November 7th ... 1998 and 1999 ... The Full Story

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with November 7th ... just happens to be one of my favorite pictures of the hubs and moi ... sort of typifies our relationship. 

Just a little bit crazy and a whole lotta love. 

November 7th. 

 I love this day. 

 It's a big part of my "Jack" story and a huge part of my "God" story. 

 I eluded to it here ... and then never told you the full story.

So since you asked, I shall deliver. 

Just a year later.  Cuz I'm good like that.

But first a little of the back story: 
 Back in the early-mid 90s, I was crazy about Jack and we were best of friends but he wasn't ready to commit to anything. Nothing. {That's my story and I'm sticking to it. And it's my blog so I get to write what I want!} 

And so, I ended up saying, "Screw this, I'm heading overseas to be a missionary." 

Well, sort of. 

Actually, God used the whole "Jack needing time to mature" {It's true. I promise.} bit of our story to actually get me to go overseas to teach in a missionary school. I'm pretty sure had Jack been even remotely interested in a future with me -- at that time -- I would have said to God, "Um, I'm gonna pass on Indonesia and what YOU want me to do because I really like this guy and it might work out if I stick it out here in Chicago." 

Condensed section of story:  
In February the boy and I had a bit of a - how shall I say it -- massive disagreement. And in the midst of my pretty severe pain, I was eager to hear from God and God directed me to Indonesia {that's a whole 'nother post for a whole 'nother day. Seriously long story but TOTALLY cool how God worked out all the details}. 

I signed up to teach, raising 100% of the money needed within 3 weeks, and was on a jet plane in August, touching down in the tropics of Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Look at a map of Australia and if you see the huge island above Australia, that's where I was. Split the island in half and look at the top of the left-hand side and you'll see "Jayapura" - I lived an hour from there. {Again, a post for another day.} 

So I was there but Jack had my heart here in Chicago. I make light of it now but I was actually very, very devastated by that loss. Tried to recover. Tried to find other boys and none measured up. Feeling deeply saddened by the fact that the boy I loved didn't love me back. 

{As an aside, I absolutely LOVED my time in Indonesia and looking back, my life would be so plain and boring and un-colorful without those three years. Three of the best years of my life. I would have missed out on SO much of God's work in my life. I really can't imagine my life without those three years in Indonesia.} 

 So as you can imagine, I struggled with the whole Jack piece of my life while I was there. I would say to God often, "Alright, God -- I trust you. You must have someone else for me." And then I'd say, "Um, God, you messed up a really sweet deal. I still love that boy." And back and forth it would go. I'd give Jack back to God and then I'd take him back. 

Repeat. 

Times one thousand. 

 And so it went. 

Until Saturday, November 7th, 1998. 

I was sitting at my kitchen table in my apartment in Irian Jaya. 

Looking out the window past the frangipani tree (which, by the way, are the most INCREDIBLE flowers, minus the fact that if you get the sap in your eyes you can go blind). 

Glancing up at Mt. Cyclops and the waterfall with jungle in between. 

Just an incredible view. 

I was doing a Bible study on my own called, "Experiencing God" and for the first time ever, that day I truly, deep down at the core of who I was, gave Jack to God. 

Once for all. No taking him back. 

You see, I loved Jack. Deeply. And I had come to the conclusion that I would choose to be single if I didn't get Jack because Jack was the one. Even if he didn't know it. I told God that I believed that He was a good God and He only wanted what was best for me, and that I would give Him Jack and if He wanted, He could give Jack back to me but if not, I would still believe that He was a good God and only wanted what was best for me.... I would trust God with my future. 

Period. 

 And wouldn't you know, I felt a DEEP sense of peace sweep over me. Hard to explain. I truly felt, for the first time in 2 1/2 years, that I wasn't longing for that relationship. That I was content. That God would carry me through whatever my future looked like, even if that future was void of Jack.

Hold on. The story gets better. Trust me. 

And so, I closed up my Bible and felt free. Can't really explain it. I wonder if you've ever felt this type of free before when you just get out of the way and let God have his way? And there's just this incredible feeling of freedom. Not bound by the chains of longing for something that isn't within reach. 

Now remember, this was back in the day where dial up internet was as good as it got. You know, the "You've Got Mail" AOL sound? Couple that with the fact that electricity on any given day was sketchy at best where we were ...  And so you didn't get email in a jiffy. EVER. Also remember that where I was, was 15 hours ahead of Chicago at the time.

That's important to this story.

So Sunday morning rolls around and I checked email and lo and behold there was an email from Jack. Hmmm.

And I looked at the date and he had written it on November 7th at the same time as I was actually having my little 'chat' with God. 

I mean the EXACT SAME TIME, people. 

And he basically said that he wanted to pursue a relationship with me. 

Wait, WHAT??????? 

I read it and re-read it and it said what I thought it said. He liked me. And wanted to be my boyfriend. And wanted to come visit me. 

