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TITLE: I'll Treat You
By Sherry Wendling

The names have been changed, and perhaps one or two very minor details, but other than that this story is true. I know, because it happened to me. Chuck (his real name) and I each wrote our own side of the story and narrated it to the guests at our wedding reception. That was three years ago, and we can only say, with wonder and delight: "See what God hath wrought!".
Dear sweet Amy,

I hope you get this email as soon as you’re home from work, because I sure need to talk to you. It's hard living 2,000 miles away from my sis!

You can’t even guess what happened. A week ago last Thursday I was driving down Main Street around quarter past eleven, dead tired from running kids’ games all morning at VBS. I had errands to do, but I was sweaty and beat. All I could think of was a hot shower and a nap.

Out of the blue came this quiet voice, like a very strong thought. “Here’s The Bluebells Cafe. Why not stop and relax over a nice lunch?”

That’s outside my budget, I thought back.

“I’ll treat you,” Jesus said, plain as the nose on my face.

Of course hardly anyone was there yet, except for this very attractive man, sitting all by himself. Right away my guard went up. (It ought to, after the tangles I’ve gotten myself into! Remember how you used to tease me about my ‘picker’ being broken?)

Well, I was pretty disgusted with myself for even noticing him, but I went ahead and put in my order at the window. All I could think was, “Here I am eating out alone, and right over there is a hunky guy who is also eating alone.”

You know how it goes. You’re trying to eat and mind your own business, then suddenly you feel he might be looking at you, but you’re absolutely NOT going to look back to find out? And before you know it, you’re pretending to fumble in your purse so you can sneak sideways peeks. Ugh!

But then I remembered my promise to the Lord, and it didn't matter any more. I could be free from worrying about a future husband, completely done with those silly games and fantasies. HE is my Heavenly Husband, and He said He would treat me. A date with Jesus--how cool is that? So I calmed myself down and figured I’d just walk calmly to the back section and eat my tomato bisque and smoked-turkey sandwich in peace.

I was still standing at the window, waiting for my order, when his booming voice called from behind me, “Hi Brenda!” I turned around, and there was my early-bird, with his fork buried in lemon meringue pie and his sparkly brown eyes smiling into my soul. (I know it sounds goofy, but that’s the only way I can describe it—he just smiled into my soul. Gulp!)

He did look kind of familiar, so I came over and said hi. Turned out he was that really bubbly guy who complimented me on my solo way back when our church had that Christmas chorale thing. He seemed safe enough, so I sneaked a look at his big square hands and—hmmm! No wedding ring.

Just then my plate was ready, so I--you won't believe this--I carried it straight to his table and plopped myself down in the other chair! I was too tired to even care what my hair looked like. So much for my escape plan.

We talked and talked—actually, he did most of the talking. He's a VP of loans and something else, I forget what. I almost groaned when he dropped the line, “I don’t believe I’m telling you all this!” But something about him seemed so candid and sincere...I guess I just plain liked him.

Two hours later he excused himself, saying he had to get back to his job at the bank. He took a few steps toward the door, then turned around and said, “You know, we’ll have to do this again!”

The last thing I wanted to do was betray the Lord…But an odd peace was resting on me, like a huge bubble. I heard myself say OK. I don’t remember much after that.

Don’t worry, Sissy, he’s not married. He’s been divorced for eleven years. His name is Rick and he loves Jesus like I do. His daughter is doing mission work in Romania.

We’ve had three dates now, mostly just driving on mountain roads in his Jeep, admiring the scenery and talking, maybe stopping for a sandwich. Yesterday he took me to the lake in his truck and it was raining. He didn’t’ care. He turned up the radio and danced me around in the sand.

Then he told me something really wild about that day at the cafe. Are you ready for this? That morning, right around eleven, he was sitting at his desk looking over a loan application when this quiet little voice said, “Go to The Bluebells.” He shook it off and kept reading, because he never goes to lunch that early, and he hardly ever goes to that café. The voice came again, and he shook it off. The third time, he knew it must be the Holy Spirit, so he got up and went.

So there he was, eating all by himself, wondering if he’d lost a marble. Well, he nearly dropped his teeth when I walked in. Apparently he'd been praying for a whole year for some way to get to know me. Can you believe it?? All that time, he was admiring me from afar whenever I stood to play with the worship team! (I didn’t even know he went to Trinity…I guess that can happen in a big church like ours.)

Rick has been through a lot of inner healing. He understands so much about how people tick… And now he ministers to other guys who are hurting. I’m not used to a man being emotionally stronger than me! At first my stomach had a few butterflies, but now I think they've turned into flabbergasted ducks.

Sis, I wouldn’t have gone NEAR The Bluebells if Jesus hadn’t promised to treat me! What on earth have you been praying, girl?


P.S. Oh, did I tell you Rick is funny, adventurous, candid, caring, respectful…Arggghh!! I think you’d better call me, AND QUICK!
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