“Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away; for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come ….” (Song of Solomon 2:10b-12a)
I will not argue with those who say Song of Solomon is an allegory of the love relationship between Jesus Christ and His bride, the Church. But I hope they will not argue when I say it is also a divine celebration of what God intended when He created the covenant of marriage. (Genesis 2:18-24; Mark 10:6-9) His desire is that their love be “the very flame of the Lord”! (Song of Solomon 8:6) And so it has been for Christie and me.
Raised in a Christian home, I was baptized as an infant in a Presbyterian church and baptized again by the Baptists at the age of nine. But by the age of 17, I had abandoned any focus on Jesus as a source of direction for my life.
I met Christie in the summer of 1972 when I was in law school, she was a stewardess, and we were asked to be an usher and bridesmaid, respectively, in a wedding. We were introduced on the steps of a church. Her first name was “Christ-ie”. Her last name was Moses. Her parents lived on Eden Avenue. I was destined, if not predestined, to return to the Lord.
Unfortunately, it would take 19 years for that portion of our story to come true. But even the interim years, when I did not know the Lord, were blessed by the Lord through her. I “heard bells” at that first wedding, and even caught the wedding garter. One year later, we had our own wedding and headed off together to the U.S. Marine Corps.
Five years and two baby daughters later, Christie and I came out of the Marines to this wonderful Kingsport community, and here we have been delighted to stay. During the first season of our life here, I practiced law while Christie juggled the two things in addition to me she loved the most: (1) being a great mother to Jenny and Jessie, and (2) singing and community theatre.
Then the unexpected happened. Christie somehow drew me into community theatre with her, and for ten years, starting with my Captain Hook to her Peter Pan, we shared that experience at Parks & Recreation, Showboat, Kingsport Theatre Guild, Funfest, First Night, and Showtime. Little did I know then how the Lord was using Christie to mold me into someone who would later write and perform skits and stories for Him.
Christie’s love, loyalty and prayers all played a significant role in my return to Jesus in 1991. When I heard the Lord call me into fulltime ministry in 1994, it was Christie – married to a very successful young lawyer in a very successful law firm – who said, “Doug, if God is calling you into ministry, let’s do it.” She would take that same “shoulder to shoulder” stance three years later when we left the safe road of the Methodist itineracy to pastor a small Black congregation at St. Mark on Maple Street, and she did it yet again when, at the age of 60, we bought an old building and started Friends of the King Ministries.
Those of you who were blessed to meet Christie know she was a bright, talented, beautiful, joyful woman who could light up a room with a laugh and light up your heart with her singing. A much smaller number know how much she loved the inmates at the men’s prison in Mountain City, where we ministered together for twenty years, and how much they loved her.
Likewise, a smaller number know how she walked the streets of downtown Kingsport, both with me and alone, and the length of Long Island, and the top of Cement Hill, and twice on the heights of Bays Mountain, as she prayed for this city and region to experience spiritual awakening. And how often she prayed with others for healing and saw healing come, and how in some very dark places, she used her spiritual gift of discernment of spirits to pray with me for people to be delivered from demonic oppression.
Jesus came for Christie on September 5 while she was surrounded by loving family. He could have healed her physically. He loved both Christie and me enough to do that. But her work on earth was done – very well done. (Philippians 1:21-24; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; Matthew 25:21, 23) Her winter is past, and her rain is over. Her time of singing has come!
My work on earth is not quite over. The woman I love is in heaven and so, for the first time, I am in a long-distance relationship. But I will see her again, and when I do, we will see and love each other even better than before.
God bless you, and God bless our community.