Please read this. I know it’s long, but I hope you’ll read it anyway!
Now that Rob is 30 years old, I look back on the man I have been in love with for 13 years.
How did I notice Rob? I saw that he was always wearing suits and ties (they were very into ska music) with his best friend who towered over him. He looked sort of cute from a distance, but it wasn’t until I was walking behind him, down from the top floor of the school with a friend, that I gave him any thought. My friend and I were talking about God with one another a little bit. She said, “Rob believes in God, don’t you Rob?” He turned around and I noticed he was wearing a key-chain that he put on his ball-chain necklace that said, “Yes, I believe in God” to prove it. Instead of cowering away in a public school about his faith, he said, “Yes, I love Jesus without a doubt!” That’s when I had my new crush. It took a couple of weeks before I had the opportunity to meet and talk with him.
When I first saw Rob, he was not my type one bit. What drew me to him was God within him. Once I saw God as such an important aspect of his life, I was drawn to him and became insanely attracted to him. At the time I was 5’9” (still am) and he was 5’5” (he did grow an inch, or at least he stopped hunching over an inch after we met). You think I was looking for a shorter guy at all? No way. I wanted someone who was at least 5’11”. I couldn’t stand shaved heads (which he had & still shaves his head each year) . I wanted surfer blonde messy-longish hair (think John Schneider as Bo Duke from the 70s/80s T.V. show The Dukes of Hazzard). Rob’s hair (when it grew out a little) was dark brown. His having hazel eyes and glasses on top of that was not something attractive to me. Blue eyes amazed me, but something in those eyes of his sucked me in big time as if I were in a trance each time I’d look at them.
After I developed my crush for Rob I started to ask my friend Cristina what she knew about him because I saw her talking with him often. I rarely saw him so I didn’t have a good chance to ever approach him where it wouldn’t be awkward. I wanted to have “the right moment” to start to get to know him better. I wanted to be his friend.
For Christmas in 1999, my mom bought me the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. When I read the title I threw it across the room and said, “I refuse to read this book! I want to date!” I had never gone on an actual date outside of school functions before. My mom always promised me that I could start dating by the time I was 16 or mature enough. I had been 16 for nearly two months and no one was asking me out. I thought there was something wrong with me. She told me I wouldn’t be able to date until I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye. What blackmail!
I opened the book and was glued to the pages. It was so inspiring and convicting. As a teenager you believe you have an understanding about what a relationship should be like. I instead learned that until I was ready to honestly be committed to a person and prepare to date with marriage in mind, I certainly was not ready to start dating. There were so many amazing examples and encouraging words of wisdom of godliness in the pages of the book that it caused me to open my Bible up more regularly. I hadn’t really opened it for quite some time. I started to grow closer to Jesus and memorize and ponder His word. I’d cry out to God and look forward to my time spent with Him. I know it might sound strange to say, but in my decision to kiss dating goodbye, I probably was saved from a lot of problems with relationships that I might have ended up having.
I started to pray that God would guide me to someone who would love me and cherish me. I prayed that there would be a man for me one day that God would bless me with as my husband. I asked that God would create in me a pure heart and give me the desire to serve Him so that I could one day be able to be blessed in a good God-centered relationship. I had devoted a lot of time to talking to God and reading God’s word. I started to feel God answering my prayers (slowly). I didn’t want to believe my feelings were invading my head and lying to me, so I often would pray to God that He would be clear with me and tell me right and wrong so that confusion wouldn’t ruin me.
When Christmas break ended, two senior girls approached me. They were Christian girls who knew I was a Christian too. They invited me to join their Christian club. I was really excited that there would be an opportunity to join a club in a public school. I wanted to stand up for Christ, unashamed of being His child. I told the girls I’d attend their club. I thought my friend Cristina was a Christian because she went to a youth group so I invited her to come with me. She said, “Oh, my friend Rob will be there. I won’t go, but I’ll introduce you to him!” She quickly introduced us outside of the cafeteria.
Five of us sat at a table; three seniors, one junior (Rob), and one sophomore (me). I sat down first and Rob pulled up a chair right next to me (oh how exciting! He wanted to sit by me)! We had to wait for the Principal, who ended up being a Christian himself (no wonder why this went through to have the club meet)! When the Principal arrived, he asked us each why we were there. I stated that I was hoping to make some Christian friends and be able to learn more about God to further my growth in Him. The Principal broke the news that we received a few threats for starting our club. We all agreed to let them threaten us. Nine months earlier was when the events of the Columbine School shootings took place (Rachel Scott and Cassie Bernall’s stories are very inspirational). It was too close in time since that tragedy happened for us to start a club based on Christianity in a public school system. We had a lot of culture in our school including many who were Muslim (some were my friends). We told him that they could have a Muslim club if that was the issue. He told us that he didn’t want any attacks on his students and that he wanted to protect us from harm. As happy as everyone was to be involved in the beginning of a Christian club, it ended the same day. We were able to meet somewhere else, but that it couldn’t be connected to the school. The principal and each of us closed in prayer. I was so let down!
When the club had ended I walked outside to wait for the late-bus to arrive, though I didn’t know when it would arrive at all. It was January 27, 2000 and we wouldn’t have school the following day because of teachers having conventions or because the semester ended that day. I was pretty cold sitting outside, but Rob followed me there. I stood for a moment trying to figure out what to say. He broke the ice in asking me a question that I already answered, “So you really want to grow further in your Christian walk with God?”
We had some small talk for a while. He jumped the gun and asked curiously, “What do you think about relationships?” What type of a question is that for someone you just met for the first time? I thought it was a little odd.
I clearly and sincerely said while staring into his eyes, “I don’t date.”
“Oh. Why not?” He asked.
“If I date it will be because I will have intentions of marrying that person,” I said, as I proceeded to inform him about the little book I read that inspired my decision. Little did I know that asking me my opinion of relationships was his way of trying to ask me out! He started to tell me, “Oh, well I had a girlfriend who broke up with me last month so I am not dating anyone at this time either.”
I figured if he was letting me know he was having a hard time getting over his ex, I would end up being a rebound. No thanks. I explained in sympathy, “Yeah, I am sort of not completely over my ex too but we didn’t really date other than in school but we broke up a couple years ago now.” I was actually over him though.
I felt like our conversation was going nowhere. I decided I was freezing and didn’t know what else to say (I was actually at a loss for words, which is unlike me. I was nervous of making a fool of myself). Instead of standing there in the cold through awkward silence, I went inside for a bit to see if there were any people I knew to hang out with there. What was wrong with me? I waited to talk to Rob for a while and here I was ditching him. He felt rejected as if he had no chance with me. I walked around for a short while and saw cheerleaders stretching in the hallways and people sitting by their lockers. I was more bored inside than outside. I re-joined Rob outside and said, “It seems like you’re the only cool person here so I came back to be by you.” He smiled pretty largely, but just as I was going to try to talk more to him, his two friends came and picked him up so they could have band practice or go to their job (they all did both together). I was alone outside, thinking about how sweet and adorable Rob was the rest of the night.
I prayed that weekend continuously. I said, “Jesus, if Rob is truly the person you’ve placed in my life to be with, please, I pray that you pave the way for us to be together. I pray that you will show me and guide me. I hope I can be really good friends with him and maybe one day we could be a couple. Who knows, if that works out than maybe I’ll even marry him. I don’t want to rush, so I’ll just make sure it will be on your timing, If it is even meant to be. It is good to know there is another Christian around, so for now I just hope to get to know him better. Let it be your will, not mine, for I am a weak and pathetic girl.”