Friday, February 15, 2008

10 Years Ago Today...

"I like to start my notes (blogs) to you as if we're already in the middle of a conversation" ... You've Got Mail...

This is what I thought of when I picked up mid thought in order to fill you in on today's post... ENJOY!

Having just graduated from Messiah College the spring before, I found myself in a whirlwind relationship with an amazing man of the Lord. If you ask Him how we met he'll respond, as he always does, "I just came home one day and she was there." And he's right... it's how it happened.

Paul's mom and step father (Karen and Roger) were my small group leaders. Every Sunday night without fail, Roger would be in the "circle" at Messiah with a 15 passenger van picking up those of us that participated in Small Group at their home from 6-8pm.

I LOVED small group. For numerous reasons. Clearly it focused on the love and person of Jesus... but more than that it seemed to be a tangible representation of the "body". Arms reaching... hands healing... words teaching... Roger and Karen opened their home and hearts to a bunch of kids away from their homes and families. They fed us home cooked foods... let us snuggle up on their couches... and allowed us to become their surrogates for those few hours every week.

I suppose I "took" to their kindness in that I was there every chance I got. Including Spring Break 1996...
I was all snuggled up in the chair by the gas stove when I heard the door close and the hustle and bustle of people in the kitchen. I remained in the chair unsure of what was going on but certain that all things led to the living room which is where I was.

Minutes later Paul walked into the living room (See, I told you all things led to the living room). And I saw him. He was greeting Roger and telling him all about college, classes, Pittsburgh. I tried to be casual but come on... you've seen him right? Tall, dark and handsome. Tom Cruise-ish in Top Gun?? I was introduced to him. And honestly have to tell you how I DIDN'T HEAR A WORD HE SAID! (Oh come on... like you would hear past his good looks upon meeting?)

It was brief but it struck me. Us. Enough to keep in touch via email and phone calls for the better part of a year and a half.
Bringing me to the point of my post...

10 years ago today... the day after Valentine's Day. The day after Paul and I got all dressed up and went to His father's empty house by where he transitioned it to a restaurant, a table in front of the fire, a meal he prepared himself, flowers, music...

10 years ago today, the day after the night I slept in a spare bedroom at his father's house where my engagement ring was hidden between the mattress and the box spring in the bed on which I rested...

10 years ago today- THIS happened...

I lived at Paul's mother's house. (I told you I "took" to their kindness and was there every chance I got :0) Paul lived at his father's house as we were dating at the time with the intent to marry and believed separate homes were probably the best idea. (Hee-Hee)

Sunday nights were our "small group" nights so he picked me up and we headed to our small group which was meeting at a new home. He was intent on arriving at small group on time. Driving like a maniac if you must know. But he didn't know exactly how to get there. And despite our sincerest efforts... we couldn't find it. This didn't make Paul happy. And his driving didn't improve in light of this news. Matter of fact, on the way back to his mother's house, on a back road that over looks the city, we darn near FLEW over a cliff into Mechanicsburg!!

This didn't set a mood. (Actually it did but not a good one.) We returned to his mother's house by where I showered, threw a towel on my head and sweats on my body and snuggled into that chair (Oh I loved that chair) to watch a movie with his sister. He came and went. Inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs. I wasn't sure what he was up to but it didn't matter so much. I was still a bit miffed at the fact that he was so upset at missing group that he darn near killed the two of us with his driving.

About an hour later, with 15 minutes left of the movie, I heard him call up from the basement. I didn't respond immediately as I was caught up in the movie, and warm next to the fire. He called again and his sister begged me to go so she could hear the movie. I asked him what he wanted and he replied, "I just need to ask you a question." (Understatement of the decade as far as I'm concerned...)

I shuffled my way downstairs to find an emotional, nervous, sincere man staring deeply at me. (So deeply he must have looked past the towel on my head and the over sized, mismatched sweats on my person) I cleared the last step and he grabbed my hands and started telling me how much he loved God and loved me and how he knew from the first moment we met in that living room that he was going to marry me.

I, unable to see past my towel and sweats... begged him to wait, not to ask me, to allow me to put make up on, to change... but he would hear nothing of it.
He led me to the corner bedroom (EASY NOW... keep this PG would you please.) where he had set up a foot washing. He shared with me how just before the "last supper" Jesus washed the feet of the disciples committing to them His love and service. And that he too wanted to serve and love me as Christ loved the church. And then he asked me.


"Chelle', will you marry me?"

They're lifechanging words are they not? He slipped a ring on my finger... and we hugged. And then he asked me, "Well?"

"Yes, of course, yes I'll marry you."

10 years ago today... my life was completely altered...and I am all the better for it.



This is the first picture taken from a coworker at my church the day after I said YES!!
(I'm working on finding pictures of us once engaged... our frames seem overrun with children these days.)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong."

A Stone Gatherer said...

What a wonderful engagement story! Just love it! Boy I love how God works!!!

Mari said...

What a great engagement story and what a great guy! I love it.

Marci said...

I remember that one! You called very late to tell Heids and I. Whew!

Rebekah said...

A beautiful story. My eyes are all watery now.

Nancy said...

What a wonderful memory you have, & now a wonderful family!!

girlymom said...

I have goosebumps, this is so sweet and heartfelt!

Joanne said...

Chelle,

That was just beautiful. Now, who is the gifted writer?!?

I felt like I was there witnessing the whole thing.

Praise God, I just love happy endings!!!

Love, Joanne

p.s. that picture of you is gorgeous...

Tara said...

I don't know how I missed this post, but what a great engagement story. :)
Beautiful picture of you, too!