Thursday, October 4, 2007

Karl an answer to prayer

First a little background.

I first met Karl when I started with Applied Materials. He remembers meeting me but I don't remember meeting him. I started in the department that he was already working in. He was one of many guys in the department. I was one of only two females to enter the department. He soon transferred to Phoenix to become a Field service Engineer.

As I grow in my career, I became an expert on a new tool called an RIE Etcher. Because it takes the field engineers a long time to game a high level of expertise the company would regularly send out factory techs to go help in the field. Thus I was sent to Phoenix on two separate trips of three weeks each to work on these tools. During both of my visits Karl took the time to ask me to lunch on a few occasions. I appreciated his asking me to lunch but beyond that I had no interest in him. Also at this point in my life I was actively going to the gay bars when I got off from work. I did think that he was a bit weird. At this point in my life I really had no social skills and could really only talk to others if they had something that I needed (like info or data for my projects, etc.) So I always wondered what he wanted.

As time progressed I move into an engineering role supporting the same tool that I used to work on in Final Test. I would design test equipment to test the sub assemblies of the tool. On a few occasions Karl stopped in to say hi. He had been promoted to a Manager and had to come to the corporate office for meetings. He would always stop by to say hello. Again I would always wonder what the heck he wanted. I just couldn't comprehend talking to someone just to be social. He was a mystery.

In time I also became a Field Service Manager. I was Karl's counterpart located in the Santa Clara Ca Field Office and my territory covered the bay area, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Being counterparts gave me an opportunity to work on projects where Karl and I would be contributing to the same project. I gained a respect for him as a business man.

After making my decision to leave the life style:

Jesus had asked me to follow Him out of the life style and continue to walk with Him in a new life. For me this was an easy choice to make but the most difficult to follow through on. I knew that I could not continue to live without Him in my life. I did have one request that I prayed and asked Him to respond to. I was desperately afraid of being alone would he please bring to me a husband and teach me how to love and trust him. I also made a commitment at the time I prayed that I would not marry any man that did not have an active life with Jesus and that he would be a baptized believer in Jesus. This was the minimum.

Well life apart from my lover was very difficult. Each day I had to make a purposeful decision to look to Jesus to sustain me, renew my mind, keep me moving forward, and keep giving me hope. I continued to work, go to church, read the bible, and pray. I continued to create relationships with folks at church. In fact, I became part of a home group. This group of people became an extended family for me. We met in the home of the leaders of the group and we would open the bible together, study it, pray about our needs, and have a meal together. This really helped me to have a stabilizing place in my life. I was able to share my struggles freely and to be prayed for, encouraged, and challenged.

The company I worked for had started a new division for a new product. It was a leading edge technology and needed experienced people for many different roles to make the product successful. The company often drew from experienced folks from within other divisions to ensure the success of a new product. Thus Karl applied for and was hired as the Technical Support Managers position. He had to relocate from Phoenix back to Santa Clara.

Once Karl had relocated it didn't take long to learn that He was in the hot seat for this new product. With my experience in the company I knew that this new position would chew Karl up and spit him out unless he found a way to have other things of value in his life besides just work. He worked like a dog, 12-14 hour days 6 and 7 days per week. We would run into each other occasionally and catch up on our work lives. I shared with him on one occasion that I had a softball game over at the mission fields.

One night as we were playing he happened to show up to watch the game. We all went out for beer and food after the game. This became a regular thing for him and he ended up coming to watch several of my games. After a time, I called and invited him to lunch. We enjoyed each others company. By this time in my life God had already changed me so much. I now had some social skills and was able to enjoy Karl's company.

To my self I thought, Lord if this is the man that you want me to marry then you will have to get him to church and you will have to ensure that he is walking with you. I knew that I could drive this issue with Karl, invite him to church and push my faith upon him. I knew from our discussions that he was a spiritual man but not that he was walking with Jesus and a baptised believer. Thus I always kept a certain distance between us.

Then one day, Karl showed up at the church that I was attending. Green Valley Christian Church. It was a smalled church located on the east side of San Jose. The pastor was Jim Crain. Karl began attending regularly. After a short period of time and several of Jim's great sermon's it didn't take Karl long to figure out that he needed to be baptized as an adult. He needed to begin actively pursuing a relationship with Jesus. I think it may have been about 2-3 months and Karl knew he needed to be baptized. Once this happened then I no longer kept a distance between Karl and myself. I also drew comfort from the fact that I had nothing directly to do with his drawing nearer to the Lord and being baptized.

