Today, My Heart is Somewhere Else

imageAs far as Saturday mornings go, this one is just about perfect.

My husband peacefully sleeping in our bed, after being away for a week of training for his job; 60 degrees by 10am, with sunlight streaming in through my front window; a quiet house, a cup of coffee, and me on the couch with the newspaper and my iPad.

But even with all of this, my heart is somewhere else.

Oaxaca, Mexico.

I have never been to Oaxaca, but I feel like should be on my way there now.

Our missions team from school left at an ungodly hour this morning for their missions trip. This is a group I’ve traveled with many times (the group, I mean; the students vary as seniors graduate and new ones are added). It was a natural fit for me, as I spent most of my 20s and half of my 30s on foreign missions trips.

This trip was always a highlight for me, and I never felt like I was making a sacrifice, even though I had to give up my Spring Break to go. While exhausting on every level, those trips energized me rather than sucked me dry. Watching our kids fall in love with God, missions, and serving – and being able to serve along side them – is a high for me quite unlike anything else.

My attendance on this trip has been spotty over the last few years. I went faithfully for the first few years, from 2007 – 2009.

I missed my first trip in 2010 because it coincided with my wedding (Hey, it happens).

I went the next year in 2011.

I missed 2012 because it was an awful, stressful year, and I had nothing to give; I legitimately needed the break.

I missed 2013 because I was recovering from miscarriage #1.

And I am presently missing (in every sense of the word) 2014 because of how unpredictable infertility treatment makes your life. There was no way I could have committed that far in advance – especially since I was pregnant when the school year started.

Turns out, had I had a magic ball and could have seen the future, during the week of this trip – no, I would not be pregnant, and no, I would not be ovulating. The window was quite perfect, actually.

But, that information came too late (on Sunday).

So here I am, with my perfect Saturday morning to myself – but wishing it wasn’t to myself. Wishing I was on a plane somewhere over Texas, Mexico-bound.

Infertility puts such a big question mark over so many areas of your life and future. It really is impossible to make any kind of concrete plans more than a few weeks out. Will this be the month that we get our BFP and everything changes? Will I be pregnant? Will I be ovulating? Will I be miscarrying again?

There was just no way I could have said yes to this trip when they needed my yes. It was with choked-back tears yesterday that I hugged them good-bye as some told me, ‘I wish you were coming.’

(Yeah. Me, too.)

In particular, I wonder about my future and missions. In addition to the numerous trips I’ve gone on solo (at least 12 foreign and a handful of state-side – I lost count), my husband and I have been to Nigeria twice together.

I wonder when we will go again. If we will go again. When might that be, if we have a baby? And how can you plan as far out as at you need to if you never know if you will be pregnant?

Will I ever go on another trip with my school kids? Having a baby will change all that, too.

I’m incredibly content with my life right now. A job I love, a husband I love, a church I love, friends I love, all my loved ones healthy. I have a lot to be grateful for.

But a small corner of my heart hears the call from distant, unknown places – and wonders if I’ll ever be able to answer it.

Today, I hear it from Mexico. With every potential opportunity, the calls echo from different dots on the map. But I hear them. And it is hard not being able to answer.

It is bittersweet for me to realize that I am in a different place in my life for the moment – a good place that God ordained for me – but there is a another part of me that is tugged in another direction.

While I’m here in NY, on my couch with my peaceful Saturday morning, my thoughts and prayers drift to all those places I can’t physically be.

Even still, I sit here hoping that, one day, the two will meet up again.

[Your Turn: Anyone else out there have a divided heart?]

[Photo Credit: Wikimedia]

Me vs. Infertility, IUI#1: Fail

imageThis was my first round of fertility treatments since my miscarriage in October. Clomid and IUI#1.

Fail.

I can’t say I’m surprised. Let’s just say that we didn’t follow the instructions to the letter (although the doc assured me we were fine), but we did the best we could. This time around, it just wasn’t enough.

The procedure itself was simple enough. Took about 20 minutes, beginning to end, and I went back to work. Kinda weird – teaching after that, but whatever. I wasn’t going to go home and take a nap.

I admit I was hopeful – when I got pregnant last time, it was my first Clomid treatment, without an IUI. But, I wasn’t crushed when I got my period.

And I wasn’t last month either.

Or the month before that.

Disappointed for a moment, but not crushed.

