Today something different, the first of a series of vinyets written by a fellow worker in Pakistan. Today could be entitled, “The almost end of a dream”
The Engagement, by Nancy.
I suppose it could have looked like a prelude to suicide. After thrashing about in indecision for three months, I suddenly checked into a local motel. My parents worried at home.
Four months earlier, in November of 1982, my heart had soared with purpose. After years of preparation, my dream of serving Christ in Pakistan was drawing near. Most of my support had been pledged. Trunks were filling up with a four-year supply of things. Speaking engagements had tapered off, and the goodbyes had begun.
One of my last speaking engagements was at my alma mater, Briercrest Bible School, in Saskatchewan. Everyone there received me warmly, but none more so than Steve, a fellow student and good friend. He was also interested in missions. Attractive, fun, and godly, Steve’s romantic intentions surfaced, “Can I write to you in Kelowna?” I was flattered and stunned. I had never thought of him like that.
After a flurry of correspondence, Steve traveled to our home after Christmas that year. Family, friends, and fellow missionaries loved him and loved the idea of us. Some caught up in romantic notions, and some relieved I wouldn’t have to be a single missionary. Funny, singleness was my last concern.
I pushed my half-filled trunks for Pakistan into a corner of the house and closed the lids. If I let go of the dream now, would it be gone forever?
By the time Steve returned to Briercrest on January 2nd, we were engaged. He had asked me to marry him on New Year’s Eve. The pressure I felt from every direction to embrace this new script for my life was intense. I was in the middle of a “Hallmark” movie, and the director had cued me to say, “Yes.”
I canceled my plans for Pakistan and boarded a spiritual and emotional roller coaster. One day “in love,” the next day deep in doubt. Well-meaning people confused me with their romantic tales, with their counsel.
Where was the God I knew? How easily perplexity had obscured Him. Why didn’t guidance pop off the pages of Scripture as usual? Frantic to hear from God, I took Bible verses out of context and worsened things. I felt abandoned by God.
Meanwhile, Steve bought me a gorgeous ring, and we set a wedding date. I traveled to meet his family. We began marriage counseling. All the while, I felt like I was living someone else’s life, everyone else’s life.
After an uneventful stay at that motel in March, I bought a Greyhound bus ticket and traveled to Saskatchewan to see Steve. Before the bus had even left Kelowna, I cried out to God, “I don’t know what to do, but I cannot continue to live like this.” A weight lifted.
Three days later, on Easter Sunday, I removed the engagement ring and placed it in Steve’s hand. Disappointed but resigned, he took it back.
And I took my life back.
When I arrived in Pakistan two months after the break-up, I could not think of one reason why God had allowed me to experience such humiliation and confusion.
But I had begun to grasp the wildness of God and the depths of my uncultivated heart.
“…perplexed, but not despairing;” (2 Corinthians 4:8b nasb
Picture: women in Pakistan like the ones Nancy worked with.