(This is the story of how my husband and I met and fell in love. If you are just now jumping in, you can catch up on last week's post or start back at the beginning.)
By this point, we’d talked a few times, with plenty of them involving me making personal character flubs. Humbling, humbling, I tell you.
So it wasn’t too hard for me to convince myself that he was not interested in me in the bit, which is why at the conference, I made a sincere attempt to not interact with him too much. For me, it was a matter of guarding my own heart and not let my emotions get carried away. I was sick of crushes and didn’t want to nurse this one.
There are a couple of moments during the conference that I remember vividly about this interplay where I intentionally pulled away not because I wanted to play hard-to-get, but simply because I needed to guard my heart. It was still a part of me sticking to my no-flirting vow:
At one point, we all had to squeeze into a van and the only space left when I got in was, you guessed it, right by him. At another time in my life, I would have been thrilled, but this time I nearly groaned because I was trying to avoid getting too close to him (literally and figuratively!) for the sake of my own heart. I frantically looked around for any other place I could sit. Alas, that was really the only seat, so I think I sat half hanging off to leave as much room between us as possible.
I don’t think he noticed that one, but I know he definitely did take note of this next one:
Near the end of the conference, we were to divide up into groups to pray with the teens. The youth pastor assigned me and my husband to the same group. I immediately asked if I could instead be in a group with one of the female leaders, who was also one of my best friends. I wasn't trying to be rude but I was desperate to quell the crush and keep my distance from him, even when it was under the most un-flirty of circumstances.
(When my husband remembers this incident, he took it as pretty insulting that I wasn’t even willing to pray with him. He thought I pretty much hated him. Especially after all the other run-ins we'd had since meeting. It's really a wonder anything ever happened at all. But of course, that's part of God's graciousness in this whole story, and more about all that later...)
The youth pastor (a smart man, who later presided over our nuptials) denied my request and we sat in the same group. We gathered around a picnic table with the students and again, when it came time to sit down, the only space left was directly beside him. I couldn't get a break even if I tried!
As a group, we all held hands to pray, which meant we ended up holding hands since we were sitting next to each other. At the time, I remember being surprised that when we held hands to pray, there was no “electricity” that you sometimes feel when you hold someone’s hand for the first time. It was surprising but also almost comforting in a way. I thought maybe my efforts to guard my heart were working...
But that didn't last long.
In spite of my efforts to peel my heart away from being interested in this guy, I couldn't help but think, as we sat there, holding his hand and praying together, “I could do this for the rest of my life.”
How right I was!
Click here to continue reading the next part in Our Love Story. You can also catch up on all the posts I've shared in Our Love Story.
Encouragement for the Season of Waiting to Find Your Spouse
A Lesson About Love from the Cereal Aisle