Archive | October 2014

Love and Marriage

It’s approximately 3:15 in the morning and I woke up from a sound sleep with scenes and quotes from the movie “Runaway Bride” on my mind, as well as my own words from other blogs I’ve written and speeches I’ve given. The transition from deep sleep to being fully awake was so dramatic, it would be impossible to ignore the overwhelming need to write my thoughts. If I end up posting this blog, I suspect it may ruffle some feathers, but maybe those feathers have already been ruffled and it will bring peace and comfort. Maybe I’m opening a can of worms by trying to explain my heart. Maybe I’m too open, and have the right to do anything I want, so it’s wrong to try and justify my feelings and actions. Maybe I’m wrong for even feeling the way I do…

Maybe those, and other thoughts that cross my mind, are just Satan’s lies and are designed to beat me down. I don’t know, but I’m going to say what I need to say and then decide what to do with it later.

Anyone who’s read my blog knows that I’m transparent to a fault. I will talk about sensitive subjects, my deepest feelings, and where I struggle. One of my personal goals is to let others know that they are not alone in their walk. I want to show that many people wrestle with the same emotions and even frequently the same issues they do, especially as they grow as Christians. The sanctification process is not easy, and certainly is not for the faint at heart, so I share my emotions and what God is teaching me to help other people know they’re not alone and it’s okay to be open and secure about yourself – exactly where you are.

In the time I’ve been blogging, I have publicly posted every blog I have written (you have no idea how scary that was and still can be for me), with the exception of one blog, written in December 2011. I also gave a Toastmaster’s competition speech in 2009 that was loosely based on another blog, but I took the speech to a deeper place and it’s not posted either. The “secret” blog has been on my heart for a while now and last Saturday, I came across a draft of that speech as I went through my files preparing to move.

I still do not feel led to post either of these writings in their entirety, as there are parts of them that would likely be taken as negative, when they were never meant in that way. Rather, these were just events that shaped my personal views, and a part of life, nothing bad whatsoever. Anyone who knows me well hopefully realizes that while I fall incredibly short, more often than I would like, I would never deliberately want to hurt anyone…ever!

I want to share parts of these two writings, and I hope this helps you understand where I am and why I see things the way I do. None of my decisions are really up for negotiation, but it is my hope that if I am vulnerable enough to go this deep, it will be clear that my actions are not meant to hurt or exclude anyone. It’s just who I am. And, yes, I do realize that I’m an almost 40-year-old woman (ugh – that’s harder to type than I thought) and have earned the right to do what I want with my life, regardless of what anyone thinks. I just want to go the extra mile, praying that on some level, you will understand where I am coming from and realize nothing I have done or will do was meant to hurt anyone – family, friends, anyone at all!

I was 35 years old when I gave my Toastmaster’s competition speech on relationships. It was about being single at such an “advanced” age and finding contentment in that place. I poked a lot of fun at myself in that speech, but it’s always easier to take those jabs when you’re telling your own stories!

In that speech, I talked about one of my favorite books, Boundaries, and how it clearly showed me that I was breaking the basic tenets discussed and that contributed to my dating issues. That is, we are responsible for ourselves and to other people; I am not responsible for other people and they are not responsible for me. I realized that it’s important to have reasonable expectations for people and my relationships with them, and to love others, unconditionally, for who they are, not who you want them to be.

In the Christmas 2011 blog, I delved deeper into the topic of being unmarried. I discussed my fears of marriage and described my proficiency in having unhealthy relationships. I closed that blog with the following passage, finally getting to the point where I felt ready and open to having a healthy relationship in God’s timing.

“And, thus, I remain torn…. I’m too old to settle for something unhealthy. I am doing okay on my own, but I know God wants more for me. I know I was created to be a “help-meet” for man. I was not designed to be alone. But, I was also not designed to control, nor be controlled by a man.

I desire more than anything a Godly husband who will love me in spite of my many shortcomings, someone who sees his own imperfections as avenues for growth and wants to take that spiritual journey together. I want a man who will step up and be a man, the spiritual leader of the household, but still have the grace and mercy that Jesus had for the church. I want a man who will love me with all of his heart, yet understands my heart.

I know these men exist; I’ve met them….but, there are smarter women than me who figured this out a lot sooner than I did! I pray that God sends me someone who has traveled the same crooked road that I have, has made a lot of similar mistakes, but is now headed in the right direction and wants me along for the ride….”

