The Story of Us

jenn 2This blog is especially late and should have been posted right after Yom Kipper/ Day of Atonement, but life happens. I hope you enjoy this tribute to friends who have a unique story to share. Keith & Jenn, I wish you nothing but the best.

In Sleeping Beauty, due to a curse, the Princess falls into a deep sleep for 100 years until one day she is awakened by a kiss from a king’s son. What would cause a bride to forget about her wedding date, lose interest in her first love and fall asleep? It could only be poison.

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. (Matt 25:1-10, NASB).

 

This blog post will tell a unique story of two lovers and their journey. Throughout this blog, you will hear two distinct voices, the voice of the bride, Jennifer, and my own voice. I will warn you, it is a tad longer than most my writings, but one of my favorites thus far. Before we get started on this journey, I want you to picture a Glorious King and our bridal clothing, clean and white, without spot or wrinkle. Brides get new names. Brides wear royal garments. You are about to enter a wedding ceremony on a most peculiar date. It’s not a lavish ceremony. There were no tuxedos, no grand ballroom displays. No champagne or limousine for the bride and her maidens, but there was something there, something tangibly felt. The wind of His Breath breathed on the people, and many of the people wept. The name Jennifer means ‘Fair one.’ Keith means ‘the Forest/ Wind.’ Both meanings hint to His Holy Spirit—a MIGHTY rushing wind blowing upon us.

Jennifer:

Our wedding date was chosen because it was 13 days after his birthday (Sept

5) and 13 days before mine (Oct 2).

I felt completely confirmed in the date because of not only our favorite number 13 (love, unity, covenant, and eternity) but also because the date would be 9-18-18. Nine (fruitfulness, fruit of the spirit, and the womb) being the number signifying birth and 18 (life, prayer, worship) being double that (plus 8+1=9 again). I felt it appropriate that we would be birthing our future, our permanence, and our ministry from the very day of our wedding onward.

 

This event was placed on a very unusual date indeed, the evening going into the Day of Atonement—Yom Kippur, a Tuesday night at 6:30 pm. If you are unfamiliar with this day, I hope the theme of the wedding and the hidden nuggets from His Word spark your interest.

Jennifer and Keith had been young sweethearts; now 30 years later, they were becoming ONE. The non-denominational church where the event was being held is called ‘Awakening Church.’ How intricate our Father is. We blow the shofar in this season to awaken us from our slumber so we can prepare our bridal gowns. “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ (Messiah) will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14, NASB). Even the age of their first proposal reminded me of the 12 tribes of Israel. Remember, Judah was only one tribe.

Jennifer:

We met when I was 11 and he 12. We dated about a year and a half during which time he proposed to me at the old farmhouse I used to live in (I was 12 and he 13 at the time). We were broken up after that (in 7th grade) by his cousin who was my best friend and who deceived us with lies. We went through the rest of middle school and high school together watching each other grow up but never speaking. We were both destroyed emotionally by it, never speaking to the other one about it, and went on to pick multiple toxic and abusive partners.

 jennn

Years ago, I met the groom online, and learned that Keith was working on a murder mystery that’s now available on Amazon titled Foolish Pride. He picked up my fictional works and loved them. He opened up about his personal past and the many hurts he’d endured. After reading my fiction, he began to read my teaching books. Once while my husband and I were speaking at an assembly, he drove over an hour to attend, and he purchased more books. My husband and Keith soon realized they knew each other from their background in law enforcement. We heard from Keith periodically. We learned later on that he was going through a personal journey of crushing. Our hearts went out to him.

Jennifer: Fast forward to May 1, 2013, we found out that the breakup had been a lie and that neither of us had intended to leave the other. We spoke long enough to heal the old wounds and get closure. We lost touch for a bit but then began talking in late Aug of 2015.

Unlike Valentine’s Day, the Hebrew holiday of love happens each year in late August in the month of Av’. The single women borrow white dresses from one another, and they go out into the fields to sing and dance. The single men come out to gaze upon the fair maidens. Can you picture our Heavenly King?

“And the daughters of Jerusalem would go out and dance in the vineyards located on the outskirts of the city. And everyone who didn’t have a wife would go there. And what would they say? Young man, lift up your eyes and choose wisely. Don’t look only at physical beauty’ (Proverbs 31:30). “And the daughters of the rest of Israel would borrow from each other, so as not to embarrass those who didn’t have.” (Talmud, tractate Ta’anit 30b-31a).

