God the Matchmaker or How I Met My Husband Final Chapter
God the Matchmaker or How I Met My Husband Ending
These are musings about my faith~~
Please note: This is my corner where I talk about my faith and things related. If you're not a person of faith, time to click to another web page. I'm pretty much a straight talker. These are some of my faith-stories I'm writing down as seen through the eyes of someone who loves Jesus Christ.
I fail Him every day, but I still endeavor to see everything with His eyes and His heart.
2Sa 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
I began dating Mark and going to his Rugby games much to the sheer delight of my friends. They always attended games with me - even the away ones if they were close enough to drive to, and soon my friends began to meet and date Rugby guys as well.
I really, really liked Mark a lot. But for me, I was burned once and definitely didn't want to be burned twice so I took it very, very slowly. I was a Sophomore and Mark was not only a Firstie (Senior) cadet but he was also the Rugby Club President. So I - in a sense, became the "First Lady."
In time, I began to have strong feelings for Mark, and eventually, everyone knew we were a couple. He sent me roses - delivered to the dorm much to the fanfare of my friends. He brought me home to meet his parents and I was his special date for his graduation an honor usually only bestowed on the steady girlfriend or fiancée.
Mark left for his assignment which was to be Fort Benning, Georgia, but prior to that he went to Ranger school and Airborne training. When we said good-bye at the end of that summer - I truly thought it would be the last time I would see him. And by then, I knew my heart had reopened to love again. I thought it absolutely impossible, but I loved Mark with a renewed love that was better than the angst ridden love I had had for JC. It took almost a whole year for my heart to thaw out, but thaw out it did. We made no commitments to each other so even though I loved him and he loved me, I was a realist. There was a good chance this adorable, bright, hunk of a guy wasn't going to wait around for me. So good-bye was difficult but Mark kept telling me it was just good-bye until we saw each other again. My trust factor was low to say the least so I hoped, but definitely didn't pin all my hope on Mark staying in touch and continuing to be my boyfriend.
The thing of it was, I still had two years left of a four year degree to get and I was not going to stop that process even for the guy I loved. I had worked too hard and I would never have let my Mom and Gramma down by just up and leaving even if Mark had asked me to leave school and marry him. No way. A number of my Ladycliff classmates had dropped out of college to marry graduating cadets, but not me.
What was actually terrific about the two year separation was the fact I missed him so. While I finished up school and finally got my degree, by the time my graduation approached, I knew absolutely that I loved this guy. Even more surprising, I wanted a future with him. Marriage had never been a goal in my life. I thought it sure didn't work for my parents, why go through it? I wanted a career and then years down the road decide whether or not marriage was in my future. But my love for Mark changed that.
So February of 1979, Mark asked me to marry him in a grocery store parking lot! Not exactly the romantic touch to the story perhaps some might be expecting - but I didn't care. He asked, I said yes and the date was set for September 1, 1979.
I was a hit back at the dorm. Everyone wanted to see my engagement ring, everyone had a million questions and I think I floated through the next three months prior to my graduation.
All of this is true to the best of my recollection, including what happened next). The dialogue may be a bit skewed, but that’s not on purpose. It’s how I remember it.
One beautiful Spring day, about two weeks prior to Mark and my family arriving for my college graduation ceremony, I was picnicking with a cadet I had recently met through a mutual cadet friend. My memory isn't clear as to why I was picnicking with him one on one - but I believe it was his way of saying good-bye as we had become friends and he wanted to "hang out" one more time before we both graduated and went our separate ways.
He was asking me about my fiancée - I told him he was class of 1977 etc. and I told him that I met Mark while on a date with another cadet. Then I added, "It was a good thing that guy really broke my heart otherwise I never would have ended up going out with Mark."
Chuck stopped mid-chew of his sandwich.
He asked, "What was the guy's name you were dating when you met your fiancée?"
Puzzled I said "JC."
[I said the guys actual name in reality.]
Suddenly Chuck stood up, his eyes wide saucers, pointing a finger at me and said, "OH MY GOSH, YOU'RE CAROL!"
Uh Chuck, you knew I was Carol when we met, you knew I was Carol when we went out for this picnic...what in the world??