Truth – we really want a baby. There’s no question. But I have to let this go. I can’t live on the emotional roller coaster that revolves around the TWW and whether or not we get a BFP. Just can’t do it anymore.

And the bottom-line truth-of-the-matter is that God has a plan for us and our baby, and He knows the timing it is going to happen. No amount of planning, scheming, crying, getting depressed, or ranting is going to change any of that. Even with all of our treatment, it is only going to happen when God wants it to happen.

So I can either wait miserably – or wait in faith and hope and go on with my life. I’m making a conscious, willful choice to choose the latter. I’m choosing peace. CHOOSING peace.

I just picked up my script after Zumba, and today I am back on Clomid, CD 3. And we’ll try again this month.

Man makes his plans…but God determines his steps.

Either I trust Him or I don’t.

I’m choosing trust.

NaBloPoMo: A Review

imageI’ve been off the grid for the past week – partly against my will (those thesis papers were holding me hostage) and partly from losing some steam.

I just finished the NaBloPoMo Challenge, and I honestly felt spent. I said to myself, ‘Katie, you’ve posted every day for a month. Take a day off. Just post tomorrow.’

Well, tomorrow turned into one more day. Then, another. Then another.

This has been the first bout of writing lethargy I’ve felt since I started blogging last summer. Dragging myself to the computer felt the same as dragging myself off the couch to exercise. The first time back on the horse again is the hardest, but Day 1 has to come sometime.

So, the challenge – post every day for a month.

Here’s my review of the whole experience as I interview myself:

What I Liked

The Challenge to Find Content: I genuinely liked being pushed to come up with interesting things to write. Some days, they weren’t necessarily long and substantial; some days, it was just a quote. But I sort of liked that there wasn’t really a backdoor if I didn’t ‘feel’ like posting. It forced me to the edges of my creativity. Knowing that I had to come up with something every day kept my eyes and mind open for new ideas. I felt like I was much more aware of what was going on around me than I normally am. Anything was potential material for a new blog post.

Pockets of Time to Blog: I found out that there really are other times and ways I could blog than what I had been doing. For instance, many days, I would use my lunch break at work to write a post. It might only be a rough draft, but I could get my ideas out. Then, when I got home, at least the bulk was done; all I had to do was clean it up, find a picture – bam. Done. Sometimes I would just write something quick from my phone, and that would count as a post. I realized I didn’t always need huge blocks of time to get something written and posted.

Therapy for My Perfectionism: When you are churning out a post a day, there is no time to obsess over every word. There were definitely posts I put out there knowing it wasn’t my absolute best. But, it was OK. It had to be. My site didn’t crash; people didn’t stop reading (as far as I know). I realized that not every post has to be perfect before it goes live. I would not adopt that concept as a rule of thumb, but it was somewhat freeing for me.

Real-Time Writing: I like the pressure to write about life or things going on in the world in real-time. A lot of times, something happens in my day that I want to write or comment on, but by the time I get around to it, the moment and the inspiration has passed. In posting every day, a lot of those ideas made it to the press that probably wouldn’t have if I wasn’t forced.

What I Didn’t Like

Lack of Interaction: Posting every day made it very hard to read other blogs, comment, and return comments. I don’t like that. I love the conversations that get started via blogs, and I didn’t like feeling that I was missing that part. I didn’t get to follow up with new followers or commenters and read their blogs. I missed reading with regularity my favorite blogs. With posting every day, I just couldn’t keep up with any of that (I still have a handful of comments I haven’t responded to. Still. Shame.). I don’t like to think that maybe some of my relationships on here suffered or that maybe I lost some momentum in that area.

All-Consuming: Doing this challenge didn’t leave a lot of time for much else. I went to work, tutored or had meetings after school, made dinner, cleaned up, blogged, went to bed. There really wasn’t any exercising, quality time with my husband during the week – no time for really much of anything. I felt like I was trying to squeeze my life in around blogging. Ordinarily, I have pretty good boundaries – but I did get swept up in the challenge (If I committed to do it, then I was doing it). Other things in my life suffered and took a backseat. Not ideal.

Lack of Social Media: I’m not a huge fan nor addict of social media, but I do like to find new blogs via Facebook, Twitter, Google+. I do my fair share of blog-stalking. In March, I was almost entirely absent. That didn’t necessarily hurt my numbers, but I do like to engage and return the favor when I can. At this point, I’m not overly concerned with having a social media presence, but I feel like this set me back a little.

