Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Redeeming Love - Chapter 15

After being led by my heart for so many years, it was now strange to be led by my mind first.  I was always so in love with Roger – I was almost blind to reality.  The reality of our differences.  The reality of our faults.  But in these months of his pursuit I was not blinded by anything.  I was seeing everything clearly and almost just waiting for the feelings to come.

 I remember waiting on pins and needles the day he was to talk to my parents.  I was so nervous for him.  It’s no secret that my father can be a rather intense man and one of strong opinion.  At least Roger had the advantage of being larger than my father!  Perhaps his height would add a little intimidation (not likely)!  Roger called me on his drive back to Sacramento and told me that my father did not let him off easy.  My mother was mortified that my father essentially raked him over the coals!  But a good papa bear knows to protect his littlest.  I didn’t know this then, but months later was told that at the end of the conversation my father said, “we’ve talked about this, you are forgiven, and it is not to be brought up again.”  Roger replied, “the next time I come to see you it will be to ask for your permission to marry your daughter.”

 Fall was here and in October I made the flight to California to see my visiting Aunt and Uncle.  Roger came down to my parents’ house as well and we all spent the weekend together.  It was a wonderful time and I had a new confidence in him.  I was still so impressed that he boldly talked to my parents and still wasn’t shaken to the point that he’d come spend the weekend with them.  I had a peace that this time he was not changing his mind.  At the end of the weekend, Roger took me to the airport to fly back to Seattle.  At the curb he hugged me and said that he loved me.  “I love you too,” I said for the first time.  He looked at me, welled up with tears and said, “you’ve made me the happiest man in the world.”

 It would be another month or so before we’d be together at Thanksgiving.  A week prior to that, he paid my parents another visit – probably the most important visit of his life.  My mom knew what was coming so she baked a chocolate cake in the shape of a heart!  He was given my parents’ full blessing to marry me and now it was just a matter of time.

About that same time I was driving to Northern Washington to speak at a weekend retreat.  As I drove, I prayed.  I prayed for the weekend and the students that would attend.  I prayed for the words I would speak.  And then I prayed that God would forgive the selfishness in my life.  Something I’ve always struggled with is selfishness and as I prayed for forgiveness, God showed me that on my own, I will always struggle with being selfish.  But only when my selfishness starts to hurt someone else will I change.  At that moment God spoke to me and told me that He was calling me to marry Roger and be purified through our marriage.  Perhaps you’ve heard it said, “what if marriage isn’t to make us happy, but to make us holy?”  I would completely agree that God uses marriage to refine us and make us more who He wants us to be.

 After Thanksgiving I received a card in the mail.  Roger had told me to reserve the second weekend in December, but I didn’t know why.  Well, I acted like I didn’t know why! 

 The card had specific instructions which also included buying new clothes for the weekend!  I just couldn’t believe that all this was happening.  There was a flight number, with no destination listed, and I was to go to the airport and board the plane without knowing where I was going!  It was so exciting and romantic.  Of course I dreamed that perhaps I was flying to Paris or maybe New York!  But then I realized that Southwest doesn’t fly to France!

 On Friday, December 12th, 2003 I went to the airport and flew to Sacramento where Roger was waiting for me.  Not exactly Paris, but it was where he was and that was all that mattered.  I was wearing a new outfit, of course, and was surprised to see that he was sporting a new hair style – he shaved his head!  We went to dinner with some of his old friends who I hadn’t met before and I knew I was there on approval.  Later we returned to his home and sat on the couch and talked for a long time.  In the course of that conversation I did it.  I said those unimaginable words.  “I’m not sure if I want to get married.”  He hadn’t asked, but we all knew what I was doing there that weekend.  This was it – he flew me down to propose.  And I sabotaged it.  I remember him looking at me and saying, “well, you’d better figure that out real quick.”  My heart sank.  What nerve I had to throw that out there at this point.  The truth is, I was scared.

 He stayed at a friend’s house.  I slept alone at his house and in the morning he came and told me to pack my bags, we were leaving.  I thought he might be driving me back to the airport!  But he said, “let’s just have fun this weekend.”  He began driving and soon we were crossing The Bay Bridge, “San Francisco must be our destination,” I thought.  As we got to the toll booth the attendant looked into our car and asked, “are you married?”  Roger awkwardly laughed and said, “no.”  “You will be soon and after a year you will have a child.”  He said some other things that left us both wide eyed and shocked!  Who was that man?  Was he an angle?  Was he drunk?  We were speechless.

Roger pulled up to the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco and as the valet opened our car door and asked, “are you staying with us sir?”  I was stunned that Roger immediately said, “yes.”  What?  This was part of the plan?  Staying in the city?  I was blown away – almost as much as when he got 2 rooms!  What a perfect gentleman.  We got settled and then walked over to the Fairmont to see their Christmas decorations.  The city with bustling with holiday energy and my heart was rapid with nerves and excitement.

 After window shopping, he told me to rest up because we had big plans that night.  I was to dress up.  Growing up, my mom used to take me to the city at Christmas to see the San Francisco Ballet perform a matinee of The Nutcracker.  It was always the highlight of the holidays for me.  But I had never been to the ballet at night until December 13th.  I got all dressed up in my new fancy outfit and he told me that he was taking me to the ballet!  I almost died! 

At the War Memorial Opera House we sipped champagne and got ready for the show.  I was over the moon.  I’m pretty sure Roger nodded off a few times, but it was magical.  A storm was coming up in the city and the wind was bending trees over like blades of grass.  We got back to the hotel and went to The Top Of The Mark for cocktails and a great view of the chaos the storm was kicking up.  It was late and as we made our way back to our rooms, Roger kissed me goodnight and that was it.  He didn’t propose.  I was all dressed up, champagne, the ballet… and he didn’t ask me to marry him.  He missed it!  Or did I ruin it the night before?

I laid in my bed wide awake.  Had I ruined everything?  I hadn’t slept the night before and now embarked on another sleepless night.  I tossed and turned.  I prayed and asked God for clarity.  In the morning I wrote,

 “Although my stomach has been pretty upset the whole time, thinking he might propose, he hasn’t.  Finally last night, another sleepless night, I told God I needed some answers as I’ve been worried and anxious and mostly scared that I might be making a mistake that would impact the rest of my life.  Mostly worried that I would be running out apart from God, pursuing my dream and not His.  I prayed and asked for His will and His direction.” 

 I loved my life in full time ministry and I knew marrying Roger would mean leaving my job in Seattle and perhaps leaving ministry.  I didn’t want to walk away from college ministry to get married if it wasn’t God’s will for me.

 “Finally, never doubting my love for Roger or my desire to be his wife, only fearful of sacrifices to be made, I prayed for an answer.  I got sleepy, the pit of my stomach left, I laid back on the pillow, my eyes shut and God said, “Two are better than one.”  And I drifted off to sleep.  2 are better than 1.”

 It was about 5am when I fell asleep and was woken up by Roger calling a few hours later.  “Turn on the news,” he said.  “They’ve captured Saddam Hussein.”  It was December 14th, 2003.


  1. i love that you saved the card! so cool!

  2. Oh sister, I've saved all kinds of stuff!!!!



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