Imagine a young seventeen year old girl heading off to Bible college after a good long stint of running from Jesus. Naive. Impressionable. Rowdy….selfish.
God had his work cut out for me. He still does. I’m grateful that He’s long-suffering. I walked onto campus ready to do things right after doing things so wrong for so long. Everything was new and fresh.
And I had all these ideas about who I was going to become and what my life would be like. Much of it meant using my dad’s credit cards and not having to get a job during college days. What? I said I was seventeen.
I was going as a missions major with a heart for India. I was going to marry a missions major. We would graduate and then we would head for the mission field to work with girls rescued from brothels. Children of my own weren’t even on the radar.
I’m a planner.
Planning is great. “A man’s heart plans his ways…” Proverbs 16:9 God never said we couldn’t make plans. The plans I had going on were good. God-glorifying.
However, I needed cash. Dad cut me off! And um…I wasn’t selling plasma. Needles. Not happening. Someone told me about working on my own time (good for a planner like me) telemarketing.
Yes, I was one of those people you hung up on…or told dirty jokes to. I have a whole other post on this. But hey, it was money and it was fun.
One particular evening a blond-haired guy with smart-looking glasses set down beside me. Big blue eyes. Full lips. Wide smile that sent crater-like dimples into his cheeks. I thought, “A shy, smart guy. Cool.” So much better than the perv on my left.
I was wrong. He wasn’t shy at all. In fact, without the f-bombs, he could have been a white Eddie Murphy. He leaned over my cubicle and made a witty remark about my phone skills and I don’t know if he had the intuition or was just so competitive himself that it didn’t matter, but he challenged me.
|Love to hear my man sing
and the sleeves rolled up…bonus!
What is it about a man with
his sleeves rolled up?
Um…don’t challenge me! Don’t make bets! I get all crazy-competitive. Ask Susan Tuttle and Julie Jarnagin. 🙂 I won btw…making the most calls without hang ups that night.
He offered to give me a ride back to my dorm, and I found out he attended the same college. I’d never seen him before. But later I found out, he’d seen me.
I declined his offer.
The next work night, I accepted. We sat in his truck until curfew laughing and talking. I found out he was an Evangelism major which immediately threw him off the radar. I was marrying a missions major. And I told him that.
I will never forget that smirk and arrogant twinkle in his eye. “Okay.” His tone? Smug. But I let it go. No point arguing.
|Me and my evangelist…in Thailand together
ministering to the children!
And then he asked me out for Valentine’s and again, I reminded him. I was marrying a missions major. “Come on, as friends.”
“Alright. But just as friends. I’m serious.”
Arrogant eye-twinkle. Smug smirk. “Okay.”
When he showed up at my dorm, he had a dozen roses, heart-shaped box of chocolate, and a card. Inside I was giddy. On the outside, I frowned. “I said, as friends. This is a friend date.”
“Well, you don’t know me very well yet. I do this for all my friends.” He grinned, opened the door for me and we drove into Branson and had a steak dinner. It was fun, I had to admit. But I wasn’t marrying an evangelist. And I was going to India.
That evening on the way back to the dorms, he pulled off a secluded road. I knew exactly what that meant. Oh my good gravy! I am not parking with this evangelist! Ack! I remember freaking out inside. He turned to me and grinned.
“What are you doing?” I asked, a cautious look in my eye.
|Thai kids take ice cream sandwich literally.
They eat it on bread. Look closely!
He fiddled with the radio. “Hop out.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Get out, Jess. Come on.” He opened his car door.
I thought, “Hey, better than the back seat.”
And that’s when he took me in his arms and we danced. Just a sweet, soft slow dance on the side of a road overlooking a field.
Yep, REO Speedwagon blared I Can’t Fight This Feeling. LOL But it was so romantic and sweet and I think at that moment, my heart slipped away.
The following year, we were married. He wrote me a song and sang it to me on our wedding day.
No, we’re not in India…yet. But we’ve ministered to so many people as a team, a partnership. I can’t imagine my life with anyone else. We laugh, we act like complete idiots…well, I do! Tim is my best friend. Here’s an example:
|That’s a photo he sent me.
My ruts in the yard backing out!
I’m thankful for the latter half of Proverbs 16:9 “…but the LORD directs his steps.”
Maybe you’re out there and you’re a planner. Like me. Remember, God has your very best interest at heart. And when He changes your plans, it’s okay. You always get something better than what you thought you ever wanted! I’m living proof.
What was your first date like? I’d love to hear in the comments! And have you ever been on a missions trip before? Where did you go? How did it change your life?