(Nels) Well I was out of my mind, but it was worth it. The next day I checked my phone for messages and discovered Jordan had called after I went to sleep! How wonderful! But how terrible that I missed it!! My long night had ended, and a very important date was on the way. Jordan had called and I was going to take her to Panera for food, fun, and a game. It was going to be great. And besides me losing in a game of Sequence, it really was! J
(Jordan) There was some screaming at Rachel’s apartment once we found out that it was really Nels who had left the note and we were officially set for our lunch date! When I had found Nels’ note on the door, I thought it was Rachel playing some mean joke on me and I wasn’t finding it very funny after my long terrible day. I called and told her just how awful of her it was! She was shocked and confused..then she said “Read me that number!” and called him. After she found out he had actually left the note, she insisted that I wait to call him back…she didn’t want me to look “too excited!” She said I should wait until the next day…but…I think I waited like half an hour?
Anyway, that first date! It was a nice, low-key, no-pressure lunch date. Nels picked me up in his Oldsmobile and we went for a little drive and then to Panera. I don’t remember much of what we talked about…except that I could barely pick at my food for being so nervous and happy. He looked so cute in his leather jacket and nerdy glasses. J I also remember being a bit shocked that he had deer antlers in his car. Ha! Afterwards, he dropped me off at Rachel’s apartment…and just as I was finishing up filling her in on our date, he called again. She raised her eyebrows when I got off the phone with him – he was coming over to take some pictures to send to his family. We were both shocked and thought it was a little crazy. Photos? For the family? After the first date? It seemed really serious and really fast.
And things did get serious – fast! We had a couple more fun dates, playing racquetball, reading poetry together (as I recall, we sat on a park bench near the woods and he wore a headlamp! Ha!), etc. Sometimes I thought “this guy is weird,” but I loved that he did what was right or what was fun whether or not everyone else was doing it. It wasn’t long before we were “official” and he came over to meet my family. A few weeks later we were back in his Oldsmobile, heading to Haviland, Kansas to meet his sister and cousins. I remember during one of our early conversations he said something like “I’m 25 and hoping to get married some time.” I wondered if he knew I was just 18 (he did), and I was a little nervous about what life might be like as a military spouse and wasn’t quite sure I was up for the challenge (I knew he was heading into the chaplaincy). I could sense that he was not the sort of person to just date for fun. It was obvious that he was really serious and was praying about whether or not I would be the person he would marry.
The whole time I was thinking, “I should be totally freaked out!” But I wasn’t. I had butterflies, I had questions, I was sort of nervous…but I was also really happy and had a calmness and peace about it. It all seemed like the most normal, crazy thing in the world.
I had sensed that the Lord was leading me into missions, but I also felt like he was leading me into a relationship with Nels who was seemingly not really interested in missions and was heading into the military. Was this irreconcilable? Somehow the Lord kept confirming peace to me, and I trusted that He would work things out – it was up to Him to use my life however He wanted!
One of the things that made me comfortable with Nels, even though his personality and interests were so different from mine, was that he had a pure heart before the Lord. Because of his tender conscience and strong faith, I knew that he was a man who could lead me – I respected him in a way that was different from a lot of the other guys who were in my life.
We dated for a grand total of about nine months. During this time we went through some serious turmoil, breaking up twice and getting back together, Nels really searching his heart and asking the Lord if I was for sure “the one”, a summer apart (he was at basic training in South Carolina) and a difficult battle to continue growing closer as a couple while maintaining physical purity.
to be continued…