Burn-Out: Yes, I did feel a little burnt out on writing when I finished. I wanted a break for a few days. And as I said before, it was hard to take the first step to get back into it again. Not only that, the burn-out may have cost me a paid writing opportunity. I was approached to write an article for another site, and getting my ideas together for that pitch got lost in this shuffle. I know. How stupid am I??? Keeping my fingers crossed that I didn’t lose my chance.

The Numbers

2: Number of days I missed out of 31

43: Number of new followers (I only counted new WordPress followers because, to me, they at least had to physically come to this site to follow. Twitter or FB followers technically can follow without ever being here).

1200: Number by which my page views increased this month. For January and February, I was holding right around 2400 per month. For March, I was about 3,600. For me, this is notable because, in January and February, I made a concerted effort to interact and network on social media, link-ups, blog groups, etc. In March, I did none of that (my blog is automatically linked to my FB and Twitter accounts, but I made no additional efforts). Posting every day did more for my monthly page views than interacting, networking or engaging in social media. Interesting.

30: Increase in my daily page views. My average had been about 88 views per day. It went up to 117.

This wasn’t about numbers for me, but I was curious to see the trends.

Would I Do This Again?
Not anytime soon. I loved writing and posting so frequently, but I just don’t have the time to invest right now. I knew March was going to be a busy month for me, so if I did this again, I might try during the summer.

Would I Recommend It?
Actually, yes, I would. I think it definitely stretches you as a writer, and I think you land on some new writing techniques, strategies and content that you might miss otherwise. Definitely worth the effort.

What Now?
Well, as stated, I can’t keep up with that kind of schedule. However, I would like to push myself a little more. Instead of posting 1-2 times a week, I’m going to aim for 4-5. I now know that it can be done.

Feedback?
I would love to hear your comments if you followed/read along at all last month. Anything stand out? Topics you liked or didn’t like? Was every day too much? Any and all comments/criticisms welcome!

OK, kids. I’m back on the grid. :)

[Photo Credit: Justin Russell]

The Bane of My Teaching Existence

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Yep. This right there. Grading papers. Thesis papers in particular. If there was any way I could justify trashing this assignment while maintaining my professional integrity, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

I know, I know… I’m shaping the future of America….I have the chance to prepare my students for all kinds of future excellence….

But I would just about sell my soul if I could make these papers go away.

So hard to expend that kind of mental energy after a long day of teaching. Especially when my husband is in the other room enjoying opening day baseball.

I know, you don’t have to say it- tough having these First World problems, right?

All right, signing off now to commence sucking it up.

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Brackets Officially Busted

Yeah, I’m out. Michigan was my last hope for my brackets staying relevant. But, my husband still has a chance for his at his pool at work. He still has Florida in. He only needs to win one more game next weekend to take it all.

Yeah, that win would be a nice dinner out for us.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

This was my first time doing brackets this year. Definitely fun. I’ll be back again next year.

Anyone’s brackets still alive???

How I Broke the News

image[I've been thinking about my last miscarriage a lot lately. Right now, I would have been about 33 weeks, less than 2 months from my due date. This is a post I wrote, but never published, on September 21st, 2013, just 2 days after I found out I was pregnant.]

“You’re home late. Did they make you stay??”

“No,” he responded in his usual, just-to-be-annoying brief-answer way.

“C’mon! You are 45 minutes late!”

“You didn’t even notice I got a haircut.”

Before I could apologize for not noticing the 2 cm he got removed from his hair in the 3 seconds since he walked in the door, he said, ‘You coming outside?’

“Yes,” pulling myself up from the couch, “I’m coming.”

This is our after-work, evening ritual for as long as the weather holds. It’s just an hour or two before sunset, and we sit in the backyard with a drink, the newspaper, and de-compress together. Sometimes we de-brief the day; sometimes we just sit in silence until one of us feels like talking.

Today, I was hoping it was a day we would have a ‘real’ conversation. There was something I needed to tell him, and finding the right moment and way to approach it was weighing on me. I wasn’t sure how long I could pretend nothing was on my mind (I am a horrible liar).

“So I sent Kara this email today…”

Kara is his friend from work with a desk nearby. “Hmm?”

“Dear Kara,” he says, motioning like he is typing on his computer, “How do you get any work done with all of the ‘chomp, chomp, chomp, crack, crack, crack’ reverberating incessantly in your ears all day?”

