It was written in stone, carved in a tree—you + me…forever and always. He was the person of your dreams. The one that said all the right things. Your mama was crazy about him, your daddy was so proud. You finally felt like you weren’t letting them down. Shoot, even your friends liked this guy.
And we all know what a big deal that is. He had that twinkle in his eye, the one that let you know you were his. He took you out on special dates, gave you flowers and opened the car door. He held your hand in public. He gave you those strong, sincere hugs. The ones that made you feel safe, protected and loved. He was your dream come true, your real-life Prince Charming. That is, until there was nothing new, different or exciting.
I don’t have too many horror stories of dating in my past, but I do have a few. One included a certain guy who thought I hung the moon. I liked that, although I didn’t agree. I honestly didn’t understand why he liked me like he did. But he did, and he let me know. Things got serious pretty quick, as they tend to do when you’re younger and untouched by heartache. The relationship started off strong. We got to know each other. We made plans. We dreamed dreams. But then, time passed..and slowly, so did the attraction. There was no heart connection. It was surface level. The relationship became a chore to me. A to-do list. I’d remind myself to act excited for the next date. I’d cringe when I received a text, knowing I’d have to respond. The butterflies weren’t there. The connection was lost. We didn’t want the same things out of life. But he was someone, and wasn’t having someone better than being alone? I tried to believe that for a while. But something happened. Something changed. I realized that in trying to be with just anybody, I was losing who I was – who I wanted to become. Not to mention, it was unfair to him. So unfair. Although I came to find out he was in the same boat I was in.
I prayed and prayed about how I should break the news. I felt like a complete jerk, but I knew it was the right thing to do. God gave me a sweet peace, the kind that surpasses all understanding. He reminded me that He had big plans for both of our lives…even though that meant we’d be living them separately. I dug deep into my bible and asked the Lord to coat my words with grace. To cover his heart with understanding. To pave our paths with purpose. I found the courage to break the news, and with tears in our hearts and tears in our eyes, we said our goodbyes. We moved forward. It wasn’t easy, but letting go rarely is.
A few years went by, and I was doing extremely well. I loved where I was in life. I was chasing after my one true love, the keeper of my heart. God was my only focus. I pushed back my desires for a guy. And that’s when it happened. God, in his funny little way, sent my teammate. My husband to be. It didn’t happen the way I’d always imagined. He didn’t send who I thought I’d have. He went above and beyond. He introduced this Memphis girl with a dream to change the world to a California boy with a heart to serve people with all he had. We both longed to lead. To love. To give. To change things, to make them what they should be. And when we were given the privilege to do these things together, it was electrifying. He made me want to be better. To dream bigger. To love harder.
Thank you, God, for your gift of failed relationships. For your better plans. For your patience with crazy ol’ girls like me.