Chapter 33 Forward Together
As Barbara began coming with me to the Saturday night youth group meetings, she proved to be effective with the girls, being both a good listener and a good teacher. She had deep insights and gave me good advice, too. I was struck by how much more effective I was working with her than working alone.
One evening she came over to go to a concert Dad was playing in, so I went along. We had a great time talking about our lives.
She told me about her summer short-term work with Operation Mobilization in France. I told her about how the Lord had cornered me in Alaska and brought me across the line into His Kingdom. I don’t think we heard a note the band played.
After the concert, in looking for Dad, I said to her, “You wait here.” When I came back to her I said, “It’s nice to have someone wait for me!”
And she replied, “It’s nice to have someone to wait for!” Hardly noticing, we were moving forward in our relationship.
The next morning Dad was tinkering on his motor-cross racing bike while I was working on entering new tires on the inventory cards.
“Say,” he said, “that Barbara is a nice girl.”
“Yes, she is.” I replied.
“When are you going to marry her?” he asked.
“Uh, umm, ah, I hadn’t thought of it!” I stammered.
Dad stood up and pointed his finger at me, “Don’t miss this one; you’ll never find another girl that meets your standards!” Then he bent down and continued working on his bike.
My mind was whirling. I sure did find her attractive–in fact the most attractive thing about her was her deep love for Christ, her desire to follow Him wholeheartedly. I had not met any other girl whose desire for Him and whose spiritual maturity was similar to mine.
“But,” I thought, “She’s five years older than I am. That’s a barrier. And she’s so good-looking, she’d never consider marrying someone like me!”
However, I knew that one way God directed us was through our parents, so I took Dad’s comments seriously. I began to pray intensely about this relationship and its possibilities, but got no clarification from God.
Barbara and I kept up our work with the youth group, praying together each morning, sharing what we were doing in our quiet times. I decided to spend more specific time with her to get to know her better.
For our first solo outing I took her to McDonald’s and bought us each a milk shake. As we sat in her little beige Volkswagon, sipping through our straws, I said, “Thick, huh?” She agreed, but maybe she was also thinking about how thick I was concerning our relationship!
She would come to the farm in the evenings in her little VW, and we would go for walks out in the big fields under the full August moon; I enjoyed watching the moonlight reflected in her almond shaped eyes and on her beautiful white teeth when she smiled, which was often.
We were always accompanied by my big dog, Isaak. He did not really like this intruder in his relationship with me, so when we sat on a big rock in the field to talk and pray, he would push his way between us and sit there like our chaperon.
We didn’t mind, as our relationship was of spirit and mind at this point. I had told Barbara, “nothing physical, no hand-holding.” She accepted that. I wanted this to be a pure relationship built on a spiritual foundation, with sharing of the spirit and soul as the beginning. And Barbara had a lot to share with her European background and wide range of reading. We had long discussions about many things.
Mom was very happy with our friendship. At this stage in my life I was a very serious person, fasting regularly, disciplined in my responsibilities, not given to any frivolity. Mom was very aware and pleased that Barbara brought some lightness into my life.
One day Barbara and I were talking and laughing together at Mom’s house. When Barbara went into the kitchen, Mom hugged her warmly, communicating her joy for the happiness Barbara had brought to me–and to Mom as well.
In August we celebrated Mom and Dad’s 30th wedding anniversary with a banquet in a nearby hotel. All the relatives came, along with my siblings except for Les who was away on a trip.
I brought Barbara with me to the banquet. She wore an elegant full-length dress with a pattern of big flowers in colors that matched her complexion perfectly. With her tan she was stunning.
My relatives were all goggle-eyed at this exotic, beautiful alien with her charming German accent. My uncles on both sides of the family were especially taken. This was also the first chance for my older sister, Andrea to meet her. All highly approved.
Picture: our faithful chaperone, Isaac