The Story of Us, Part 5

I stopped last time because I needed to give you some background information that made my prayer scary and allowed Ravi Zacharias to impact me in such a major way. Well, here is the information...but shoot, every time I try to write it I realize there is even more information you need...so here's the "quick" version. :-)

The rule in my family was that you couldn't date until you were sixteen. When I was fourteen and watching all my friends go through "relationship" after "relationship" (better to be read, "drama after uncessary drama"), and as I grew in my faith as a Christian, I decided there had to be a better way. I started to read books by Elisabeth Elliot, including Passion and Purity, Quest for Love, and Let Me Be A Woman. I also discovered this really funny former homeschooler with a lot of ideas that went against the grain of society: Joshua Harris. This was back in Josh's "New Attitude" days when he was first going around the country talking about how we teenagers needed to use this time in our lives to prepare for the future. This was also the start of me making my Christian faith my own. I started reading the Bible because I wanted to and I prayed for the Lord to teach me through His Word. I wrote 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 on a sheet of paper and taped it to my bathroom mirror so I could read them daily.

Here I am in my "New Attitude" days - I even had the t-shirt! ;-)

The summer of 1997 was my final year working at a local Christian camp as a cook. At the beginning of the summer I heard that Josh had come out with a new book called, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. The title caught my attention because I had already made the decision not to date - and apparently I wasn't alone! I took the book with me and read it in my free time during camp training. There was a young man (who became a good friend) working at the camp who saw me reading the book, which led him to ask, "So, are you planning on being a nun?" Say what?! I never thought it would be taken like that, but I went on to explain what it was about and how I felt about dating. He got it, but for the rest of the summer I was stuck with two nicknames: "Sister Carrie" and "The Nun". I wore them with pride. :-) In fact, later that year when I was searching for an unique email address, I finally settled on "steelbootnun" in honor of my "sisterhood" and the fact that I would be working construction the following summer overseas (more about that later) and wearing steel-toed construction boots.

So that's my background. I didn't date, and I really had no interest in getting married - I just wanted to be available to be used by God in any and every situation and I felt that a husband might hinder my ability to give myself fully to the Lord. In addition to the verses in 1 Corinthians, I also wrote two quotes inside the front of my Bible:

"Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God." - Jim Elliot

"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever." - Betty Scott Stam.

I didn't know where all that would take me, but I was willing to follow...and what an adventure it was, has been, and continues to be!

Which brings us back to Ravi Zacharias and the "scary prayer" that I mentioned in part 4. Whew! We finally made it back to that! A few days after Peter had "the talk" with my dad, my mom asked me to listen to a tape that she had just received because she was thinking about sharing it with the staff at the summer camp.  As I sat on the couch listening to Ravi Zacharias talk about Isaac and Rebekah, the Lord opened my ears and my heart to actually hear what Ravi was saying. The taped talk, I, Isaac, Take You Rebekah, changed my life forever. Ravi talked about Rebekah's open heart and willingness to travel (on camel!) to meet and marry a man she didn't know, simply because she trusted and obeyed the Lord. Ravi said many wise things on that tape, but the saying that struck me the hardest was actually a quote from Ravi's brother when Ravi asked him how he could go back to India for an arranged marriage: Love is as much an act of the will as it is an emotion. And if you will to love someone, you can. I was struck by that thought. Who says that love must be a mushy gushy gut-wrenching feeling? Our culture does. Who says that love must be brought on by physical attraction and demand hours of eye-gazing and primping and date nights? Again, that's our culture. How many times have you heard someone explain away a divorce by saying, "I just don't love them anymore. The feeling is gone." Even the Righteous Brothers sing about how "you've lost that loving feeling", but love is so much more than a feeling!

That night I went up to my bedroom in a very pensive mood. I spent time reading my Bible and asking God to give me clarity about the future...and in the midst of reading and praying (and whining - "Lord, WHY do I have to go through this now? I'm too young to be dealing with this!"), I suddenly felt the need to commit it all to the Lord...again. And I was scared to death at what I felt the Lord was asking me to pray...

"Father, You already know what my future looks like. You know who I will marry or if I will marry. You have brought Peter into my life and he has all of the characteristics of what I would want in a Godly husband. He even has a similar sense of humor and keeps me laughing, and best of all, he is my friend. So Lord, if he is the man that You have chosen for me, than help me to learn how to love him. I am willing to love him if that is Your will for my life. I chose to trust and follow You. Amen."

To Be Continued...

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  1. oooh...I'm riveted! Can't wait for the "rest of the story" :)

  2. Okay - so I must admit that I feel a little stalker-ish. I've been loving reading your story - I must admit! And...I don't even know you. Funy how that works. I comment but rarely, so I just thought I'd drop a note. Such notes always make my day...so know I've been enjoying your blog.


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