“Oh, no. You didn’t.”

“I did,” he said proudly. “How does anybody not hear all of the gum-snapping all day long and not want to kill someone?”

“Oh, gosh. What did she do?”

“Well, she marched right up to my desk and said, ‘Thank, J. I was doing fine until you pointed it out. Now that is all I hear.’”

Hmm. I can relate. Know just how she feels.

“So, anyway, I was talking to Chris…”

And it was probably about there that I started to tune out. I needed to think of a segue to what I had to tell. A cutesy idea from Pinterest just didn’t seem to be the right approach for this news.

He finished telling his story, and I nodded and said, ‘Mmm hmm,’ like I was tracking, and then we fell into a comfortable silence.

OK, Katie. Here is your chance. Now or never.

“So, do you remember what you said this morning when we prayed together?”

(We pray together every morning before I go to work…a short, quick one as I’m running out the door, but it works.)

“Same thing I always pray? ‘Dear Lord, let us have a good day, please help us to get pregnant, keep us safe.’”

“No, you didn’t say that this morning. You said, ‘Please help us to be pregnant.’”

“Ok, fine. Be pregnant.” He wasn’t following.

“Well, there is a big difference between ‘Please help us to get pregnant,’ and ‘Please help us be pregnant.’”

He shook his head, not understanding, as if to say, “Fine, you are an English teacher, but why are you making such a big deal over this?”

In response, I slid the pregnancy test across the patio table to him.

“Well, God answered your prayer.”

A slow smile spread across his face, no longer annoyed but slowly absorbing this new information.

We hugged, we prayed for our new little life, and we sat down again.

We were quiet. We both knew what was on each other’s mind.

“You sure? Any chance it’s wrong?”

“Not likely. There is more of a chance of a false negative [of which I had gotten 3 in the past week] than a false positive.”

“How are you feeling?”

“I’m okay. I’m a little nervous. I’ve scoured the Internet to try to find similar scenarios as mine. My hunch is that maybe I implanted late, and that is why the tests were negative.

“But I don’t want to get crazy. I mean, there are really only two options: either I will carry this baby to term, or I will miscarry. There is nothing I can do to make one happen and prevent the other.”

He nodded in agreement.

We had been down this road before. Our joy in this news was tempered by the sobering reality of what we had been through ten months ago: a positive test, and then from the first sonogram, negative news. It was all downhill from there. That time, we enjoyed our pregnancy for about a total of 14 days.

We understood the reality. No longer were we a green, naive, TTC couple.

But for that night, on an Indian Summer evening in September, we were pregnant. And we were happy.

And our smiles across the table were, for the first time in a long time, full of possibilities and hope.

[Photo Credit: Bob Butcher]

God Bless the Broken Road

When it came to the wedding planning, J. wasn’t really much help. To his credit, he was much more interested in preparing for our marriage than he was planning the wedding. He could not understand why we just couldn’t have punch and cake at the church after the ceremony.

However, he did come up with our wedding song, which I have to say, was a perfect choice. This song sums up our journey perfectly.

Our wedding day was cold, just like it is today. But there definitely was no shortage of warmth as we were surrounded by our friends and family saying our vows.

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We just got back from our anniversary dinner at our favorite restaurant. We have settled in for the evening, and I can’t help thinking about the quote we included with our wedding favors (appropriately enough – bookmarks).

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Some Thoughts on Marriage…On the Eve of an Anniversary

imageTonight is the eve of my anniversary. Compared to many, four years is not a long time at all. But in light how quickly and easily and sometimes gruelingly some marriages end – every day, every year we choose to continue to say ‘yes’ to each other and our marriage deserves to be celebrated.

We made it another year. We still love each other, we are still committed, we are still faithful. We still like each other. Yes, that should be celebrated.

I was reminded of that today in a very striking way. Due to technology complications, email glitches and miscommunications, my husband and I could have ended up in a very bad place tonight. If I had allowed my imagination to fill in some of those information gaps, well, I do not think it would have ended well.

Thankfully, I (mostly) held my tongue, and we were able to clear things up pretty quickly and easily. All ended well. But it was a sobering reminder of how tenuous and delicate a marriage can be at any given moment.

We watched our wedding video together on Saturday. If you haven’t watched yours in a while, I highly recommend that you do it. Now. There is something so powerful about hearing yourselves say your vows, reliving that moment, realizing again what you’ve have committed to. We felt so close to each other again.

