Timeless Truths Free Online Library | books, sheet music, midi, and more
Skip over navigation
Foundation Truth, Number 19 (Winter 2008) | Timeless Truths Publications

The testimony given by Joel and Coquetta Erickson at their wedding, October 22, 2005.

See also: Part 1 and Part 2

Two Young Fools and the Grace of God

Part 3


About a year and a half ago, when I was seeking sanctification, Coquetta had asked me to write some music to a poem in Hinds’ Feet on High Places. I decided to read the book, and it helped me even more spiritually than to capture the artistic setting. But I began to work on the “Water Song.” I was very slow about it. Last November I decided to really start working on it, and began discussing it with Coquetta over email. In a remarkably short time we began discussing things other than the song. We began opening our hearts to each other, and sharing our thoughts and beliefs and what the Lord had done for us. There was something in Coquetta’s letters that drew me. Her love of the Lord inspired me. Her personality attracted me.

Now, I was very naive and unaware about matters of the heart. But I did want the Lord’s blessing on our relationship, and perhaps, just perhaps, it might be His will for Coquetta to someday be my wife. I prayed that He would direct my steps.

God moves in mysterious ways, and it’s sometimes because the vessel He is working has been bent in an odd shape. I’m a very slow person; I don’t know when I would have gotten married if God hadn’t proposed for me.

We had been steadily writing each other for almost three months when the year rolled around to February 14. (In case you don’t recognize the date, that’s Oregon’s birthday.) Coquetta and I had shared our testimonies of salvation, and I felt a desire to write a song. A song about God’s great love; about the greatest Valentine ever given. So I wrote “Will You Be Mine?” based on our experiences of salvation. I didn’t consciously intend to put anything other than God’s love in the song, but I remember thinking as I was writing it, “Perhaps someday I can ask Coquetta that question.”

And then I went and sent the song to her on Valentine’s Day. And two weeks later I got a reply that threw me for a loop, though I should have seen it coming.


When God had said he wanted me to be a homemaker for my lifework, I had asked the perfectly natural question. For whom? I expected Him to say, for someone you don’t know yet. I asked that it would be someone I would naturally like. And then left it. When the Lord came to me and said, “For Joel,” I thought it was my own imagination. I was sure that Joel did not like me. It was hard to believe what the Lord said was true. It was hard to be quiet for three years. But in those three years I learned to cook, and to kind of like it. I learned to live with my sister in her home. And my walk with Jesus became much more sweet.

It was very special to write over email of different ways the Lord had helped me to grow. All the more special because I was writing them to the one that inspired me always to do better. And the things he wrote back just made me want to try all the more. They reminded me of God’s power, and that God could help me with the challenges I faced right then.

So to this valentine, should I say yes?


And then I had to wait a week.


Coquetta told me she had accepted. And I didn’t know what to say; I couldn’t tell her that I had meant it that way, and I couldn’t tell her that my heart hadn’t meant it. So I told her I needed to pray.

I did pray. And I sought counsel with my parents and with Coquetta’s parents, and began to see the Lord’s leading in it all. But God made me wait a week before He gave the green light. 33 weeks ago today, God gave His blessing with the scripture, “Marriage is honourable in all,”* (Hebrews 13:4) and I could then tell Coquetta. We were engaged on a balmy spring day under a flowering wild plum tree.


It was so very fitting—the beautiful blossoms so white, just like God had made us.

Will You Be Mine?

While broken-hearted, scarred with sin,
While walking wretchedly in shame,
I felt a love that sought to win,
I heard a voice that called my name.
Yes, Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Gave me the greatest valentine:
He promised there to make me whole,
In love He asked, “Will you be Mine?”

He wooed me in such tender ways,
He promised to protect, provide,
His all He pledged with loving gaze,
That I should e’er with Him abide.
He gave me glimpses of His grace,
The splendors that around Him shine;
With ardent, longing, fervent face,
In love He asked, “Will you be Mine?”

Could I His offered love refuse?
Could I His yearning cast aside?
For I was asked, and I must choose:
A blackened soul or spotless bride.
To Him that bled to make me free
I could but say, “I will be Thine”;
Yes, Jesus shed His love on me,
Such love that asks, “Will you be Mine?”

Can I such wondrous love repay?
A thousand years can never earn
Such love as this; but this I may:
With all to love Him in return.
’Tis bliss to know I dwell within
The ocean of His love divine—
Such love that sought my heart to win,
Such love that asked, “Will you be Mine?”

Oh, weary one, can you not see?
The Son of God has called your name;
Ye lonely, listen to His plea,
For you, yes, even you He came.
He wants to fill your broken heart,
Your hurt to heal, do not decline;
To you He would His love impart—
In love He asks, “Will you be Mine?”


I have enjoyed our engagement. Of course there have been challenges—with some the water poured in the fragile boat, and we bailed it out, with others we rode over the towering waves. When the sea was calm, how beautiful love is, and when the sea grew rough, our Father helped us. And then even the storm could be seen as beautiful, too.


