This whole year has been one big blessing and amazing learning experience for me. Last January I was at such a low. I didn't know where I would live, how I would get by, and lived quite afraid for awhile. I spent a couple nights on the couch at church, then lived out in Hamlin with Jen. She is so wonderful for letting me live with her!
I still had to keep my chin up with the high school girls in my life. Though, I can't lie, there were tears shed with them as well. They are so awesome to me too! Doing the Lady in Waiting study with them has been one of the best ever. I can't even begin to tell you how much of a blessing that book has been to me! Even today.
This year's Dominican trip seemed almost as if it were in a fog for me. So much was going on at home, that to sit back and take in what God was doing in my life was near impossible. I had way too much going on with my family, my health, and other relationships. Trying to explain how intricately God works through people is hard, but He sure did - even on the plane home from the DR. I got into a great conversation with one of our team members, and things seemed to become so clear! I wrote my dad a letter about my feelings and how God has worked in me. I stood up for myself in another relationship, and I was put at ease about health concerns.
Jen and I finally moved into Wildwood in May and things were really looking up. Though, relationships were still quite strained with my family, especially my dad. With summer came house-warming parties, where I took a leap and invited Mark (the guy I've had a crush on for a year now). Surprisingly he accepted!
More summer fun came up with fishing, baseball games, Dominican team events, and hikes at the state park. Mark and I started dating officially, which was huge for us since feelings just seemed too hard to put out for either of us and our crazy shyness. Mark and I shared in many late-night conversations that really challenged my thinking about the situation I had been through all year. He barely even knew about it, but God had used him to open my eyes.
I was convinced that I was going to marry this man.
I wrote my dad another letter, telling him how much Mark meant to me and how much God had used him to open my eyes on how grateful I needed to be of my dad for raising me to be a strong, woman of God who decided to pursue a strong man of God. Mark reminds me so much of my dad - scary isn't it? He has that solid faith, traditional values, and strong morals that my dad has taught me are important, and I knew that finding another man like him this day in age would be near impossible.
God had placed people in my life all year that have pulled me up, and helped me out. He put people there to say the right things at the right times, show me what was right to do in difficult situations, and use even books to teach me about true security and contentment in Him only. What a great way to take pressure off of Mark!
Since Mark met with my dad to ask him permission to marry me, and since I wrote my dad that letter, the relationship has slowly healed, and I feel like God has brought me such grace and blessing in a difficult time. God has rewarded me for waiting for this man.
Ladies - WAIT for him. Don't just be with someone because you want to be with someone. I can't even tell you how big of a blessing this man is to me! He has taught me so much, even hard things that I used to be stubborn about. I love him. I love God. God is so amazing!