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The next year, 2000, was a very busy one for me. I did a lot of traveling and kept my parents busy shuttling me to the airport. I was twenty-four years old but single life was rich and fulfilling. It was a year of a lot of personal growth and I learned valuable lessons about myself and relationships. I saw Ed rarely that year but he continued to be in the background of my thoughts. Toward the end of the year, I told a friend about Ed and I realized that I was peering past my prejudice and noticing Ed's godly qualities.
In October I ran into Ed at a wedding reception. As people swirled around us, for the first time I allowed myself to have an extended conversation with Ed. My busy schedule was clearing out and I admitted to Ed that I didn't have any idea what I was supposed to do next with my life. Later I wasn't sure whether I was glad or sad to give him encouragement. Or even if he would take it as encouragement. (He did.)
It was a Thursday evening in February, 2001 and my family was in the kitchen with a table full of guests when the phone rang. Dad told him to call back the next evening since we had company. Poor Ed. After the agony of making the first call, he had to muster up the nerve a second time. By this time, I was ready to say "yes" and we began dating. It only took a few weeks and I knew that if Ed asked, I was willing to be his wife.
Our Mennonite/Brethren church differences didn't dissolve. We spent endless hours discussing church and our personal beliefs. I'm embarrassed to remember how many conversations ended up with me in tears. I wished that we could just have fun dating like normal couples, not dredge up intense issues. Sometimes I'm still surprised that Ed didn't give up on me. I'm sure he wished many times that I wasn't so strong-willed, opinionated, and intense.
Now we look back on those conversations and see the blessings. We were forced to learn to communicate and work through differences. Our marriage benefited immensely by the skills forged in that training ground.
Sometimes I am still shocked that a stubborn Brethren girl became a Mennonite minister's wife, but I'd marry Ed a dozen times over. God gave me much more than I ever expected or deserved.
And I'm glad my pride and prejudice didn't keep me from accepting His gift.
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Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Gina! I so enjoyed it. May God richly bless you in your role as wife and mother. Gina blogs about motherhood, gardening, and bread baking at homejoys.blogspot.com