“There were no better (i.e. happier) days for the people of Israel than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, since on these days the daughters of Israel/Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards. What were they saying: Young man, consider whom you choose (to be your wife)?” (Ta’anit, Chapter 4)

Jennifer:

We finally saw each other face to face again in late Oct 2015 after 25 years of not seeing each other in person. I became certain that God wanted us together for a purpose and continued to place myself in Keith’s presence as often as I could until he was healed enough to see for himself that we needed to be together. Keith taught me about faith, patience, and how to seek God intensely with passion. By April 3 2016 he was willing to go on “a date” with me. He reminded me not to get my hopes up. But he also told me, when I asked what book of the Bible I should start with, to read Ruth. So I did. I believe that he deeply wanted to try again with me but was so broken that he didn’t want to hurt me or get himself hurt again. On my 40th birthday Oct 2, 2016, he kissed me for the first time (our second “first kiss”) and agreed that we were finally dating.

jennnnn

I wanted to chime in here again before getting to the wedding ceremony. Let’s relook at the date above. October 2nd of 2016 was the Feast of Trumpets in the year 5777. Another name for this feast is Yom HaKeseh, “The Day of the Hiding” or “the Hidden Day. Jesus/ Yeshua spoke about this day.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah” “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming (Matthew 24:36-37 42, NASB).

In ancient customs, a Jewish wedding proceeded with a betrothal period when the groom worked on building a room onto his father’s house for his bride.

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2, NASB).

While the groom was working on the house, the bride was working on her wedding garments. When the father told the son, ‘it is time,’ a shofar was blown, and the groom would go get his bride for the wedding ceremony. The bride was to keep her bridesmaids near, their lamps filled with oil, and her garments clean, white, and ready. The verse from Matthew above explains that we will not know ‘which day’ our Messiah is coming, but friends we can know the very season when we keep His holy days. They were still being kept throughout the newer portion of the Bible. Let’s look at this deeper. ”Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day” (I Thessalonians 5:1-5 NASB).

 

We do not have to be in darkness! We are to be sons of light and sons of the day. “Thief in the night” is a Jewish idiom for the Feast of Trumpets/ Rosh Hashanah. These days are all about Jesus/ Yeshua and hold the keys to His coming return–the day He will set up His glorious Kingdom. The reason no man knows the day or hour is because the Feast of Trumpets always falls on a new moon. Since weather can affect the sighting of a new moon sliver, we soon realize why no man knows the day or the hour. They had moon spotters back then who would search the sky for the first sliver of the moon. The Sanhedrin, like our wedding couple, would need two witnesses (moon spotters). The world has its own calendar, but Abba has written His in the Heavens. The moon is ‘born again’ every month. Jennifer was returning to her ‘first love.’ Yeshua said this to one of the 7 churches, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4, NASB).

 

After some time, Keith informed us that he had reconnected with his ‘first love,’ and he was getting his CDL license. Things were looking up. Shortly afterwards, He came to one of our meetings and shared his testimony. It’s touching to see an ex-marine, truck driver, with a law enforcement background get teary eyed, but he did. He explained how reading Polishing Jade and Walter the Homeless Man helped him forgive his abusers and heal from the pain of his past. He shared his journey of faith with the Father of Lights and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

The next time my husband and I saw him, he had his soulmate by his side, and she was everything I imagined. Soft, kind, intelligent, a wordsmith, a caregiver, a counselor for those troubled in spirit, and I instantly liked her. We learned of their engagement, and they shared their story of how the Father brought them back together after 30 years. But guess what event he brought her to? It was none other than the Feast of Tabernacles/ Sukkot. This is our wedding day. When Yeshua returns to tabernacle among us.

Finally, the day of the wedding was here, and I was wondering what to wear. I was accustomed to wearing white on (Day of Atonement) Yom Kippur, but everyone knows the bride wears white. Ha! Yes, the Father was already putting the puzzle pieces together. I kept hearing “Just show up for the wedding!”

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:7-8 NASB).

jen and maid

The theme of the wedding was ‘books.’ Ironic that it fell on the eve of the day when our names are said to be sealed in His Book for another year? Allow me to give you a short synopsis of this amazing event before going into the wedding ceremony.

