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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Nine Years Ago Today

I have many dates logged into my memory that can only be described as God-appointed. A cool night in February 2001 is one of those.  Though I'm not quite sure of the exact date, it's like it happened yesterday. I had been at the University of Georgia since that spring after transferring from Georgia College & State University mid-sophomore year. I had been commuting about 40 minutes every day while living with my parents since the transfer was kind of a last minute, not-thought-through decision. This boy that I had met suggested that I meet his sister because she was in need of a roommate. I thought, "Well, how bad can it be? He's a Believer and she lives at one of the campus ministry houses. Sure!"

 To go along with my last minute decision to transfer colleges, I had also decided to tryout for cheerleading on a whim. I had done it in highschool and thought it would be a good way to meet people at my new school. I am not a last minute kind of person. I don't like change and here I was upheaving everything I had known to completely redefine myself following a devestating break-up. I have no idea how to explain this sudden adventurous Spirit other than It was not my own.

I had no idea what God had
in store for me.

This boy that I had met was a cheerleader at UGA and was instructing a cheerleading clinic for prospective new girls. A bunch of cheerleaders were going out to eat after a long day of stunting and had invited me. This boy asked me to ride with his friend and on our way, we'd stop off at the CCF house and I could meet his sister. Well, needless to say, I have no clue what Brooke and I talked about. I barely remember her even being on that porch. (Sorry girl! I do remember all our late night talks though!) All I remember swinging on the swing with this boy that I had just met and hanging on his every word. He spoke of the Lord like no other guy I knew. His eyes were on fire as he described how God had called him to abandon dating over the past year and focus on just his relationship with Jesus. He was planning on going to China over the summer for an 8 week period. His name was Bear....like the animal.
Isn't he such a cutie? What a baby face!
Fast forward to October 2, 2001. After months of this boy coming around to visit his sister, hanging out,  and stealing our food, he asked me to come over to his apartment. Apparently, several cheerleaders were going to hang out and possibly watch a movie. I went over there and no one  was there. Just his roommate, Eric, who also cheered. Eric said, "I'm not supposed to let you leave." Ooookay.
     "Bear called and said he'll be right here."
     "Where's everybody else?" I asked. That got a puzzled look and a shrug.
      "I don't know what you mean," Eric said. Ooookay.
      "The movie? Weren't we all going to meet here and hang out?" This was getting odd. My heart was fluttering and I'm pretty sure it quit beating when Eric grinned and said, "Nah, Bear just wanted to talk to you about something." (I would find out later that I was referred to in the apartment by the guys as "The One".)

Bear's "Six Pack"- I should've known then he
was weird. And yes, their shirts say
"UGA Hottie Tossers".
About an hour later, (yes, he was that late), Bear walked through the door. He had been at a study group that went over and had rushed there. This could've been very serious seeing as the Turbodog, his '87 Honda Civic, had no brakes. He'd just throw it into neutral and use his parking brake. Yep, I'm serious. He asked me to go up to his room. Normally I would've declined an invitation to a college boy's bedroom at night and alone but Bear was completely different than any other guy I'd ever met. There wasn't even a hint of danger. (We dated 4 months before even thinking about kissing.)

We went up and he started acting really weird. He showed me pictures of his family, pictures of friends from highschool. It was very strange. He sat at his desk and began rummaging through his stuff like it was the most interesting thing on the planet. Well. Looks like I'd have to take the reigns on this one.
     "So. Eric said you needed to talk to me about something?" Freeze. Literally.
     "Um, yeah." Babble, babble, babble. This awkward exchange went on for what seemed like forever. In my head, I had expected this to turn into a dating talk. Bear's deadline for the Year of No Dating had lapsed and I thought that all his visits were his way of getting to know me. Guess I was wrong. I guess he really was visiting his sister. 
My dad took this after cheering at a game
one night. He probably wondered who in the
world was manhandling his daughter.

