I can't believe this little one is 5 months old already. And each day with her just gets better and better. That smile you see brings more joy than I could ever imagine. Funny how something so simple could fill my heart with so much love. Our first Valentines day as a family of three. I don't need any flowers or chocolate, just being with two of my favorite people is plenty for me to feel all the love in the world.
This day is not just about the made up hallmark holiday for me. Sure, its a fun excuse to celebrate the ones we love and receive love in return, but more than that its forever a reminder of the love my God has for me. And again, not because its "valentine's day". This day 3 years ago my best friend, and literally the man of my dreams, asked me to be his wife. A day I dreamed of and longed for and prayed for even after a year of being broken up and having him tell me that we would never get back together and probably marry other people (yes, he was that blunt). I went through pain and hope and doubt all compiled into one crazy emotion on a day to day basis feeling like these things would never actually happen or come true, making me feel like the craziest person in the world (and I probably was). So when the day came that Shane told me he wanted to "talk" again and 2 weeks later when he purposed, the overwhelming thought I had through out all the other emotions you can imagine I was feeling was how good God is and how deep his love really really is for us.
Now, I know this may seem like these words are just lovey dovey feel good words that sound like "ok God gave me what I wanted and so therefore, he loves me". NO, its more than that. I don't believe God loves me because my dreams came true. I believe God is good and loves me even if Shane never came to ask me to marry me. I believed it throughout the whole process of our separation, as hard hard hard as it was-- and trust me there were pleeeenty of times I wondered if I could believe God was good. I constantly come back to that year of my life being reminded that even though life doesn't go according to plan or what our deep desires long for, God is still good. Even in the midst of the heart-wrenching pain, he heard my prayers, he changed my heart and matured me in a way that only he could as I leaned into him. He carried my tears and his heart broke with mine. His arms were around me, holding me up through my anger and frustration. And he was perfectly ok with my anger and frustration. He let me be me.
I usually hesitate to write words about our love story or talk about it because I fear people will get the wrong message sounding like its all just a "happily ever after, fairytale, blah blah blah" story. But putting my fears aside of how people might take it, I see and believe that our story isn't about getting what I wanted, its about the love story God had with me. Just me and him. Getting to marry Shane was a bonus (like the best bonus ever). I don't wish the heart ache I went through on anyone, but I do know that it was only through the pain and brokenness that I was able to experience the reality of Jesus' deep affection for me and my desires.
And as I write this, I realize there are lots and lots of people out there who never marry the person they want to, or who are grieving the loss of love for much longer than a year. I want it to be known that I deeply share the pain and devastation you must be feeling. And I share this story for you. Not to tell you that God will give you what you want if you pray hard enough or shape up, NO. I share it to tell you that he hears your heartache, he is grieving with you looking deep into your eyes and saying "I get it, I'm so so sorry, I love you more than you know imaginable." I share it to tell you that when you're feeling like he's not there, when all you can do is be angry and mad and want to use every cuss word known to man, he's there and he's ok with where you're at. You don't have to hide it from him, he knows. Be angry, get frustrated with him, tell him your honest opinion, and through the process let him love you. And when you do, I guarantee you'll experience more than you can think possible. You'll mature and grow into who he's made you and you won't know what hit you. He doesn't always answer prayers the way we want but he is still good. His love is deeper than we could imagine. He went through great lengths to show us that love and I know without a doubt that he would do it all over again.
I didn't plan to write this much, but the words just kept coming out. I hope this was at least a brief glimpse of encouragement for at least one someone out there. I read this article yesterday and wish I could articulate as well as she did, but since I'm no english scholar take a read at her words and know they are mine too.
Happy Valentines Day! You are deeply loved.