Our Love Story Part 2.
January and February rolled on with a different feeling than the fall. There was a flirtatious air to every conversation and laugh that hadn’t been present before. Everyone around us new something was different and I was beginning to feel it too. I recall one particularly flirtatious night where we (Josh, my best friend, my mom and myself) stayed up playing board games until two o’clock in the morning. Sometime after midnight that night, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from Lion King shuffled on the playlist that was playing in the background. My best friend and I just died laughing and Josh just looked at us like we were total nut jobs.
While January and February were fun and full of flirtatious laughter, they were also torturous months. First, I was still trying to decide if I truly saw Josh as the one I could spend my life with. You see, that January I heard the Lord tell me that I was supposed to pray that I would only date the man I would marry. I had never had a boyfriend and knew the Lord was telling me to pray that my husband would be my only boyfriend. I didn’t want to pray that prayer. It sounded like entirely too big of a commitment, but the Lord wouldn’t let me out of it. So I did. I asked the Lord that I would only date the man I married.
With that decision made, I started looking at my relationships differently. Like I said, I’d never had a boyfriend, but I did have some guys I had some interest in. I remember being on my best friends back porch sitting in front of a fire under a blanket and talking about the main thing sixteen year old girls talk about, boys. I remember us analyzing these poor guys and literally coming out with a pros and cons list. It was during that conversation that I mentioned, “What about Josh?” I don’t remember what her reaction was to my first pronouncement of interest in Josh, but I highly doubt she was shocked. She and my Mom had front row seats to Josh and I’s relationship, so they saw it coming a long time ago.
Then came March. March was when the Lord called us to missions. He called Josh to missions at the beginning of the month at our church’s missions conference. Josh, humble spirit that he is, immediately surrendered and said “Yes, Lord” to God’s call to international missions. That added a new dynamic to our relationship, because he was called to missions and I was not. In actuality, I was, but I was in stubborn refusal to surrender. It wasn’t until the end of the month, while we three homeschoolers were on a college visit to Liberty University, that I finally surrendered to the Lord’s call to missions.
That’s when things got hard. Since January everyone had been telling Josh and I that we liked each other. I was ready to admit it, but he wasn’t. In fact, back in February he very matter of factly stated to my Mom that he “did NOT like Merribrooke!”. No one believed him, but that didn’t mean he stopped trying to convince people. Haha! Well the minute I finally surrendered to missions things changed between us.
The only way I can explain it is that Satan was working to pull us apart. I believe the enemy knew that Josh and I could accomplish more for Christ’s kingdom together than we could apart. At that point I knew the Lord had promised me that Josh was going to be my one and only boyfriend. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. That promise made the next month so much harder.
Over the next month I watched my Josh be Jonah (Editor’s note: The innards of a fish are not pleasant. Do not be a Jonah. No matter what God is asking you to do regardless of how unbelievable or impossible it may be, submit.). He ran so far from the life God was calling him to, I felt like he may never come back. He made one harmful decision after another. He built a harmful relationship. He chose harmful friends. Most harmfully, he stopped pursuing Christ. Josh knew that the Lord was bringing him to me, but the commitment terrified him. He knew the minute he asked me to be his girlfriend his life would never be the same. So he ran.
He ran and I prayed. Stay tuned next week to hear how God answered. (Editor’s note: These cut-offs are borderline Desolation of Smaug intense. If you have no idea what that is, don’t worry about it and just go read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. You will thank me later.)