I tried to figure out how to go on with the story where I left off, but I have to backtrack a little bit. I am amazed by God's perfect timing, and His wonderful patience with me. I really struggled in the area of surrender to God's will, and for years, I didn't even realize how stubborn I was being.
I would pray, "God, I will do anything you ask me to! Please use me. Anything."
God would say, "What about this?" "This" was not always missions; just something I was not willing to do. Usually though, it was missions. Every time I saw a missionary family, or read a biography, His still, small voice would whisper, "What about this? What if this was my plan for your life?"
I had a well prepared answer that worked well for me. "Well! That's not my calling! I'm not called to 'missions'! I don't even have to think about that!" On to the next thing! (Quickly!)
Such a patient, loving Savior we have! And so meek! I had no idea how disgusted God is by rebellion. He still blessed me, loved me, led me, and helped me grow. Then one day it changed, because God had mercy on me, and gave me a little glimpse of His heart, where my heart was concerned.
I was walking down the hallway in the North Auditorium at the church, heading to class, and I passed by a room where a student was kneeling to pray. This fellow did this often, and I knew who it was immediately. I felt that Holy Spirit question again, "What if I called you to marry someone like that?" Well I knew it was most definitely not going to be someone like that, because that particular individual was outspokenly called to the mission field. On to the next thing!
God had other plans. Five steps down the hallway, I was brought to a complete stop. Somehow through my stubborn, blind self-will, God saw fit to show me what He thought of my attitude. It's difficult to describe, but it almost made me want to throw up. Do you know that when we deceive ourselves into thinking we are spiritual and godly, when we aren't, it makes God sick? I know that first hand! I know this overwhelming emotion did not come from me. So I was faced with a choice. Make that "Anything" promise real, or cover up that putrid, filthy, festering corner of my heart and go on with self deception. I broke, and right there I made it real. What is my life if God can't, or won't use it? Where would I be without Him? I must find my place, wherever it is, whatever it is; the place God made me for.
Just a few days later, I was gathering up the choir books from practice with the college choir. Ryan came with his book, and I took it, and asked him how he was doing. He looked at me strangely a minute, and then answered, and we began to talk. We talked while I put away the choir books. We talked while I gathered up my school books in the back of the room. We talked while we walked to the cafeteria. (It's a long way.) We talked between bites of food. I had no idea that he had prayed halfheartedly about me that very morning. I didn't find that out till much later.
Over the next few days I realized that I needed to spend some time in prayer about this handsome young fellow. We were spending quite a bit of time together. I had no desire to date for the fun of it, even though this was lots of fun, I wanted to know what the man's intentions were. At spring break, I went to Florida, to be in my brother's wedding, and have a heart to heart with my mom and dad. I told them everything, and showed them our emails. I prayed. My parents asked plenty of questions, and gave me their blessing, as long as Ryan got their permission himself. In prayer, God helped me to clear up the questions I had. I needed Ryan to tell me exactly what he wanted to do with this relationship, or we would have to stop spending so much time together. I had no interest in casual dating.
I thought Ryan would be surprised by my deep and straightforward questions. It turned out differently. He had been doing his own praying and seeking God's will, and when I came back, what he had up his sleeve blew my mind.
I think I will be able to wrap it up in the next post.