"I thank my God every time I think of you"
- Philippians 1:3
As we approach the new year, instead of looking towards new goals and ambitions. I wanted to really reflect and write about the blessings of the last year. I believe it is so great to look forward and keep striving for desires and dreams the Lord has put on our hearts. I also think its so important to not forget but remember and praise God for his constant blessings of where we have been, what we've been through and who we've become.
A big part of my testimony deals with a lot of hardships and heartaches but more importantly the faith that the Lord is not only building me strong for his plans in the future but to glorify his name.
One of the biggest and most rewarding revelations I realized this year was that everything I do and am able to do is to glorify and spread the word and love of Christ to the world. What a humbling and amazing realization. Me... little me... a sinner, a doubter, a worrier, a fearful being, is being used by the ultimate creator to share his love story for us.
Almost immediately after this realization it was as if everything started falling into place. Growing up, I had seen and watched my friends get in and out of relationships and always dreamed and prayed for the day when God would put that one guy in my life. After a few years of rejections, let downs and pretty much nothing, I started taking this relationship thing into my own hands and seeking out the relationship I wanted, not realizing I was sacrificing more than I realized.... my standards. My first relationship was a bust... at first it was great to be admired and "liked" but it was at the expense of me and my security in myself and my faith. The relationship was manipulative and controlling on a level that I could never believe for myself. This was the first time I ever felt the Lord speaking to me and telling me to specifically do something... break up with the guy. It was tough, my first real heartbreak. I had my ups and downs, my doubts and many many lonely days. I even hit a wall where I thought I had made mistake in the break up. Looking back on it now it was definitely silly thinking. Despite the countless nights I cried myself to sleep I am so grateful because in those moments I felt like I had nothing, the Lord showed me I had him... I had everything.
In the few years that followed, I went on a few dates. Had crushes on a few guys. But nothing really stood out to me. I had reached the point where I had given up hope on finding someone... well little did I know it was just my frustration because I could not find someone in my own control or timing. People always told me that "God's timing is perfect" just be patient. Well... being patient is so tough for me... I am the most impatient person ever!
Anyways, fast forwarding to this summer. I accepted a job as a counselor and lifeguard at a Christian Summer Camp in south Texas. This was the 2nd time I knew and was 100% confident that the Lord was calling me to do something. Although I had no intention of meeting someone at camp... the thought came across my mind. I mean... perfect setting right? Christian camp where the counselors are 100% sold out and in love with Christ... it was like match making 101... haha. So like the girl that I am, I started liking one guy... note to self... when the first thought about a guy is "wow.. I bet this guy is trouble" DONT IGNORE IT! I started kind of liking a guy and we started hanging out a lot... I was excited but something never sat right with me.... (really... don't ignore those feelings)
I remember specifically the one moment that I kind of knew it wasn't "meant to be"... We were given bus assignments to go to orientation up in the Northern located camps and "said guy" and I were not on the same bus. I was kind of mad at first, but got over it... I got on my assigned bus excited to meet new people.... Note to self #2... when your first thought about a guy is "Wow... wow... wow :) :) :) I can't believe he sat next to me!" maybe... don't ignore it ;). This boy I had never seen before got on the bus and sat down next to me ^^^ (hints the thought). I remember thinking "Wow :)" there was something about him that I just couldn't get over! Even to this day we laugh at our first impressions of each other. I thought he didn't like me because he was quiet! Crazy right?!
Fast forward a little bit... so the "crush" on said other guy pretty much died head first in the dirt a few weeks later. To be honest, I was very sad and hurt... not that we didn't work out but because I didn't guard my heart and listen to the "warning" signs I had consistently gotten... But honestly I am so grateful for it because it took that hurt to break down any insecurity, doubts and pride that I had come to camp with. It allowed me to be completely open and vulnerable so the Lord could not only pick up the pieces but put them back together stronger than ever. The love and the intimacy I felt between me and my maker is unexplainable... I had never EVER felt so content and in love with just him in my life. I finally got to the point where I didn't need a guy to make me happy, I had all I needed... funny how that seems to work out....
Soooo A few weeks after all of this... that one boy who I had sat next to and met on the bus all those weeks ago (remember him!?) slowly started coming back into the picture. I remember knowing I had a crush on him but I honestly just wanted to hang out and get to know him. I wanted to be his friend so bad! Guys he was so cool! I'll never forget the moment he actually came up to me and asked if I wanted to hang out with him a few friends that weekend. I thought I was going to faint from excitement!!! Still makes me smile thinking about it. There are so many wonderful moments I could share between me and this boy, but my all time favorite was when we were sitting under the stars talking and I kind of just knew... :)
Even summarizing this whole story, it just makes me smile so much at where it has lead too but I should mention one thing. I live in Texas and this boy is from Alabama... about 700 miles apart. Long distance relationships are tough... I knew it wasn't going to be easy but we both had the confidence and faith that if this was the Lord's will it will happen... :) We both agreed and knew that dating and even what comes after dating ;) is the ultimate way to glorify the Lord and show is powerful, unconditional love for his people.
"For NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE with God" - Luke 1:37
Guys... this boy asked me out a month later and now we are going on 4 months of being together! He actually chose me!! Gah, it seriously blows my mind every time I think about it! Yes we are still apart most of the time and yes its so tough but the Lord has been so faithful. He has provided us with so much love and support and even so many opportunities to be together. Distance is just a number :)
God calls us to Love one another as he has loved us! His love is unconditional and can withstand the impossible. Through this relationship he has proven that time and time again. Yes there are tough moments but its through those moments where the Lord shows himself fully and shows his powerful love even greater. Daily, I am grateful and blessed that I experienced and went through the let downs and hurts in my past. It allowed me to grow strong in the Lord and to depend on him ultimately. It allowed me to see and appreciate blessings from the Lord. It allowed me to see what a good guy really looks like and how not to conform to the world's standards. It allowed me to truly believe and trust that the lord's plan is ALWAYS better and worth waiting for, his timing is perfect.
I guess the ultimate point of this is not to "brag" about a relationship but to encourage those struggling or who are down, because i've been there. There were so many moments where I had lost hope and didn't think my love story was out there. But please trust me when I say be patient, The Lord's timing is perfect. He has that man out there! During one of my low moments I remember hearing the Lord tell me:
"Sweet girl, just know, if i'm holding you out for him, I am holding him out for you."
I never will forget these words because it brought so much hope!
Just recently the Lord introduced me to my Best friend and love of my life and I promise, I'd go through it all over again if it meant meeting him in the end again.
Stay strong and trust me, God SERIOUSLY writes the best love stories. Be patient, he's working on yours too!
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8