• John C. Richards, Jr.

The Big Day: How We Got Here

Updated: Apr 30


The Interview


We are about 45 days away from the big day. Today, I reflect on the journey that has brought us to this point. Three years ago, on this day, I lived in Atlanta, Georgia. I was transitioning out of a job in Detroit, Michigan, and looking to settle down in the Atlanta area. I submitted resumes, cover letters, and everything else under the sun. To be honest, one particular interview proved discouraging. I applied for a clerkship with a Supreme Court judge of Georgia's state court. The interview went very well. That is until I told him my plans for social justice initiatives and ministry.


He proceeded to ask, "You aren't some kind of religious nut, are you?" I responded, "If by religious nut you mean someone who has a deep faith conviction who does not compromise his morals or ethics, then yes sir, I am." The interview proceeded, but I couldn't get past the fact that this dude had just called me a religious nut based on my goals to do some good in the urban context. I left confused.


Apply Now


It was then that I realized it was time. God said, "Apply." I had a stack of seminary applications and had considered seminary, but what about the "lawyer thing?" How would people react to me telling them I'm leaving a lucrative field to go back to school? So, I applied to two schools. ITC in Atlanta and Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. Obviously, I wound up at Fuller but was fearful. I knew no one. I didn't have a job lined up. And I certainly was not feeling California. Something amazing happened though. As soon as I got to California (in less than two weeks), I got a job at a firm, met some really amazing people, and kinda liked the sunshine.


I was immediately reminded of the passage in John 4 where Jesus encounters the woman at the well. Interestingly enough, she was coming to the well when she probably shouldn't have been there. The other women had already come and gone. However, the timing of her trip caused her to visit with Jesus, and her life was transformed. This lady was in the right place at the right time and was visited by God. I then understood this simple truth:


Your location determines your level of visitation.

All this time, I was in the wrong place. As soon as I touched foot in California, things began to fall right into place.


My Future Was Waiting


Let me not forget one of the most important things that has fallen into place: meeting my future wife. Sheridan has indeed been kept by God. Several years ago, she was in a severe car accident that left her in a coma for over a week. Her family was told she would be a vegetable for the rest of her life and told to plan accordingly. After eight days, though (I feel a quickening in my spirit), she woke up, immediately asked for a toothbrush to brush her teeth, and began the recovery process. She was told she might not walk again and that she certainly would not dance again.


One thing I've learned about my future wife...never tell her she can't do something. Not only did she walk again, but she also began to model professionally (ripping the runway in shows sponsored by Hollywood actors). Not only did she dance again, but I have a hard time getting the girl off the dance floor at any function we attend. In fact, she's trying to get a brother to take salsa lessons. Pray for me, please. Who would have thought my future wife was being kept out here in California?


Now that I think about it, I was praying for her every time I asked God to protect and cover my future. Even when I couldn't see my future, even when I wasn't in a relationship for over a year, I prayed for her safekeeping. I have a feeling that He knew what He was doing the whole time. So I want to thank that judge in Georgia. His words hurt at the time but served to propel me into my destiny. I appreciate him. I might even give him a shout-out in the wedding program.


Has anyone said anything lately that has discouraged you? Those might be the very words that help push you into your future. On March 14th, 2009, I can say that I'm living proof of that fact. Today, I thank God for ordering my steps. I am indeed stepping in the name of Love (1 Corinthians 13). "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way." (Psalm 37:23).


I still have a few more issues to write about, so stay tuned as I give you my take on the whole wedding planning process.

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