My bags were packed; plans were made for my mother to drive me to the airport. It was the night before my flight, and there was nothing left to do but talk with Rick on the phone and sleep. I was excited, but also nervous and listening yet again to fear and doubt, words that were not coming from the mouth of God.
“What if you decide I'm too ugly” I asked “I'm scared. I'm sure of God but not sure of me.”
“Why don't you take a tranquilizer or sleeping pill if you have one” he said. “You need to get some rest tonight and not worry so. Unless you develop Elephant Man disease overnight, there is nothing to worry about.”
Somehow his words and the time we spent in prayer together soothed me and I was able to get a little bit of sleep. I rose ready to face whatever the Lord was about to do.
When my mother was dropping me off at the airport, she asked “Are you going to come back married?”
“Maybe so” I answered, not wanting to admit that they had already planned for that.
“Will you call when you get there, to let us know you're safe?”
“Of course I will Mom, and don't worry.” A quick hug and kiss goodbye and I walked into the airport terminal and a new beginning.
Once the plane had reached cruising altitude I did what came naturally. I pulled out my journal and began to write:
It is so bright up here in God's light. Surrounded by the light this morning on the first part of journey. But.. I have had His light around me for weeks now. I am so sure of Him, in a way I had not previously felt.
Oh my precious Father, what new words can I find to praise You? How to best let Your name be glorified? Let Your light shine through me, Lord, for every living soul to see Your reflection in me.The time spent in prayer and reflection soothed my spirit. Stashing the journal back in my carry on, I was ready for the plane to land and to walk into the arms of the man who waited for me.
I ask for guidance this morning Father, trusting that You will lead me where You want me, but not quite trusting myself. Let me not chase after my own desires, but continue to seek what You desire of me.
I stood in the immigration services line with my passport, thinking it odd that Canada was a foreign country. When I was called to the desk, the officer asked me “What is the purpose of your visit, business or pleasure?”
“Pleasure. Definitely pleasure” I replied, while thinking “and about my Father's business”
The officer stamped my passport and I was free to retrieve my bags when they came around on the carousel. The two suitcases were bulky and hard to handle and I felt foolish for packing so much.
One more line to wait in for the customs agent, who simply took my declaration card and said “Welcome to Canada” and I walked through the doors to find Rick, wearing the hat he said he would wear so I would recognize him, just in case he looked different than his picture.
After weeks of imagining what it would feel like, I was held tight in his embrace. Then he whispered very clearly in my ear “a hundred and ten percent, baby.”
I remembered his words to his pastor when he had asked Rick how he could be so sure I was the right woman for him. “I'm 99 percent sure now. When I meet her at the airport I'll be a hundred percent sure.”
“Hundred and ten, eh?” I laughed, feeling every bit of apprehension drain from my being. I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be, at last.
It was a 3-1/2 hour ride from Winnipeg to Rick’s home town. We talked and laughed as if we had known each other all our lives and were continuing a conversation where we had left off. There was a comfort and familiarity between us that surprised us both.
Rick told me a story about his coworker trying to convince him that I was probably some weirdo who had undergone a sex change. While he was laughing, I turned to him, with quite suddenly a very serious look on my face.
“Oh rats! Now you know! I was hoping to keep it a secret.” I said sternly, but I couldn't maintain the serious expression and started to giggle, then chuckle, then laugh heartily.
“I'll have to check it out for myself then” Rick snickered.
“Not until we're married” I warned, wagging my finger at him “And by then it will be too late.”
The laughter felt wonderful, from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. Joy filled the car. With the joy came the peace that only God could provide.
Every time Rick had to pause at a stop light he would lean over to kiss me. There was a new kind of thrill that moved through my blood, different than any man had caused before. If someone had asked me to describe it, I would not have had words. I simply knew that this was stronger, deeper, more right than any touch from my past.
Once we got away from the city, the highway narrowed to one lane each direction. There was very little traffic. It was unusually warm for so early in May as if God had shifted weather patterns to make for an enjoyable day of traveling. Rick named off the towns as we moved through them, and I watched the unfamiliar landscape passing outside the open window.
There was mile upon mile upon endless mile of open fields. Farmers, using various kinds of large equipment that I did not yet know the names of, were busy preparing the ground for the coming season of planting. Barns, and old farm houses and grain storage bins reached out into the fields.
“There's nothing but land” I exclaimed. “Land extending out forever no matter where I look. It's unbelievable.”
"Yep” Rick nodded, smiling. “I'd expect that reaction from a city girl.”
There was space, blue sky, bright sun and fresh air. I inhaled deeply and let everything inside myself settle. “I'm here” I thought silently “here where you've sent me Lord.”
We were getting closer to his home town, approaching a lake that he wanted me to see. Rick asked if it would make me nervous if he pulled off onto a side road.
"Well, if you're going to kill me now, have at it” I laughed. “I've trusted you and come this far, why stop now.”
He slowed and pulled the car to a stop, parking near the driveway of a beautiful home.
“If we go to the beach from here we don't have to pay to get in and park” he said, taking hold of my hand, and we started walking.
It felt good to be out of the car and stretch. I noticed that we walked in the same rhythm, legs moving in unison. We were walking on a well trodden path through bushes and trees. Rick stopped frequently to pull me into his embrace and kiss me with all the passion that had been building up over the past weeks.
"Wow! I guess I hadn't needed to worry about chemistry” I said, my knees weakening at his touch.
When we emerged from the path onto the beach I erupted with delight.
“Did I ever tell you how much I've always loved the water?”
“I don't believe you did” Rick replied, shaking his head. “There's lots of things we have to learn about each other, and we'll have lots of time to learn them.”
Linking up with Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus and The High Calling Blogs where we're talking about both the joys and struggles of marriage.