My second "How We Met" story is a unique one shared by friends from our Arkansas years. Chris' shop in AR was located on Ernie's property, so we have lots of good memories of time spent with Ernie and Cathy Eby and their girls. They now live in PA and us in OH but we still count each other as friends, in fact, we just had the privilege of hosting them for supper last week!
Waiting has been a challenge for me all my life. All my growing up years, I could hardly wait to… go to school, go to high school, get my driver's license, leave father and mother, start a business, move to a wilderness frontier, be a missionary somewhere, and get married.
God has had lots of work to do on me. Through a long process, God brought me to the place where I was willing to be content as long as I knew Him.
When I was 22 and Cathy was 25, we met for the first time. I don't know to this day what it was that attracted me to her. Our introduction to each other had no impact on her whatsoever, but I couldn't forget her.
There's a sense in which we hesitate to share our story. We do not by any means want to leave the idea that if you wait long enough, God will bring that right someone to you to marry. Maybe God wants you to pursue a beautiful love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, just like you would build a dating relationship! This is a challenge that has struck home to both of us since we've been married. So we share our story as a situation in our lives where we can clearly see God's Hand at work through circumstances and according to His timing.
After about six months of thinking, praying, visiting her home community, visiting her classroom, and counseling with others, I decided to so something that I would not necessarily recommend anyone doing… I decided to ask a complete stranger for her friendship. I needed to send a picture along of myself just in case she had a face for me.
One day I got this letter…from a complete stranger. I called my parents and then began to realize some of the “research” Ernie had already put into this! We dated for 8 months. I can remember some good times, but confusion/turmoil colored most of those months. We came to an agreement to part ways, and our paths rarely crossed in those next years.
I was also confused. Looking back, I wasn't fit to be a husband or a father at all, but when we are young, we don't know such things. We think we are all competent and mature enough to do anything. If someone of my maturity would come to me now about whether they should pursue a lady they are attracted to, I would probably advise them to grow up a bit first. After we parted ways, I spent the next several years trying to figure out what God had said and was trying to say. I began to deal with a lot of issues in my life that would have kept me from being a good husband and father. Bitterness, pride, greed, selfishness…
There came a time when I realized I needed to release the relationship to God and be ok with trusting him even though He didn't explain to me why our dating relationship ended so confusingly. At the same time I began building strong, close relationships with some other godly men. (Up until that time, I did not have really close relationships with people of my own gender.)
Stay tuned for part two on Wednesday........