Sunday, June 19, 2011

Guess Who???

Hi there!
So, after long weeks of absence from my blog, I’ve returned!  You may wonder why it has been so extremely long since I’ve taken the time to write a post…  Well, it can’t be explained without telling many long stories that would only confuse you more.  J  So, I’ll just tell one story to give you A LOT of context for the last six months of my life… actually, much longer than that!

You may remember this picture as I summed up my summer last year.  If you don’t remember, that’s okay!  J  The reason I show it now is because it is one of the few pictures taken last year where me and a very special young man are next to each other.  And, of course, it happens to be a picture that has me with practically no makeup on and him with a big, goofy smile.  Not that I mind.
Last spring I knew that two interns (both in the above picture) would be coming to my small town to serve at my even smaller church.  So, they travelled out from Wyoming to Indiana and my family welcomed them with open arms.  They spent a good piece of their free time at our house eating, jumping on the trampoline, having water fights, talking… etc…  We even went on a road trip with them to go hiking at Turkey Run later in the summer.  At least, it was hiking to us flat-landers… they didn’t think it was hiking.  J
Both of them together.  You never said one’s name with the other’s.   
At least, that’s how I thought it was going to be.
As my family continued to get to know these two great guys, I was impressed by both of them.  They both had a deep passion for God and ministry.  But, for some reason that only God knows, I developed a friendship with one of them that wasn’t as easy-going for me as I wanted it to be.  He liked a lot of the things I like, though he wasn’t crazy about exactly everything I’m crazy about.  He loved music; he played the guitar and sang.  The list went on…
THEN I found out that he had saved (and was determined to keep saving) his first kiss until his wedding day… something I had committed to do many years ago.
This is a special guy, I thought.  I filed all I knew about him in the back of my mind, knowing that he would only be in Indiana for less than three months.
Hey, at least it was good to know that guys like him existed!  And I knew he couldn’t be interested in me.  After all, he was going to a Bible College where (he had told me) there were quite a few Godly young women in attendance.  At age twenty, he might even have a young lady in his life already.
I knew so little…
We had several talks… as I guess my growing feelings for him where a little more obvious than I’d ever intended them to be.  As summer drew to a close I found a peace to let go… a peace that was short-lived as I continued to keep in contact with him via email (under the careful, loving eyes of my Dad… that is a policy my family has for any young men I may be in contact with).
By mid-September I didn’t know what to think.  The friendship I had with this young man was unlike any friendship I’d ever had.  I had no idea what his thoughts on our friendship were.  I was scared.  I had strong convictions about saving my heart for my husband and being careful not to give pieces of it away.  Nothing inappropriate was being said, but I was struggling to understand what God had in mind.
My parents and I talked about it and decided together that a month-long fast from communication would be the best thing to do.  So, for a month I grew in my relationship with Christ, prayed, wondered, feared, hoped, and prayed more.  He did the same but still kept in contact with my parents.
It wasn’t until the day that the fast would break and my Dad would talk with this young man that I truly found peace in my heart.  The morning of that day in mid-October, I wrote a blog-post from my heart entitled “Don’t You Want to Get Married?”.   One thing I wrote near the end of that post described the beautiful peace God had given me: “Contentment is a challenge.  It is NOT easy.  But one thing I do know: God loves me, He knows my desires, and He has already written my story all the way to the end.”
I took a drive with my Mom that afternoon while “the talk” was going on.  We prayed together that God would make His will clear.  Should I continue getting to know this young man?  Should we stop emailing and move on?
God continued to give me peace.  A peace that I thought meant it might be time to move on.  I didn’t think it was possible that I could trust God so much as to be able to let this young man go if we were supposed to continue into a special friendship… the peace had to be a sign that any romantic possibilities for this friendship had come to an end.
Imagine my shock when I sat down with both of my parents later and my Dad told me that this wonderful guy was interested in pursuing me further with the intention of that leading to courtship and marriage.  It was up to me.  Did I want that?
You can probably guess my answer.  I would hardly be writing about this now if I had said no.
What followed were months of questions as friends.  We hadn’t known each other very long and it was important to be “just friends” for a while longer as we got to know each other.  He and I talked a lot about our convictions, likes and dislikes, pursuits, the purpose of our relationship, what courtship and marriage should be… on and on.  God and I talked a lot too.  And I got more excited to see what He would do.
I didn’t know anything was “up” the day after Christmas last year.  I knew my Dad had talked with him but that was nothing unusual.  My family was watching a movie in the family room while I talked over Skype with my “special friend”… which wasn’t anything unusual either.  We had been talking for about an hour when my sister, Jessica, came into the room and gave me a big hug.
“I’m so excited for you guys!!!” she exclaimed.
I looked at her in total confusion, “Why?”
“Dad told me that you two are courting!!!”
An embarrassed voice came over the computer, “Umm, Jessica… I haven’t asked her yet.”
The blood drained from Jessie’s face as she slinked away, “Oh my word, I’m so sorry…”
I looked back at the computer screen to see a sheepish smile.
“Well, Rachel… on that note…”