When we began making plans for our wedding, we were both sure about one thing: we wanted to share our testimony of what the Lord had done for us.

Partly for practical reasons, and partly because of the Lord’s leading, our engagement has been over seven months long. And long it often seemed. But those 230 days provided opportunities to experience more of God’s workings in our lives.

We aren’t here to tell you we had a perfect engagement; we aren’t here to testify that our relationship has been as smooth as silk. We’re human, and we’ve made mistakes; we’ve had misunderstandings. But we can testify that God helped us through it all. The Lord has really blessed us to be able to communicate with each other. The proverb says that “a threefold cord is not quickly broken,”* (Ecclesiates 4:12) and it has been our prayer throughout our relationship that God would entwine our hearts together in Him.

Our engagement has been a time of adjustment and growth. There were both temporal and spiritual changes to be made, some of which we foresaw, and some we didn’t. We needed a place to live, and I needed a job to earn the money to live there. And God wanted to work a full healing in our hearts from the scars of sin, so that we could enter into married life together as He had designed marriage to be.

The Lord worked with us as He saw best. He knew how to cause us to rely on Him. We were often stretched to what seemed the breaking point. We came together often before the throne of grace to obtain mercy and help in time of need. And the Lord never failed us. Jesus is never too late. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”* (Psalm 34:19)

But our engagement wasn’t all about anguish of spirit. No, the Lord loves to delight His children. It has been the most wonderful time of our lives, and we’re sure there’s better yet to come. It has been so marvelous to be in love. I’m sure all those who have experienced the real thing know what I’m talking about. To become captivated by the charms of another is the way God designed for a man and woman to come together. One can’t get married to just anybody, for God made a multitude of personalities, which are attractive to others in varying degrees. The world makes much of this, and has come up with many ideas for matching people up, often ignoring the fact that people are more than mere personalities. As one author said, if the physical body were a jar, the personality would be the contents, and the spirit would be the seal. All are needed, and I can tell you for a fact that Coquetta excels in each of those areas. The surest way to real happiness is to let the Lord lead. For “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”* (Psalm 37:23)

The Lord has granted us treasured blessings, little and large. Early in our engagement, I’d given Coquetta a little heart prism. Then she couldn’t find it, and had been afraid it had gone into the garbage or been vacuumed up. But then one day it fell out of her Bible cover.

And then there was the time we had planned a trip to the coast, to take pictures for our wedding invitation. The forecast had been for a cloudy day, but we prayed, and all the time we were there the sun shone beautifully.

After failing to find a fulltime computer job, I had gone back to construction work. I had hoped a computer opportunity would turn up, but I didn’t pursue it much. I was willing to work in construction if that’s where the Lord wanted me. But then, just a few weeks ago, I was offered a fulltime job with a local online bookstore; I’ve felt the Lord’s blessing in working there.

Coquetta and I have had many ideas of finding a place to live, many of which appeared to be rather expensive. But then the Lord opened up an unexpected possibility: the opportunity to rent a house on my late grandfather’s property for at least a few months while we begin to build our own home. The future, as always, is uncertain, but we can truly say, “Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.”* (1 Samuel 7:12)

Shortly over a year ago, some of my cousins decided to write things to put in a jar, which we would open up in six years. I decided to participate. I remember writing four things that I hoped would have happened by 2010. I wanted to be fully yielded to the Lord; I wanted to be a songwriter; I wanted to earn my living by web programming; and I wanted to be married. The Bible says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”* (Psalm 37:4) Today the last of those four desires has been answered.

The apostle Paul counsels us that “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”* (1 Corinthians 7:1) Early in our relationship we decided to minimize touching each other. We have waited to hold hands, to hug and kiss. Not because it would be a sin, but because we didn’t want to be overcome by temptation and cast a reproach. The wait has seemed very long, and we have often had to fight hard to remain pure in heart. But we knew that someday the wait would be over; and that we would be glad we had waited. And we can tell you today that God has now surely brought us to the end of waiting.

And in the same manner as our engagement is now finally completed, so also our lives will be completed, we know not how soon. It won’t have seemed all that long when it comes time for each of us to depart, and we find eternity stretching out before us. It will be very worth it indeed to have endured until the end, and to hear the Lord say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant… enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”* (Mark 25:21)

We thank the Lord for the examples that have gone before us. The precious examples of our parents, and all those who have beautiful, Christ-centered marriages. Many people today come from homes broken by sin and selfishness, and we realize we have been privileged above many to have this heritage of love. But knowing the depths of sin we were lifted from, we know God is able to take anyone, however hurt, and bring them into His wonderful embrace. Coquetta and I want our marriage to be a lifetime of God’s love in and through us. A songwriter captured the thought: “Each for the other, and both for the Lord.”

“Oh, make of me what Thou wilt have me to be,
As clay is so I am to Thee;
Just fashion me to Thine own pleasure,
Till Thou shalt Thine own image see.”*

We want to walk and talk with the Lord, ever closer each day. To live life as God designed it in the Garden of Eden.