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Thumbs up or thumbs down from Amy's parents?
You have to admit. This wasn't exactly the typical "Ask for the parents' blessing" conversation. Several factors made it quite different. Our previous break-ups. Our 18 month separation. Not to mention the small issue that her mother thought I needed counseling! Oh my.
After we pulled up in front of her familiar house, I got out of the car, straightened my red and white striped tie, put my hands on her green Honda and looked heavenward. The black, cloudless sky allowed the stars to sparkle in all their splendor.
"Jesus," I prayed aloud, still looking up. "I know you're very busy right now. You've got a lot of people calling on you for guidance. But this is a biggie. I'm about to talk to Amy's parents. Please help me say the right words. And please help them hear my heart. I ask this in Your name. Amen!"
"Aaaamen!" echoed Amy, as we walked up the three white concrete steps together.
To be frank, I didn't know what to expect on the other side of that door.
Perhaps Deanna would use some kind of black belt move on me as I entered the foyer, flipping me over the couch and yelling at me to "Get up!" Or maybe Matt would pull a gun on me, take the safety off, and say, "This better be good, McManus."
I thought if I envisioned the worst case scenarios, the truth wouldn't be as frightening. Well, nothing could have prepared me for what actually happened.
The first thing that struck me as they opened the door was they both looked as white as ghosts. They looked more scared than I felt. It hadn't occurred to me until that very moment that all three of us would put our deodorant to the test that night. I had been so concerned about how I would be received, I hadn't put myself in their shoes. The more I thought about their perspective, I could see clearly that they too had a lot at stake.
Paul does write in Philippians 4:6: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
I had done just that. So I needed to have faith that God would work in the hearts of Matt and Deanna as they received me into their home.
"Good evening," I offered.
"Hey Adam," said Matt. "Can we get you something to drink?"
"Thanks. I'll take some water."
"Matt, where should we sit?" asked his wife.
"Adam, do you have any preference? Would you like to sit in the living room or here in the den?"
I opted for the den. It seemed cozier, more intimate, more conducive to the conversation that I was prepared to have. Plus, it was better lit.
Matt sat down on an easy glider rocking chair in the right hand corner of the room. He was in good shape, liked to ride his bike like Amy. In fact, he had ridden a 100 mile bike ride with Amy once when we were dating. I'm not sure my backside could handle sitting on those unforgiving seats for that long. What Matt lacked in physical height, he made up for with his knowledge of Scripture and his compassion for people. He's one of these Christians who truly sees people with the eyes of God. No wonder he had enjoyed such a strong sense of job satisfaction years before when he pastored a church. Plus, he had a quick smile and always saw the best in everyone, an eternal optimist.
Amy and her mother sat down together on a couch to my left.
Deanna's short reddish-brown hair touched the back of her collar. Her eyes sparkled like Amy's and she spoke with an endearing Texas drawl. She was never hesitant to speak her mind. She wasn't a woman who minced her words. When Amy and her older brother Damon were growing up, Deanna had lovingly made them regular snacks after school. And, no matter how crazy things got in the household over the years, those two kids always knew that they were loved by their parents and by God. No one could really ask for anything more.
I sat on an overstuffed arm chair at the other end of this smaller room. There was a tall, free-standing lamp to my left, casting a warm bath of light on me and the faces of my future bride and Matt's bride. I took a swallow of my water and placed it back down on the glass coffee table below. Except for the sound of my glass touching the table, it was eerily quiet.
I picked up my Bible that had all of my handwritten notes from the plane, not to mention the fact that I would be referring to it often throughout my official "Ask for Amy's hand in marriage" presentation. On the one hand, this was scarier than the most intense work-related presentation. On the other hand, I couldn't have been more comfortable. I think the Lord was answering my previous prayer as I had called out to Him when I looked heavenward into the starry night.
"Well, as no doubt you've heard by now, Amy and I started talking again several months ago when Hurricane Rita hit Houston. I called her to make sure she was okay and shortly thereafter, we started talking virtually every day."
Matt was methodically gliding back and forth in his glider, sporting a blank expression. If he was playing poker, I wouldn't have known whether he had received bad cards or good cards. He was expressionless.
"Matt and Deanna," I continued, "I love your daughter and I would like to marry her. Not only is she beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well. In Ruth 3:11," I said turning to the passage, "Boaz describes Ruth as being a 'woman of noble character.' You raised her in the admonition of the Lord. She made a profession of faith as a young girl and truly dedicated her life to His will in her mid-20's.
"One of the things I find most attractive about Amy is her passion for God. I remember well, when Amy Gossett used to be her roommate, hearing Amy talk about their hour-long quiet times at 5 in the morning, weeping in God's presence over their sin and the world's desperate need for Jesus. I want a woman as a wife and the mother of my children who will seek Him first. If she does, God will order her steps."
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