Christina’s Love Story: Not My Plan
Last month, we shared our testimonies of how we came to know Christ. If you missed it, here’s my story, MaryAnn’s story, and Tiffany’s story. And now, since we are in the month of love, we thought we’d each share our love story. Yup, I know you’re curious. Now read on, dear reader, read on.
To say that I marched to my own drum while growing up is probably a pretty accurate picture of my life. I, very simply, did what I liked and not necessarily what was cool. And I was not really a fan of labels. Why? Because I never felt I fit into one. Being from a mixed racial background, I would have people ask me all the time, “What are you?” (Meaning, what race are you?). And my answer, “I’m gray.” I was black and white, so I naturally thought it was a super clever answer. I can’t say that the people I said that to had as much appreciation for the term, but I really didn’t care. I was my own character. And I expressed that in many ways. Need examples? I played trombone in the marching band. I brought my lunch to school in tin character lunch boxes every day–proudly. I even went so far as to pretend to be a Yugoslavian gymnast in the Very Special Olympics…on a regular basis. I did my homework. I’m telling you, I was (am?) a little out there.
I knew I was different, but I never thought that my differences would mean that no one would take interest in me. But school dances came and went, and nobody asked.
I saw that if I was willing to put myself out like other girls that maybe I’d have a chance, but I knew that the God that called me His princess wouldn’t be happy with that, and, really, neither would I.
So I waited. I cried, and I waited. Late at night, once the tears had dried, I used to send prayers and kisses into the air. One to my first boyfriend and one to my future husband. Each were precious in my heart. My first boyfriend would prove to me that I was desirable. My future husband would give wedded bliss. I didn’t know at the time that I was sending kisses to the same person.
And then I met him.
My first impression: he was a weirdo. We were in the same freshman orientation group in college, and my first memory of him was at a dessert and talk thing our college mentor had at his house. We were all bused over to his place to talk and eat. Everyone was mingling and talking with each other, but Jacob was talking with the bus driver. I thought that was very strange. But he caught my eye.
He listened to me. Overhearing how I liked surprises, he planned an intricate one for my birthday. A few days before my birthday, I found an anonymous and mysterious note in my campus mailbox. “It’s coming,” it read, with a dime taped in the middle. So strange. I asked all my friends about it. No one knew what it was or who it was from. I kept getting more mysterious notes. I asked Jacob if he was behind this. He tried to claim he wasn’t, but I had an inkling. Then on my birthday, he sent me on an all-over-campus scavenger hunt that ended with a homemade cheesecake, made by him! I was shocked by the care he took in doing something special for me. No boy had ever done that before.
But I was scared.
I was so scared, there was a time when I actually denied that he had any interest in me. I mean, how could he, when all the other guys hadn’t given me a second thought? But he kept pursuing me. And he showed me what kind of commitment he was ready for when he asked me to be his girlfriend. You see, ten days before Jacob asked me to be his girl, he fasted, specifically about our relationship. I had never been around someone who voluntarily fasted before, let alone someone who was fasting about me. I was shocked. I was in awe. I saw that this boy, this man, loved God first, that’s why he wasn’t going to just jump into a relationship willy-nilly. How beautiful is that? And at the end of that ten-day fast, he asked me to join in a relationship with him because God had given him peace about it. I emphatically said yes.
He wooed me.
Over the next three years, Jacob continued to show me how much he loved me. Writing notes to me. Asking me to stay up late with him to watch a movie. Doing Bible studies with me. Praying with me. Visiting our families with me. Asking to dance with me.
We dated all through college. Then one day in late September of our senior year, he asked me to go to dinner with him in Dallas, two hours away from our college. I was so longing to be his wife, so I had hoped that he would ask soon. I had dreamed of being completely surprised with a proposal, not wearing the right kind of clothes, but him providing me with appropriate attire for the occasion. But I knew that would be quite a reach, especially since I never told him I wanted that. Like most women, I wanted my mind read. I mean, could I put him at any more of a disadvantage?
So we drove. And he made an unexpected detour: to a salon. He said I had an appointment. I was baffled. But the ladies ushered me in, did my hair and makeup, and then handed me a dress to wear.
He had read my mind.
After I got dressed, he greeted me in a suit of his own, and asked me to make another detour with him. How could I resist? We drove to the nearby botanical gardens and found a secluded spot. He got down on one knee and told me he loved me.
That was a first.
From the very beginning, I had told Jacob that I only wanted to love one man, my husband, so I wasn’t going to say that I loved anyone until I was engaged to him. He agreed that it was a wise safeguard. So we never said we loved one another, all through our dating years. We said we liked each other; we said we appreciated each other; but we never said we loved one another–until now. Then he asked me to be his wife forever. I was filled with such joy and awe of our love story that a “yes!” quickly came to my lips. And then Jacob came to my lips.
That was also a first.
I knew that I had a weakness for kisses before I started dating because of how often I had dreamed of them all through high school. So I wanted to protect myself. I told myself, and Jacob, that I wanted to save kissing on the lips for my husband and husband-to-be only. I never wanted to save my first kiss for the altar (that seemed completely awkward to me), but I did want to save myself from kissing too many toads. I especially didn’t want that kissing to lead to trouble.
And so we never kissed on the lips. We would occasionally kiss on the cheek or forehead, and sometimes the tip of the nose, but not the lips. And so after I accepted him, we had our first real kiss. And music began to play. Literally, music started playing, a beautiful orchestral number. But it wasn’t planned by Jacob. Quite by God’s hand only, we had chosen a spot near where a wedding was taking place, and just after I said yes, the processional must have started. It couldn’t have been more perfect. My dreams had literally come true.
If someone had told me while I was in high school that I would have only one boyfriend my whole life, I would have laughed in their face. There was no way I was only going to “look around” once before settling on someone. But I could not have even imagined how beautiful our love story would be. Jacob was definitely worth the wait, worth the tears, worth the feeling of rejection. God, in His sovereignty, knew what He was doing. And He did it well.
And now, almost thirteen years later from when we met and started dating, I am so glad for the way God orchestrated our love story. My version would have involved heartbreak for sure, but God—He knows what I can handle. He let me find love and keep it for good.