Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ten Years Together ~ Our First Date...and Beyond!

A little over 10 years ago, I was divorced and had 3 teenagers...and a two year old. I really thought that one of the reasons my first marriage didn't work out, was because it wasn't God's idea for the two of us to get married in the first place. Well, I don't like being alone, and I figured it might be a little bit difficult to find a husband that would be willing to help me raise my 3 older kids AND a two year old, I definitely wanted to ask God to help. I prayed and asked Him to show me the man that HE had for me. And this is what happened:

I had recently purchased my first very own computer, and had my son Joel hook it all up for me. Since I wanted to find a good Christian man and didn't really want to get into the whole dating thing, (I just wanted to cut to the chase and find the one I was SUPPOSED to be with), I tried searching for "Christian Singles" and came across a website called: "MatchMaker ~ The Christian Connection." That looked like a good place to start. I entered all my statistics, set the settings to go out 100 miles from me and searched for a week or two. I contacted a couple of people that looked interesting, but one had already met someone and the other didn't want anything to do with someone who was divorced. Then one day, I decided to venture out a little farther and changed the setting to 150 miles. After looking for a little while, my daughter, Jessica came in the room and said, "Let me look, I'll find you someone, Mom." After just a few minutes, she said, "Hey Mom, this guy sings!" I said, "Move over and let me see that."
Apparently, he lived 149 miles away from me. I lived in Sauk Rapids, MN and his profile said he lived in Bigfork, MN. He was five years older than me, had been widowed for less than a year, and had 3 kids of his own...a 17 year old girl, a 15 year old boy and an 11 year old girl. My heart went out to those kids, (especially Ruth, who was 11), because they no longer had a mother, and I actually started to cry. The weird thing was that in addition to my 18 year old son and my two year old daughter, I also had a 17 year old girl and a 15 year old boy! Hmmmm...

I contacted him and he wrote back to me. Although he was planning to move to Bigfork at the time, it turned out he actually still lived right here in P-town... only about 30 miles away from me! We exchanged e-mail addresses and a day or two later I found him on YIM. We chatted for a while and then I gave him my phone number and he called me. After two VERY long phone conversations over the next few days we set up our first date. We would go out to dinner on a Friday night--exactly 10 years ago, today. And yes, even though my older sister, Peggy warned me to drive separately, (you can never be too careful about people you meet on the Internet), I felt like I'd known him forever already, and decided to let him pick me up at my apt.

I was very nervous about all this. It had been years since I'd actually dated. What should I wear? What will he be like? How will I know if he's "Mr. Right?" My sister, Patty told me I should "put out a fleece" like Gideon of the bible did. So, as I'm cleaning up my apartment, I look around and see this bright green bracelet on top of my refrigerator that says JESUS LOVES ME. I had gotten it from Molly's grandpa in a box of stuff he'd sent us while I was still with her dad.

So I prayed, "God, if this is the right man for me, let him be wearing a bracelet just like that one." And then immediately thought, "Oops!, I'd better take that back. No grown man is going to be wearing one of those." And then I was thinking of all sorts of other things... like "Let him be wearing the same color shirt as me"... or "If he comes to my door with flowers, I'll know"...but I never really did come up with anything else to "put out there."

Anyway, Ray arrived at my door with a single rose in his hand for me. Little Molly went running to the door with me, and after I answered it and shook his hand, I introduced her to him. She looked up at him with her big brown eyes, (and while curling her little ringlet curls at her neck with her finger), she said, "Hiiii...Raaayy." It was very cute...but a little embarrassing. I have no idea where she got that from and it's the only time she's ever done it (to my knowledge). Jessica was there to babysit Molly, so Ray and I went on our way.

We went to the "China Star" buffet in St. Cloud. We were escorted to a table and sat down. I noticed even before he took his winter jacket off, that the shirt he was wearing and the sweater I had just bought for this date were virtually the same color and style. He took off his jacket...and there it was! This larger-than-life grown man, was actually wearing one of these:

Hmmmm....I was flabbergasted to say the least, but I didn't let on to him at all. I just smiled, looked up and prayed silently, "Okay Lord, whatever you say." I didn't want to scare Ray away after all. We finished our dinner and got our fortune cookies. We opened them...and they were the exact same fortune. Not that I pay any attention to them.. and I don't even remember what they said, but I do recall that they were exactly the same..and took that as yet another sign. We went to karaoke after dinner, and Ray met most of my siblings there. We sat at the table and after a little while he put his arm around me. Everyone said we looked so "comfortable" together. Hmmm...
Ray didn't call me the next day at all, but on Sunday he called and said he was in St. Cloud, and was it okay if he brought his youngest daughter over to meet me! I said sure, and he and Ruth came over. That was that. We've been together ever since. Less than 18 months later, we were husband and wife. My advice? Be careful what you pray just might get it! Just kidding...
While we were dating, little Molly used to tell people this about us, "They love their 'chother." And after 10 years together, we still do. Remember, God IS the ultimate "MatchMaker"...Trust Him!


Qtpies7 said...

God has a sense of humor you know, LOL.

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