In retrospect, it’s good to ask, ‘Did we really mean all that? Are we living it?”

Before we got married, we took our precovenant classes When I first got married, I read a lot of books on marriage – Love and War by John and Stasi Eldgredge, Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas and Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs were a few of my favorites. We went to couples’ retreats; we attended and then co-led a marriage Bible study. We had a lot of wisdom thrown our way early on.

There were a few truths that have really stuck with me over these four years:

You have to choose to love and serve your spouse every day. Choose. Some days, it won’t come naturally. For a marriage to be successful, there’s no auto -pilot. You always have to be conscious of putting in 100%. I’m guilty of letting myself getting into lazy routines and not really trying so hard – but I’ve seen the effects of when I’m giving 100% and when I’m not. Night and day.

I’m only responsible for me. I will answer to God for the kind of wife I am; I will not answer to God for the kind of husband J. is. He will answer to God on his own for that. How much he is putting in is irrelevant in relation to how much I’m putting in. God will only ask me how I’ve done in my job as a wife. It’s not always going to balanced or a perfect give-and-take situation. But that’s OK. I just need to do what God is calling me to do.

What if God’s purpose in marriage is not just to make us happy, but holy? (That’s from Gary Thomas). Yes, God wants us to be happy and blessed and have a healthy relationship. But God also uses marriage to dig out our selfishness and pride and idolatry and a host of other vices that our spouses are kind enough to bring out in us. There’s no crucible quite like marriage when it comes to refining our character and making us more like Jesus. And that’s a part of God purpose for marriage, too.

God is the center link that holds us together. When we are out of touch with Him, our marriage suffers. When we both are close to Him and listening to Him, our marriage prospers. It’s that simple.

Always serve each other in humility. This was actually the message our pastor gave us at our wedding ceremony – Jesus washing the disciples’ feet..go and do likewise. If Jesus could wash the dirty feet of His friends, surely I can pick up J’s dirty clothes and make him lunch every day. Not because I’m a slave and I ‘have’ to. No, because I choose to – out of love for J and obedience to Jesus.

Our relationship hasn’t always been easy, and it’s not perfect, but I am grateful for my husband. I am grateful God brought us together. I am grateful for his unique personality – he truly is the most interesting person I know. I’m grateful for how he makes me laugh and for how comical he makes our life (sometimes without trying). I’m grateful I still love hanging out with him more than any other person in the world. I’m grateful for the roots of his faith that go deep.

It’s not easy, this ‘two-becoming-one’ deal.

But I wouldn’t choose it any other way.

You Know When You Know…Except When You Don’t

imageI hear this said a lot to single girls – ‘When you find the one, oh – you’ll just know.’

This bothers me. A lot.

Because I didn’t.

Maybe it was my age – because I wasn’t young and naive.

Maybe it was my life experience, and I had my fair share of false starts in the relationship department.

Maybe it was because I’m a perfectionist, and I tend to be neurotic about making any decision.

Maybe because there were lots of times when I thought I ‘knew’ – and didn’t – and now I didn’t trust my judgment so much.

Chalk up any explanation you like, but the bottom line is the same: With my husband, I didn’t just ‘know’ he was the one.

We definitely had a serendipitous meeting that had God’s fingerprints all over it, from what we could tell. God definitely spoke in an undeniable way about staying in NY and going on a missions trip with J instead of moving overseas.

Call me Gideon, but there were several more times I put out the ‘fleece’ about our relationship.

For example, the next spring, even though God had been pretty clear about what He wanted me to do regarding missions, I really had trouble absorbing it. Around April (2008), it came time for me to sign my ‘letter-of-intent’ to return for the next school year. I was enormously burdened by this. What if I was making a mistake?

I was actually scheduled to leave on a school missions trip to Nicaragua, and I needed to turn in my letter before I left. I was agonizing over this.

Well, this was all going on during the missions conference at my church (which is where my school is), and I told God that I was going to be open to anything He wanted to say to me that week. Just in case I missed it.

All week – nothing. Finally, the day before our trip, our missions team went to a prayer meeting for the missionaries. Before the end, the missionaries wanted to pray for us.

After they finished, a missionary who had been a guest speaker in my class approached me.

‘Oh, you are going on this trip?’

