Soon after arriving at the fellowship of college and career people, it was discovered that the lid on my baked beans was stuck fast, and I mean REALLY stuck fast! No one could budge it, and it was the joke of the evening. It was all in good fun, and after much prying some was eventually to be tasted, but not so much enjoyed. The fellowship was uneventful otherwise, small talk, bible study, worship, discussion, and then it was time to say good-night. Michael and I climbed back in his car, sticky glass dish in hand, and I sighed to realize our time together was coming to an end, and we really hadn't had the chance to really chat. He must have been feeling the same, and asked if I would mind stopping at Burger King for a soda.
We shared a large Coke, and fries, and talked BK closed, then we drove to the Lexington dam, and talked some more. We broke the cardinal rule of talking about old flames on the first date, and laid it all on the table. We talked about our families, jobs, favorites, dislikes, pet peeves, childhood stories, memories both good and bad, dreams, plans, faith, we talked about it all, and somewhere between the words, and the laughter, we fell in love.
I returned home that night floating on a cloud of disbelief, knowing that the Lord had handed me a very special gift, and I immediately thanked Him for it. Michael called his Mother that night and told her he had met the girl of his dreams. The next morning he picked me up for church, and we worshiped together, this time in the same pew. We had lunch together at Ryan's, and then spent the rest of the afternoon getting to know each other even more. There was never an awkward silence, no red flags of distrust, or unsettled feelings. I was completely comfortable with him, and I wanted to hear and understand everything he communicated to me. He led us in prayer, and enjoyed talking about spiritual things, and I couldn't believe how God had blessed me. From that first date, we spent every moment together that we could.
Our courtship lasted 3 years and 8 months before we blissfully exchanged wedding vows on a warm evening in November. I could probably get to "Our Story part 86" writing every thing that happened in that time, but that would bore the three people reading. In hindsight it was crazy that we waited so long before we married, considering we both knew on that first date that the other was "the one". We took road trips to Greenville to meet Michael's Mom and extended family on Easter, Hilton Head to meet his Dadand his wife Susan and their two children, and Michaels Grandma Dee, Michigan, to meet my siblings and their families, and a few old friends, all in those first few weeks and months. I left for that far away school in Florida that next fall, because I thought that was what the Lord told me to do before our meeting, so I felt I had to go. I only completed one semester of Hell before returning to Lexington, a semester full of florist flowers, daily letter writing, and long distance phone calls. Those were the days before e-mail, and cell phones. Shortly after returning, Michael took a job in North Carolina, working on top of Sugar Mountain, that meant more letters, and more phone calls. Because of those circumstances, ours was mostly a long distance relationship. The Lord used that time to grow me up, and teach me a lot of important life lessons.
I am so very grateful for the gift of Michael, and although it is not an amazing story, or particularly riveting, it is our story. It was, and has continued to be for many years, a story of God's faithfulness, provision, and love. We will celebrate 25 years of marriage this coming November, and I would do it all over again if I had the chance. We have the most amazing relationship, and although it sounds incredibly cliche' Michael completes me. Our God brought us together, He has sustained us through much heartache, and He has blessed us beyond measure. To Him be the Glory!