Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV / For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven
Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV / Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Psalm 46:10 ESV / “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Ephesians 2:10 ESV / For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Acts 1:7 ESV / He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
God’s timing is a funny thing. It’s taken me YEARS to come to grips with the fact that God’s hand is in all things, big and small, and when we try to push ourselves onto a path, things can often go wrong. My and Neil’s story is not about things going wrong, thankfully, but things going right…. just not when we thought they would.
There are not many moments from my past that I can relive in perfect history like the moments I had with Neil before we started dating. Looking back, I know that it was God working in our lives.
I was in eighth grade choir; Neil was in seventh grade choir. The two choirs only practiced together when it was time for concerts, therefore I had only seen him a few times from across the room. I had heard about him, however, many times from my best friend Emily, who was also in seventh grade. She had a middle school crush on him and I couldn’t blame her – he was adorable! Neil and I formally met on the school bus, on our way to a middle school choir competition. Emily wanted to sit behind him in the bus during the trip and so, we did. He asked me to tickle his neck. And so I did – only for a minute before I felt funny, and then stopped. He smiled. I smiled. Some time later, Emily mentioned liking another boy and I felt slightly relieved – but of course, eighth grade girls don’t like younger boys.
My sophomore year, Neil’s freshmen year in high school. At a choir competition again, during a rehearsal break, two boys were flirting with me by stealing my slip on shoes (flip flops, flats, I can’t remember) and tossing them back and forth to each other. One of those boys was Neil – a short time later, the other boy became my first boyfriend.
Neil and I were in choir together all throughout high school and both “dated” other people. Every relationship, for one earthly reason or another, fell short.
My senior year, Neil’s junior year in high school. Early December, we started talking again in choir. That’s the only class we had together so it was completely casual. Finally, the last day before Christmas break he asked me for my number. Did I have a cell phone back in 2003? I don’t really remember which number I gave him but I do remember thinking that he probably wouldn’t call me – he was popular, starter for our winning basketball team, and I was a total nerd, band geek and all.
December 22nd, 2003. I was wrapping presents when he called. He was finishing up a basketball tournament in Lexington but wanted to know if I’d like to see a movie when we got back. I said sure, again thinking he probably wouldn’t follow through. Still completely giddy all over!
December 24th, 2003. I had spent most of the day celebrating Christmas with my family and right before I left for the Christmas Eve Service at my church, he called!! After the service, my parents dropped me off at the movie theatre where I met Neil and a couple mutual friends to see the movie Elf. Our first date! After the movie, we went to a friend’s house to watch a televised concert our choir performed earlier that month. Neil drove me home and walked me to my door. It was only a few hours and it might seem like a bore, but to us it was perfect.
Four years pasted between meeting each other and our first date. Had we started talking back in middle school, our relationship either wouldn’t have developed at all or it would have died before it really started. We were both far too immature to start anything lasting in early high school. God knew neither one of us were ready for the other. He used every relationship leading up to ours to prepare our hearts. We had to see what didn’t work before we could recognize what would work. Neil and I are both trial and error kind of people like that. God knew all of these things.