Earlier that fall, we had been having a serious discussion about God and redemption. It had come out that I had messed up physically with a guy that I had been dating for almost 5 years. I mean really messed up. Great, I thought. He's going to preach to me. The enemy was always using this against me, accusing me of being a fake Christian because I had messed up. He still does it to this day and I'm almost 30. Now I know why he was so active in his attack that night. He did not want this to happen. The phone rang, interrupting my thoughts. It was Brooke. She wanted to talk to me.

     "Are you dating my brother yet?"
     "Huh?"
     "Are you dating my brother yet?"
     "Um, no." What in the world?
     "Did you forget your key?" A complete and regular event in the life of Kristen Jarvis.
     "Yeah, probably."
     "Well, I'm locking the door and not letting you in until you're dating my brother." Click. No joke.
     "What'd she say?" Bear asked.
     "Well, she wants to know if we're dating yet."

I'm not exactly sure what followed after that. I do know that the following conversation resulted in prayer, tears, and a commitment to follow the Lord together in whatever He had planned for us. I had to make sure I was clear about one thing though.
     "Just so you know, I'm serious about this. In for the long haul. I've done the long-term thing before, with a godly guy no less, and have nothing to show for it and I'm done with that whole wishy-washy dating with no purpose. If we're going to do this thing, we're talking marriage right now. Seriously. My heart can not survive another hurt like I've been through. Got it?" Who was this girl? What in the world did I just say? Did I just say the 'm' word? What??!!! Time stopped as Bear looked up at me and simply stated,
     "That's exactly what I had in mind."
Taken before a CCF worship meeting on
October 4, 2001. Dating a whole 2 days!
Nine years later, here we are. Two kids, a happy home, a healthy marriage and serving the Lord together. We actually brought Esther Grace home last year on October 2. Who knew this is what God had planned all those years ago? Tonight we actually celebrate Bear's grandparents 54th wedding anniversary. 54 years and still going strong. Oh, that Bear and I would be that blessed!
Taken at the boys' apartment right
before Eric's wedding.

It's funny that God's got us discipling youth. Bear's got junior boys and I've got junior girls. Hmph. Juniors. The very year that I began my journey to sin. What started out as a relationship that glorified God and was pleasing to the Lord slowly turned into a filthy, self-gratifying, path of destruction. I alone am to blame. I am the one who chose to ignore His law. I am the one that should've been pregnant in high school. I am the one who disregarded what I knew to be True, desperatly trying to plan out my life in order to avoid heartache. Ironic. That's exactly what I did. Much like a blogging friend of mine posted recently, I Deserved Cousin Eddie. (Read this if you get a chance. It's powerful!) I got Prince Charming.

Thank You Lord for Your revelation, redemption, and restoration! Thank You that You turn what this world intends for evil and use it for Your glory! Thank You for Your protection and provision! Thank You Lord for this wonderful life You've prepared for me! Thank You for this man that leads me, instructs me, corrects me, encourages me, and spoils me rotten! I am blessed to be called Your child and want nothing more than to serve You wholeheartedly.
UGA Homecoming Parade 2001
Coach didn't know we were dating. She took this picture.
Busted.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

3 comments:

Amy said...

this is sweet! jeffrey would NEVER let me post anything like this. he says he does not want "his business" on the internet - ha! i remember random dates, too. funny how some days that don't seem so "monumental" at the time can actually be major turning points in our lives....

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being transparent Kristen. My testimony is also one of the beauty Jesus Christ created from the ashes of my mistakes. Imagine how hurting people would flood our churches if every believer had the courage to share openly the transformation from sin and shame to forgiveness and hope through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. As a fellow teacher of High School girls, I feel an urgency to this fleeting season to instill in them a hunger for the word of God and a practical knowledge that God is for us not against us. That they would trust that when they delight themselves in the Lord, He will bring them the desires of their hearts! AMEN!
Your friend (and sister) in Christ,
Chris (SUE) Meade

Anonymous said...

I ABSOLUTELY LOOOOVE THIS!!!!! YOU GUYS ARE THE GREATEST!!! I ADORE YOU BOTH SOOOO MUCH!

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