To those who have waited so patiently, I'm sorry it's taken so long. Life has been quite busy the past two weeks! So here's another part to the story.
Philip's comment to Part Eight: Still remember sitting on the couch, looking at you, for a brief moment taken aback, when you said it had taken the Lord only 1.5 weeks to tell you that He wanted you to date me -- and it was then six weeks after I had asked you! I thought: we're in the same boat, neither of us are dying to do this because of the potential hang ups we see ... but here we go! First time for me to do this, but I know the Lord wants me to. ... Sure I am glad I followed the Lord's leadership!
The following Sunday I moved from my customary seat on the left to Philip's pew on the right. As I walked in and sat down Brother Dan Parker (John Parker's father) said loud enough for the whole church to hear, "Well it's about time!". It was so fun to watch our church family's enjoyment. They'd watched Philip for many years and I'm sure made their fair share of comments. But much to their credit - I heard not one word breathed in suggestion and my hat is off to them! They were thrilled and we took a good share of ribbing about it. I'm sure Teresa had a few words to say to David on the way home from church that day :o)
And thus began the process of of learning more about each other. Philip was able to share in my joy when I did indeed pass philosophy and was able to remain in the Master's program. I began working full time that summer and physically I was slowly making some progress. Because Philip was writing his dissertation, and I was working on an independent study course over the summer it wasn't as though we had a lot of time for dates. There was one special time when we took a better part of a Saturday to go hiking and we talked about some things that I still remember. By the middle of July we felt as though it was time to progress to the third stage - courtship. All along we were carefully following the Lord's leadership and more and more the hesitancy's were melting away. Not that there weren't some differences, they were still there but they didn't affect the fundamental issues that we had to agree on.
It was at the end of July, on a Wednesday evening (and I can take you to the spot on the road home from church) when Philip told me that he was beginning to feel some uneasiness about our relationship. It wasn't anything that he could put his finger on, nothing to go on other than feeling at that point. He wanted to be very honest about where he was at and to please pray for continued direction. I got out of the car, walked into my room and sat on the bed once again. Emotionally I felt as though I'd just watched him walk through a door, watched the door close and was now waiting to see perchance if the knob would turn. I cried that night. He cried that night. But as I poured out my heart to God there was a thankfulness that I knew we had done exactly what we were supposed to have done. And even if that door never opened again, I had become a better person and would always be so thankful for God's gift of Philip at that point in my life. There was a part of me that said, "You knew this was how it was going to end!" But there was no bitterness.....hurt, yes! But with a clear conscience I knew that God was working His perfect will in both of us.
Those were several miserable days and when Philip called on Friday evening we were both pretty drained. But we agreed that we'd done the right thing and that we'd wait until the Lord gave clear direction how to proceed. I can't remember how long it was until we felt clear to continue the relationship. It seemed like an eternity but in reality it was only a week or two. It was a good test of faith in God's leadership.
Before school started we had scheduled a trip to Kentucky so that I could meet Philip's parents. In late May or early June my parents had come to SC and at that time got to meet Philip for the first time. Though I'd heard a lot about "the Brown's" I'd never met them nor had I ever heard Dad Brown preach! And I was scared spitless. My uncle tried to reassure me by saying, "Remember that they get dressed the same way you do every morning." .....that wasn't very helpful. But I knew the time had to come and so we'd planned to leave on a Thursday and come back the following Monday.
The weekend before we were to leave we had scheduled a Saturday picnic and so on Friday evening Philip called and said we were going to have someone join us on Saturday. That "someone" was his mother who strongly believed with all the medical issues I was dealing with, it was not fair for me to meet strange people, in a strange place and so she was flying down so that I could meet her on my "own turf" where I was much more comfortable. Now that's looking out for someone! When she walked in to Mrs. Tomlinson's house Saturday morning, she came straight to me, gave me a hug, and said, "It's so nice to meet you." She was not at all like the scientist, PhD, cancer researcher, author, that I thought she would be. She was so human! And we had a lovely day together.
Our relationship continued to grow and develop as our appreciation and admiration of each other grew. School started again in the fall and we went back to our study schedules and weekly dates. We continued to eat and study at the Parker's on Sundays and attend school functions together. Both of us were more comfortable with the relationship and encouraged with the united vision we had in so many different areas such as ministry, childrearing, personal discipline, Biblical lifestyle issues, role expectations, finances, ....all those things you go over in premarital counseling :o)
Each year that Philip was at Bob Jones, his family would come to SC to celebrate Thanksgiving and then attend the annual Shakespeare play at the University. Thanksgiving of 2000, they came to my place (which was the first time I got to meet Philip's brother, Nathan) and we attended the play together. I learned much about their family during that visit since the whole clan was together and I got a dose of what life was like in the Brown household! My brain hurt at times ;o) but it was great!
Since both of us had time off at Christmas, we decided to take a whirlwind trip to KY and PA. This was the first time Philip got to meet my siblings and my grandmothers. Oh, the wonderful memories we made. Some of them just traveling and talking - I still enjoy traveling and talking with him :o) What I didn't know, was that while in PA, Philip had managed to have a talk with my dad about his intentions. Since I didn't know, I'm not sure what all happened at that time.....Philip would have to give those details!
Another thing I didn't know was that my mother and sister were planning for a summer wedding and getting very nervous because they'd reached a point in their planning when they needed some information from me but since I wasn't yet engaged.....they had no reason to ask! (This might be a slight overstatement...but not much) I on the other hand had just started a new semester, was working full time and knew the dissertation wasn't even close to being done so I wasn't really prepared for one Wednesday evening ( I know it seems a lot of things happened on Wednesday evening...but we didn't spend a whole lot of time together other than on the way to or from church....except for - usually - a weekly date) when Philip said as we pulled into my driveway, "I'd like permission to call your dad." I did know what that probably meant but I figured it would take him awhile to get up the courage to make that call so I had several weeks to mentally prepare myself for the next stage of the relationship. That was February 28, 2001.
I didn't know Philip very well at that time. When Philip decides on a course of action, then action is commenced. Wednesday night he talked to me, Thursday night he talked to my dad, and we had a date scheduled for Friday evening. The man wastes no time.