We're ready for the third and final part of our second How We Met story. If you missed the other parts, start reading here.
After praying about this for several more months I finally concluded that God was letting it up to me to decide whether I wanted to pursue this relationship again or not. I couldn't forget about her… and she wasn't getting married to anyone else. It was now nine years since we had dated.
So, “God… what next?” I called Cathy's dad and he was favorable toward the idea of me asking Cathy about dating again but warned me that she may not be ready for a relationship in light of what happened to her friend.
I decided to go ahead and ask Cathy for her friendship and see what would happen. But I had a problem. I had no suitable stationary and Walmart was 14 miles away! I would need to drive to town to get some. However, before I had a chance to make that trip, the church youth met for supper at an elderly couple's house. I won a door prize (the first in my life) and it turned out to be a box of Thomas Kincaid notecards. I was in a whirl the rest of the evening. Later I realized, these were not just ordinary Kincaid cards…they were lighthouse cards. And from the dim recesses of my mind I remembered that lighthouses were Cathy's thing! When God does something, He makes sure it is done right! So, I wrote Cathy a letter using my new “God-given stationary”.
Five long weeks later, after I had moved to CBS for the winter, my letter/card came back marked, “No such address”. I “clocked out” for a couple hours and went to Bethel Springs Church across the creek from CBS to talk to God about this for awhile. Then I called Cathy's Dad to explain what happened and inform him that I would need some time to discern what God was trying to say through all of this.
Dad dropped the bombshell of telling me about Ernie's phone call. “What about what happened to my friend!"…..I hardly knew how to handle this possibility. I/we didn't know if Ernie would make contact again or not. I wished Dad hadn't even told me. However, I knew that if Ernie would make contact again, I could use some preparation and healing time. For a month, I didn't discuss this with anyone except the Lord. Not even my parents. After the month was up, I talked with them briefly, but basically asked that they pray. After all, we still didn't know if he would try again or not.
I didn't have time to pursue the relationship further until after CBS, so had a few months more of waiting that winter. During that time I wondered whether God was telling me just to drop it… but then I remembered those lighthouse cards…He had given me 12 of them. : )
After a wonderful, enriching trip to KS in March, reconnecting with some single girlfriends of mine, I arrived home to mom telling me to check my mail. I knew right away…….
Battles, questions, trust, …It didn't work 10 years ago, why did I even think it might work now? I wasn't sure it was even worth the effort to find out……………especially after such a satisfying time with my single friends.
For about 2 weeks, I wavered between “yes” and “no”. I struggled with many fears. Finally one evening, I was ready to get to the bottom of it. Was I struggling because God was trying to tell me “No, Cathy, this is not for you," or was I struggling because of my natural fears & apprehensions. God reminded me of this verse: “For God, has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind”. Finally, I had peace about considering the possibility of dating again. My heart was quiet & ready for whatever God showed me to do next.
I emailed Ernie some questions. His answers were much more detailed than I expected, and went a long way in setting some of my fears at rest.
In our new relationship, it felt like we got further in the first 2 weeks than we did in the 8 months previously. Lots of things had been learned and it was now the better time. We still had lots of opportunities to trust and wait on each other, but God cleared our path beautifully.
Today, we are sometimes asked if those 10 in-between years feel like a waste. It's easy to answer with a “no”. We could have gotten married back then, but we shudder to think of the big bumps & hurdles we would have needed to face trying to learn communication and relating skills while raising a family. Waiting on God's timing prepared us for a satisfying life together!
Thank you so much, Ernie and Cathy, for being willing to share your story! I love hearing the many creative and unusual ways God writes our stories. He is certainly not limited to our neat little formulas for a happy life. Wishing you a happy 10th anniversary this year and many, many more to come!