(Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. For his birthday present, I did not publicize (much) the fact that it is his birthday (since he hates celebrating it). But today, I am free to do as I please and I have decided to repost this blog. For those of you that don’t know, Alex and I met in late September 2006, this blog was written in late October 2006, and we were engaged by mid-December 2006. We met a mere month after I had ended an engagement with someone else. Basically, God did everything except show up at my door and punch me in the nose to show me that Alex was “the one”. THE UPPERCASE COMMENTS ARE NOT ORIGINAL TO THE POST.)
Pinch me. I must be dreaming. This can’t be real. Any minute now, I will wake up in the Annex of the library across the table from a corps boy who snores like a chainsaw.
Nope. It’s real. I’m awake and I’m in looove. (BARF) I’ve got a little story for you, Ags. And it’s a good one, so hold on to your hats.
About a two months ago, Emily started talking to me about this boy named Alex, who she knew through her roommate Kim. Every time she would mention him, I would roll my eyes. I did NOT want to date and I especially did not want to be set up. To my surprise, Emily also mentioned me to Alex one night- just an offhanded comment about my interest in the Middle East. Alex myspaced me and sent me a message:
Hey, sorry if this is totally random but I’m a friend of Emily’s and she knows that I want to be a missionary in the Middle East. She said that you really had a heart for that region too, and she told me your myspace and I thought I would say hello. God bless you Beth the welder.
I thought, hey, that’s kinda cool. So I invited him to my Arabic class. He came and I saw him long enough to ask him where he was from, then my prof kicked him out of class because it was full and there was a 42 person waitlist. So we met.
I was intrigued. So I sent him a message:
Hey. Let’s do lunch next week (if you can). I’m always up for new friends and God has blessed me this semester with a knowledge of people who have the same heart for the Middle East. I have a break MWF 12:30-1:50 and TR after noon until 2. If you can’t do it then, i’m sure we can work something out. YAY!
PS- On a more serious note, I need to clear something up. Everytime Emily talks to me about you it’s in her “you should date him” voice. I don’t know if she’s done this to you too but…long story short, God and I have decided that I’m not going to date for an undisclosed amount of time. Anyway, this is probably not even a problem and I hope it doesn’t make awkward. Maybe you’ll get the long version after we’re best friends 🙂 . Hope to see you next week! Byee. (FORESHADOWING? MAYBE!)
Lunch was set for September 26, after Arabic. I was so nervous (I don’t know why) and I really had to go to the bathroom but I pushed through. We talked for an hour and a half. The conversation went a little something like, “No way! Me too!” “You do too?” “That’s crazy! I thought I was the only one!?!” When we left (cause I was already kind of late for work), I just praised the Lord for a new friend. I went to house church that next Saturday and told them that I had met my twin.
We hung out more. Alex started coming with us to the homeless guys’ house. We watched Wonder Years and Pete and Pete. He came to house church. We talked about the Middle East. We “studied” together with Emily. We went swimming when the electricity went out. I brought him a picnic on a day that he had to study. The more we hung out, the more I was intrigued.
Because it seemed that the more I hung out with him, the more I wanted to grow closer to the Him. Weird, I know. I would be walking around campus thinking about Alex, and it would just hit me, “This is totally the way I want to think about the Lord.” So I did. Alex checks everything that he hears against the Bible. It’s funny to watch him because he’ll have ten fingers stuck in various books as place markers (HE STILL DOES THIS. WHEN I ASK HIM, “What are you looking at?” HE ALWAYS SAYS, “Nothing.”). Kim and I started doing this one weekend and it was really fun and fruitful. Alex messaged me last week and said that he had spent a whole lot of time in prayer. It really challenged me to desire that for God and I. As a result, I spent the evening spinning in my living room and listening to sweet Jesus tell me that everything was going to be okay.
Okay, at this point, (last week) I was positive that I liked him. We’ve played racquetball once a week since we’ve met. We had gone to the State Fair with Emily and crew (photo op!)
and I got to meet his amazing family. Chris, Alex, and I drove back early Sunday morning and Christopher slept/talked in his sleep all the way back so Alex and I had four hours of chat time. Loved it.
So last Wednesday, we watched Big Fish after Bible Study. When we were done, we laid on the floor and talked. Alex told me that he had been praying about us and that he was ready to date whenever I was. We could take it as slow as I needed. I expressed how I felt and told him that I really didn’t want to date (because somehow I turn it into a structured relationship with deadlines) but I was interested in something. So we were together in an indefinable relationship. We weren’t dating. We just were. The next night, he asked me if he could call me his girlfriend. I told him I would have to pray about it. HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?
Now for a fun part (not that the whole thing isn’t fun, cause it is). I had told him that I was frustrated because I had never been able to really master hearing God speak. Now, here I am with a boy that has hinted that I’m “the One” and he’s asking me if I am his girlfriend and I’ve only known him a month and I’ve only been single for 2ish months. I needed God to speak to me. I spent sometime Thursday night crying out in my bed but nothing. I got up in the morning and skipped breakfast and making a lunch so that I could read my Bible and pray. I went to my first class and then skipped my next two and went to the library. I sat down and told God that I needed to hear him.
