"Hi, Erin." He said
"Brett," I replied and we smiled nervously at each other.
A table was reserved for us, and we sat down. Made small talk until the waiter came with menus and drinks. At that point I knew the possibility, but I had no idea how much the next 3 hours would impact the rest of my life.
Let's go back further, a few months before that.
. . . . .
I was getting on, you see; 27 and still single in Christian circles is a bit of a rarity. My real fear was not that I wasn't dating currently, but that I had never dated. Ever. There had never been any boy who had decided I was worth getting to know better. I wondered, if no one had thought I was worth getting to know up to this stage, what would change that? I was 27 and had never been on a date, never held hands, never been kissed. As most possibilities found their match, and my friends married I wondered if Gods plan was for me to remain single.
I hated that idea, but I also wanted to follow God's will for my life. I hated the idea of being single and without a family of my own for the rest of my life. But I hated the idea of being with someone who didn't love God and his people as much as I did even more. Better to be lonely in this life, than live in disobedience to God I believed.
I prayed desperately for God to answer my prayers. To grant me my hearts desires. Or if not, then I asked that He take away this longing. Stop my heart from breaking every time I hung out with friends and being the only single there. Stop my arms from longing for a child of my own every time I held my friends babies. Stop this utter desire for love and companionship that I didn't know what to do with.
Yet God did not take away that desire. I still ached most days, wishing I could say that God was enough. Knowing He was enough and would always be enough, yet not able to quench this longing.
For about a year, or possibly longer I had had a few people suggest that I might like to try internet dating. I had dismissed it, thinking it was a selfish step, going behind God's back. But more and more people would mention it to me, some in passing, some in genuine conversations. Then the leader at a course I was doing at church told me that she had started dating someone recently that she had met online, and gave me suggestions on how to do it safely and within God's will. That God can use all situations when we surrender them to him. That something may come of it, or maybe nothing will, but at least I had tried.
I prayed. And thought. Decided to do it and then backed down. Talked about it with close friends. Finally I decided to go ahead and do it. Found a Christian online site, filled out the form and payed the money.
For about two months nothing happened. Then a few emails from guys. One I was not interested in. One I corresponded with for a while before deciding our beliefs were very different. One I agreed to meet up with, but he pulled out at the last minute.
Then I got a message from someone. His name was Brett, I checked out his profile and was impressed by his love of Christ, his genuine commitment to God and God's people, his humility and friendliness. I sent a message back, and we began to email.
I was in Kiama with my parents during the school holidays when we started emailing. At first I was hesitant, but soon I was waiting impatiently for the next email. We had very similar beliefs, enjoyed similar interests and wrote long emails back and forth about everything under the sun.
2 weeks after emailing he suggested meeting up and I was ready. I wanted to see if this connection was real, better to find out sooner rather than later. A phone call that went longer than I thought with giggles and easy conversations and working out connections (Sydney Christian circles!). I did a bit of goggling that night, to make sure he was who he said he was (what I found on line backed up what he said).
Which brings us back to lunch at the restaurant. We ended up chatting for 3 hours - which if you know me is a miracle in itself. I don't normally talk easily with guys, especially ones I only just met. As my friend said when I phoned her that evening all confused "Hun, if you can talk to a guy you just met for 3 hours without running out of things to say, there's something there."
We agreed to meet up 2 days later. A week after our first meeting we had another date and ended up spending 7 hours doing the Bondi to Coogee walk and then sitting on the beach talking. I closed my online dating account that night. We made it official the week after.
And six months after that first face to face meeting we are still going strong.
I'm in love. And Brett loves me back. And I am so full of thankfulness and joy. We look back and say God was our matchmaker. We live on opposite sides of the city, and both so involved in our local churches and in different professions there is not much chance we would have met any other way. But God stepped in and used online dating to bring us together. All in his perfect timing He brought the man who was most perfect for me into my life.
Happy dance :)
This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:23