Saturday, May 18, 2013

8 - My Story, God's Story - Courtship of Paul and Carol

I know it's been a while since I posted a chapter on my life, and how God has guided me.  I am hoping as I begin to type this chapter, I will get inspired.  There are many things I could write about, but I want to keep this "story" focused on God's intervention in my life through the years.

After seeing Paul for the last time that summer so long ago, I figured that was it.  Our paths would not cross again.  My friend and I went up to Mackinac Island for a weekend (her husband rode his bike up with a crew, and we were to meet him up there).  I was to the stage of wanting to meet someone.  She and I went into a bar to get something to eat and some soft drinks.  Somehow, the atmosphere just didn't feel right to me.  My first husband had a problem with alcohol, and I certainly did not want to meet someone who drank.  I made the decision to leave that place, and just allow God time to bring someone into my life, if it was His will.

The rest of that weekend I could not get Paul's smile out of my mind.  I decided to write a friendly letter and see if he would like to have a pen pal.  I would be willing to send him cookies also.  He wrote back and told me that he'd be home for fall break and he would look me up.  When he came home, he stopped over on Friday night to meet me, but he already had other plans.  On Saturday he came back and spent the afternoon, and we played games.  He asked me out for Sunday night, a night I usually go to church, but because I knew he was leaving again on Monday, I accepted.  We went to Grand Rapids to a movie.  It was a nice evening.  We had spent the weekend just talking and getting to know each other better.

Even though I wrote to him again, I never heard back from him.  So much for that!  I ended up selling my house and moving back home to care for my parents, as they both had cancer.  I had hoped to move to Bourbonnais, Illinois, get a job at ONU, and work on my college education.  However, I felt I should stay home to care for Mom and Dad.

At Christmas time, one dark night, there was Paul at our door!!  He had brought me a very large box of chocolates, wrapped in lavender paper (not Christmas paper...lavender was a favorite color of mine, but he wouldn't have known that).  He was home for Christmas break, and wanted to get together.  I took him to a church Christmas party on New Year's Eve.  When he brought me home, I told him that I would not be able to get serious with him because I had learned that he was Catholic, and I was Protestant.  That was just one of those rules in life I had been taught...the two should not marry, but one should marry a person of like faith, and raise their children in that faith.  Well, after allowing me to struggle explaining that to him, he laughed and said that his family had left the Catholic church when his brother was born.  He wasn't an avid church goer, but when he did go, he went to a Methodist church.  Somehow that brought me great God was saying its okay for me to date Paul.

Mom and Dad recovered from their cancer again, and decided to head to Florida, as was their regular winter custom.  I stayed behind in Michigan since I was working at the Savings and Loan.  I could tell I was really smitten with Paul.  He was so different from my first husband.  He was tall, good-looking, intelligent, easy to be with, honest, humble...and I was just very comfortable with him.  I began to pray in earnest about our future.  I was ready to surrender him, discontinue our relationship, if God wanted me to do that.  I didn't need to make another mistake in marriage.  It just seemed that somehow God kept giving me the green light, that He approved of my growing relationship with Paul.

During Paul's spring break from college, we flew to Florida to spend a week with my parents.  I had two weeks vacation, so my second week I drove Paul back to school in the U.P...a ten hour drive one way.  I had never been up there, and it was a different way of life, for sure!  They had winters with snow up over the clothes lines.  I managed to get back home safely, and I came home knowing I was in love with Mr. Paul.  He said he loved me too.  God had answered my prayers, and gave me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

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