in awe: thoughts on six months of dating.

Sinner, weep no more.
Love has broken the silence.
– Elevation Worship –


Racing against a headache.

Concussed brains don’t work well with inspired hearts.

I’m crying again, and I’ll just be real about it. I’m crying again, because I’m in awe again. And I’ve struggled to figure out how to write about this, because I have such an aversion to being a Taylor Swift type of writer. I don’t need the world to know about my relationship, and I don’t really want all of the details to be anywhere besides between two hearts, held in the arms of an unfailing Father.

Dating is weird, and people seem to think sometimes that you don’t have the same authority to speak about things as you would if you were married. It’s as though dating is this hold-your-breath stage: do you break or do you fly?

But I’m sharing this, because regardless, there’s glory here. There’s restoration here, and infinite, inexpiable beauty unfolding. I never thought it was possible for me, I never knew that it could be this good.

So, whatever this is, whatever these words turn out to be right now– they are coming for my heart for you to know that the Father is not interested in taking, disappointing, or breaking; He gives and heals and shows up in abundance.

I’m reading my journal again from over half a year ago, and I’m incredibly in awe of the grace that enabled such a scared heart to wander with bravery into depths which she did not possibly understand. I’m in awe of the man who has swept me up in an adventure that, in all actuality, is endlessly beyond both of us.

I wrote in my journal in September: I’ve outgrown the tombs. I’ve outgrown fear. I’ve outgrown confusion. The veil has been torn. Now I’m new like a morning. 

Later that night, I had a ridiculously long conversation that brought me back to my room completely stunned into silence. Because I saw Jesus in such an intense way in the most unexpected of people. All I could think was: this isn’t supposed to happen. And also: heart, shut up.

But more conversations came, along with the developing of pure, authentic, beautiful friendship. Praying for an undistracted, undivided heart, moving away from focusing on feelings to focusing on the Father. Meeting families, being on a radio show (episode 183), starting a blog and making reference to a random girlDear Evan Hansen in a WalMart parking lot, and losing track of time on a Florida beach.

And then, all of a sudden: becoming aware that there was something bigger than the two of us had ever planned on that was happening. Completely in spite of us.

Beginnings. Some moments are so rich, and you could never fully comprehend their gravity until you walk through what comes next. And you spend the next months or years unpacking all the beautiful significance.

A year ago, my messy heart was struggling to believe that the Father was faithful. But even in that struggle: clenched fists were slowly opening, like sunflowers turning to the sun. He was never done moving in me.

Six months ago, in a McDonald’s parking lot in the poorest city in Florida, I ate french fries in a car listening to Rend Collective with a man who kept telling me all the ways that I was good, rather than all of the good things I made him feel.

It wasn’t the beginning, but it was a beginning. The Father was aware of that moment, even as all of my prayers were frustrated accusations and heartbroken worship six months earlier. Even through all of my Disney princess dreaming years before.

It wasn’t about Him preparing me for a man, for a relationship: it was always about Him leading me closer to His own heart. Showing me true love, Love Himself. The reality that He just wants me, He just wants me to know Him.

Then, all of a sudden, there’s this man, who wants to hold my hand. I start to understand so much more deeply that, wow, Jesus loves me. So much. And He’s created me to love so big. Just, wow. I’ve never met someone who looks so much like Jesus.

About a week or so before McDonald’s, under the stars, with the waves and the stars bearing witness, he played and sang “Here Comes Heaven,” by Elevation Worship. And I’ll never forget, because that was the moment that I surrendered to peace.

Jesus said to me, “You can be at rest here.”

So, remembering that I’d outgrown fear, I breathed. Before I knew anything at all, I chose to trust.

I never thought that I could be vulnerable. My greatest fear was being out of control, was not being able to understand myself, and so how could I possibly communicate with anyone, be seen by anyone? Perfect and pretty and nicely packaged.

I have found that it’s not actually about me, at all. Vulnerability isn’t as scary when you’re just focused on laying down your life for a heart that has worth that you never fathomed.

It didn’t take long for the fear to surface, and he said to me: perfect isn’t beautiful. 

In the last six months, I’ve been swept up by grace that looks a lot like sloppy swing dancing and the inability to control laughter, along with right now, and the future. And it’s so good.

Because fear doesn’t get to win.

Becoming affected by what you can’t control– who you can’t control– becomes heroic; and in the light of grace, you find that the pressure to be anything besides who you are just falls off. You get to just be who you are, where you are. Nothing to prove.

Oh, Jesus, this is what you meant all of those times you told me that I don’t need to striveI get it now.

Beauty, growth, complete goodness– a Father being in control, and not letting his children down. Proving His faithfulness again and again.

Whatever the Builder is building here, it is good. And that’s the whole point: you stay in your lane, focused on the end goal, just like when you were single. You let it unfold, and you celebrate the right now before there’s completion. You stay focused, you stay where there’s peace.

And when it’s hard or when you don’t understand your own emotions or when you’re terrified of what comes next, you remember the peace. Peace dictates decisions, not easy or hard.

I’ve found that it’s not just about the beauty that comes from ashes: the beauty can stand alone in its power. And that’s the whole point: it eclipses before.

The former passes away, and all is made new.

Every time I go into prayer in thanksgiving for whatever it is that God is doing with me, with him, with us, I am acutely aware of the lack of words. I’ve never been so painfully aware of my disability to really communicate my praise.

I’m overwhelmed. And now I’m crying again. Oh, how our Father gives good gifts.

Freedom is here, spilling out, spilling over. Freedom to be seen, to love, to be loved. Freedom to believe bigger than whatever you imagined, even in your Disney Princess days. Freedom to trust that you don’t have to work it all out; that it’s not on you. That nothing is beyond restoration.

Jesus, you make all things new. You’ve only just begun, haven’t you?


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