Today is a special day. 10 years ago, I was 21, a senior in college, and a couple months away from finally graduating. And here I was as nervous as a high school freshman asking a classmate of mine out on a date. Well, a date as far as life at this particular college was concerned, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up a little.
For the first couple years of college life, I had pursued a relationship with another young lady. I had not based the relationship on God at all, but rather what I thought I wanted. In the summer of 1998, a series of events showed me that I was in no way ready for the responsibility and maturity needed for a serious relationship. At first, I didn’t want to admit this, my pride insisting that I was ready and all God had to do was put his seal of approval on my plans! As most, if not all of us have learned (and learn…and learn…and learn…), God doesn’t quite work that way. Finally, I confessed this as sin and resolved myself to a life of bachelorhood. That was towards the end of the fall semester, 1998.
When I started my last semester in the spring of 1999, God had given me two great and Godly floor leaders along with guys in my prayer group who truly wanted to live for God and praise Him. I had a good job and a great class schedule. I had no idea what I was going to do after graduation, but somehow I wasn’t really worried about it.
Then I went to class. Or two classes in particular, actually.
Little did I know that my world was about to be shook (shaken?) up by the classmate sitting to my right in one class and behind me in another. Her name was Sarah. Now, this wasn’t like some romantic movies you might see where the girl comes on the scene with music playing, angels singing, hair blowing in the wind (this was inside, after all!), and the guy’s eyes popping out of his head. No, actually, the closest thing to that was a flying sheep. Unfortunately, I was probably a bad influence on Sarah in this class because I had discovered a hilarious program on my computer that made a little sheep come up and do all kinds of cute little tricks – like fly through the air and land in a bathtub. I know, corny. But hey, when you don’t have angels singing, I guess a flying sheep is the next best thing.
At first, I simply wanted to be friendly. Nothing more. After all, I was now a confirmed bachelor for life, remember? But the more I talked to Sarah and got to know her, the more I wanted to know her more. In a word, she was fascinating! I’m not sure when it happened and I don’t claim to have the gift of prophecy, but at some point during that semester, God seemed to be telling me that Sarah was the person whom I was going to marry. But get this – I actually and literally argued about that with God! “But God, I’m a confirmed bachelor, remember?!” And it was as if God poked me in the ribs and said “Are you trying to get me to stamp my approval on your plans again?” Ouch. Oh I wanted to know Sarah more, but I wanted to be sure that it was what God had planned on - not me.
So on March 19, 1999 – 10 years ago today – I very nervously asked Sarah if she would like to go with me to a picnic in the afternoon. To my horror, she said she had already planned to go with some friends. BUT, she added quickly, I could come along if I wanted to! “Hey, that’s better than nothing,” I thought. We enjoyed the picnic together with her friends and then went our separate ways. But that wasn’t enough for me. I had to see her again! I picked up the phone in my dorm and started to dial her room. I think I got about 2 digits out of the 4 entered before hanging up. Trying again, I picked it up, dialed – and then hung up. I think I did this about 3 times before finally getting the courage to actually let it ring and not hang up when she answered. I asked her if she would like to attend the Praise Service at church that evening with me – she said YES! I’m pretty sure I was about 6 inches off the ground when I hung up.
And so began a relationship with the most wonderful woman I have ever known. There were a couple of times where she wasn’t too sure about the whole “us” thing. To me, that was okay because I knew something she didn’t – I was going to marry her! After graduation, we went our separate ways, but God in his sovereignty and in a way only HE could bring about (ask me about that sometime!) provided a way for me to move to Roanoke, win over her mom (who Sarah swears always takes my side :) ), and most importantly, win Sarah’s heart.
I love you Sarah and I’m so glad you said “Yes!” :)
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