Tina is loyal, spiritual and from the South! The first time we went out was Christmas 2002. At that time, she worked at the Pais Project. She told me she was staying in the North for the holidays. ‘Do you want to go out for a meal?’ ‘Okay’, she said. I wasn’t looking for a relationship.
I picked her up from her flat, and I took her to Frankie and Benny’s. We chatted about work. I didn’t think anything of it.
After Christmas, I took her for another meal. This time, I took her to a Chinese, at tea-time. We chatted about work.
A few weeks later, I saw her again. ‘Do you want to go out for another meal?’ ‘Yes okay.’ This time, I thought I’d really push the boat out, so I took her for an Indian. At night!
We were chatting at the table. Then she went to bathroom, and I remember looking at her and thinking, ‘Cor, look at those curves; look at her shape; look at her bum.’ She came back from the bathroom, and I caught a smell of her perfume. ‘Aw, that smells lovely. It’s so feminine.’ I hadn’t been in a relationship for 10 years! That’s a long time!
I dropped her off and went home. ‘God forgive me. Take my thoughts captive. I shouldn’t be thinking like this!’ And it was like God slapped me on the back of my neck and said, ‘Shut up, this is of me.’ ‘But God…’ ‘Shut up!’
‘Okay, if this is of you, God, I’m going to send her an email.’ I was in my little flat. I picked up my laptop and put it on my knee. It took me an hour to write the email. ‘Dear Tina, do you think God is in this relationship? Love, Barry.’ Send. A few minutes later … a message in my inbox from Tina! ‘I like to think that God is in all our relationships.’ I sent another email. It took me five seconds. ‘I know that God is in all of our relationships, but do you think there might be something more to this one?’ No love. Send! A minute later there was a message in my inbox. ‘Maybe.’ Talk about play hard to get!
So, I asked her out on a proper date. She said ‘Yes.’ It was so crazy. There I was, a grown man, who’d been in lots of relationships, nervous going out on a first date.
It was like being 16 again! This whole episode felt so innocent; something that I hadn’t really experienced since before my innocence was smashed to bits through a life of crime and addiction.
Now Tina is my wife! God used Tina to restore my innocence!
See, you can pick up your broken innocence!
Think about the place on your journey where your innocence was broken. Did it get broken in that place when someone took advantage of you? Was it broken in that place when you were looking for love, but you found abuse? Did it get broken in the place of addiction, like me?
Listen, it doesn’t matter where it was that your innocence was broken; what matters is, God can restore it.
God’s instruction book, the Bible, tells us that: ‘God will restore everything you have lost; he’ll have compassion on you and will come pick up the pieces from the places where they were scattered’. (Deuteronomy 30:3)
Listen: with God on you case, you can pick up your broken innocence! Just like I did once he got on my case!