This is part of my series of posts highlighting why certain people are awesome. Below is a series of questions that I ask about each person and my answers. Enjoy!
1. Who are they in your life?
(Photo: taken at Heidi’s brother Kent’s wedding to Sheereen)
My wife. My partner. My best friend and greatest support. Heidi is the kind of spouse that you are constantly doing a double-take over. “Are you really mine? No, really. How on Earth did I get YOU?” Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Heidi is the very best person I know. She is the ideal lifetime partner, and she is mine!
2. How did you meet?
(Photo: After a Bible Study at Pastor Tom’s House during our time at Chapman)
Heidi and I met at Chapman University in Speech class. The class was run by this awesome professor (profethor!) who loved getting students out of their comfort zone in order to help them become better public speakers.
So, I notice this girl in my class. My gosh was she cute. Cute in a way that nobody has ever drawn my heart before. Cute in a deep and beautiful way. More on that in a second.
Our first speech assignment was simply to tell a story. Well I was so nervous, that I volunteered to go first just to get the darn thing over with! I made it through my speech, but it was rough, and even though I didn’t faint or puke or fall over, the professor suggested that I do it again because I’m sure I rambled and rambled up there. He was gracious about it, and I did better the second time, but it was Heidi’s first speech that changed my life.
The way she tells it is that she felt a conviction from God to share about her decision to stay pure until marriage. She fought it hard. She was NOT going to actually go through with it and definitely not today. If the professor called her, she would just pass. She even told her friend in the class that she was planning on passing. Every student got one pass. She had no script, no plan, just a conviction that wasn’t really even hers.
“Heidi Martin” is called, and she gets up.
Her friend looks at her with confusion, she looks back with more confusion and surely with an “I have no idea what’s happening right now look” and up she goes.
And blows my mind.
She was confident, gentle and sweet as she shared her reasons for her choice to remain sexually pure until marriage. Not only was this girl beyond beautiful, she had character and humble confidence to share it before a live audience. Its there anything more beautiful?
There was no looking back. This girl would be mine. So I “conveniently” happen to see her on campus, at the cafeteria, and slowly got the courage up enough to try and get to know her and become friends. Well, I was successful at that, we did become friends. Then she became my first ever (and only) girlfriend, and today she is my wife.
3. Why are they awesome?
(Photo: At our church’s Trunk or Treat, 2017)
Heidi has a core of strength, goodness and discernment that I have never met in anyone else. She can read the subtext of what is going in a party before I make it over to the chips and salsa. She is keenly aware, always, noticing things I would never see.
She is awesome because regardless of what she notices, she chooses to see the good in it. She always wants to champion someone else, not tear them down. She looks for the good, even fights to see it in others. Then intentionally brings it out however she can.
She is awesome because she is confident in God, and it is her confidence in God that grounds and supports her choice to highlight the good in others. She knows that they are God’s precious creation and regardless of whatever may be going on on the outside, there is a precious soul on the inside worth celebrating. She is a vessel of God’s agape love: choosing to see the value of the treasure apart from the dirt of the present condition.
4. Why else are they awesome?
(Photo: National School Counseling Week at Imperial Middle School)
When you partner up with someone for life you see who they really are. You hear how they talk and think. You see what really drives them and their intentions and motivations.
Heidi is gold to the core. Really. Not perfect or sinless. She has things that literally drive me crazy, just like all marriages. But the same sweet, beautiful lady that serves the students and staff at Imperial Middle School as a counselor is the same lady that lays next to me at night and excitedly celebrates the breakthroughs she saw at her school that day.
There are not two different Heidis. There is no sweet, kind, counselor-by-day at school and bitter, grumpy, gossiper-by-night at home. The patient, hard-working, conflict-resolving, staff-subduing, project-managing professional counselor is the same person who comes home and joyfully cooks dinner for her family that night, and can’t wait to hear how her own kids’ day was.
Does she have bad days? Does she get frustrated? Of course. But it is in those moments that her core of goodness shines the brightest because usually what is driving her crazy is that people are making choices that are bad for them, yet it kills her to see it.
My wife truly loves people and genuinely wants the best for them. It doesn’t matter who you are. She wants you win and if she can, she will fight to help make it happen, and then celebrate you when it does. Probably without you ever knowing it.
(FYI, and at her previous school, they voted her Teacher of the Year, and she wasn’t even a teacher. She was a counselor. They didn’t care.)
5. What have you learned from them?
I have learned that everyone has a story. Everyone is the way they are for a reason. As people, we can be so quick to categorize and classify people without ever knowing the path that got them there.
She has this amazing ability to look right past that and seek to find out what this person has been through so that she can understand what is really going on, not just what we see. I have learned that you have to choose this kind of response. You have to choose to see people, and to do that, you have to actually care.
“People don’t care what you know, until they know that you care”
Even though that quote is familiar, it is still what drives her, and she still quotes it frequently and lives it daily. I have learned that if you just stop and listen you will the gold that is in everyone, because everyone is made in the image of God. This is not easy.
People-work is messy. Do it anyways. Learn to put yourself on hold and be fully there for others. There is always more to a person than what you see.
6. What is your prayer for them today?
I pray that she continues to live and serve in the strength that God supplies. I pray for continued grace to do what she does in such a way that people will feel valued and understood today. I pray that God will lead her both in her work and in her rest. I pray that others get a taste of how important and treasured they are to God because they got to spend some time with my wife. Amen
“whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” -1 Peter 4:11