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4 Years Ago Today (ah, yesterday), Part 4

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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: 4 Years Ago Today (ah, yesterday), Part 4

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

4 Years Ago Today (ah, yesterday), Part 4

Ok, so I missed yesterday, but I'm working to keep things on track. I'll try to have today's story up tonight. We're almost done with the first week... then things slow down a bit. :)

If you missed the first parts of my love story, you can start here.

For the first time in my life I wasn’t looking for a relationship with a man. I sincerely wasn’t. Throughout my teen and college years, as well as the few years of my “adult life”, my focus had always been on finding, meeting, snaring, etc just the right guy. I wanted more than anything to be married and entered most acquaintances with guys wondering if they could be “the one”. This put a strain on everything, especially my contentment.

I dated a handful of guys in high school, a couple in college and one in the years after college. Of those three relationships out side of high school I’d broken one’s heart, had my own heart broken with another, and made a fool of myself with the third. Not a great track record.

It had been two years since I’d even been on a date, let alone been in a relationship beyond friendship with a guy. I’d been interested in several in those couple years and was glad to be able to say that the reasons for my “interest” in guys had matured over the years. I now sought a man whom I respected and in whom I saw a genuine love for the Lord. None of these guys had any interest in me.

As my missionary friend was making her final preparations to move to India, we met for chai. It was something we tried to do every week or so, just to catch up on each other. As we sat across the table from one another, me with my chai and her with some of the loads of paperwork left to do before her departure a couple weeks away, I asked her a question.

“How are you doing with contentment?” You see, she was making final preparations to leave as a single missionary, something I would be doing before long. She was moving far away to a place where there wouldn’t be any other Americans. No prospects for her future.

Her answer changed my life. She told me of a time in the Word several months earlier and a portion of Scripture that changed her perspective on never getting married. After reflecting on Matthew 19:12, I, just as she had, I was able to make the decision to give up marriage for the sake of the gospel.


_____________________________________

It was lunch time Wednesday before I saw him again. I was standing in line with a group of girls I’d been spending much of my time with the past few days. Any minute the doors to the dining hall would open and we would make our way in. Then there he was, walking past us with a friend. They said a quick hi to all of us on their way to the end of the line. Just after he was out of ear shot I turned to the others.

“I’m so excited!” I announced. “I finally figured out what I’m going to do to him.”

They all stared at me with that look, “Why?”

I explained the whole thing, from the rubber band to the “dare”, before divulging my evil plan. I would find his tray somewhere while he was away and steal his drink! Yep, that’s the best I could do. I had barely finished explaining it when I realized that, really, that type of prank is only possible when stumbled upon and not planned ahead. There’s no way I could plan for him to leave his tray somewhere… let alone for me to know where he was sitting in the first place. I sulked in a moment of defeat… again I had no idea what I could do to “get him back.”

After grabbing a table big enough for our group and dropping our bags, we made our way back around the room toward the salad bar and food lines. As we past the entrance, the guys were toward the front of the switch backs, not far from passing the ticket counter. I smiled my usual friendly smile as I passed them, “Hey, there’s some room at our table over there if you guys want to join us.” I said casually, thinking only of my ploy to do something “terrible” to him at the first chance I’d get. Again, I had no idea that I’d made his day.

By the time I gathered my salad and chicken strips (my standard meal in a buffet type eating situation… I love to cut the chicken up in my salad!) and returned to the table, most everyone else was back. I set my tray down and noticed, sitting next to an empty tray, the guy that had been with My Beloved in line.

“Is that My Beloved’s tray?” (note: Of course, I didn’t call him My Beloved, but rather used his real name) I asked his friend. It was! I glanced around the room to see if I could find where he was. Then I saw him, all the way across the large dining room talking to someone. An evil smile crossed my lips.

“Would you pass me his drink?” I asked his friend again. This was not a convenient thing, you see, because there was another person sitting between the friend and me. None the less, he did it, and around the table came My Beloved’s cups… yes, two of them. I delightedly set them on the empty chair next to me. Then I paused… This is too noticeable… it’s never going to work. I passed them back around the table. “Would you pass me his silverware?” To think about it now, I’m actually kind of amazed this guy participated so blindly. But he did… willingly betraying his friend for a stranger. I wrapped the silverware in a napkin and lay them on the chair.

When I noticed him returning, I forced myself to pretend not to. I simply focused on my plate, eating one bite after the other. How was I supposed to know that he notices everything? Before he even sat down he was saying, “My silverware are gone.”

I casually looked up, “Are you sure you got any?”

“Yes,” was his immediate reply, looking anything but unsure.

“Oh fine,” I grumbled with a smile and passed them back.

From that moment neither of us could tell you the names of most of the people at the table. We spent the entire lunch talking only to each other. I still hope the two poor souls sitting between us at that round table had a nice enough conversation, because apparently they weren’t welcome in ours. Our conversation just flowed from one thing to another. It was then that I learned, among other things, that his life was strongly influenced for missions by Nate Saint, and mine by Jim Elliot—the same story from the perspective of two men martyred together. It was a wonderful time of fellowship.

The hour flew by. Still it wasn’t until we were leaving that lunch that I took any special notice. I was content as a single lady… I wasn’t looking for a relationship. I didn’t even notice when the others at our table left, nor where anyone was as we put up our trays and left the room. As we walked through the corridor outside the dinning room I told him I had really enjoyed talking with him. “I talk a lot,” I said, and apologized, “I’m sure I monopolized the conversation.”

I will never forget his response, “I’ll bet I could give you a run for your money,” he said. That very moment my head whipped around to look at him and I thought to myself, I need to marry a man like this. I started taking notice!!

I was glad that night when he joined us for the evening conference session. Somehow he ended up sitting right beside me. I was thrilled. At one point, we were all standing for worship and I noticed how very tall he was, even though I was wearing heals. I need to marry a man like this! I thought again.


To be continued…

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1 Comments:

At July 15, 2008 at 3:08 PM , Blogger 3cookieday said...

I love reading your love story! Thanks for sharing it!
Julie

 

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