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A Tale of Two Love Stories

Photo of Shawn PattersonShawn Patterson | Bio

Shawn Patterson

Shawn has built a career equipping and empowering others for life and leadership. As an author, motivational speaker, lay marriage counselor, leadership developer, and women’s ministry leader, she has addressed women at home and abroad and encouraged them to realize their worth, discover their true purpose, and navigate the uncertainties of life. She is a married mother of two beautiful adult children and a Women’s Ministry Leader at the Path Church in Atlanta, GA.

Love is one thing most women I know enjoy talking about. We like to share stories about who we are attracted to, or as married women, how we fell in love. Mike and I recently were reminiscing about when we blissfully fell in love.

In 1988 Michael Lorenzo Patterson moved from sunny Tallahassee, Florida, to be a part of the New York City Church of Christ. He was chasing his dream of being trained in the ministry and eventually to go on a foreign mission team. God sent him to my neck of the woods, the Bronx, to join his dear friends Sam Powell and Frank Davis. As he would tell the story, when he first saw me in fellowship he thought I was gorgeous, so he avoided me because he wanted to remain focused on why he had moved to New York. By the way, when I saw him, I thought he was fine—my heart definitely skipped a beat.

Months after he made his home in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the south Bronx, he escorted me on our first date.

I fondly remember our date in Westchester County, and since he picked me up from my home on the east side of the Bronx (as charming gentlemen do), we had an opportunity for a great car-ride conversation.

I would venture to say he was enjoying the company and the conversation so much he almost crashed into another car on the highway, but thank God his angels were surrounding us as we were getting lost in each other’s company.

As we got to know each other, I was impressed by his love for God, his desire to do great things, and his learner’s heart.

It also helped that he was easy on the eyes and sounded like Luther Vandross (to me) when he sang. It didn’t take me long to fall in love.

We dated for seven months then broke up for seven months and later got back together. During our time apart, we both grew tremendously in our own characters and eventually “he came crawling back to me.” Yes, ladies, breakups in the kingdom are survivable (even if you stay in the same ministry). In fact, they can cause tremendous growth.

Have you ever been advised that as a woman you need to find someone who loves you even more than you love him? I have, and I am happy to say I found him. Mike’s love for me gives me a glimpse of God’s love for me.

In Christ I found the one who loved me first, sacrificially, unconditionally, perfectly, and eternally. We were created by his love (1 John 4:7-16), in his love, and for his pleasure.

I know this sounds elementary, but imagine if every woman really believed it—if we all felt confident and secure in just this fact alone.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

At one time or another, every woman will feel an ache in her heart and an emptiness in her soul and will try to soothe it by filling it with something.

Often, when we do not realize that it is God himself we are missing, we attempt to fill that emptiness with other people, money, careers, and countless other things, but nothing else will fill that void.

Without a deep and meaningful relationship with God, at some point in our lives we will feel an emptiness that only he can fill. Our hearts are set on eternity, and our purpose centers around that astonishing fact.