This is the story that I shared in Bible Study this week.
“Who is that guy with the strong, broad shoulders?” I wondered as I pulled into the restaurant parking lot.
As I got closer to my parking spot, the masculine figure turned around and I realized that it was my good friend, Brian.
“Oops!” I began scolding myself, “I don’t think that I’m supposed to think about him that way.”
I made my way out of the car, and I’m sure that Brian and I voiced greetings to each other as we walked into the restaurant to join our friend’s going away party.
Each of us worked through the crowd of about 50 people, and we ended up sitting at the same table, with several other people.
This was not an unusual occurrence. After all, Brian and I were good friends. We met through his sister, Lauren. But, we all were part of the young single adult ministry at our church.
As we sat there, Brian was talking about going to see a car that he was considering buying. He and another guy were going to look at it, and he asked if I wanted to go, too.
“Sure!” I said. And with that, we were off.
As it turned out, the car was a very fun sports car, and he was going to be borrowing it for the weekend, so he could test it out. He asked if I wanted to ride back into town with him.
I think that this was probably the first time that we were alone together. Before, we had always been in a group setting. But, it wasn’t at all uncomfortable because we knew each other very well.
When we got back into town, we each had other events to attend, so we went our separate ways.
Throughout that weekend, Brian and I were around each other several more times, but always in a group. I noticed that something had changed in our interactions.
The weekend ended, as all weekends have a tendency to do, and I woke up on Monday morning thinking, “Brian is going to ask me out soon. What am I going to say?”
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go out with him. But, I certainly didn’t want to ruin a good friendship or put a strain on our close-knit circle of friends. I was afraid to change anything.
Monday evening came around, and I had plans to attend my friends’ volleyball game. When I got to the game, I saw Brian sitting in the stands with several of our friends. For no apparent reason, my heart began to race.
“It’s just Brian. He’s your friend.” I consoled myself. But, I knew the big question was coming, so I had to decide what my answer would be.
The game ended abruptly, and the group began to make plans to eat dinner together. We settled on Cheddars. The meal came and went, and I asked Lauren (Brian’s sister) for a ride back to my car.
I’m not exactly sure how it all transpired, but she couldn’t take me, so she offered up Brian to take me. We got in the car, and before too long, he asked me out on a date for that Friday.
And, I said, “Yes!” Actually, it was a bit more complicated than that. One of our other friends had asked me out on a date that same night, and I was ranting and raving to Brian about how to fix that awkward situation.
He said, “This really stinks!”
I said, “What’s it to you? It’s me who has to fix it!”
He replied, “It stinks because I was going to ask you out tonight, and now look at the craziness that comes out when you don’t want to go!”
I smiled and said, “Well, it would be different if it was you. I wouldn’t act so crazy.”
As simple as that, we had a date.
Friday quickly came around and Brian showed up at noon to pick me up. We were going to Fort Worth for the day, and then meeting friends in Dallas that night.
The date was wonderful. Never a lull in conversation. So comfortable. So fun.
After a 12-hour first date, he returned me to the safety of my home, and we made plans to see each other the next day.
Things progressed very easily, and on December 10th, after 3 weeks of dating, we booked the church for an early June wedding.
This was so far from something that I would normally do. It was so NOT “me”. I had always been a planner. A scheduler. A regimented old woman.
But, not this time. It was a mystery to me, even.
After the wedding, and then my cancer diagnosis less than 3 months later, it was no longer a mystery.
God knew. God knew that I needed my husband to carry me through those dark and dreary days.
God knew that it was not good for me to be alone.
God knew that Brian was the perfect companion and protector and provider for me when I could not protect or provide for myself.
He knew. He expedited our relationship because He knew.
Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”