Need to read Part 1 and Part 2?
The next 2 days were the longest days ever! I'm pretty sure I didn't even get a total of 10 hours of sleep in 3 nights. I attempted to focus on my school work and carry on about my normal life, but it was extremely difficult. Still not sure if Chris and I were going out on a date or just hanging out as friends, I played the scenarios over in my mind. I knew that whatever happened, my life was going to change that night.
If we were just hanging out as friends, I was going to have to be bold and have a discussion with him that I couldn't keep going on like that. The struggle to guard my heart was becoming too difficult. In order to honor my future husband, I knew that I couldn't keep getting closer to Chris as "friends." Our relationship was becoming more than that to me, and if it wasn't more than that to him, then I needed to draw some extreme boundaries. It would be very difficult to have that discussion with him, but I was convinced it needed to happen.
If, on the other hand, Chris was intending for it to be a date to begin a relationship, my life would also be changing in a big way. I prayed for guidance in this situation. My heart was being pulled toward Chris, but I did not want to begin a relationship with him if it was not of the Lord. I begged God to make His will clear to me, but also to Chris. If this was of the Lord, then I knew that He had to work in both of our hearts and lead us together.
While I was sorting through the mixture of emotions, scenarios, concerns, and excitement, I tried to put on my poker face in front of my family and friends. The only person I had told about my interest in Chris was my best friend, Brittney. I sat in her basement one night shortly after Chris moved to Illinois, crying because I was a 16-year-old falling for my pastor. How ridiculous was that?!?! I was embarrassed, confused, lost, and frustrated. But that was the last I had said anything about it in 4 years. So, it was kind of ironic when Brittney called me that Wednesday evening after my phone call with Chris. She was away at college and wasn't one to call me out of the blue very often. Brittney was very curious about how things were going in my life and if I had anything exciting coming up. I wasn't quite ready to open up about the plans to go out with Chris, so I just played it cool and acted like nothing exciting was happening.
My parents also showed increased interest in my life. That Thursday evening at supper, my mom asked what I had planned for the weekend.
"Oh, I think Chris and I are going to do something together on Saturday night," I nonchalantly mentioned.
"Really? Like a date or something?" mom replied in a more excited tone.
"No, just hanging out." Phew, got through that one by the skin of my teeth!
Saturday morning eventually rolled around. Chris had emailed me, letting me know that the show at the Fox looked like it had inappropriate content, so he was going to figure out something else to do that would be a surprise. This was starting to sound more and more serious! As I was preparing for the evening out (C'mon ladies, you know I started getting ready at 7 that morning!), I talked myself through the game plan. If he shows up with flowers, then it is most definitely a date. In such case, I would do my best to enjoy the evening and wait for him to make his move indicating this was the beginning of something more than just a friendship. If he doesn't have flowers, then it was just hanging out as friends and my wall of emotional defense was going up higher. I wasn't going to let the night go on very long before I put an end to the torment.
Around 6:00 (it was 6:04, but I wasn't watching the clock or anything), I heard Chris talking with my parents in the kitchen. In attempts to not seem too anxious, I took an extra few minutes in my room before making my appearance. As I came down the stairs into the kitchen, my heart sank. There, in his hands, was the most beautiful bouquet of purple flowers. "Lord, guard my heart, lead our hearts, and be with us tonight," was my petition as I stumbled to find the words to say to Chris. I gracious accepted the flowers and turned about 450 shades of red as we prepared to get on our way.
We enjoyed casual conversation as we drove to downtown St. Louis. Still not knowing the plan for the evening, I filled the quiet moments in between conversation with thousands of silent ideas of where we could be going. I was shocked as we pulled up to Union Station and Chris told me we were going to have supper at Landry's Seafood. The conversation over supper was casual and enjoyable. My mind was racing at this point, wondering when he was going to get to the point of the evening.
After supper, we headed back to the car. I was anxious to know what was next, but was too nervous and excited to ask. Chris started driving toward the part of St. Louis know as "The Landing," which is where the Arch is located. He was taking an indirect route to get there, almost seeming as if he was lost. I was thoroughly confused about where we were going. When he pulled into a rocky parking lot on the edge of the Mississippi River, I couldn't figure out what he had up his sleeve. He asked if I knew what we were going to do, but I had no clue. Then he told me that we were going to go on a carriage ride through downtown! I nearly jumped out of my seat as I shouted, "Are you serious?!?" You see, ever since I was a young girl, we would go to St. Louis and see the cute little couples going on a carriage ride. It always looked so romantic! I dreamed of having that perfect date one day.
"Lord, I don't know where this is going or how you're working in this, but guard my heart. I am falling and doing so quickly. Make your will known," was my prayer as we gathered the blankets Chris had brought and got up into the carriage. The ride through downtown was absolutely beautiful. I felt like a princess, except I didn't dare get within arm's reach from Chris! For all I knew, we were just going on a nice ride. He was talking to the carriage driver more than he was talking to me, for Pete's sake!
As I was trying to enjoy the moment, I was becoming concerned and filled with doubts. If he didn't step up and make his move quickly, I was going to put a stop to this. Doesn't he know that I'm not strong enough for this? How dare he think that we can just have this casual night out together without me thinking it's something more? Does he not have any idea of the hurt this is causing me?
To be continued...