Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Overlooking God's Best

Sometimes God leads us to the answer to our prayers without detours. sometimes He places the answer to our prayers right in front of our face and waits for us to recognize it.  Sometimes we are so blind, He has to hit us over the head with it before we can recognize His answer, especially if we are blinded by our own plans, ideals and preconceptions (misconceptions too!).  In my case, God had to use all three to get me to see His wonderful plan for me.

Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of getting married and having a family.  I played weddings and babies with my baby dolls and barbie dolls.  As I grew older I loved movies and books about girls falling in love and getting married.  I dreamed of the day when I would meet that special, tall, dark and handsome man who would sweep me off my feet, take me on romantic dates, kneel before me and ask for me hand, and then meet me at the end of the isle in the midst of a beautiful (expensive) wedding that would be remember by all for years to come.  I knew that getting married was the biggest goal in my life.  I did not have great career aspirations, and I hoped to be a stay at home mom, raising my larger-than-average family of about 5 children.  I also really wanted a daughter - I planned that if I hadn't had a girl after 5 babies, that I would adopt a girl and that would be that.  Wow - was I a planner or what!!!

So from the time I was in high school, I was on the lookout for this man - the man of my dreams.  I met and dated several young men who seemed like they might fit the bill, but they all fell far short.  I never dated anyone from my school, and just knew that there was no one there I would ever want to date!

Looking back, I have realized that I never once prayed for God to show me the man He wanted me to marry - I prayed that I'd get married once in a while, but I pretty much thought that the finding of THE MAN was  up to me.  And all the while, God had placed the man He had intended for me all along right under my nose, only I was so blinded by my dreams that I couldn't see the perfect answer to my dreams even when it was right in front of me - he had to knock me over the head to get my attention!

Daryl and I  probably first "met" in church nursery as our parents went to the same church! We attended the same church and small Christian school, Daryl being one grade ahead of me. The small school we attended was great at one thing...developing strong clicks...and we were not in the same clicks, ever. But we did end up taking one class together, Chemistry (I know, funny...) and we were also in choir together. At the time I had two close girlfriends, Hildred and Kimberly. One night after a choir concert, Daryl ended up sitting behind me on the bus ride back to school. We struck up a conversation that included sharing about our families (ours are very different family back grounds to put it mildly...ever seen "My Greek Wedding"?). Our conversation ended up lasting far beyond the trip back to school and included tips on how Daryl could get Kimberly out on a worked, as he did go out with Kimberly, once, but that wasn't meant to be...he also later took Hildred to the Junior/Senior banquet (in Jaguar XJS no less...).

Our friendship, although a complete secret, continued on through the school year and beyond. It involved doing things together (rollerskating, biking, playing video games, bowling and such) but mostly just sitting in his car, on OPPOSITE SIDES - ie as far apart as we could possibly get..ewww yuck!! LOL! And having deep conversations about what we hope to accomplish in our lives, our dreams and aspirations...funny, we both wanted 5 kids... And, then, halfway through my senior year, he stopped by school and found me to say goodbye - he had enlisted in the Air Force and was leaving the next day for boot camp. We had been so good at keeping our friendship a secret that not even my best friends understood why he would come to say goodbye to me!

Like any good friend, I wrote a letter to him while he was in boot-camp...scented stationary just to get him teased by his fellow bunkhouse mates! We also recently found a letter he wrote to me from boot neither of us remembered him having written!

Then it was my turn to to college in Iowa. When I came back to Washington for summer break, Daryl was stationed in Tacoma, so we were able to get together again...this time he taught me how to play golf...he was dating a girl and I was dating a guy from college, but we were still good friends who enjoyed doing things together. The next spring break I took my boyfriend home to meet everyone, and this included Daryl...we played ping pong all kind of made my boyfriend jealous because it became obvious that Daryl and I had the same sense of humor and had a good friendship...

