Almost ten years ago, over mixed berry pancakes and two mugs of tea, Y asked if I would consider dating him.
I said “no” on the spot, as kindly as I could, but that’s a reason and a story for another time.
It was March.
One month later, we talked again, this time sitting side by side on a bench in a summer-green Virginia courtyard. As the sun glided westward, we walked the bricked pathway back to his car — as a couple.
Before we drove out of the small side street, Y turned towards me. “Life with me won’t be easy,” he said, soberly. “I want to go wherever God asks me to go.”
I only nodded. Over the years my prayers for a future husband, if there was to be one, had been honed down to a single point: a man who lived “with abandon for God.”
Perhaps we meant the same thing. Time would tell.
Two Marches later, on the way to our fellowship’s Spring 2007 Retreat, he knelt on the shore of a small lake, and slipped a ring onto my left hand.
We went to our separate work stations when we arrived at the retreat, but it wasn’t long before my small group girls caught the merry glint of light. A shriek of joy ripped through the cafeteria and followed a guest speaker out to the parking lot, where our pastor’s wife asked what was going on.
“I’m not totally sure, but it sounds like a girl in the kitchen got engaged to a server boy.”
March shifted the winds again, in 2010, when we boarded a plane bound for a new home rimmed by the Rockies. We were expectant first-time parents winging into an unfamiliar chapter in an equally strange land.
I had no inkling of the postpartum depression or subsequent slow reconstruction that awaited me — but then, too, I knew nothing of the springlike joy and humor and humility that motherhood would bring.
“Change will come as surely as the seasons, and twice as quick,” Jo March notes in “Little Women” (1994). Two nights ago, I laughed to myself when I realized that her eponymous month has brought us the lion’s share of our greatest life changes, even after our move here.
In March 2012, Y left an increasingly tenuous position for a new job with a very different mission. In 2013, we first visited the small church that has since become our home. March 2014 saw me sallow-faced from a mystery illness, but also cupped around the richest measure of joy I’ve ever held — not in spite of the sick period, but because of it. The same month last year brought us to this house, our first, into which we’re now slowly building the unseen joists and pillars of our small family’s faith.
Each one of these is a snippet from a larger story.
Reading over them gives me a tiny bit of trepidation about welcoming the next month, but I also wanted to share them in the hope that they give a better behind-the-scenes view of this writer and these posts.
Y was right. Following God first over the years has rarely been easy, but we’re still intent on going wherever He leads.
“How I’ve prov’d Him o’er and o’er,” the old hymn goes — and so we have.
O for grace to trust Him more.