Looking back, I know that God answered my prayer in bringing Mike into my life not long after I wrote those words, although we didn’t become friends until the summer of 2012, and he didn’t become my boyfriend until May 2013. In that time, God has been teaching me a lot about patience and trusting Him with everything!

My relationship with Mike has been a huge opportunity for my own personal growth, which has been frustrating at times because I had felt I’ve come so far, only to learn that I still have a long road ahead of me! But, I’ve made peace with that and now understand why I was “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” for so many of my adult years. In fact, I’m grateful that God waited until I was where He wanted me to be before allowing me to make a decision that I would have regretted earlier in my life. Now, I accept that marriage, especially blending a family, will be hard, but I am committed to making it work. I am beyond thankful for having an amazing Godly man at my side, and having God as the center of our relationship.

I don’t think you have any idea how far I’ve come in this process (and still admitting I have a long way to go) and how God has been working on me for a very long time. Most of my growth has come after 2007, when I accepted Jesus as my savior and began the process of letting Him into the dark places of my heart. I could not be where I am right now without God’s incredible love, extensive patience, and the fact He is helping me believe His amazing plans for me.

I would not be where I am without God doing the same work in Mike, and bringing us together. I am also grateful for the countless prayers, encouragement, and counsel from so many people! I definitely have a better understanding of what is meant by “speak truth in love” because it has been demonstrated by some very special people to help both of us get to this point, both separately and together. Our family and friends, guided by the Holy Spirit, have been instrumental in helping us both become ready to be united in marriage!

It is beyond amazing to fully realize what God has done in both of our lives! I cannot take any credit for the fact that I am getting married to the most incredible man I have ever met. It is 100% God at work, no question about it!

Our wedding is a celebration of what God is doing in our lives. It is about God, Mike, me, and our three boys. It’s about us making a commitment to each other and to God that we will follow His lead in our life, during easy times, hard times, and impossible times. It is about celebrating who God is and the amazing blessings He has given us and is joining us as one to love and nurture three incredible young men.

The wedding will be intimate, deeply personal, and truly Christ centered. While I’ve come a long way in my transparency, it’s still scary for me to be so vulnerable. I get easily distracted because of that. Every time I post a blog or speak, I get nervous because I’m afraid of being too authentic, too real, too much…. It’s sometimes very hard, and I do need reassurance, probably more than I care to admit and I truly wish this wasn’t the case.

Even though I am open, I am not without fear. I was shaking during and after Mike’s proposal at church. I loved it, especially because it signified so much about everything we have both been through, but honestly, it scared me to death. I couldn’t even truly cry about how beautiful the whole thing was until I watched the video of it later, and then the tears of joy wouldn’t stop because I truly realized how incredibly lucky and blessed I am. Mike later told me that he couldn’t look at me while singing because he was afraid he would cry.

In the moment of the proposal, I was worried about what everyone was thinking and the fact they were all looking at me. Afterwards, I was so overwhelmed by the love and encouragement from everyone that I don’t remember what I said or if I even acted appropriately. I was afraid that I may not have clearly communicated how thrilled I was that everyone was excited for us. There was so much going on and I didn’t want to do anything wrong.

Wrong as they may be, these are the thoughts that distract me from truly being present in the moment. Wrong as it may be, I am still very sensitive (although honestly grateful for God’s timing) to the fact that it took me this long to get to a place where I was ready to be a wife to a Godly, wonderful man.

This is why I want a private wedding ceremony. I want it to be about God, Mike, and our three boys. I don’t want to be distracted, overwhelmed, worried, or afraid to be completely myself. This is not saying any people are distracting, overwhelming, or cause fear or worry in my mind. It is purely a situational thing, and it’s not any of you, it’s me. I can admit that and it’s okay that I’m not perfect in this area.

The things that cause me stress are very good things and I am incredibly grateful for everyone who loves us and who wants to celebrate with us. This is why we are excited about having two parties to celebrate our wedding with you after we are married. Your support and encouragement mean so much to both of us. We love you all and would never want to hurt you….any of you!

I truly apologize for any hard feelings that I may have caused for any of my family and friends, or for Mike’s family and friends. I am thankful and humbled by your love, encouragement, support, and desire to share in our happiness with us! I sincerely hope you can make it either in Covington, Louisiana on November 29th or Kingwood, Texas on December 13th. And just to be clear, we aren’t looking for presents (in fact, we have so much stuff, we have joked about giving everyone something of ours as a “gift” for attending); we just truly want to share our joy with our family and friends who mean so much to us both.