We grew up in the same state, and in sister churches. We were familiar with one another's families, but had never met. His uncle had preached at our church several times, and his cousin had attended my church for several years before moving away. I hd taught her kids in Sunday School and we were very friendly.
So how did God make us aware of each other?
WHERE WE MET
We met at an annual Spring Banquet at Trinity Baptist Church in Montville NJ. Neither of us were that excited about going. He had been to them so many times, and I always feel apprehensive about trying new things!
At the banquet, I was sitting with four other friends from church, when his friend told him that he had to go to our table and meet me.
He ended up sitting at our table and staying there! He didn't talk to me too much, and I was too occupied to notice that he was staring at me the entire time. Once, he flashed a brilliant smile at me, and I remember thinking, "what a nice smile."
I left with my friends, and when asked by my dad if I had met Pastor Brevard's nephew at the banquet, I said "Yes -- he sat at our table! He was very nice."
My dad pressed a little further, "did he seem interested at all?"
"No, but he was very nice," was my reply.
HIS COUSIN CALLS MY MOM
"But he didn't even talk to me!" I marvelled.
THE LONG WAIT
Of course, this whole phone call triggered many dinner time conversations, introspections, talks with those that knew him, and talks with my Heavenly Father.
I was struggling because I knew that since I was 22, and he was 25 -- this could be very serious. This could mean marriage. I wanted to be absolutely willing for the relationship to lead to marriage before even starting to communicate.
It was a month later, when I called his cousin back. I realized that it had been a l-o-n-g time, and I didn't even know if he was still interested. His cousin didn't tell me one way or another, but questioned me for quite a while about how things were going in my life, and what God was . I gave her my email address and sighed with relief. I didn't know that Mr.S had nearly given up, and was ready to move on. God has perfect timing!
YOU'VE GOT MAIL
Three days later, I heard from Mr. S by email for the first time. I was so excited. I wrote him back that very day, but didn't send it until the next day.
Thus began our correspondance. He would write one day, and I would write the next. He never forgot, and neither did I. The emails were getting longer and longer. We had a lot in common. After we had written every day for two weeks, he slipped a question into the end of his email, "Hey, I was wondering if it would be okay if I called you sometime?"
I asked my parents and they said it was ok, so we planned to talk after evening service that next Sunday.
PHONE CALLS - LONG ONES
Our first phone call was wonderful. We talked for three hours. His phone died and he had to go get another one. In the middle of that call, Mr.S talked to my dad and asked him if he could call regularly. Dad said yes and said "don't abuse the privilege!" We decided that he would call on Sunday nights after church.
We continued to email every day, but the next Sunday night stretched far into the future. It was so hard to wait! On Friday night, the subject heading of his email read "sixty-nine hours and counting..."
We talked for three and a half hours the next time ... and then we started talking twice a week.
He asked me if he could come visit our church and home. Dad said yes.
That Sunday as I taught Sunday School, I was so nervous. Through the window in my room, I saw him drive into the parking lot. I hardly knew what to do or how to act, but we had a wonderful day. He had dinner with our family and brought my mom a gift. He even helped us get dinner ready. I didn't want the day to end and I was starting to feel something very strange growing in my heart. Already? you may ask -- but when God is doing a work, our timing may not be His timing.
We wanted to see each other again, and my dad agreed that he could come five days later for the 4th of July. I was so excited, and so was he. His whole family was waiting at home to see how his day went, and I went home to discuss everything with my parents. I felt this strange sense of calm. I was so happy and excited, but it seemed so right -- something I had never felt before.
Thus ends part one ... part two will include: summer courtship, the engagement, marriage.