I didn't know what to say to that so Chuck went on in an excited, rush of words. "Carol - don't you remember me? I was with JC that day when you said good-bye to him in the parking lot just before he went on Christmas vacation! It was snowing like crazy, don’t you remember?"
My jaw dropped open. I still couldn't say anything. Number 1 because this guy didn't look anything like the tiny cadet JC had introduced me to at the time, Chuck must have been 6'4" tall! Number 2 - what were the odds?
Chuck seemed to have read my mind when he said, "I didn't grow until my Cow year! I was that little guy, a Plebe then (freshman) don't you remember?!"
Looking at the guy standing in front of me, pointing his finger at me and telling me all of this only brought back the memory of me saying good-bye to JC - I didn't want to add he could have been Cary Grant, I only had eyes for JC at the time and wasn't really paying any attention to him. Instead I said, "I remember JC was with this guy from his hometown, but I'm sorry, that's really all I remember about you."
Chuck sat down hard right beside me and said, "Doesn't matter - but BOY do I have some things to tell YOU!"
If it had been two years prior, if it had been even maybe a year and 1/2 prior, that sentence probably would have made my heart leap. But then? I honestly didn't care what JC was or wasn't doing. I was just about to say not to worry, he didn't have to go into it - when Chuck started to talk in an animated, excited voice.
"Carol - JC really, really had fallen in love with you! I've known JC and his family and even his wife's family (JC and Cindy married the day of his graduation) - all my life. We grew up in the same town in Florida (he named the town). JC and Cindy were high school sweethearts and remained that way that is, until he met you."
I still began to protest - I honestly didn't want to hear it, but he ignored me and went on.
"He dated a bunch of other girls..."
Did he ever, I found that out at a later date, I was by far not the only girl he dated while he was at West Point supposedly the "steady guy" of Cindy.
He kept on, "But we all thought JC and Cindy were just going to get married right after JC graduated. Then he met you. Remember Homecoming?"
I told him that whole mess was hard to forget...
Chuck continued, "Well, you guys had just started dating but he had come to me to tell me that he had met 'this girl' and now everything with Cindy seemed uncertain. Carol - he really fell hard for you almost from the start - but he had already asked Cindy to Homecoming and figured that would just have to be the weekend he'd tell her that he'd met someone and would break things off."
He did have my interest at this point.
"Well," Chuck went on, "Things just didn't work out as planned and JC never told her. But JC said Cindy knew something was wrong and kept asking him all weekend what was going on and was desperate to hold on to him. JC was so jealous of you out with Chris during Homecoming weekend. It drove him nuts - that was when he knew it was you and not Cindy any longer. He couldn't stand the idea of you going out with another guy."
Once again my jaw dropped open. But I still managed to say, "Chuck - what are you talking about? Not two months later, he went home and asked Cindy to MARRY HIM! Obviously he didn't pick me over her!"
"Oh, but he did. He still had a lot of feelings for Cindy - they'd been together almost five years, so it was really, really hard for him, but he knew that weekend that you were it. Carol, he told me he had fallen in love with you."
I was really confused now because Chuck was saying these things about JC loving me and being so jealous seeing me with someone else and nothing he was saying was really making any sense because I wasn't the one who got that minature.
Until what came next: "But then JC went home for Christmas and Cindy tells him she's pregnant."
Now it was my turn for big saucer eyes...
"She told him if they didn't get engaged that Christmas break, she'd go to his father and mother and then next she'd go in person to his Tactical Officer [These are officers in charge of a company full of cadets who merits out punishments, gives counseling etc.]. JC knew that there would be a chance if she went through with her threat, he could be thrown out of West Point."
Apparently JC and Cindy had a very interesting Homecoming weekend because Chuck said that was when Cindy claimed she conceived.
Suddenly - it all fit into place. Everything made sense. I finally understood the mixed messages, the inner struggle I would occasionally see in JC's eyes, the real love I thought I also saw in his eyes after Christmas break. Relief just coursed through my veins because I realized my judgment - my gut -- wasn't all out of whack - in fact - it was pretty right on target. I just didn't know the whys behind what my gut was telling me. Now I knew the whys...
