It’s Not Really About the How

It happened after we had been dating for a couple of months. It was the first time he introduced me as his girlfriend. And then the inevitable question came. “So how did you meet?”

I don’t think I was nervous about this (ok, maybe a little bit), but we both looked at each other for a very long second and then he answered. “We met on eHarmony.” Apparently I rolled my eyes at this. I was totally unaware, but his friend called me out on it. I couldn’t help but wonder where that reaction came from, but I really probably knew all along.

I’m a romantic at heart. Totally. Completely. Hopelessly. Romantic.

That’s a huge reason why I struggled with the idea of online dating for so long. “It’s great for other people,” I thought, “But how could that possibly be the way I’m going to find my husband? How romantic could that possibly be?” (And here I just imagine God chuckling, “Just wait, dear one, until you see what I have in store for you.”) Meanwhile, I had a few good friends who met their spouses through online dating. It only took me a year or two or three to decide to actually try it for myself.

More than that, though, I came to terms with the idea that God can use any means to bring about His will. I didn’t think a lot of people would understand that, though. For whatever reason, I had the thought stuck in my head that people would think I was desperate to find someone if I had to resort to online dating.

*I do not quite understand the double standard I set in my head about this. I have never thought of anyone who chooses to go the online dating route in that light, not my friends or the guys I met, much less the one I’m about the marry. For whatever reason, this thought only applied to myself.*

And that was the reason for my hesitation in answering how we met, the first time it was asked. And the reason for the eyeroll. But I have more to add to that now, a year later (to the day, in fact). And it doesn’t involve any heavy sighs, or eyerolls, or shrugging of shoulders.

Yes, the first time I saw my now soon-to-be husband was on the screen of my laptop. The profile he wrote up was thoughtful, well written (with no grammatical errors), and I wanted to know more about him. Because I felt awkward initiating communication, I sent him a “smile” (think poking via Facebook circa 2004). He then sent me questions that I answered and then sent a few of my own. We finally got to writing our own messages and within a short time decided we wanted to talk/meet. That was put on hold for a week or so as I had just left for a family vacation of California, and then just one more week as I had plans with friends for the weekend I got home.

For our first date we met at Starbucks and walked around a mall for an hour or so. He said he’d like to see me again and I don’t think I could say yes fast enough. The rest, as they say, is history. For as much as I was worried about what people would think when they found out how we met, I don’t really think of that anymore. That is not really important in the defining of our relationship. I freely give the answer when asked; hoping perhaps I’ll encourage someone else to step out of their comfort zone, into online dating or whathaveyou, and trust that if it’s in God’s plan, He’ll make it come about whichever way He chooses.

No, I may not have a movie worthy love story (those aren’t real anyway), but romance, yes, it’s there. It’s in finding & reading a book to find out how it ends (because the librarian you’re dating wouldn’t want to spoil it). It’s in long walks and park benches by the water. It’s in hearing, “I love you” for the first time, under a starry sky. It’s in having a hand to hold that helps steady your clumsiness. It’s in a welcomed hug after a half marathon eventhough you’re sweaty & smelly. It’s in the quiet prayers, seeking God’s direction for your future. It’s in hearing the words, “I have never second-guessed myself; you are the only one I ever want to marry.”

I pray you find encouragement in my story, and not necessarliy in knowing that online dating can work. Most importantly, I hope you come to realize, as I did, God uses whatever means He chooses. Sometimes we hesitate to try something new because we think He can’t possibly bring anything good about in that way. We are talking about the Creator of the universe, remember! He spoke the world into being. He is not constrained to that which we can wrap our minds around (praise Him for that!).

Love & Blessings,

KJ

 

A Changing of Seasons

A couple Sundays ago my pastor opened his sermon by thanking God for the change of season. Fall is such a welcomed time here; not only does the weather start to get cooler, but our population decreases hugely as we live in a popular summer vacation destination (I, myself, like the fact that I can go grocery shopping whenever I want and don’t have to think about avoiding the store on the weekend). We start thinking on the beauty of changing leaves, the aroma of home-made applesauce, and pumpkin spice flavoring in almost anything you could imagine. I love all of those things, but when Pastor commented on the changing of seasons, none of them were going through my mind. At that moment I was struck with the thought of how God was bringing a change of seasons into my life. And how thankful I was for it.

Over the past few months God has gone and changed seasons on me. He (along with some of my friends) nudged me into the “dating scene” earlier this year. It was with a varied mixture of hesitation, anxiety, excitement, and hope that I joined a popular online dating site. After a month or two I had down a pretty good system for figuring out if a guy’s priorities lined up with mine. Ladies, well, this goes for the gents too, don’t ever be afraid to ask someone what they believe in and why. If you do not want to end up “unequally yoked” – 2 Corinthians 6:14 – it’s a question that should be asked straight out of the gate. There are many people who identify themselves as “Christians” yet tend to leave Christ out of the reason for calling themselves such – I know this for fact as I came across more than I cared to when I asked that question.

After jumping through hoops of communicating in online dating (and feeling good about the answers to the questions I asked) I actually talked to a few guys and went out on a few dates. They were scattered through the spring and summer. I got to experience the “guy who thought there was chemistry when there was none” and the “guy who decided he shouldn’t be dating right now” as well as the “guy who fell off the face of the earth.” I was none too sad about any of these meetings as they proved to be good learning experiences. I certainly didn’t expect to connect with the first guy I met…the fourth, however, is a different story. He’s the one who ended up (after about a month of dating) being the “guy who asked me to be his girlfriend” AKA, my boyfriend.

*I shall now take a brief moment so you can all shriek and/or giggle like 14-year-old girls. This is what my friends do when I mention him, including an actual 14-year-old girl (and a 36-year-old one 😉 ). I myself would never do such a thing; I tend to either get a ridiculous grin on my face or blush at least 5 different shades of red. Or, if I’m in particularly rare form – both.*

This season is a totally new one for me. It’s not like knowing winter always follows fall; i’ve experienced that many times (32 to be exact): this has only ever happened right now. I will be completely honest in saying it has been exciting, strange, nerve-wracking, and wonderful – all at the same time. As much as I don’t know where this will lead, I’m not too concerned with that. I’m enjoying it and jumping in with both feet.

What I do know, is that every season prepares us for what’s to come; good or bad, joyful or sorrow-ridden.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven – Ecclesiastes 3:1

My past has prepared me for this season. The heartache of the past pulled my focus where it should always be, on my Lord & Savior. Building upon that is the knowledge, and practice, that now, when new and exciting things are happening, that is where my focus should still be…that is where my focus still is. These events, in time, will prepare me for whatever future He has planned. And whatever it is, I know it will be good.

I am thanking God for this changing of seasons. I pray, that no matter what season He’s taking you through right now, you’re able to see His hand working through it, for your good, and His glory.

Love & Blessings,

KJ