Whatever our souls are made of…

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My guy proposed to me on Christmas 2016. We hadn’t even eaten breakfast & he took the plunge. I have new favorite Christmas memory, for sure! šŸ™‚

Our story is sweet, but it took a lot to get us here… a lot of walls to break down & climb over, some arguments to work through, some past relationship patterns to let go of, etc. I say all of that like it is past tense… it’s a work in progress.

I wasted time & pieces of my heart on a few guys, who I wish I could get a refund from. Enter cliche’ quote about wishing I could find my fiance’ earlier, so I could love him longer šŸ˜‰ In all seriousness, had I known (or accepted) those others weren’t forever, I wouldn’t have wasted my time on them. My heart desperately wanted forever with a man & my dad’s rejection only compounded my longing for a man’s affection & acceptance. I guess this post should really be all lovey-dovey, because I am E N G A G E D for crying out loud, but I feel that I need to share about the semi-decent, but not wonderful & no-good guys leading up to the one who loves my heart so well.

I officially dated one other guy outside of my current relationship. We met in high school & dated through our first year of college. We talked about marriage & kids. We talked about me finishing college at the Tennessee state school he went to. We dated for a year & a half. It was a fun time, as he was my first boyfriend & I was his first girlfriend. Everyone thought we were perfect for each other… I did too. Before our sophomore year of college, he ended our relationship. He wanted to experience college without having a girlfriend back home, as I was certain his dad convinced him of. Naturally, I was hurt. It was tough to get over, but I managed to.

One phase of my life transitioned into another… relationship to non-relationship. I fell head-over-heels for a new co-worker about 9 months later. He was a member at the gym I worked for & was asked to come on board as an employee. He was attractive, so it didn’t take long to develop a middle-school-girl-crush on the guy. As I got to know him, my feelings increased. We both lived at home with our parents & didn’t want to be at home for as long as we could stay out, so I often spent my evenings at the gym during his shifts. My love language is quality time… recipe for disaster. My feelings were never reciprocated in a romantic way. We had great chemistry & many thought we should’ve been together. We shared an honesty that most don’t achieve, even in their many-year marriages. Everything added up to being in a relationship, except we didn’t have the label & there was no physical aspect to our relationship, hence the term “non-relationship.” I craved his approval & affection, almost as much as I wanted my dad’s. Double recipe for disaster.

Because I was a gym rat during this time in my life, I was in the best shape of my life. I began getting attention from guys that I’d never received before. I actually liked the way I looked for the first time in my whole life. I felt that a compliment about my looks was actually true.

 

I accepted the attention given to me by other guys & made a mess of who I knew myself to be & stand for. I was often smiling on the outside & dying on the inside. I needed my dad’s love. I wanted my friend’s love. (As I’m writing, I’m overwhelmed by gratitude for the temporariness of seasons, deliverance & God’s goodness to me, because all of this drudges up some painful memories. I am thankful I’m not still in these places I am describing to you.)

Then came my fiance’… out of nowhere, left-field. My cousin in one of the above photos has a friend who worked with my fiance’. The friend connected my fiance’ & I a little over 2 years ago. I was still friends with my co-worker, spending lots of time with him. As my then boyfriend’s, now fiance’s feelings grew & my feelings were all over the place, I had to make a decision to begin distancing myself from someone who I knew was knowingly sucking the life out of me if I wanted someone who was obviously going to love me wholeheartedly.

Fast forward to now & I have a beautiful ring on my finger that reminds me that I’m worth loving. Let’s talk about some happier stuff now šŸ™‚

The beauty of our story is that we have similar parent situations, so we understand each other’s pain in ways it seemed would be hard to find in a partner. I always struggled inwardly with this important question: is there a guy out there who won’t be afraid of my family crap? God brought him to me, showing up out of nowhere, left-field.

My fiance’ & I occasionally discuss how every moment of our lives had to happen as each one did to lead us to each other. Each situation occurred chaotically, seemingly without purpose. On the other side, diamonds sparkling from my left hand in the light, we can confidently say that purpose was at play in every season, every moment.

I encourage you to take a walk down memory lane this week & bask in the ways you see the hand of our Lord Almighty weaving the grandest tapestry that is your life, your gift.

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