I began to laugh softly and I told Chuck, "Wow - how funny it feels that this doesn't matter to me anymore. How great it feels actually - to know, that this really doesn't matter one bit."
Then a thought suddenly struck me that made me angry and I said, "Chuck - he still got engaged to her, no matter what the reasons were, and he still had the gall to come back to West Point and date me as if he was a free man. What in the world was he thinking?"
And Chuck replied, "He hoped that somehow he could have you, and that the mess with Cindy would all go away by graduation and he wouldn't have to really make a decision until then."
To which I snapped, "Oh great! How noble of him!! String me along until graduation and then he would pick! What a prince!"
Chuck just said he wasn't defending JC, but thought I should know that JC really didn't just lead me on the whole time and had really felt he loved me. Well love or not - what was he doing sleeping with a woman who was once someone he deeply cared for but knew he was intending to ditch?!
It just made it even more apparent to me that God had chosen the right guy for me in Mark Van Drie.
The other bomb shell Chuck dropped on our nice little picnic that day was shortly after they had gotten engaged, Cindy confessed to JC she was never pregnant in the first place. What goes around...
Because both families had already gleefully begun wedding arrangements, and because his dad adored Cindy and JC worshipped his father, they went through with the wedding anyway.
It was some years later someone from Ladycliff I knew who also was aware of all that had happened with JC called to tell me she and her husband were stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia. She said they ran into an old mutual friend of JC's. The guy said JC and Cindy had three kids and that JC was often found in the Officer's Club bar right after work, drinking down a few drinks before he'd bother to go home.
How ironic. How sad - but how wonderful for me that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to Mark Van Drie.
JC was like a northern star the Lord sent to lead me to my true chosen love. I just had no idea that was what he was at the time. The Lord had a great and grand plan and I was not in on it prior to all the elements that brought me to where I am sitting today - married over 30 years to someone who is so much a part of me I absolutely can not tell you where I leave off and my husband begins...
I am more in love with Mark today than I was the day we married. He is my best friend on earth and he is truly my soul mate - all arranged by God. God the Holy Matchmaker. Given my own devices - had I been left to choose - I would have foolishly chosen JC. But the Lord arranged it so I had no choices. How COOL is that?! The Lord intervened and made the path, broken along the way - but it led directly to my heart's desire even before I knew where He was leading me!
After JC, I never believed my heart could love that way again. My heart didn't love that way again - it loved better - because Mark was the man the Lord had chosen for my future!
Am I saying Mark and I have the perfect marriage? No marriage is perfect. I am saying however, Jesus chose the perfect partner and husband for me in Mark Van Drie.
I loved JC like I never had loved anyone in my whole life. I could not imagine anyone else on earth who could make my heart skip a beat the way JC made mine skip a beat. I couldn't fathom anyone who could kiss me the way he did and make my knees weak or make me laugh the way JC did. I never thought I could even get close to the same true love I believed I felt for JC with anyone else on this earth. It was impossible for me to even imagine it.
I was wrong. God knows so often what is best for us because so often we are very, very wrong.
Our feelings are not gauges of the truth.
Even when those feelings are deeply and passionately felt.
How much God must love me! He not only gave me a northern star to guide me down the broken road but He provided comfort in so many along the way. My dear dorms mates in particular, Rug, Danna and Jo-Die, John Curry and then “Chuck.” God cares about even small details like answers to troubling questions I had after I broke it off with JC. What are the odds that after four years at Ladycliff College and meeting countless cadets, after I got engaged and was secure in my relationship with Mark, I would happen to meet (again) JC's childhood neighbor?
What are the odds we'd become friends, neither of us knowing who the other was - and have a picnic just so this "angel" could then fill in the pieces of the puzzle for me? How PERSONAL the Lord Jesus is!
How much Jesus must love me to provide a blind date for my cousin and I choose "the guy on the left" and that was the one God just happened to choose as my future husband?
How much Jesus must love me!!!
How much Jesus must love YOU!
Today, I know an unshakable peace that surpasses all understanding. It is the faith I cling to.
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.