WARNING!!! If you do not want to hear a mushy love story, then please do not continue reading. But I know many of you are dying to find out the details of my new life, so here goes...
This story begins last Aug. at our church's family camp out. Everyone knows the horrors of what life was for me last year. By late Aug. the shock of everything was beginning to wear off and a spark of life beyond divorce began to emerge. I have known Paul for years and have watched him grow in the Lord. I had taught his son for a couple of years in my Sunday School class. I knew he was a nice man, good looking, kind-- and single. But it was at this family camping trip that I first noticed Paul as good husband material. He awakened the part of me that I thought had died when the divorce happened. I briefly talked with my pastor, and he strongly cautioned me against anything because my healing was only just beginning.
Fast forward several months through all the horrors of the fall-- and all the healing that occurred through those great trials... Paul was a constant in my life through it all. A very small crew of us meet every Sunday before Sunday School for prayer. I stumbled upon the group by "accident" one morning as I was seeking a quiet place to regroup after a busy night at work. They invited me to pray with them and I found exactly what my soul needed. Paul has a very soothing voice, and week after week, his prayers were a healing balm for my heart. Through it all there was a certain attraction that both of us felt, but neither of us had any idea that anything was possible...
As I mentioned in earlier posts, with the coming of the new year and my healing process well under way, the loneliness and over-whelming desire for my children to have a father really kicked in. Paul was still in the back of my mind, but I really did not think anything was really there. By the end of Jan. Paul had somehow moved to the front of my mind!! So I again cornered my pastor and to my complete shock, he gave me a cautious green light!
So how does a shy girl go about letting a man know she is interested in him for more than just being prayer partners? A big "thank you" to whomever sent me one of those "getting to know your friends better" fill in the blank lists!! I filled it out and sent it on to many of you girls and sandwiched his email in the middle! Paul took the bait and filled in his answers. I was grinning from ear to ear when I saw his email on my screen. There was also my kids' birthday party to which I asked him to pick up pizzas on his way over to save me a trip. (He lives right down the street from the pizza place.)
This brings us to the church family winter retreat. A bunch of us were caravanning. My time schedule was a bit off from the big group's, so I sheepishly asked Paul if he would lead the way for me since I did not know where we were going. So he became my personal escort for the weekend. The retreat was a dream and we spent much time talking and playing games- with and without others. Sat. morning stands out as the real beginning of "us." I was up with Judson very early downstairs in the common area. Paul came down in search of coffee. No one else was up yet, and we had some great quiet time just talking and watching Judson play. It is a very special memory for both of us.
It is now just a few days short of four months since that time. Yes, I will just lay it out there. I am hopelessly in love. No, we are not engaged yet, but wedding bells are definitely in the not-too-distant future. With all that I have come through, I still pinch myself that it is possible to be so happy again. Before things happened, I would have never said that I had a bad marriage. I had no idea what I was missing all these years!!! Paul is so selfless, I do not know how to react sometimes. He is continually putting my needs before his own- something I have never had before.
I entitled this post "A Knight's Tale" for a special reason. (Paul, I hope you are not too embarrassed that I am sharing this with everyone-- love you!!) I think just about every couple has pet names for each other. In trying to come up with ones for us, I started calling him "my Knight." If you know me at all, you know that my favorite movie of all time is "Ever After." The Cinderella story is timeless and I love that whole Medieval time period. Paul has rescued me from so much and makes me feel so special. Then one day I got this incredible email. He tells all about the life of a knight and what he lives for. And how there is only one thing that is more powerful than a knight's love for his country... his love for his "Lady." My heart melts every time I am called "my Lady." There is so much respect and reverence that comes along with it. And Paul treats me like a lady in every way-- and tells me regularly that it will still be like this 50 years from now!! Yes, I think we both know that some of the fury heart fluttering will fade with time. But God has blessed me with a fiercely loyal person, thus putting many of my insecurities to rest.
We have had to be very creative in finding time to be with each other. Do we "go out" much? No, we are parents!! But that does not mean that we do not find the time to build our relationship. We are very glad for warm weather. The building of the fire pit has been sooooo great!! We sit for hours talking by the fire- after the kids are safely tucked in bed, of course!
It is true, we have had issues to overcome, and I am sure there are still more to be discovered. But just like an onion, he has pealed so many layers of protection off my heart and now hold the real thing in his hands! And we are so thankful that God has seen fit to give us a second chance at having a Godly home. The kids adore him, and we are fielding more and more questions about when we are getting married. We grit our teeth and say "when God's timing is right."
Oh, how God is developing patience!! It is so hard to wait!! Our pastor has some pretty strong rules for us in our dating relationship. They seemed so easy in the beginning, but as time goes on... arggggg! But we both know that it will be so worth it in the end! And all this restraint definitely adds to the respect factor. I know that Paul respects me and his position as the leader of our home so much that he is willing to put his own desires at bay for the time.
So, the tale of this "Lady" is just beginning to unfold. There will be much more to come and thank you all for sharing with me!