I expressed that I was afraid of a few things. 1) It’s only been a month. For those of you that don’t know, that’s really soon to be thinking about marriage. 2) I’ve already been engaged (TO SOMEONE WHO IS NOW MARRIED AND HAS A PRECIOUS NEW BABY). It wouldn’t have worked. So, how could I trust myself that I would be making the right decision? I couldn’t I would have to depend on God and His guidance. 3) What would people say? I know what they would say… “Beth, you’ve already done this once. You’ve already messed up once. Are you sure you want to do it again?” Scary. 4) Probably the biggest fear- I was damaged goods. I had been returned and was hanging on the clearance rack at the back of the store and Alex does not deserve a clearance wife. (PS- Both God and Alex have taught me that this is a skewed way of looking at myself and I realize now it was a silly fear.)
My first hour or so of praying seemed to put me at a dead end. There was this crazy engineer who would talk loudly about math even though you aren’t supposed to talk in the Annex. There was a girl a few benches over who was eating cheetos or something and the bag kept crinkling (THIS MIGHT BE MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE. IT MAKES ME WANT TO RIP MY EYES OUT). I couldn’t focus. I wasn’t hearing God. I got frustrated. I went and checked my various online communities. I thought about checking Alex’s blog so I went to his site and of course the entry that God indirectly led me to was one on fear.
Alex talked about David and how David conquered Goliath, though no one else thought he could. David’s faith brought him through this battle, this thing that seemed impossible. Alex ended with, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27. Well, falling in love and deciding to marry someone in one month definitely seems impossible to man.
I almost cried at the computer because God was speaking to me through Alex. My prayer then was “Lord, I do not want a spirit of fear. I want to rest secure in the knowledge that I am following You.” I went back to my spot at the library and Captain Talks Too Loud had quieted down. God continued to show me verses about fear:
Fear of man will prove to be a snare
But whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Psalm 29:25
And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen for they are rebellious. Ezekiel 2: 6-7
With these verses, God laid to rest my fears about others. And then I was ready to move on. God eventually led me to the book of Ruth.
I had a camp counselor tell me one time that I was going to be like Ruth. It’s kind of stuck with me and it seems to be working out. Ruth was obedient and traveled to a foreign land. God led her to one of Boaz’s fields. One of the finer points of Ruth’s character was that she realized she did not deserve what she was being given. “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me – a foreigner?” (Ruth 2: 10) Naomi said, “Hey Ruth, you should go check out that Boaz guy. I hear he’s hot stuff.” So Ruth went to the threshing floor at night (socially unacceptable!!) and laid at Boaz’s feet in an act of humility and submission. Boaz was very surprised and promised to take care of her. Then they get married and live happily ever after.
God hit me in the head. He was/is leading me into a place where I do not know or understand what is going on but He’s got it under control and I’m going to be okay.
So God told me that I was going to marry Alex.
I was so excited about this discovery. I had lunch with the Assassins (Tim and Kim) and Kim and I did cartwheels. I couldn’t wait to tell Alex.
I left a note on his car between class and work telling him to meet me at my apartment later that night. I played games at the Kornegay’s and shared the good news with everyone there. Then I came back to the apartment, lit some tea lights, put on a pretty dress, and waited. There was a note outside my door telling Alex to ring the doorbell, take of his shoes, and come inside and sit in Henry (my all time favorite Salvation army find). I then told him about my prayer time that day. Then I washed his feet and told him that I didn’t want to be his girlfriend. I wanted to be his future wife. He then washed my feet and we just kind of sat in shock for a while. Then we played Tiddly Winks, I think (CLASSIC BETH AND ALEX MOVE- DOING SOMETHING MUNDANE IN SHOCK). My memory is hazy because I was so excited.
So that’s our story, in a nutshell. I know what you’re thinking. “Beth, I thought you weren’t going to date.” Well, I’m not. We skipped over that part and because of that, I am constantly praying and asking God to strengthen me and us. We aren’t officially engaged and there’s not a date yet but we’re praying about it. And God will answer us because He’s cool like that.
I think the best part of this story is that God is using this for His glory, and in the process has granted me inexplicable joy. To tell people that I’m getting married and I haven’t even known the boy for a month is exciting because they don’t understand it and I can’t explain it. This was God’s doing all the way.
I always wanted a romantic love story for my life. Ladies and gents, I could not have written this one. God is good, all the time.
So we’re almost done. You’re probably like, “Well, Beth, that’s a cool story” and then you’ll go on and eat some cheese or whatever it is that you do. My prayer is that God will use my life and Alex’s life for His glory, to show others that God is in control and if we are just obedient, He will take care of us in a mighty way. His plans are not our plans- they’re better and that applies to everyone!
I’m in a love triangle with a God that created me and the boy that He gave me. Yay!!
(2011 addendum: Isn’t this just so sweet that it makes you want to barf? Lovey lovey lovey newlywed stuff. Even though we don’t write each other love notes daily that have hearts on them, we’ve been married long enough that we’ve settled into this comfortable relationship- the kind where you know each other so well that you don’t have to make googly eyes all the time. Alex knows everything there is to know about me and he’s my best friend. I hear marriage just gets better and better. Can’t wait! Happy birthday, sugar buns.)