‘Yes…’

‘You know, I was watching you teach. You are very natural at what you do….You are in the right place. I don’t know if you have been wondering about that, but,’ he said, with very knowing look, ‘… you are in the right place.’

As he was telling me this, I had my letter in my hand, just awaiting my final signature. Unbelievable. Another confirmation that I was where I should be.

Later that night, he said to me, “You know, I saw you teaching and thought, “Wow, she’d be great on the mission field,’ and I was about to talk to you about it. But then God stopped me and said, ‘No, she is right where she needs to be.”

For me, that was a huge burden lifted; I would have been absolutely tortured in Nicaragua if this hadn’t been settled before I left.

Another ‘fleece’ for me was how J. did on the trip I was leading to Nigeria. J. said he had an interest in and heart for missions; this would be his first trip. Missions was (and is) a huge part of my life. If it turned out that missions just wasn’t for him, it could have been a deal-breaker for me.

Turns out – he was a natural. He had no problem with me being the team leader. He was comfortable with the team, he was outgoing with the locals, and he even took opportunity to preach at one of the services (and with a translator!). We had a few scary moments during our trip – and watching how James handled and took charge of those intense moments? I was smitten.

But it still was a journey to get there. Our backgrounds were very, VERY different as was our life experiences. I admit, as much as I was falling for him, I was cautious. That’s just typical me.

I think we both knew in our hearts this was it, but neither of us was really quick to say that. As I got to know J., I saw that he is methodical, first, and probably even more prominent, he does things in his own time. There is no forcing this man to do what he does not want to do. Rushing marriage-talk would have definitely been counter-productive.

I knew him well enough to know that he wouldn’t be with me to play games, so I really just had to trust him and trust God that this relationship would go where it needed to.

After dating for about a year, I was definitely wanting to know where this was headed. I finally did (casually) ask him about his intentions for us. He told me, ‘If all goes well, I’ll have a ring on your finger within a year.’

If J. was anything through this process, he was calculated. He had a plan for us to progress though the necessary stages of a relationship, and he was not to be rushed.

After that conversation, we signed up for the pre-covenant classes at our church. These classes run about 10 weeks and are requirements for anyone getting married in our church. Most couples sign up after they are engaged, but J. wanted to sign up before - to really know that we were right for each other, to know what we were getting into. He did not want to get engaged until we had made it through the classes.

While I would have wanted the whirlwind romance, engagement and marriage, this was wise. We were both old enough to know that marriage was serious. Marriage was for a lifetime. Marriage would not be easy. As best as we could, we wanted to be prepared.

We made it through the classes, but we honestly didn’t really talk plans after that. However, things must have checked out in his mind because he proposed about 3 months later.

So, when did I ‘know’? I’m not sure. I just know that I was praying. I was asking God for direction. And God would give me trail-markers every time I needed one.

And yes, even in the form of my ‘fleeces’ – double rainbows, random devotional emails in my inbox, prayers people prayed over me and us, prophetic words just at a time when I was praying about something, providential meetings and aligning of circumstances… I have journals full of these ‘signs.’

Another thing that helped me ‘know’ was godly counsel. Our relationship was affirmed by so many people in our lives – family, friends, people who knew me really well, mentors, our pastors. That was a huge deal.

Our relationship looked a lot different than what I always thought it would. I always thought I would marry someone who grew up like I did, -someone like me (Ever see the Seinfeld episode where Jerry was dating a female-Jerry?). Maybe a nice pastor’s son, a youth pastor or someone in full-time ministry, perhaps?

I had 33 years to build up that fantasy; it wasn’t easy to let go of. J. had a pretty ‘colorful’ life before we met, but his testimony is an amazing demonstration of how God saved him – in every way.

But over and over again, God just kept saying, ‘Yes, this is Me. This is the one.’

Part of me couldn’t believe this was really it; I sort of kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But it didn’t.

Sure, there were times when either of us had our doubts and wondered, when either of us could have decided to bail. But we also knew we loved each other and believed God brought us together; when things came up, we worked them out.

So was it this whirlwind relationship that swept me off my feet? We definitely had that ‘first-love’ excitement as we were getting to know each other. But soon, it settled into a grown-up relationship – one that takes work – and working things out.

So, no, there wasn’t just one thing or one moment when I ‘knew.’ It was a lot of little – and big- things along the way that all added up to me knowing.

And saying yes.

[Photo Credit: Pete Woodhead]