The seventh month is called Tishri in Hebrew. Remember this is when Keith first proposed and also the exact date of their second kiss, its none other than the Feast of Trumpets.

“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:24, NASB). If a man were elected as King, he would not be crowned and eligible to rule until after his coronation during this time. This is the season we look for our returning King, Yeshua, who will be crowned King of the universe! He will be ruler over all the kingdoms of the world. Paul spoke about these awakening shouts!

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52 KJV).

Jesus/ Yeshua has fulfilled the first portion of feast called the spring feast, but we are still waiting for the fall feast to come forth. So after the Feast of Trumpets, known as Yom Teruah (Awakening Blast or Shout), we enter a time called the Ten Days of Awe, where we begin great introspection, repentance and trying to make right with anyone we may have wronged. Salvation isn’t a one-time prayer. Paul said we were to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1st Thessalonians 4:16, NASB).

During the season of this Feast, the gates of repentance are thought to remain open until the Day of Atonement, at which the judge makes His final decree. Yom Kippur is the holiest day. It marked when the High Priest would go behind the veil into the most holy place and make atonement for the sins of the people. Hebrews chapter 9:12-13 explains how our Messiah went one time for all. “He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God. . .

This couple unknowingly had picked the eve of this date to take their vows. Kol Nidre is an oath recited before sundown on Yom Kippur and it means “all vows.”

Oh, friends, think about this on a deeper level! What man hurries to pick a bride? Men of great wisdom carefully study a possible mate. They don’t just rush in and pick a woman that looks good on the outside; they look at her heart. They watch, study, and make sure the woman they become intimate with will be a wise woman who builds her house. Jennifer believed lies and left her first love. Through lies and deceit, Israel went far away from her husband, and He divorced His bride. “And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce” (Jeremiah 3:8, NASB). He uses the prophets to explain how one day He will gather them again. And He is! Yeshua said He came for the lost sheep of the House of Israel.

But let’s get back to the Book of Life and visit this very curious wedding invitation! Actually the most peculiar and inventive wedding invitation I have ever seen. It was a library card—old school! I want you to imagine the heading where it says author, and picture the Author and Finisher of our faith. “looking to the author and perfecter of faith – Jesus (Yeshua), who, over-against the joy set before him — did endure a cross, shame having despised, on the right hand also of the throne of God did sit down;” (Hebrews 12:2, YLT). It is the story of us. I hope you are as touched as me as we watch this library card unfold in the spirit during this blog.

 

card lib

Truth was revealed at Mount Sinai. Acts chapter two is also about a Feast day termed Pentecost or Shavuot in the Hebrew. This was when the Torah was given over 3,000 years ago, and our wedding vows were said. This truth revealed matches their card. Just days later, on May 15, 2013, was the day of Pentecost or the Feast of Shavuot, rather. A shofar was sounded at that time as well.

First Proposal:

Abba Father (the Groom) and Israel (His Bride—the story of us) took their vows. The shofar waxed louder and louder, and our Father gave the people a moral code of conduct which we call the Ten Sayings or Ten Commandments, written in chapter 20 of Exodus. Before the commandments are even given in chapter 20, the bride says this, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” (Exodus 19:8, NASB).

As my husband and I walked into the church, we were delighted to see the reception area adorned for the wedding supper. Each table held something mind-blowing. In the place where one would usually see flowers and candles, their tables were adorned with books tied with strings. Excuse me while I stop to sing.

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens

Brown paper packages tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things!”

Books on the day of His Books! Amazing. And atop the books were glass jars that had written scrolls rolled up and sealed instead of flowers. Each stack of books on Jennifer’s tables had a typed quote or passage from a favorite book, and there at one of the tables, I spotted one of my own babies, Polishing Jade! My heart jumped with joy at all the Father was showing me concerning His feast day and our soon coming wedding day. He even whispered a vow He made to me concerning my pen.

books

Yes, like the quote from The bridge of Terabithia, just keep your mind wide open to these Feast. They are filled with wonder. Jenn and Keith were about to give their vows and say “We will do.” They were making vows on the day when our names are sealed in the Book of Life.

