The carriage ride was over and we headed to the car. We crossed back over the river toward home and stopped for gas. As Chris was inside the gas station, I gave myself a little pep talk about what was going to come next. I had to be bold and do what I felt was right.
Chris was still carrying on casual conversation as we headed back home. I was becoming more irritated with each passing moment and trying to work up the nerve to say what was on my mind. Finally, as we got about 15 miles from my house, he finally spoke up.
"So, what did you think when I asked you to go out with me tonight?"
Gulp! Here it goes! He's opened the door and I'm charging in!
"Well," I said as I looked out the window away from him, "I want to know what your intentions are."
Now, that's about as bold as I get right there! I thought about being meek and innocent, but I couldn't afford it. I'm pretty sure I caught Chris off guard with this, as he replied with a little chuckle and asked me to clarify. My way of clarifying was to simply ask the question again.
"I want to know what your intentions are."
Then, it all came out.
Chris, very sweetly, told me that he had been watching me for quite some time. He watched me grow, interact at church, make decisions in my life, and handle difficult situations. Throughout that time, he became interested in me and saw a lot of qualities in me that he would like his future wife to have. As he shared with me the feelings of his heart, mine was being captivated. The tears were building in my eyes as I tried to soak in his words. I couldn't believe that after 4 years of battling inward feelings, praying for the feelings to be taken from me, and distancing myself from him, I was hearing these words. It was surreal.
After Chris shared with me his feelings and intentions, he wanted to know my thoughts. I openly shared with him that I had obviously been interested in him for quite some time - like, an embarrassingly long time - and had dealt with many struggles. I shared with him the thoughts I was having and the feelings of my heart. I wanted him to know that I don't see dating as something that is done carelessly. I fully believe in dating with the intent of marriage. Having that view, I wanted to honor my future husband. I strongly felt that Chris was the man I was to marry and felt the Lord leading us in this step. I wasn't quite so bold in telling him those feelings that night, but made it pretty clear. He also made it clear to me by telling me that he wanted to begin this relationship with the intent to marry, but obviously seeking the Lord's guidance every step of the way.
Once the heavy discussion was over and I felt like I was soaring, Chris shared with me the details behind planning our date. My parents knew that we were going out tonight. In fact, he had talked with my parents several months before, getting their permission to court me. Remember my discussion with my mom at the supper table a few nights before? Well, she called Chris after that, concerned that I didn't know it was a date. She thought that I wasn't interested in him and was worried about how it would all play out. Oh, and remember Brittney's phone call that Wednesday night? Yeah, she was also privy to the plan! In fact, Chris had been talking with her, getting her permission, and bouncing ideas off her. Chris had called her after he got off the phone with me that Wednesday to let her know that he had asked me. She later told me that she was dying to let me know she knew what was going on and that I was a horrible actress!
Not only did my parents and my best friend know, but most of the church knew! Many members had been trying to play matchmaker behind the scenes. Chris had been fielding interrogations from different members and had let a few know of his interest. In fact, a few weeks before, one sister came to me as I was cleaning the bathroom at church and wanted to know how I felt about Chris. In attempts to hide my feelings, I simply replied, "he's too high maintenance for me!"
We drove around the little town I lived in for quite a while enjoying the time talking and laughing together. Our perfect evening had to come to an end, but I was ecstatic to know that it was just the beginning of something wonderful. My heart was completely captivated that night. I went to bed, thanking my merciful Father for blessing my life. I was, and am, completely amazed at the perfect peace He filled me with that Wednesday. His timing is nothing but perfect and His plan is amazing.
3 months and 4 days later, Chris asked me to marry him. 4 months and 26 days later, we were married. Now, 4 years after that wonderful date, I am blessed to be spend every day with my pastor, my brother in Christ, my friend, my companion, my encourager, my husband.
As William Cowper wrote, "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the seas, He rides upon the storm."