I had a good life – I was going to Jacksonville State University in Alabama, I had lots of friends, was doing well in my classes, and had my own apartment. I was really happy there, except that my ex-boyfriend kept driving up from Atlanta to try to convince me that we were still together. It was creepy, and his unwelcome visits were random and frequent. A couple of my guy friends started walking me home from work just to make sure he wouldn’t bother me between there and the apartment. I felt paranoid, but there was no way to avoid him. He somehow knew my schedule, and no matter where I was, he always seemed to find me.
That changed when my parents told me that they were moving. They had lived just ten minutes away from my apartment, and knowing that my dad was close by made me feel safer. They were moving to Florida, and they wanted me to come with them. My dad knew about my ex’s increasing stalking, and he didn’t want me staying in the apartment alone. I love the sun and the beach, and I wanted to be with them. Even though I liked my life at college, I thought it was about time for another adventure – especially if it meant I’d be harder for my ex to find.
When I told my friends about the move, they were sorry to see me go, but they knew I couldn’t stick around and wait for my ex to get any crazier – or bolder, once my parents left. My friend Curt laughed and said, “Oh, you’ll probably meet some Joe Preppy guy and get married.”
I made a face. Someday, I did want to get married, but not until after I finished college and had a career and a chance to live independently for awhile. I had told God already that I wanted to get married when I was twenty-eight and not a year sooner.
After we moved, I went with my parents to church. I was having an awful day that day – Most of my clothes were in boxes, still packed in the truck, and there was an enormous pimple on my chin that makeup only seemed to make worse.
Before the service, I noticed some preppy guy in a white button-down shirt, a plaid bow tie, and khakis, kept grinning in my direction. I glanced behind me and didn’t see anyone else, and finally I realized he was grinning at me. Not just smiling, but seriously staring at me as though he had just struck gold, as if I was someone he only just realized he had been missing.
Oh no. I was disoriented from a life-changing move, finally out of range of a stalker ex, and with a pimple the size of a volcano in my chin – the last thing I needed was to get back on the dating track. In a few years, sure – I love to meet new people. But not now. Besides, I was artsy. I wore a lot of black. I was very much my own person. I didn’t have any business getting involved with some bow-tie wearing preppy guy. Even though I did think preppy guys were hot, especially this one, with his defined jaw and sheepish grin. And I could tell he was talented when he sat down behind the piano and played for the service. I changed pews to hide behind some tall people.
After the service, a bunch of teenagers swarmed the guy, so I managed to escape without meeting him. But, that evening, I did meet a guy named Don at Bible study. Don invited me out to show me Jacksonville and to take me to a beach I hadn’t seen.
The next day, we were on our way and stopped at his apartment to pick something up. While we were there he called his friend Ron at the church to arrange a kind of welcome party with the other singles from church. He was the youth director, so he was the best person to get in touch with everybody. They talked a minute, and then Don said, “I don’t know all the details. Why don’t you ask her yourself?” and passed the phone to me.
Ron had heard a lot about me and where I came from, and had met my parents already. We had a great conversation and I felt unusually comfortable and drawn in by his voice. He asked if he could call me again later, and I heard myself tell him the number to the condo where my parents and I were staying. I had only heard it once, and certainly hadn’t memorized it. What amazed me was that I got it right.
After we hung up, I felt strange, excited and confused at the same time. I had to remind myself that I had just had one short conversation with a guy I’d never met. I was not going to build up any expectations.
The next day, he called me and just boldly asked me out to dinner. I hadn’t dated anyone in nearly two years, since I’d broken up with the stalker, in fact. I was stunned that he was asking me out after just one phone conversation, but I was even more stunned when I heard myself very calmly tell him yes.
When he arrived to pick me up for our date, I wasn’t happy about what I was wearing. It wasn’t at all an outfit I felt good in, but with most of my clothes still in boxes, I didn’t have many choices except a sporty top, a miniskirt, and tennis shoes. I felt like the anathema of my usual self – more like a cheerleader than the real me.
When I opened the door to meet Ron, I got a shock. He was the preppy piano guy, complete with khakis and blue button-down shirt. And, the ultimate in preppy for the times – penny loafers with no socks.
I had no idea what to expect from this date, but as it turned out I had a wonderful time getting to know Ron.
The very next day, Ron invited me to a youth group meeting. That turned out a bit weird. As soon as I walked through the doors of the chapel where they met, a bunch of the girls ran to Ron’s office, giggling. I heard one start singing the wedding anthem before they closed the door. I could hear Ron trying to hush them up before he emerged, embarrassed.
After youth group was over, we finished up at McDonalds and the kids went home. Then we went to Ron’s apartment and sat out on his balcony to talk. We witnessed to his neighbor downstairs, and eventually our conversation grew more serious, from talking about our relationship’s probable future to talking about marriage. Once we realized that, we both freaked out. My heart was pounding as I left – I had to tell someone.
I drove back to the condo at about 2:45 in the morning. I came in and woke my dad, who was sleeping in his chair. He asked how the youth meeting went.
“Oh, yeah. It was great,” I said, not knowing yet what to say.
He frowned a little and sat up. “How did things go with Ron?”
I took a deep breath. “I believe I have met the man I am going to marry.”
He jumped up out of his chair and went to wake up my mom. He waved me in. “Amy, come here and tell your mother what you just told me.”
I told her, and she reached over and slapped my dad’s arm. “Jerry! You were right!” she said.
I looked from her to my dad. “Right about what?” I asked.
It turned out that my dad had met Ron nearly a year ago, before the move from Alabama, and God had told him that Ron would be my husband. My mom reminded me that when we had talked before about how I wanted to meet the one for me, I had said I wanted God to reveal him to my dad first. She also told me that when Dad had told her about Ron, she had just blown it off. But they had both agreed not to speak of it to anyone, and leave it totally up to the Lord.
This blew me away. The talk I’d had with my mom was months before my dad had met Ron, and in less than a week after I had seen him at church, I had talked to him on the phone, been on a date, and met the youth group he led. And now my dad was telling me that he had known I’d marry Ron for almost an entire year. Once God had set the circumstances of our meeting in motion, everything happened more quickly than I ever would have imagined.
Weeks later, I found out that the girls in the youth group had laid hands on Ron and prayed for him months ago. They had asked the Lord to create the circumstances in his future wife’s life to bring her to where he was. When I walked in the door that night, they knew that I was the one for Ron.