And then I was asked to enter into a courtship with a Godly, sensitive, strong, funny, wonderful guy.
I said yes, of course.

Andrew and I courted long-distance for five months before finally seeing each other while I was out in Colorado.  At the end of our vacation, he travelled back with my family and is living at my Pastor’s house for eight weeks this summer (which are already going by far too fast). 
With him being here I thought it was high time I told our story and introduced him to you all.
Us at my best friend’s wedding.
Us at his best friend’s wedding.

Andrew is working part-time and, like last summer, played a role in the drama for VBS that I directed (pics from VBS to come soon!).  We’ve been able to spend time together playing music, singing, taking walks, eating cheesecake (and there’s more in the fridge!!!), having fun with my family, and talking A LOT!
It sure beats long-distance.

Now, I want you to know that this blog will not be turning into one of those “courtship blogs” that only talks about him and me; that lays down rules about courtship… blah, blah, blah.  This courtship is a very important part of my life though and I want to share about it.  I hope that you all will pray for Andrew and me as we continue in this relationship.  Our goal is to glorify Christ, no matter where He leads us.  Satan doesn’t want young people to pursue Godly relationships that could lead to a Godly marriage and Godly families; he wants us to fail and to fail miserably.  We need prayer, especially since Andrew wants to go into the ministry as a pastor… I know Satan would love to wreck his testimony.  But God is faithful.  I trust Him with this relationship and, once again, am excited to see where the Lord leads us as we allow Him to guide us.

Thanks for letting me share!  And thanks for reading this!  I will be posting pictures from my trip out to Colorado and Wyoming (lots of wedding pictures!!!).

You know what?  It’s SO good to be back to blogging!  J

God bless!


Nela said...

Congratulations! :) I'm so excited for you!

I'll be praying for both of you. God Bless!

Melanie said...

Ah, Rachel! Thanks for sharing!
My prayers are with you both-may God be glorified no matter how this unique friendship ends!
Is not His plan amazing?

Many Blessings and Smiles,

Bonnie said...

aww congrats!! :D how wonderful!! Thanks for sharing!

Maiden Princess said...

God certainly does work in amazing ways! Isn't His plan wonderful? I wish you and Andrew all the blessing Heaven can bestow upon you.

In His Love,
Maiden Princess

HannahGrace said...

Oh my word, Rachel!!! Congratulations!!! :) That is so sweet. I pray that God will bless your courtship. <3

Megan and Abby said...

Congratulations, Rachel! We're so happy for you, and we wish you both the best of the Lord's blessing!
-Megan and Abby

Rachel said...

Congratulations!!! What a beautiful story and testimony. I was so blessed reading it.

Congratulations again!!

Aragorn said...

That's wonderful news to read, Rachel. I'm praying for both you and Andrew.

Jessica said...

Congratulations Rachel! How very exciting!!! Can you tell I've not been reading my regular blogs recently?!! :D Leah said, "Have you seen Rachel's blog recently?" :D Of course I had to come and read it! May God richly bless you both and draw you even nearer to Himself :)

Love and hugs!


p.s. Jessica's slip-up made me smile...I can just see it! :D Give the girls a hug for me!