August 3, 2015

garden of roses

Since I was little, I have had three dreams for my life, three desires the Lord planted in my heart from an early age: The first is to one day become a wife and mother; the second, to become an author, for I'm sure you know how I love to write! And thirdly, but certainly not least of all in importance, to live for Christ and strive to give Him the glory with all I have and am.

In the last steps of spring last year just before summer had begun, my soul was in despair over the fear that I might never see my first dream come to pass. I foolishly kept searching and searching for 'him' without fully trusting the Lord to bring him to me, and after having my heart broken to a state I never thought I would recover from, I lost all hope that such a man even existed. No one could really fit the long list of traits I was looking for, surely; no one could ever truly like me for me! I can count on one hand how many men who have ever looked twice at me. I was despairing, and so exhausted of rejection that I decided I would never let another man enter my heart. And yet, I knew if I did this, if I held back, if I put a wall up all around me, I would never truly heal. I had a wound cut deeply into my heart, and the disappointment I felt was like poison in my injury; I was festering in a state of complete doubt of God's sovereignty.
    One day when I told Him bluntly in my prayers during church my despondent thoughts, 'I have stopped believing any such man exists' - and oh, what hopeless tears drenched my eyes with this wretched 'prayer'! - then, praise the Lord, not four hours later at an event after the church service, He showed me someone... one man I had known for a few years, but never really considered. Why would he be interested in me? He is so above me in character and sweetness! Instinct made me cautious from the very second my heart began to hope again; the fear of disappointment still stung bitterly, and I would not let my heart be broken again!
    I had a pleasant conversation with this friend, and soon - much sooner than I expected - my sister came and took hold of my arm to bring me away so that we could head home. I did not want to leave him - it felt good to hope again! - but I tore myself away with my sister's help, and walked from the building to the sidewalk on the way to the car, wondering about what God was doing. I saw a small leaf there on the concrete, shaped like a heart, about the size of the print of my thumb, and I picked it up. I turned it over in my hand and prayed in thanks to the Lord:

"I don't know if this will ever turn out to be anything, if this is really Your will at all, but thank You for teaching me to hope again, Father! Help me to trust in You!"

One month later, this young man began talking to me more often, in my eyes very deliberately seeking to do so, but I kept my heart in check and did not allow any flutterings over what might not be anything more than simple, impartial kindness. Still another month, and we took a walk around the evening church parking lot, talking about photography (as we often did), clouds, sunsets, trees, his family's farm, and whatever else came to mind. We were about to step onto a park path to continue our walk, when I realized it was the time when my family had planned to leave. We started back in that direction, crossing the road back to the sidewalk behind the church building. Before our feet hit the edge of the road, he began to say what caused butterflies to swarm in my chest and made my heart beat out of time: he explained that he had been thinking and praying about it for a long time, and wanted to get to know me better. A pursuing friendship with an eye for marriage, but with more caution than 'dating'. Going out for coffee or dinner and casually spending time together so that we can learn more about each other and see if it may be God's will for us to be together. We talked about limits in touch - no kissing, no hugging, no holding hands - and found that in everything we talked about, we were completely like-minded. He wanted to make his intentions clear to me, that he was interested in me. I told him I would like to think and pray about it, and talk to my family first, and he told me to take my time, that there was no pressure, and he was completely patient.
    My family was not yet ready to leave after all, so we kept walking and talking, both of us, I think, very excited and happy!

That was over a year ago! I can barely remember the old days of despair and disappointment.... For the first time in my life, I have let the Lord lead me in regards to finding the right man, and I believe I have at last! My dear friend meets up with everything on my list; we seem sweetly alike in personalities, and still agree on every subject we have talked on, excepting tomatoes, onions, mustard, and other silly foods that change nothing.
    Brandyn. His name is Brandyn. He has become my very best friend - I found I am closer and more alike in every way to no one else I have ever met! He amazes me... he is the most humble, thankful, joyful man I know! For once in my life, I am not trying to force someone in whom I am interested into the mold I've been searching for all my life, not making petty arguments with myself to say 'No, really, this guy is different!' For once, I am leaning on the Lord, and He is continuing to bless this relationship, and make me all the more certain with every day that I have found the man with whom I want to spend the rest of my life.

Brandyn... I didn't believe that you really existed, and yet there you were all that time, right under my nose! I couldn't see our Lord's plan; I had no knowledge of how He would cause our friendship to become something so precious, something I would not trade for the whole universe! I am so glad the Lord broke me, and showed me His way. Wow! It's you!! I will wait for you, sweetie, because I know it will be so worth it!
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