It is very late, and I have to get up in only four short hours for work, but I can not sleep. Jim is coming home tomorrow after a very LONG couple of weeks away and I am ecstatic! I have missed him so much this past month. He is my best friend and better half, and without him here I have felt very incomplete. And lonely, especially as I have not been able to communicate with him for the majority of the time he's been away. In fact, over the course of this past year we have spent over a month apart from each other. I'm pretty certain one of the reasons the idea of marriage was so appealing to me because I thought I wouldn't have to be alone, but here I am.
I've been thinking a lot over the past several weeks about where Jim and I have come in our time together. We met four years ago, in May of 2005. I had just wrapped up my first year at WSU Pullman, and Jim was living and working here. Looking back, it's amazing to us to remember where God had taken us in the six months prior to that first meeting. His plan in working in each of our hearts to prepare us for each other is so evident now. At the beginning of that summer we were both in love with our Savior, growing closer to Him every day, and completely content to be single.
Jim and I met at a Bible study for young adults. He and his friend Jason had been attending previously, but I showed up that night having just moved back from school. Jim and I did not speak much that night. Jason, however, talked my ear off as Jim sat awkwardly beside him. One week later, I arrived home from a trip to Portland to find a strange car parked across the street from my house. It turned out to be Jim and Jason, who were returning a book I had lent a mutual friend. What a lame excuse to sit outside my house for who knows how long! Once again, Jason monopolized the conversation and Jim said almost nothing. I remember thinking both encounters were odd, but thought nothing more about it.
A week later, I found myself alone at church as my family had been out of town for a soccer tournament. Jim came up to me after service and asked me to have lunch with his family. I had grown up with his sister, and knew his parents, so I agreed to go (although I have to admit the motivating factor was a free meal). He forgot to mention to me that it was his mother's 50th birthday until we were walking into Tony Roma's and he asked me to hide his mother's present in my purse. Oops! Thankfully his parents are very gracious people, and I had a great time at lunch.
After lunch, Jim and I went back to church. We ended up spending that afternoon talking about God... what He had been doing in our lives, where we were spiritually. I remember thinking that I had never met a man who loved God as earnestly and knew Him as intimately as this man did. At the end of our conversation, Jim asked for my phone number to use for "carpooling to Bible study". I was gullible enough to believe that line, and I gave him my number.
Not even 12 hours later, Jim called me. And kept calling me. And texting me. I did not have unlimited text messaging that first month, and I remember getting a $250 phone bill for all the text messages he sent! Five days later, he ended up inviting me to a BBQ with his parents, and we had the great "Defining the Relationship" talk afterwards, which began with my very blunt question: "Why do you keep calling me?" And the rest is history.
For me, our relationship did not begin with the big, romantic, falling-head-over-heels-in-love, emotional whirlwind that so many other relationships in the past had. More than anything, I loved sharing my relationship with God with Jim. He not only understood, but shared my passion and zeal for our Savior. I had very precious few people in my life at that point I could share with, especially at home, and I appreciated that I could share openly with Jim about what God was doing in my heart. Over time, I began to understand and appreciate why God had shaped and molded this man's heart and brought it into my life at that exact moment.
So here I am, four years later, having grown to love, appreciate, and respect this wonderful man. During the first month of our relationship, God gave me Colossians 2:2-3 "...that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" I believe with all my heart this is God's purpose for our relationship, and it is amazing to me to look back over the past four years and see clear examples of how this has been achieved in our life together so far. What amazing grace God has shown me, to raise me up of the many messes I made for myself and give me such a beautiful gift!
I love sharing our story with the young women in my life as a testimony to how amazing and wonderful our God is, and my hope for each of them is that they would allow God to refine their hearts and lives so He can prepare the perfect grounding on which to build a solid relationship born of a mutual desire to know Him more fully with the one He has prepared for them.
Jim, I am so privileged to be your wife! I am amazed and awed at what God has accomplished in our hearts and lives so far, and I look forward to where He is taking us. You are an amazing, selfless man who desires everyday to know and serve your Savior more fully. Thank you for listening and responding to the call of God in your life - you make it easy to follow your leadership! God has been far better than I deserve to prepare you for me, and I grow to love and respect you more with each day.