A few things have happened since my last post…I’ll pick up on my triathloning adventures and challenges again soon.
Shortly before I posted it, I met a man.
Actually, I was friended by a man…on facebook.
Creepy sounding, I know.
It would have been completely creepy if I didn’t discover just how many friends we had in common and that one of them had given him my name.
His name is Greg Stoesz. *sigh*
We attend the same church and have for the last 8 years or so. Nope. We’d never met.
If I had to guess, I’d say that more than 100 of the 456 wedding invitations we sent out were sent to people that we both knew! That’s right, WEDDING INVITATIONS!!!
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
I’d spent about 6 months on eharmony. Think what you will. I desired to share my life with someone and wondered if that might be where God had someone waiting.
I “dated” a couple men. Mind you, I loathe the term and never used it when explaining to my daughters how I was spending evenings out. Dating has connotations in our society that I’d rather not have them associate with how I was getting to know anyone.
But, sometime in March I found myself in a fervent discussion with the Lord. He was asking me once again if I really believed who He said He was to me. Did I really believe that if I made it to the end of my life on this earth with no man beside me that I would experience the fullness of the life He had for me here?
Yes. Of course I did. I really did. I laid down my desires once again. What a tricky business it is to hold our God given desires loosely. To hope for them and to wait.
He reminded me to stop looking so far into the future and to trust Him with the next year. I pressed needily into the Lord for something to move into and to utilize my hopeful energy and He put three things on my heart:
- I was inspired more in my fitness and what He has for me to do with it. I needed to prepare for a speaking opportunity I had coming up in the fall.
- I had pulled back from my intentions to do a half iron (for a variety of reasons that I’ll have to review in another post!) and He reminded me that it wasn’t my idea in the first place. I needed to get with a program because the half iron was just over 5 months away.
- He finally settled in my heart the idea that I should pursue a personal training certification. That would take some time and some huge effort.
And so I was content to focus on those things.
And then Greg friended me at the end of May.
I told him during our first phone conversation that I was interested only in friendship. I had other things I needed to be focusing on right now. He got it.
In my heart was a genuine desire to honor His request as a Christian brother. He stepped forward in a very vulnerable way to make his request, and I didn’t really know enough about him to just reject him out of hand. I’d been doing some scripture reading recently about what respecting my Christian brothers looks like. I figured I’d need to understand better what “respect” looks like for a good marriage.
We made a coffee date for more than a week away. Very casual.
June 2nd we met at a coffee shop and didn't drink any coffee, though we talked comfortably for 3 hours. Greg was way hotter in person than in his pictures and much smaller. He’s still a big guy, but he’d lost some weight on his own quest for better health some time before he met me. I will never forget that first time I saw him.
He demonstrated a gentle spirit and a direct manner during our interaction that I found very attractive. Our conversation ranged over a variety of topics and we saw eye-to-eye on each one, including the fact that he’d been divorced. He was completely direct about the circumstances and wanted to know where I stood theologically. “Would that be a problem for us?”, he asked. “No,” I told him. “I believe God’s grace covers all sin.” He was playful and respectful of my space and looked me in the eye the entire time.
I left that night kicking myself for telling him the “only friendship” thing. But tried to rest in the idea that God had safeguarded my heart with that statement. I tried not to panic as I examined how easily I could fall for him. I didn’t want to get hurt after putting myself out there enough to know if he’d be good for me. God reminded me to focus and be who He called me to be and not try to figure it out. “Let Me lead”, He said. “Learn how to walk with me in this place.”
There was another phone call, and a facebook message. He wanted to see me again. He wanted to honor my call to focus on the things I needed to do, but was honest about his desire to see how deep a friendship would take us.
He offered to take me out for a Mexican meal and I had to refuse. I had a race two weeks away. I countered with the offer of a walk at a local park, very bold for me, practicing putting myself first. Doing what I needed to do.
As I considered what our evening might look like I began to pray in earnest. “Lord, please just help me know. I don’t want to interrogate anymore men. I don’t want to waste time. Help me to see if your hand is in this.”
June 9th we went for a walk and as this exceptional man sat before me, expressing his thoughts and prayerfulness about the future of our relationship. He answered any question I could have thought to ask exactly as he should have...
and I never had to ask the questions!
I watched as the Lord unlocked a treasure chest and dumped it's contents at my feet. "This is it," He said. "It's what you've asked for and more. Take it. I love you."
To be continued…