life, I closed my eyes and I cried out, “JESUS!” I saw Him running to me! I mean, running like He was just as desperate as I was, to come to my rescue.

I’m always trying to get the most out of what God is doing in my life. Do you do that? He connects things and shows me things all the time.

Sweet Sixteen #2
A new place in my life… a single mom, desperate for normal. My life was in so much turmoil and uncertainty. All I knew to do was chase after God. He was my total focus as I moved forward, wondering, “Now what?”

I found myself waiting at an altar I built for My Lord. I fell daily to my knees, seeking Him for direction, fighting the fear of my future and the future for my children. God always carried me, until the next visit to that altar. I found peace there. Jesus would dry my tears and hold me close.

With this new place in life, came a new circle of friends. One day, a gentleman looked my way. We began to talk after church and he eventually told me he wanted to pursue a relationship with me. Later, as we were becoming close friends, he shared this with me. He said others were chasing after Him for a relationship, while I was chasing after God. My pursuit of God is what attracted him.

There were so many times when God connected my personal relationship with Him to my relationship with Phil. I would sometimes go to meet him at his company, for lunch. When the whistle blew, he’d come running to meet me, just like Jesus came running to me. That was a joy to my heart, because of the vision I shared in Joy Story #15: He sang over me. God also gave Phil a vision of heaven, where he saw the brightness of God in heaven. He described it exactly the way I saw it in my vision.

wedding pic

We became MR. and MRS. on February 16, 2002. Our wedding was not the typical ceremony. It may have seemed a bit unusual for some. I walked into the back of the church and waited as the musicians sang a song, “You have captured my heart, my sister my bride. You have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes. I will run, I will run, I will run to you. Oh, Lord we will run to you.” Phil took off, running up the aisle to get his bride. Sound familiar? It was sweet to connect our special day with the things God promised me years before.

If you will pursue God with all of your heart, He will do for you what He has done for me. He never ceases to amaze me! If you want a Sweet Sixteen Story in your life, put your running shoes on a chase after God.

Living in HIS Joy!
Eva Raye



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