{And I can hear Jack's voice as I type out our November 7th story -- hurry it up Alysa, you're telling too many details and taking way to long to tell this story. But my girl readers are loving the details, aren't you?}

So for his sake, we'll leave a whole lot of details out here but I did rip the laptop out of the wall, ran down to my brother's room where I found the cat had pooped on his bed, with him in it {my brother came and stayed with me for a semester} and woke him up and said, 

"READ THIS. DOES THIS SAY WHAT I THINK IT SAYS?" He concurred but then quickly said, "If he hurts you again I'll kill him!" {or something like that} 

And so,  
IT GETS BETTER. 
LIKE TEN TIMES BETTER. 

So Jack comes and visits in May of 1999. He asks me to be his girlfriend. (We're old school like that.) He helps me move back to the States. 

We date but we never say the I Love You words. I had vowed that I'd never say those words except to the boy I married. {I know, old school. I'm weird like that.} And I also vowed to myself that I would never say those words first. The boy would have to say them first. So being the good girl that I am, I was waiting for Jack to say the words so that I could say them.

And because of that little quirk of mine, I never told Jack the story about how on November 7th I had basically been writing to God giving Jack to Him and he had been writing to me, asking to pursue me at the exact same time. Jack had NO IDEA that had happened. 

And the reason I hadn't told him that was because there is no way I could have shared that story without telling him the background of how much I loved him and how hard it had been. So we dated for several months and we never said the "I love you" words.

Fast forward: 

November 7th, 1999. 

We had gone to Michigan with some friends of ours for a University of Michigan football game and that Sunday we were all lazing around Jack's parent's cottage and Jack says, "Let's go for a walk, Alysa." And me, being the "I just need a good nap on Sunday kind of gal that I am" said, no. But he somehow convinced me that a walk would be fun and so off we went. 

We wandered down the road a bit and he said he'd forgotten something at the cottage and ran back to get it. 

As he caught back up to me I noticed he was sporting a long-stemmed red rose with a note attached. And I'll spare you the gushy details but it started with I love ... and then something that he loved about me.  

Boy howdy was I excited. That's the first time he had used the words I love ... with me ... oh boy. 

We wandered down by the lake and before long I saw another long-stemmed red rose, down by the water. And another red note. Another I love ...

And this happened again and again ... 12 times. 

And on the 12th time the note said "I love ... YOU!" 

As you can imagine I squealed with delight and gave him a huge hug {and maybe a kiss} and said I LOVE YOU, TOO.  

I then said, "I HAVE TO TELL YOU A STORY that I've been dying to tell you but couldn't tell you until we said I love you!" 

"And you are NOT going to believe the fact that EXACTLY ONE YEAR AGO TODAY ... NOVEMBER 7th ....

So there we were, standing in who knows whose yard by the lake, me telling him what was EASILY a 20-minute story with extraordinary amounts of details.

INCLUDING THE INCREDIBLE DETAIL THAT IT WAS THE EXACT DATE A YEAR EARLIER --- NOVEMBER 7TH --- that he had written (again, I emphasis, he had no idea what the date was). 

And here he was telling me he loves me. On November 7th.

Because in my mind that day was the "I LOVE YOU DAY" and I was so excited to able to finally verbalize those words.  And I loved that he was making a big deal about saying those words. And a dozen roses. This guy's a keeper.

So he lovingly and patiently let me go on AND ON with that story. 

And when I finally stopped to take a breath, he said,

"Well I just have one other thing to say. 

It's because I love you that I have a question to ask you ....  

Will you marry me? 

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WOW. 

Didn't see that one comin'. 

And so after me oohing and ahhing over the rock he drew out of his pocket ... and more hugging {and kissing} he finally said, "Well what do you say?" 

And without skipping a beat I loudly squealed, "THANK YOU!!!" 

To which he patiently and lovingly said, "I mean to my question. Will you marry me? Yes or no?" 

 To which I said, "WELL YES!!!!!" 

And so, on November 7th, 1999 he said I love you for the first time. 

And he proposed and gave me a SMOKIN' great ring. 

And I said yes {and thank you}. 

 And he had no idea the significance of November 7th in my book. The history.

{But God did.} 

And so, November 7th is a MASSIVE day in our love story. 

And we don't do anything fancy to celebrate. 

I just quietly thank God that sometimes, oftentimes, His ways make no sense to me and yet He is still a good God and really, truly, only wants what is best for me. He takes my messes and does beautiful things.

And so while today is a huge part my earthly love story, I'm always moved at the bigger story behind today's date and its significance. 

My heavenly love story. 

My heavenly father is CRAZY about me and loves me unconditionally.
 

God is listening when we cry out to Him.

God hears our cries. 

He sees our hearts. 

He longs to bring us joy and hope and love. And HE is all those things to me.

He loves me. 

And He loves you too.

Comments

Precious Alysa! God is absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing!
-Heidi
Alysa said…
Thanks, Heidi! God is absolutely amazing. You are SO right about that!

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