Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Our Story: Part 4

Sorry for the extended pause.  We were rejoicing this weekend that our Savior LIVES!

Here we go...

The next morning I was so nervous.  I  wasn't quite sure what Teacher Man wanted to talk to me about.  Why did he want to drive all the way over to my school?  Why did he seem so serious about it?  I made it through my classes that day, but I have no idea how.  Finally, Teacher Man and I got chai and sat in the Student Center to talk.  I was trying to act casual, but he was dead serious.  Teacher Man does not do small talk.  He says what he is thinking.  So he shared...

He shared several areas where he felt like I was compromising on what God wanted for me by continuing my relationship with this other guy.  Doctrines that this young man and I did not share.  A life calling to ministry that we did not share.  And Teacher Man was right.  After months of ministry as a single woman in another culture, the safety of a "normal" family life in the States looked so good.  The friendship and encouragement of another who wanted to share the journey with me was absolutely welcome, but Teacher Man was right.  I was putting a lot of energy into this long-distance relationship if this was not going to end in marriage.  And at that moment, I knew that it couldn't.

When I agreed with him on his observations, Teacher Man asked a question that I hadn't seen coming.  He said, "I want to ask you something, but I need you to promise not to read anything into it."  Uh, yeah right.  I'm pretty sure I crossed my fingers when I said, "Okay."  And here comes the magic question: "Krista, could you see yourself working in downtown Chicago?"

Doesn't mean much to you, does it?  But in my mind, he might as well have asked me for a serious relationship.  Yep, I read into the question.  You see, Teacher Man felt called to a specific private school in the inner city of Chicago that was committed to mentoring and discipleship.  If a young woman was going to walk alongside him, she needed to accept his calling first.  

My mind was reeling.  So many pieces of my life puzzle were shifting with this one conversation.  I knew the other young man in my life was not the man for me.  I knew Teacher Man had become my best friend.  I knew my answer to this Chicago question was not just giving acceptance to any work that God might have for me in the future.  Teacher Man was asking if I would follow him. to Chicago.  I hesitated for a moment and then said, "Yeah.  I could see myself in Chicago."  Never have I seen such a huge smile on this man's face.  He beamed.  We chatted quickly about a couple of other things and then said goodbye, but something in me knew this was anything but an end.  

The next few weeks of my life were incredibly stressful.  I made the difficult phone call to the other godly young man who had invested so much in me; but when I shared my calling to ministry, he graciously understood.  Plus, in the midst of all this, I was readjusting to North American culture... and not doing a very good job of it.  All of my old comfort zones weren't so comfortable, and my heart ached when I thought about spending spring break at home when I didn't feel at home anywhere really.

Teacher Man saw my struggles and immediately sprang to my rescue.  His plan: I should go stay with his mother for the week.  They had an extra room.  And loved having missionaries stay with them.  His mom even called me to make sure I knew I was welcome.  Would I like to spend my spring break with them?  Now since our little (or, I guess, big) conversation, Teacher Man had said nothing about "us" or wanting to change our platonic relationship. I knew he was interested (because he was always around my school even though his college was several miles away), but he was giving me a little space and time.  I needed to process all that I had been through over the last two months (yes, this all happened in the two months after I arrived back on U.S. soil) before starting yet another journey.  So I accepted his mother's offer of a week-long getaway, knowing that Teacher Man would be back at his university (different spring breaks).

Teacher Man went to his home with me for the first weekend of my break.  I watched him reconnect with friends from church, speak respectfully to his mother, and love on his sister.  While they worked during the day, I read, prayed, journaled, ran, and met friends who lived in town.  In the evenings, his mother and I spent hours talking about transition, Argentina, theology, missions, and... Teacher Man.  I left at the end of the week, having found two new friends.  Come to find out, my mother- and sister-in-law thought I was still in another relationship.  Years later, they shared that they were a bit bummed about that fact since they wanted Teacher Man and I to get together.  Be careful what you wish for!

In retrospect, I realize that God was giving me the opportunity to become friends with my mother- and sister-in-law completely apart from my relationship with Teacher Man.  What a gift!  To this day, I value these women and will never forget the kindness of their hospitality.

Wow.  Blogger posted this somehow without my hitting "publish."  Oh well.  That's a disjointed account of where God took us next.  We're still not together though...  Maybe my schedule will cooperate better this week.

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