Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our Relationship - Part 1

What you are about to read is the no-holds-barred version from a previous post. I guest-blogged about this topic but was very limited with space so I had to cut out a great many details that make up any relationship story. :) So... in light of this week... 10 years ago we met... enjoy! 

 As a bit of disclosure, we did not write this story – God did. He has no relationship cookie-cutter or mold. He makes a new mold for every match He’s ever made.

If you doubt me, just read your copy of His Word! I love His creativity! Here’s just a few: Abram and Sarai, Jacob and Rachel, Adam and Eve, Isaac and Rebekah, David and Abigail, Boaz and Ruth, Salmon and Rahab… the list goes on! Each couple and their circumstances are so different and varied – a beautiful mosaic portraying Him.

A bit of background on us…

Mike grew up in a Christian family in West Michigan and went to Christian schools until college. It was as he was studying engineering and trying to explain and defend his beliefs to his roommates that he realized his faith wasn’t real. He began to study and dig and came to understand deeply what a Christ-follower’s life looks like. This changed everything about him!

I grew up in a pastor’s family. I was homeschooled (read: lived under a rock) most of my life except for a few years in public school. As a 10 year old in Awana, I came to see my need for Christ. I could not keep up the goody-two-shoes-pastors-daughter act forever. God certainly wouldn’t slide that card as payment for my sin. I’m so thankful that God has been changing me ever since!

On to the story!!

After college, Mike dated and proposed to his then girlfriend. While building his house, (our house now!) he realized that she was truly not God’s choice for him for multiple reasons. After breaking it off, he began to dive deep into his church. He started showing up to Saturday morning Men’s Prayer. He involved himself in the workings of his Sunday school class and planned activities. It was at one of those activities that we met. 

Meanwhile, I was graduating still very single from Moody Bible – I mean Bridal – Institute!  I said “I will never ….” to God about a few things and He made sure that I was good to go on those “nevers”. One was my goal to teach overseas and “not get stuck in the States!”  Yep, I landed at a Christian school in the suburbs of Illinois. I’d said that I’d never get stuck teaching at that particular school as well. I’d graduated from there via homeschool. Yep – chalk one up to the sovereignty of God!

So, I end up teaching 2nd graders for three years and barely pay my bills during the year with nothing leftover for the summer months. I go to my fallback – the medical field. The dermatologist who usually hired me for the summer didn’t need anyone and I started to worry when the end of May was fast approaching with no job-leads in sight. In June, I finally got an interview and the office agreed to hire me – only to have them call back a week later that they’ve changed their mind. What?!! AND… this happened again with another office in July.

I cried out to God. Finding a job had always been a matter of simply getting an interview and wowing them with my resume. Not this time. Being turned away twice after they agreed to hire me was almost too much to take.

While teaching, I’d also been involved in the Deaf Ministry at my church interpreting for a 3 year old in her class. One Sunday after church, I went to lunch with a friend from the Deaf Ministry because, let’s face it, who wants to eat Sunday lunch alone?!  It was one of those connections that you begin talking as strangers and you end three hours later deeply understanding and feeling the connection between your histories.  It was awesome!

We became quite close. She had been praying with me about getting a job and in the middle of it all, her sister came to visit from Michigan. She and this guy Mike were planning a Campout for Young Adults. Turns out that my friend couldn’t go and I’d have to share a tent with her sister. It was the very weekend of my birthday and the shy stay-in-the-box introvert in me said “Are you nuts?! Go with someone you don’t know and stay somewhere you’ve never been with people you’ve never met on the weekend of your birthday?!”  The very idea was “un-Ruthlike”, but I thought about it and decided uncharacteristically that I would go. 

So we arrived and set up our supposed 2 Person tent (more like 2 skinny person tent – which we didn’t qualify for) but we made it work! She took me around and began to introduce me to everyone. I was beginning to just smile and nod at all the names to remember when everyone turned and laughed at this tall guy getting out of a boat. I didn’t know it then, but he was in such a hurry to meet me that he almost fell out of that boat!

A bunch of us went out on the lake for a sunset cruise and then later we gathered for a campfire. I felt very small and insignificant in this large crowd of people that obviously knew each other and were laughing and joking. I began to wish I’d just stayed home when that same tall guy came to sit in the open chair next to me. He began to ask question after question. I was just about to tell him what I thought of all his questions when I looked up and saw those blue eyes of his!  I completely lost all train of thought until he asked me another question and I managed to pick it up and go with it.

(You should know that I’d never been on a date before – part of that “under a rock thing” and I’d never had a guy be interested in me that wasn’t creepy. I’d had LOTS of crushes and hopes that were crushed. In college, it’d gotten so bad that I just asked God to make me oblivious. I’d rather not know “if he was THE one” until later when he asked me.) 

So… back to the campfire.

He continued to ask me more questions. I found out his name was Mike, but other than that, I don’t remember a whole lot except for those eyes. I even dismissed the whole conversation in my mind as crazy that he was just one of those talkative guys.

What I didn’t know until later was that night while I was slap-happy from sugar and caffeine, Mike was up praying about us. Did God want him to begin a long-distance relationship? Was I the girl God had for him? I didn’t get much sleep that night, but he didn’t either – for a much different reason.

God did a pretty good job with the oblivious prayer request because the whole next day Mike spent trying to get me to notice him. Several people commented to me that he was acting strange but again, I didn’t notice.

Going home, my friend’s sister said she was sure Mike liked me. 

I laughed.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow! 

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