The Father knows the time of His first proposal to all of us. I was five or six years old, but I remember the day quite well when with tears in my eyes I asked the Father and His Son to accept me and change me. I also remember the day when I was like the prodigal son and went far away from my Father, living with swine and in drunkenness. I am thankful for a merciful Father who has made a way of redemption for us all, aren’t you?

In Acts chapter two, over 3,000 souls came back into their wedding covenant. Although they had sinned and He had scattered them across the earth—He had even written them a certificate of divorce, but now the blood of Yeshua had covered their transgressions and made a way for them to be united again. I’m singing an oldie but a goody, REUNITED and it feel so good.

After Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets, we say to one another, “May your name be inscribed in the book of life.” It is during these ten days we try and repent for anything we may have done or any person we may have hurt.

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelations 20:11-12, 15, NASB).

The Day of Forgiveness (Yom Kippur) is spent fasting and praying. Because this day is the most solemn day in the year, it is known as “The Day.”

“The First Trump,” blown and associated with Shavuot (Pentecost);
“The Last Trump,” blown and associated with Rosh HaShanah; Feast of Trumpets
“The Great Trump,” blown and associated with Yom Kippur.

It is on Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) when the Great Trumpet (Matthew 24)), known in Hebrew as the Shofar HaGadol is blown.

“As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9-10)

 

doors

We entered the church (Awakening) and were seated in the sanctuary. It was dimly lit and lights shined from strands laced on the altar. Suddenly the bridesmaids (Wise virgins), (5 total), came down the aisle carrying their own stack of books tied in string. As they passed by I noticed one of my books in their hands. I learned later, that all the bridesmaids carried one of my books in their stacks. I wept more. How many times have I laid my books at His altar? Our Father is so intricate. He doesn’t miss a beat! He said, “Just go to the wedding, Tekoa!” He had treasures for me there. He has treasures for you there. He is saying, “Just come to my wedding feast!” This reminded me of several passages.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come” (Matthew 22:2-3 NIV).

Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. “Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves” (Luke 12:35-37 NASB).

The pastor opened up the ceremony and informed us that the bride to be and groom had requested to worship before they exchanged vows. The singers came forth, and the music started. Many arose from their seats and lifted their hands to the Father of Lights. A sweet smelling fragrance entered the room and then a song was played. This song touched us so much we were both in tears. The Title simply “History.” History is a love song from our Father to His Bride. A song of redemption. How far back do we go? Remember the first proposal! Oh, how He loves us!

You and I, we’ve got history
We go way, way back
We go way, way back
You and I, we’ve got history
We go way, way back
We go way, way back

[Verse 1]
For eons I thought about you
Before I ever made you
I wrote every moment down
You were all my idea
Above all I created
You are my most precious crown

[Chorus]
You and I, we’ve got history
We go way, way back
We go way, way back
You and I, we’ve got history
We go way, way back
We go way, way back

[Verse 2]
I saved words just to say to you
Before you ever met me
So take some time and hear them now
I gave you my greatest gift
My love cannot be measured
You’re my treasure, You’re my child!

So after the reception and book talk, we gathered around for cake and dancing and singing, then home to begin our fast. After the fast is over, we enter into a time of great celebration. The feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. This feast is the 7th Feast and it happens in the 7th month and it last for 7 days. It’s our wedding rehearsal for the real deal! Oh Saints, think about the beauty of a bride on her wedding day. When Yeshua returns in all His Glory, and we rule and reign with Him it will be the season of our joy.

Remember those wise and foolish virgins at the beginning of our blog? They all had something in common, they all fell asleep. “As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6 ESV).

While the foolish went off to buy oil, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Notice what happens when the foolish virgins return from purchasing more oil, “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open up for us.’ “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” (25:11-12).

Notice the five doors in the photo above. One door for each wise maiden. The symbols at this wedding were everywhere.

Like the inscription on the pillow below, “We are waiting for ‘just one more chapter!’ His Fall Feast. May we all return to our first love in this season. May we be ready and waiting with oil in our lamps, our wicks trimmed, our garments clean, our hearts prepared. May we see His Feast in all their glory and May the Father of Lights use this couple to spread the gospel with power and might. After 30 years they are reunited. It was at the age of 30 that the King of Kings began His ministry, our Messiah Yeshua, may He be lifted up!

Many blessing to this couple!

Tekoa

jenn and story

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