My dreams of marriage to the exceptional young man were shattered when he unexpectedly broke off our relationship. It remains somewhat of a mystery even to this day as to the reasons why.
It was a difficulty hard to overcome especially since our campus was small and our circle of friends close. I retreated at that point to a few close friends and leaned hard on the Lord. I was lonely, no doubt. I was physically sick for some time. Most of my friends were in serious relationships or married. I was forced to confront some difficult questions regarding my own faith and faithfulness to continue on the path I had promised to follow. It was probably the lowest point in my life.
During the next two and a half years I changed my major to nursing. My interest in medicine had not changed, but I discovered that my giftedness was more in hands on caring, counseling and education rather than in organic chemistry. I also grew to know myself and became completely enthralled with the Lord and His Word. There were many Saturdays spent hiking in the hills of Tennessee and hours of piano playing. I learned to be by myself and came to like it actually.
I decidedly did not date during these years, though there was an occasional interest. I had come to recognize some of the mistakes I had made in giving my heart away so easily the last time. I was not willing to do the same again.
Soon those four years of college came to an end and those closest to me were moving on to jobs, families or grad school. I, however, due to my change of major, had two years left to finish. I had come to college at 18 and I wouldn't be finished until I was 24. Watching my friends pack up their cars and graduate was excruciating for me. Again, I felt alone wondering where my path might lead.
For that summer I had an internship back at my home church. It didn't pay much, but I thought that the experience would be priceless in preparing me for future work. I was to be the youth and missions intern which would entail a week of church camp, Bible studies, and a missions trip to Mexico and Latvia.
The first day on the job I was talking with the youth pastor, Rick, in his office. I was sharing with him my sense of loss and was of course was crying. Then there was a knock on the door. I was slobbering all over myself when in walked a tall, bright blond haired young man with piercing blue eyes. Sean. With the same fire and passion that I remembered, there he stood. He had just graduated from college in Florida and was home in Indiana. He just stopped by to ask, "Is there anything I could do this summer to help?"
We never technically dated. We just spent the next two months working side by side. Looking back we laugh at these instances as we see clearly how from the start God was working and our relationship was sealed. I think the most important aspect about our early relationship was that we got to know each other in the context of serving and spent nearly all of our time talking. We weren't trying to impress each other. Nobody looks good when they've been sweating for a week and have only bathed out of a bucket. Those close to us say they could see it coming a mile a way. We just knew that we had found love and for the first time felt at peace.
Here's just a picture of how our story unfolded the summer of 1995:
The first task of the summer was the get ready for church camp. Of course, I needed him to turn the pages of music at the piano as I sang.
Then there was the great assistance I provided while sitting on pieces of wood in Mexico while Sean sawed for the house we were building. This was followed by a therapeutic hand massage I provided to his strong hands. This is team work at it's best.
There were late talks around the campfire when everyone was in their tent.
Back home we spent many, many more hours of talking and laughing at my parent' s house until the sun rose as we shared our lives and dreams. Sean's dad once commented about how convenient it was for him to go to work at 6 am because his car was already warmed up and ready to go.
Our first kiss was at the end of June on a blanket in a park where Sean first confessed his love and I responded likewise.
Having not slept for six weeks, Sean became very sick. I jumped to the occasion to help him research grad school applications. In the end he had two good options and one of them was a state school about 5 miles from my college in Tennessee. Which one do you think he picked?
When I returned home from Latvia my dad's truck was packed with our belongings. Sean had been accepted to grad school with an assistanceship to pay his tuition and found an apartment.
Life had changed dramatically in the span of 8 weeks, but the Lord had it planned all along. It was His preparation, His purposes and His perfect timing that brought us together. Sean asked my dad for my hand in marriage over Thanksgiving break, we were engaged the next month and married in May.
And so begins the story of us.