If I’m being honest, I’ll tell you how dating really sorta stunk. At least behind the scenes where no one witnessed my messiness, fear and frustration over reluctantly starting over it stunk. I mean, what single mom wants to weigh her daughters’ needs with time away building some sort of relationship with a man who may not even fill her needs? I mean, seriously! What mid-thirties lady wants to drag her heart and her babies through a potentially disastrous dating situation?
No, I never ceremoniously committed myself to a life of singlehood. But, I’d done the marriage thing and felt I wore widowhood well. God unexpectedly started my second chapter by writing my desire to live out-loud for Him without complicating the plot with a man! I was sure of it…as certain as a widow can be when she sets her stubborn brain on blocking anything appearing slightly risky.
If I’m being honest, I’ll also tell you I was afraid. I feared failure. I feared what I may find out about myself. I feared how I might hurt the hearts of two little girls. Mostly, I feared falling in love and losing it all again.
Honestly, I’m still afraid of that.
Besides, I used my widowed time wisely! I raised my arms up to Christ, yearning to walk in step with Him. I craved His character for my own. I sought His friendship and pursued falling more deeply in love with Him as I shaped my earthly life to fit into His heavenly hand. I curled my very existence around Christ’s eternal calling, aching to understand a purpose in my new circumstance.
I wasn’t afraid of that. I had GOD as my companion and, well, I'd begun to feel some kind of happy. A serene sort of ‘happy’.
Sure, sorrow over my loss still festered in the pit of my stomach but I’d hit my stride and knew I’d survive with my Savior leading me. So, my under-the-radar sort of happiness peacefully filled my heart amidst the sourness of sorrow.
Quietly, I immersed myself in the controlled calmness of caring for my kids and home. I only spoke loudly from behind my blog. My head down and my hands gripping old habits hard, I denied any opportunities to feel attraction—that’s right, I denied ALL distractions. I ignored friends when they suggested I date and simply stayed the course I felt Christ created.
After all, change doesn’t seem so appealing after finally feeling comfortable and confident in an upside-down, turbulent situation. Taking a leap into yet another unknown, unwanted, challenging territory seemed downright dangerous in the wake of wrecked dreams.
But, you see, Christ doesn’t care so much about our comfort and our confidence. He calls us right out of content happiness to do the hard work of opening our hearts to Him and our hands to serve.
Christ walked right past comfort and happiness to His cross.
Christ came to His knees to carry out what He was created for.
I thought, "God, You mean this little ‘distraction’ tempting me to date him might really be meant for ME? You’re telling me I’ve got to walk past my current purpose and let you carve me out more? You want me to LEAP...again!?"
I didn't. I stopped and I stomped (yes, literally). Arms crossed at HIM and at my little online distraction, which eventually became my weekly dating distraction, which eventually became…..well….
That’s when I realized: He might be calling me out of my calm little cocoon to wreck my quiet home and wreak havoc on my happiness!
Believe me-- I prayed, I begged and told myself this simply wasn’t gonna work. But God kept tugging at my heart and, for some strange reason, I kept coming out of my protective shell.
I met his family.
I attended church with him weekly.
I fell in love with his children.
I fell in love……with him.
And God never had the common courtesy to keep me comfortable and stop me! Even after I asked Him to slam the door, He opened it wide. (I guess God never claimed to be courteous--and He DOES say His ways are certainly not ours!)
Until my ‘distraction’, eh hem…my date, and I finally got honest together. We talked—that serious kind of talk that makes romance look like a mud puddle in the midst of real-life messy matters. We talked right into a ‘are we really gonna make this happen?’ kind of conversation calling so hard on God that afterwards we don’t even know where our words came from.
And we decided ‘it’, or US, was what we wanted…it is what God wanted.
And to be honest, it wasn’t about being happy.
That’s when my distraction and my date became my man. That’s the moment I knew I’d have to leap and live risky. I’d have to open my home to real chaos (more on that another time!) and abandon my own confidence. It’s when I knew I’d have to loosen my grip on my routines and open my heart to him…to Matt, my man.
But not before I subconscioulsy tried to deter him from distracting me. I claimed we’d ruin everything we’d worked so hard for independently and how I don’t like what he does daily as a detective.
Then I told him I didn’t want ‘US’ to DISTRACT us. If we decided to stay together, it couldn't be JUST to be happy or JUST to really love again or JUST to feel the comfort of companionship we both came to crave. It had to be about more than our fickle human desires. It had to be about building GOD’S Kingdom. If we didn't desire that, what was the point of 'US'? Matt agreed.
After that, God quickly made it clear. He paved a straight path, even amidst all outside complications and distractions. Somehow, after dating several months, in a whirlwind six weeks we planned a lovely wedding, repurposed my house for chaos and smoothly combined our kids. More on that sweetness HERE.
Then we looked into each other’s eyes to say ‘I do’ to living together, unconditionally loving each other and to somehow building the Lord’s kingdom through our love.
I’m no longer confident I’ve got it under control. It’s no longer calm and quiet around here! But, Christ called me out of the calm confidence to create something new. And now it's our job to make it about His kingdom.
And so in my not-so-quiet, crazy happiness with my sweet husband in my heart and on my side, I rest on Christ’s confidence knowing this isn’t always going to be easy and it’s definitely not all about being happy.
But it IS always about HIM…and all our happy moments in-between.