As I mentioned in part 4, over the course of our friendship I wrote Richard more and more letters. He became my confidant, my trusted place. When I first found out that Richard had intentions toward me it killed me to not have the writing outlet of a letter to him. With everything bubbling up inside I needed the release of putting my thoughts into words, but for once I wasn't able to. Finally I decided I would still write him, but instead of sending the letters I would put it in my special marriage account and only give them to him after he proposed.
I think the next step in our relationship is nicely summed up in one of those letters, written December 22, 2008.
My dear Mr. Richard,
Well, this is the second time I've written you and not sent it.... I probably will do it again, but I don't think I'll do it a lot. I wanted to tell you about today, though. I've been very.... troubled about everything, as you have probably gotten the idea from the last letter I wrote (and didn't send). This has weighed heavily on my mind. I've had trouble fully engaging in everything around me because I'm so wrapped up in thought.
After Hearthstone this morning Jonathan and Amanda and I were on our way to church. I was in the back seat, and pretty much completely oblivious to them unless they called my attention (which they gave up on, after awhile). I was thinking things over, and suddenly God gave me a verse. I knew I had to look up what Naomi said to Ruth after she came home from meeting Boaz. I had no idea WHAT she said, in fact, I don't think I even realized she'd said anything on record. But suddenly, for no known reason, I desperately needed to know what (if anything) Naomi said to Ruth.
I paged through my Bible, desperately searching, and finally found it.
Ruth 3:18 "Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day"From that time on I was at peace. Trusting God and trusting Richard, I was able to rest in the fact that neither one would choose to make me wait longer than necessary. I didn't know what exactly was going on, but I knew I could trust that every day of waiting was a day well spent.
I nearly cried when I read that--would have, if I'd been alone. It was as though God Himself were directly addressing me--which, I guess He was, but it wasn't just a nice applicable verse, it was like God had verbally spoken it to me--and he called me his daughter. He knew how hard it was, how fretting I was, how tense--and I wasn't rebuked, I was loved. Of course, He also told me to learn the same lesson I've had trouble on before--to be still. *smiles*
I've held onto that verse like a lifeline all day long. In the two parts it encompasses everything I need. The second part reminds me that I trust you. Completely. I know that if you are doing something you will pursue it wholeheartedly--will not rest until it is finished. There is no need or place for impatience. I can be at rest, the situation in Gods hands, and in your hands--the two I trust most in the world.
It is the first part, though, that I've clung to the most. Richard, I guess I just cannot believe that you love me like that--that I'm the right one for you. I had somebody else in mind--somebody much better than me. In an effort to be entirely honest, I think there has always been a hope in the back of my mind that you were the one, that you might choose me--but serious thought, when it was given, convinced me that somebody else would be better for you, somebody without the struggles and weaknesses I have, somebody more accomplished--I mean, a better woman. It isn't that I ever doubted your love for me--I am absolutely convinced that you love me dearly. But you love your sisters dearly also. Loving somebody and being close to them doesn't mean they are spouse material. I don't think you'll ever realize the fearfulness, the anxiety, the quickening of my pulse--afraid you did love me like that, afraid you might have been blinded, afraid you were making the wrong choice, afraid you wouldn't realize until too late. And I would grab at the words, "Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall." I don't know how the matter will fall. If I am the one God has for you (and I can barely imagine), then I will feel like I am the most blessed woman in the world. If I'm not, well, that's fine too.
I didn't twiddle my thumbs either. I'd wanted to start a class for single ladies at my church for a long time. Knowing that I was soon to leave their ranks, the growing desire took on a new urgency. By January I had started the class, and began meeting every Sunday afternoon with about 8 sweet young ladies.
The singleness class caused me to do a lot of reading on the topic of singleness. I discovered so much richness that could be had in a life spent wholly devoted to God. Even though I knew my days as a single were numbered, I eagerly shared these truths with those close to me (causing my soon-to-be knight no little amount of distress!!). At the very moment when many girls would be the most anxious to "get the ball rolling" I was able to sink blissfully into the state that God had put me, with the feeling that I must milk each moment for everything it was worth.
Not that I was perfect. In fact, as my suspicions grew that he was waiting for the first annual church Valentines Banquet, my mischivous side started popping through. I would ask leading questions of his siblings (the older ones, who I was sure knew what was going on) and then grin to myself as I watched them scramble out of danger of letting me know that they knew anything.
That month was a blissful, happy, joyful time. Even though no words passed between Richard and I about our growing love, I was absolutely certain it was there. I felt cherished, loved, and completely wholly content and useful. One would think that from that point on things would be smooth sailing.
In early February two things happened that made the Joy of January pale in comparison to the Pain of February.... I was about to plunge some of the deepest, darkest waters I'd experienced.
Part One: October 20, 1999
Part Two: The Highschool Years
Part Three: The First Moments
Part Four: Everything Grows
Part Five: A Threestrand Cord
Part Six: And how it Broke
Part Seven: Love is Pain
Part Eight: Realization