Taking a pause:

Now both Karl and I were not young pups at this point in our lives. I was 27 and he was 30 when he moved back to CA. Neither of us grew up in Christian homes with parents who actively followed God. We both drank, did drugs, had sex outside of marriage, etc, etc, etc. By the time you are close to 30 you no longer just follow your hormones and get involved with another person. It just takes to much of a tole on your life. So even though we had feelings for each other neither of us were about to get the cart in front of the horse.

The Story Resumes:

After Karl's baptism we began seeing each other regularly and exclusively. It didn't take either of us very long to realize that we were either going to get married or we needed to stop seeing each other so regularly. Up to this point we had not even held hands much less done anything else. We both knew that we needed to share our dirty laundry to see if we could bare each others baggage. Thus we both took an opportunity to share about our pasts. Once we did that we took about a two week break from each other and then met again. Each of us needed to make a decision could we cope with each others past.

We came back together and discussed each others past. It was a long discussion but in the end we both decided that even with both of our pasts we were both willing to take a chance at a life time relationship together. Now Karl did not ask me to marry him at this point but we both knew that the stage was set and the road was cleared.

I wish I could say at this point that I was overwhelmed with love for this man and the joy of the Lord was gushing out of me. That was not the case. I was still operating from a survival mode from having come out of my gay relationship only a year prior. I had absolutely no experience in being in a relationship with some one and not throwing myself sexually at them first (whether it was a man or woman). I was very reserved in our relationship and so was Karl. Could I really trust this man, I didn't know.

We made plans to go back to the mid west to meet each others parents. This was during the summer of 1987. His Dad and step mom lived in Winona MN and my folks lived in Oconomowoc WI. We were able to make plans to visit both during a single trip because they lived only four hours apart. We visited Karl's first. While there Karl asked his best friend from his growing up years to be his best man. We also spent a full day shopping for wedding rings. It was on this day that we really began to know each other. Karl likes to dance around a subject like a plane circling an airport waiting for the go ahead to land. I like to hit things head on. Thus by the end of the day, after returning to his father's house we had one of our first confrontations.

Karl was coming up the stairs and I was coming down thus we met about in the middle of this very skinny stairway to the loft. In my exasperation I said to Karl, "I don't know why we have even bothered to look at rings, you have not even asked me to marry you!" We passed each other and a few minutes later Karl came to me and asked me to marry him. I was not happy, why could he not address this issue straight up? Now after 19 years of marriage I have grown to really appreciate how my husband makes decision. He is very good about gathering information, getting different perspectives and then only after great consideration making a decision. He has also learn from me. Some times things need to be addressed head on and gathering more info will not really change the outcome. Together we complement one another and we've both grown as a husband and wife together.

So on August 20, 1988 Karl and I walked the isle. We became Mr & Mrs. Karl Thorne. As you may have read from my other post our marriage did not start without troubles and challenges. I had two moral failures, one before getting married and one just after getting married. God was still at work, changing me, reworking me, healing me. There was much more to do. It was satan's desire to see our marriage fail. It could have. It has stood the rocky beginning. Both of us were determined not allow divorce be an option although I don't think either of us knew how to prevent it. Thus we both continued forward even in the face of great pain from my choices. Now after the fact we can both see how God has used those difficulties in our lives to strengthen our relationship to Him and to one another. Those sinful choices were mine alone but I did not have to bear them alone. It says in 1st John 1:9 that if we confess our sins, that God is faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He has been faithful to do that.

Karl has been and continues to be a faithful husband. He is a devoted father to our children, loves God, is involved with our church, and is patient with me. We are both learning how to be Godly people. This family that God has blessed us with is where we get to practice daily being selfless and gain control over being selfish. I am thankful to God for Karl. Today I know that there is no other man that I could imagine being with. He has walked with me all these years. He has been patient to wait upon the Lord while the Lord worked changes in me. I am still learning how to love my husband as God has intended. I still have much to learn but I've also come so far. God is so good.

thanks for listening.

1 comment:

cin bin said...

Jennifer,
I have read your blog.
God has given you strength.
Keep sharing your life in God.
And he will keep sharing your life with others.

Your rewards are your husband and your children.

And your gifts are those that He has equipped your with already.

Different gifts by the same Spirit.