Saturday, August 10, 2013

Our Story, Part 1

It all started at the MasterWorks Festival, where young aspiring Christian performing artists practice, play, and sometimes meet the person they'll one day marry.  I was there for about the hundredth summer (not really, but close) and Claude was there for his first time.  We met in the lunch line.  It must have been uneventful because only one of us remembers that first meeting (and it wasn't me).

Performing together for the first time.  Summer 2002.
Both Claude and I had just come out of some hurtful dating relationships within months of attending the festival.  I was still trying to forgive and heal from the pain of my previous relationship and after being very disappointed by a girl back in Melbourne, Claude had prayed and determined that he wouldn't get involved in a romantic relationship with anyone until he was certain she was "the one".

Enter our friend, Abigail.  She knew Claude from Bible study.  I knew her because I was her counselor.  About two weeks into the festival she invited Claude and I to meet, the three of us, for some time in the Word.  We met every day after that and within a few days, Claude and I were also meeting together in the evenings.  We sat on the steps of Rodeheaver Auditorium and aside being eaten by a bazillion bugs, we talked and talked and talked.

Summer 2002
I wouldn't allow myself to think anything of this friendship, even though I couldn't stop talking (or thinking) about this Aussie guy.  Claude, on the other hand, was at least asking God about it.  During a quiet time in his dorm room he asked The Lord if I was "the one" and the answer was "Yes".  Of course, I didn't find this out until WAY after the fact...which was all the better.
Fast forward a bit and we had said goodbye, left the festival for our normal college lives, and started communicating regularly by email and IM (does anyone remember IM???).  When asked around Christmas-time by my cousin if I would marry Claude I gave an incredulous, "No!  We're just friends!"  About four months later I was sitting in a church service and everything in my thinking changed.

As I sat during musical worship I heard the Lord speak to me.  I haven't had this happen before or since and it's hard to describe because I didn't hear with my physical ears, but the His voice was unmistakeable and impossible to doubt.  That sunny Sunday afternoon God told me that I would marry Claude and I would go to Australia.  I remember sharing this information with my good friend while we stood at a stoplight on our way home from church.

Summer 2003
Claude and I continued to communicate through email.  Sometime in the spring we entered into dating relationship of sorts (it's pretty hard to date when you're literally half a world apart) and we spent the next summer together again at the MasterWorks Festival.  After a few weeks there were more goodbyes, more emails, and more IM.  And, on my part, a growing impatience.

And then there was a phone call.

I remember sitting on the office floor at my parents' house staring at the reindeer on my pink fuzzy pajama pants.  Claude, being very to the point, simply said something along the lines of, "I think we should take a break".  I have no idea what I said to him - I honestly can't remember.  But I know that I was angry.

How could he?!  As if I was the only person in the relationship. This was NOT part of God's plan.  As if I know the thoughts of an omniscient God.  Didn't Claude know what God was doing???  As if I was the only one who heard from the Lord or knew how to do this thing "right".

I could only see God's plan through my ideas of how that would be worked out.  I had A LOT to learn about patience and trust.  And I also had a lot to learn about how God works.  Could my impatience and frustration, my pushing to get the show on the road, really stop God's work in our lives and our relationship?  If Claude was right or wrong in calling things off, did it really matter?  Isn't God way bigger than that?

After that phone call all correspondence was silenced.  For seven months.

To be continued...

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