While we joke that the red wagon incident is what started the sparks flying for both of us…that wasn’t really the beginning of it all. In fact, I was quite terrified of The Pilot for years!
Our families were part of the same homeschool group for several years. We often were at the same events, whether classes or park days or field trips. Both of our families drove Ford Aerostars…identical in every way…except theirs had a small red stripe going around the side. The stripe didn’t prevent mix-ups, however…which ended with one or more parties confused as to why their key wouldn’t unlock the van.
Eventually their family switched homeschool groups and our paths went different ways for several years. When the Pilot and I were about 12, his family’ started attending the same church we did. I still remember the shock I felt when I turned around and saw their family walk in from the back.
From then on, my terror of them began to dissipate. We didn’t spend a lot of time together, but I knew that their family was great. I always noticed that the Pilot was very down-to-earth and hard working. He had his head on straight, as I put it. Even though he was young, he worked hard at school and his job, working toward goals…qualities which can be very hard to find in young men these days!
Around age 16, the Pilot and I both joined a Christian Debate forum that a group of friends started. The purpose of the forum was to talk about various issues that Christians face and discuss what our response as Christians should be to each. For both the Pilot and I, the CDF (Christian Debate Forum) days were influential as we learned to think about what we believe and why. It drove us to the Scriptures. On the forum we participated in lots of the same discussions. When we saw each other in real life, sometimes we would discuss what was happening on the board. It was really helpful to hear from him what he meant by things, instead of trying to interpret his words and intents through the internet.
During that time, both of us “liked” the other…in the sense that there was a mutual respect. I still knew he was a really great guy…but honestly I didn’t think I would be the one to marry him.
Life continued on. We dissected a frog together in biology class in 10th grade, played handball together with a group of families from church, and went to each other’s high school graduations. In the summer of ’08 we began hiking with our Tuesday Night Group (formal name for The Group of Families That Got Together Weekly to Fellowship). I was going to hike Mt. Whitney with my dear friend J and some of her family, so we began doing small hikes on a weekly basis to help prepare.
Those hikes were great!! Looking back, I see that those hikes were definitely some of the things that God used for the Pilot and I to get to know each other more as friends. But at the time, I loved being outdoors, I loved hiking, and I loved the wonderful, sometimes deep talks I had with J or others on the trail with us.
In the fall of ’08, the Pilot and I started IMing on AIM. That’s when we really started to become friends. Later I found out that he first IMd me because he was wondering if there could be a future relationship for us and wanted to get to know me better. During those first few months of IMing, I still just thought he was a great guy. As I got to know him, though, I started to notice even more of his character. He was a servant and he had an encouraging spirit. Suddenly I realized…he was a really great guy.
Thus began the months and months of praying and praying and praying. I didn’t want to run ahead of God’s plans, and I didn’t want to just get carried away with a frivolous crush. Was it a crush? Was it something more? Was God going to bring us together? At that point I still didn’t know what the Pilot thought about me….so I tried to stay neutral. I didn’t want to get my hands in there and try to force something to happen if it wasn’t God’s will or God’s timing. I wrestled for a long time…praying for patience, for contentment, for wisdom. The Pilot didn’t help things, either…he kept being the most incredibly amazing man I knew. Several times in the midst of my tearful prayers, I would ask, “Why does he have to be so amazing?”
I watched him interact with others. I saw how he effortlessly became friends with new people and made them feel at ease. I watched him step in and serve. I watched how diligent he was with his many responsibilities. I saw his joyful spirit.
Finally, God brought me to a place of complete peace and contentment. I didn’t know what would happen. I didn’t know if the Pilot was interested in me. But I knew that God was in control. I knew that it would all work out. Beautifully. For His glory. No matter what happened.