The next months were life changing for me...I got engaged, and then broke the engagement...resented God for silly now that I look back...I was trying to live out my dreams of getting married regardless of what God might have planned for me...I made it back to Washington State, and the first person I looked up was Daryl (he was supposedly in a relationship)...and I singed his ears telling him all the rebellious behavior I had been and was participating in....and I was so surprised that he didn't write me off right them and there...I also found out at this time that he had also broken up his relationship.

After a few months of rebelling against God I found myself contemplating suicide - but then I realized that what I was doing was only hurting myself and was living totally contrary to what I had believed almost all my life - that God is good and He has a plan for me!   I went back to church and recommitted my life to Jesus...I even told God that I was through looking for marriage...that I wasn't going to look at another guy for the rest of my life...if He wanted me to get married, he'd have to drop him in my lap....I was not going to be looking...

About 2 weeks later, after church, my brother, Tom, was driving his girls back home to Eastern Washington and asked if I would go with him...Daryl and I were talking at the time (by now a few people knew we were friends) so I asked if he'd like to go too..and he said yes. So we rode with Tom over and back, only on the way back, Tom decided to take the adventurous way home...mostly old logging roads...driving like a crazy man! I was sitting in the middle, between Tom and Daryl, and I reached over to grab hold of Daryl's arm so I wouldn't crash into Tom...only it was the first time we ever touched...ever...Daryl looked at me, I looked at him,, and we simultaneously said "NO WAY"...this happened more than once on the long drive home and Tom was beginning to wonder if we had lost our minds...

After we arrived at my house, Daryl and I stayed awake talking in my parent's living room for that we were alone, we could talk about all the things that were going through our minds in the car that resulted in the numerous outbursts of “no way”....”well”....”no way”.... We talked about how we both had the same sense of humor, we loved to hang out together, we both wanted a large family, we both thought women shouldn't work once they have children if at all possible, we both thought marriage was for life, divorce was never an option, we were both believers, but we kept getting hung up on appearances...Daryl had always wanted to marry a petite, brown-eye, brunette (I'm his height, not petite, blue eyed...I was a brunette, but 1 out of 3 isn't good stats)...and I always wanted to marry someone tall, dark, and handsome...(again, 1 out of 3 isn't great). We spent several evening/early mornings going over things, but we just kept coming back to appearances and that we just didn't find each-other attractive “in that way”...we'd been friends too long it seemed....

But then one night, we started talking about wanting to have a marriage that lasts through the years, that after being married 20, 30, 40 years, what would keep a marriage happy and healthy would be all the things we did have...and that what we looked like now would matter very little, if at all, down the road...that was the turning point...somehow God got it through our immature brains that what really mattered in a marriage was exactly what we already had...unconditional, intimate friendship. At this point we talked about where this was headed, and we both realized that we were either going to get married, or our friendship was over...there was no going back. Soon we got over our shyness (it took a tickle fight) and experienced our first kiss...a few weeks later, on my birthday (Dec 12) we were officially engaged, much to everyone's surprise...and just 3 ½ short months later we were married on March 29, 1985. Well, to almost everyone's surprise...two people, one of whom was my father, after my broken engagement, asked me “what about Daryl” and to both I replied “Over my dead body, he's not my type”...needless to say I was not dead the day we watch what you say!

So that was how Daryl and I came to be married, but that was just the beginning...a lot has happened since then, and neither of us are the same people we were when we married, and we have shared many good times and trials through the years.

One thing I want to leave with anyone who reads this store is this – God has a plan for YOU – and His plan is always perfect! And, His timing is perfect too. When we try to write our own story in our timing, we will only find hurt and pain and lasting consequences. We had never heard of “courting” or “having God write your love story” as many people, us included, are now encouraging their children to embrace. We came pretty close to the ideal though - we got to know each other very well, with no strings attached and we weren't out to impress each other...and that was the best foundation for a great marriage there is...and we are still best friends to this day, and whenever possible we still do things together, at home and away!