- - Wednesday, January 4, 2017

This story from Baptist Press — “Former atheist shares how she became a pastor’s wife” — would have been a great gospel-driven tale even if the last words were simply “she became a Christian.” But the added fun twist of her getting married to a man who would become a pastor — priceless. What a turnaround.

Here’s an excerpt:

Pardon Tiffany Bowen for laughing when the following question was posed to her and a room full of other ministers’ wives: “Did you think you would ever marry a minister?”

…At the time she met her future husband Jason Bowen, now pastor of First Baptist Church, Trenton, Tiffany was a self-professed “atheist, feminist bartender.”

Tiffany was working her way through the University of Tennessee in Knoxville when she met Jason, then a self-described “lukewarm” Christian who was working at the same restaurant. He asked her out three times before she agreed to date him and it was only going to be for one hour, she recalled.

…Not long after they began dating, Tiffany met Jason’s mother, Charlotte Bowen, a Southern Baptist International Mission Board missionary nurse who had to travel to Knoxville with a pastor who had been injured in an accident.

“When I met with her face to face I was overwhelmed with how she was not like anyone I had ever met,” Tiffany said. “She had no judgment in her heart. She was not OK with me being an atheist, but the love she showed to me was no different than had I been a Christian.”

The two women developed a relationship that continued after Charlotte Bowen returned to Africa. Via e-mail, Tiffany kept asking questions and Charlotte would answer them honestly, she recalled.

Tiffany noted that her future mother-in-law explained that “Jesus was alive and that was what made her different because she had a real, personal relationship with Him every day.”

Though she was an atheist, Tiffany had Christian friends and had even attended church despite being raised in a home where going to church was discouraged. She knew the Christian language.

“I may have heard the same words from other people, but I never understood that Jesus was alive until I met someone like [my mother-in-law]. He was obviously alive in her.”

Tiffany began to read the Bible “and my heart started to change,” she recalled. She was sitting in the parking lot of a Knoxville business talking with Jason when God suddenly revealed to her that He was real and alive and that He “would be the Lord of my life for the rest of my life.”

Tiffany said she looked over at Jason and said, “Jesus is the Son of God” and then told him, “I think I just got saved.”

Later, the couple was married in Africa while visiting Jason’s mother. …

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