“It is not circumstances in which we are placed,
but the spirit in which we meet them,
that constitutes our comfort.”
— Elizabeth T. King
As I reflect on my childhood, it occurs to me that I started thinking about boys in the second grade, which seems odd now that I’m a grandmother with two granddaughters living “in house.” The fact that I had to wait another ten years to receive my first kiss had seemed inordinately unfair all through junior high and my first two years of high school. But it tips me off to the reason why I felt so alarmed, back in 1991, when my sixteen-year-old daughter abruptly announced one morning, “Life stinks and guys are scum!”
Lisa had been so excited just moments before. A young man had invited her to go with him to the youth banquet at church. It would be her first “date” and she was ecstatic. Tim was the senior pastor’s son, and I had been observing him for some time, secretly wishing that the two would discover something in common. They went to different high schools, so that was immediately checked off the commonality list of possibilities.
They had chatted over the phone a few times, and it was after one such conversation that Lisa shared with me her sweet news – Tim had invited her to sit with him at the banquet, even though dating was frowned upon at church and there would be no dancing afterward. But all of that was ancient history now. As she opened the front door to leave for school, I asked, “What happened?”
She was choking back tears when she replied, “Tim’s dad said he can’t go.”
After she left, I reasoned that up to that point I had been an advocate for my kids when something was wrong that needed to be made right. And very quickly I worked up a good MAD! Who did that man think he was anyway, breaking my little girl’s heart like that? Humph! I would just call him up and ask him, “What were you thinking?”
It turned out that Tim had not told his dad he’d asked Lisa to the banquet. And when Pastor Ivans had received a call from one of Tim’s teachers to let him know about missing homework assignments, taking away the banquet was the first thing that had come to his mind in terms of a consequence. So Tim was ultimately allowed to go, since he had made the promise to Lisa.
Through spring of their junior year, Lisa and Tim were considered a couple. Chuck and I accompanied them to Lisa’s prom, and they even began shopping for colleges together. So it seemed a bit odd when Tim asked if he could come over and talk with me when Lisa wasn’t home…. He had been doing some thinking, he said. And he’d decided he needed to date some other girls to make sure Lisa was the right one for him.
My first thought was that I was already scheduled to go with them to summer camp as a chaperone for the girls. Wasn’t that going to be interesting! And of course, it was. They spent the first few days trying to avoid each other, then they got together to talk, and by the time we were heading back home, Tim and Lisa were once again madly in love.
The relationship was “off” again by Valentine’s Day, 1992. Lisa will attest that she had the most miserable senior year possible. But the breakup allowed her the freedom to sign up for a mission trip to Mexico City with Azusa Pacific University, which would take place after high school graduation. Over the next few years, she would travel to Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica and allow God the opportunity to show her what was available to her as a single woman in love with her Lord.
In 1996, Lisa graduated from Bible college with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. And Tim was there waiting for her after the ceremony. Unexpectedly, they had both come to the conclusion that it was God’s will for them to be together as husband and wife.
Their love story was “on” again.
“Test all things;
hold fast to what is good.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:21)
A RUST REMOVER …
When something goes wrong at home or church or work, do you regularly feel that you need to be the one to “fix” it? It’s always possible that God wants to use you in a certain situation. But “fixer” mentality can lead to unmanageable stress. So be sure to pray before interceding. Some things have a way of fixing themselves with God-honoring results.