26- My Side of the Story
The humiliating experience of being a car hop was so good for me. Friends had needed me and part of me was really happy to help out.
[Remember that I had desired to be a maid because I liked to help people.] Yet, the daily mortification was wearying.
My friend, Linda, who had been worrying about me during those months of car hopping, came through for me big time. Her husband managed a plant nursery and needed a cashier and she got me the job!
Daisies and roses and grape ivy were about the only plants I was able to recognize. I had never used a cash register, so I fumbled and blundered a lot. The customers wanted advice on shrub care and proper insecticides to use on trees. My immediate boss, Bruce, became as frustrated with me as Georgia had been. Oh me, oh my.
In hindsight, I understood that the Lord had been placing me in jobs that were not in my areas of ability, humiliating for a college graduate, and in which I felt utterly stupid. These deployments were absolutely necessary for His plan and His long-range goals for me. I had been quite full of myself and of my teaching expertise, and I needed to become lower in my own estimation. He cannot use vessels that are puffed up and full of vainglory. He wants broken, empty vessels that realize that it is His fullness that produces His life and bears His fruit. He wants our dependency, and He wants Christ to live through us in every area of our lives.
My relationships with guys in the church were in the brother/buddy/friend category. As my connection with Dan deepened, I realized he was in a category all of his own. The first thing that impressed me was that he was a man, not a boy. He was mature. The second thing, he always treated me with respect. (side note: my buddy friends also always treated me respectfully)
Dan was not petty or gossipy or negative. He and his brother had been raised to work hard and had been taught how to think. He was capable and intelligent. He was caring towards his grandmothers and respectful toward his parents. He devoured the Word of God and was a learner. He was teachable and he knew how to come under authority. He had a servant heart.
The third thing that impressed me, he was not after my body.
We could be close without touching. Our friendship deepened without physical or sexual contact. We probably had given each other church hugs, I don’t remember, but he notes ‘our first joyous embrace’ was on June 2nd, eight months after the square dancing party. Here’s the story about that.
Karen and I had consistently prayed daily for each other for mission, marriage, or ministry. Our praying together gave the Holy Spirit opportunity to use Karen to hear His voice about a particular area of my life. As I realized that I could fully trust her, I knew I could share my innermost heart and not be mocked or chided. So I told her there was a man in my church who I felt the Lord had told me that I would eventually rescue as I stood silently in the wings praying for him. This had become a strangling bondage that I tried for more than a year to ‘carry for the Lord.’ I had not shared it with anyone until I shared it with Karen. Karen suggested I talk to a man in her church that she knew was a trustworthy professional counselor and a man I could safely confide in without fear of recrimination.
She fasted and prayed for me as I went to the counseling session and opened up to Bill. The enemy has a way of binding up a person, cutting off communication through secretiveness, and isolating that person, and I needed release. As I shared my story with Bill all of the shackles were loosed and they fell to the ground just by bringing it into the Light! I was free! I was free from the lie that the enemy had wrapped around me. He had used the deception to tangle my thought life and warp my normally logical mind.
Soon after I was free, Karen shared with me that she believed that Dan was the man of integrity, God’s choice, that suited me for marriage. It was a surprising eye-opener for me, and I was completely taken aback. I even argued with her about it. She challenged me to go to the Lord and ask Him about Dan, even threatening to talk to Dan and encourage him to not give up on pursuing me. And she kept praying.
I went immediately to the Lord and went over it with Him. I realized that I really did care about Dan and that he had proven his love for me. The bottom line was: “Lord, three things bother me about Dan: his red hair, his chipped horned-rimmed glasses, and the crummy work boots that he wears all the time. I will know Your hand is in this if you change these things or change me.”
That night when Dan arrived unexpectedly at our house (see June 2nd) he had NEW glasses and NEW boots! I figured God could not do anything about the hair, but what He could do something about, He did. And He had been working on these changes in the previous weeks to have everything line up like that in direct answer to my prayer.
Dan called our hug “our first tearfully joyous embrace.” In my journal I wrote: “As I looked at these unbelievable changes in this man who was so smitten on me, the Spirit EXPLODED in my spirit! Because I now knew God was in this relationship, I opened up to it and literally swooned with passion for Dan right on my doorstep.” It was a God thing, and that is what I needed it to be. I had been praying for a man after God’s own heart, but I had been thinking it was the other man. No. Dan had proven he was loyal, persevering, surrendered to the Lord and to the Spirit, teachable, and a servant. He had shown me unconditional love for months while I was in lalaland.