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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Peek Inside the Parsonage

I'm going to share a story with you today - it's one of my favorites, because it's about how my husband and I met and fell in love.  I've tried to look back to see if I've posted this before, and I couldn't find it in the search engine. (After writing almost 800  posts, it's hard to remember everything I've written about!) If I've already told you "my story" please pardon me, and then allow me to tell you again.  Sit back, friends; this is my version of Cinderella, sans the glass slipper.

It was 1979 and I had a scheduled interview for a secretarial position, as well as kindergarten teacher position at a Christian school in Sumter, SC.  I was seeking God's will for my life, and this was the open door that I'd asked for.  I met in a conference room for the interview at the Christian university I attended with a Pastor Cunningham.  While we were discussing the ministry and the possibility of my working at his church and Christian school, his son, Dale, came up to speak with him.  We were introduced.  No fireworks, no stars in our eyes...you see he was dating someone and so was I. 

I got that job and was enjoying teaching the 5 year-olds.  The next year I was asked to teach first grade. The middle of that school year Christmas break was over and I started back into second semester.   I was busy with my life, and career, but not so happy with my dating situation.  After praying about it, I felt the Lord would have me end the relationship.  I did.  Relief came and I was anxious to move on.  The next day at school, while my children were lined up in the hall for restroom break, Dale walked in.  He still had a few more days of Christmas break before he would head back to the university to finish his junior year. We had built a friendship over the time I'd known him, but nothing more.  As we chatted there in the school hall, he shared with me that he'd called and broken up with his girlfriend the night before!  I shared with him that I'd done the same thing!  We laughed about it, then he candidly asked,

"Hey, would you like to go bowling tonight, just to have some fun?"
"Sure!" I agreed.

We did just that.  We were just friends going out to have a good time and forget the past.  He was so much fun to be with.  He treated me with respect and gentlemanly courtesy.  I was blown away with the thoughts I was having as I returned home from our date.  I wrote these words in my journal that night..."I'm not in love or anything, but I believe I just went out with the guy I'm going to marry!"

The next day was a Friday, so I had to teach.  That afternoon after I dismissed my children, I returned to my classroom only to find Dale sitting on the corner of my desk waiting for me.  Be still my heart!  What a lovely surprise. 

"Last night was so much fun.  Want to go out again?" he asked.

Of course I said "yes!".  Again, we had a great time, just being ourselves and enjoying the freedom that brings.

The next day being Saturday, presented Dale with a dilemma about how he could see me.  I wasn't in my classroom - I was in at my home where I lived with my roommate, Debby.  Should he be so bold as to come knock at the door? What if he wasn't invited in?  However, it was his only option, so that's exactly what he did.  I opened the door and said, "You're just the man we were looking for!  Our vacuum won't work!"  He suddenly became Mr. Hoover himself.  (Many months later he told me all it needed was a new belt, but it took him a really long time to simply replace that small part!).  Pretty sneaky!

After that weekend, Dale went back to school and we wrote letters, called, and made trips back and forth.  Our relationship survived one breakup - but because it was the Lord that had started it,  He saw to it that the wanderer returned!  =) We were married in 1981, following a year-long engagement.

God is so good.  He is faithful.  He knows what He is doing.  He knew that my interview would lead me to the one I was to marry.  He guided my footsteps until they crossed the paths of my future husband. I have told "my story" to my girls many times as they were growing up.  I wanted them to know that if they would "give the Lord half a chance" He would bring the right man into their lives. 

A single girl doesn't need to finagle to get a guy.  She doesn't have to throw herself in his path.  God will do the work.  All a girl needs to do is be a woman of honor and wait.  I'm happy to say that our oldest daughter has confirmed that God has brought "Prince Charming" to her.  They will celebrate their first anniversary next month! And after 30 years, I can say more than ever, I am blessed beyond measure with a husband that I could never have found.  He was God's gift to me.  It hasn't all been a storybook life, because we are both sinners, but I know this - Prince Charming has nothing on Dale Cunningham!

I know that there are many hurting marriages - Christian and non-Christian alike.  God is bigger than your troubles, and He is able to make your marriage wonderful.  Could I encourage you to listen to the series that is being played on Revive Our Hearts this week?  It's the story of a couple whose marriage was beyond help, humanly speaking, but is wonderful today.  I pray their story will encourage you!

From inside my parsonage windows,

6 comments:

Whitney said...

awww! I love this post!

Denise said...

You're sweet, Whitney. Thanks for reading it...again!

matlock626 said...

I never realized our stories were so similiar. I tell the teen girls exactly what you said in this post. It is so much sweeter when you allow God to give you your husband and not go looking. Praise God for your posts each day. Love you friend.

Denise said...

Thanks for your encouragement, Christy. The teens girls are blessed to get godly counsel from their youth pastor's wife. I'm praying for you as you minister to them!

Alli Cunningham said...

this made me smile (=

Denise said...

Alli, I thought it might!