Shannon here: I’ve known nonfiction author, Cynthia L. Simmons for years online, but got to meet her this past summer when she invited me to teach at a writing conference in Georgia. She’s even sweeter in person and today, she shares insight into her real life romance, plus a chance to win a copy of her latest book, Women Who Overcame and a handmade overcomer bracelet. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing. Deadline: Dec 26th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Cynthia:
Love Confessed by Cynthia L Simmons
The expression on Ray’s face reminded me of a puppy who was anxious to please. Yet I wasn’t sure what he handed me. I held a long piece of paper—a floral calendar cut in pieces and re-taped. He’d called it a card, but it took me a few moments figure out how to open it. Once I did, I discovered a folded paper inside complete with a hand-drawn flower and a message. I read the note several times because I couldn’t absorb what it said. He said that as winter turned to spring, he fell in love with me.
Awkward! I glanced about the partially-filled auditorium. Church was about to start, and I wondered what to do. Besides, did I even have time? The pianist was already playing and I feared the pastor would step into the pulpit at any moment. I liked Ray a lot, but I wasn’t ready to talk about love. We’d dated four months, which was longer than I had dated anyone, and his intelligence drew me to him. Prior to meeting him, I had serious questions about my faith. No one gave me answers until I met him, and he could address all my concerns. On our dates we talked about all sorts of things. No one else engaged my mind like he did.
I truly expected him to drop to one knee in an instant. I closed the card and stuck it into my Bible.
“That’s very pretty. Thank you.”
His face registered confusion. “You read it?”
“I did. It’s pretty.” I smiled to reassure him and turned toward the pulpit. If this man loved me, like he said, that meant he was getting closer to marriage. I knew I wasn’t there yet. Besides, I was not going to talk about our relationship in such a public setting. “Thanks.”
We continued to date, but whenever he dropped me off at home, he’d tell me he loved me. I was a little afraid he would try to kiss me before I was ready. Several times I stepped away so he couldn’t reach me.
I finally talked to my father. During our entire courtship, my parents had been home when I got back from my dates. In fact, I even asked Dad to meet me at the door. I knew he understood men a lot better than I did, and I wanted his input. So one day, I sat Dad down in our living room. “Dad, do you like Ray?”
“Yes. I do.”
“Yeah, but do you really, really like him?” I asked. If I was going to marry this man, and I was getting closer, I wanted my dad to approve.
“Yes. I like him.”
I relaxed because that’s what I needed to hear. Not only had Ray addressed my concerns, we also studied Scripture together and prayed on dates.
That summer Ray attended summer school in Athens, Georgia to finish his degree. I lived in Chattanooga, so I saw him less because he came home twice a month. After a lot of prayer, I decided I loved him and would marry him if he asked. But I wasn’t sure how to tell him. We had a very intellectual relationship.
At that time, I was working at the hospital as an RN. Ray took me out one day for lunch prior to heading back to his school. He dropped me off at home so I could get ready for my afternoon shift. As usual, he said he loved me. I knew it was time. I whispered, “I love you.” Immediately, I disappeared inside the house and took a deep breath. I had to go to work soon, plus I found it hard to admit how I felt. I assumed he didn’t hear me because he didn’t reply.
About two weeks later, we sat in a restaurant together. Ray smiled and said, “I love you.”
Once again, I felt silly and embarrassed. It was like the first time I said it. “I love you too.”
“I know.” A huge grin spread across his face. “I heard you whisper, but I didn’t understand until I got into my car. You had already gone inside.”
What a relief. That day we chatted about the past and how we came to fall in love. What a special day!
About Cynthia: Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She taught for over thirty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. Cynthia homeschooled her disabled child, Caleb. The two of them make “Overcomer Jewelry” which Cynthia sells on her website.
Active in Christian Authors Guild (CAG), Cynthia conducts writing workshops and has served as president, vice president, and conference director. “Cyndi” has a heart for encouraging women in today’s crazy, upside-down world. She loves history and peppers her speaking and writing with fascinating vignettes from the past. Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs, was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the year. She hosts Heart of the Matter Radio for women seeking the elegance of God’s wisdom. Currently she’s completing a historical fiction mystery. Learn more and connect:
About the book – Women Who Overcame: Are you facing heartache? Perhaps you’re already battle weary and wonder where God is. How can you continue to believe in God’s power and love when storms invade? These ladies from the past didn’t just face the impossible, they overcame. Author Cynthia L Simmons offers historical vignettes to show trusting Jesus makes victors. You’ll be challenged and encouraged.
Question for readers: Are you a jewelry wearer? If so, how much do you wear? If not, why?
Come back Dec 11th for Laura V. Hilton!