25 years ago, I stepped out in faith and honored an invitation from this man (pictured). I was young, naive and had no idea what the future held but had faith- I had prayed specifically for the kind of man I wanted to date and marry and simply trusted God to honor it. I believed that God will bring it to pass. It was our first date and even though I had a great dinner that night at Olive Garden Italian Restaurant in Chicago, he had the worst date he could have imagined. He was nervous, had just gotten his drivers license and bumped his car against road curbs not one time but (I kid you not) three times, from my apartment to the restaurant. He apologized every time he did this and couldn’t not eat at the restaurant. According to him, he was enamored and spellbound and ‘food’ was the last thing on his mind… I listened with rapt attention as he told me more about himself and I tried to fill in the gaps from our very 1st conversation eight days earlier. I had checked off the boxes from the list of requirements that I wanted in a man but I still wasn’t sure of a commitment yet to a relationship (i mean, I was a college student and my studies was 1st priority). Even though he was just been his authentic self (thank me later, you’d rather date an authentic person than someone who puts up a fake persona) he thought he had messed up terribly after he dropped me off at home that evening. I reciprocated with a surprise call, hours later, when I called to check on him and he was deeply touched. Yeah, 😝 I was the kind hearted girl, who wanted to make sure he got home safe. The next couple of months were spent with me dilly dallying about whether to accept his request for us to become a couple. For him, he knew that I was the ‘one’ the first day he set his eyes on me. For me, I wanted to be sure (yep, don’t let anyone else confirm for you; trust me, when you know, YOU KNOW). Less than two months from our first date, on May 12, 1998, this man successfully won me over and we became a couple; 3 years 9 months after, we sealed our relationship formally with three 😂 ceremonies and they say the rest is history.

The real reason I wanted to share this story is to emphasize that faith without works is fruitless. Besides our faith in God, his continuous mercy, favor and grace, which have continually sustained and brought us to where we are today- and being so blessed with a man that I prayed for and more than I bargained… a special gift from God- kind hearted, loving, responsible, humble, godly, and the adjectives go on…, and I would rather not toot my own horn, I will say that our ‘works-‘ our commitment, perseverance, persistence, resolve to work at our relationship and keep it going, also has had a role in bringing us to where we are today, despite the ‘ups’ and ‘downs,’ and triumphs and challenges that we have experienced and are prevalent in every relationship.

Faith is great but your ‘works’ is also key. Truly, to whom much is given, much is expected. ‘Works’ must always accompany ‘Faith,’ in the long run. Shout out to everyone out there doing the ‘works’ to keep their relationship going. It is not easy but the Lord will continually be our help. Happy 25th years of dating you AOGJO. Thanks for loving me and pouring so much of yourself to our relationship. I love you so much and cheers to many more celebrations 🙏🏿 🎉🎈🍾 ❤️