more in love than i’ve ever been

It all started a little more than a year ago. I was out with two of my favorite girls (women, if you want to be all specific-like) and I very distinctly recall saying, “I am just kind of tired of feeling like I’m standing still.” And then whammo … I had a profile on ChristianMingle.com. #heavenhelpme

It was something Kammy had been pushing for a while and she’d finally gotten her way. It did feel very eighth grade ‘check yes or no’-ish to me, but hey, the soccer mom, work and church scenes I was known to frequent just weren’t presenting any ‘opportunities,’ if you know what I mean. And I know you do.

Suddenly, my inbox was flooded with prospects. And holy weird, Batman! I didn’t know whether to run like crazy or bask in the notion of so many eligible bachelors appreciating my dating profile.

Yuk. I had a dating profile.

But then, as I was swiping through my options one night (I know! Ewww.), I spotted this adorable younger man (by a mere ten months) and just. Stopped. I knew from a quick read of his profile (and seventy-five glances at his photos) that I had to find a way to send him a note. He liked the Spartans. Sweet. That would become my ‘in.’ Now, I realize tradition and probably every wise bone in my body says not to be the one to approach the boy but I’m not gonna lie to you, my dear readers … I have always been a little boy crazy.

When the Spartans bowed out of the tournament, I sent Mike a note. And in a crazy turn of events, he actually responded! We chatted for a bit and I was 100% intrigued. (‘Crushing’ as the kids say these days.) I remember my perma-grin forming on a Sunday night at Biggby as he suggested we continue the conversation for a week or so and then maybe we could go out.

Well, apparently I am just super engaging because Monday he asked if I would be interested in a date Tuesday night. Ummmm, what?! There is no way I can lose five pounds in a day but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to meet him. The one condition was? No dinner. I had been on one blind date and let me just tell you that two hours of awkward chatter staring at someone I didn’t know was plenty. Forever. He had said he liked to shoot guns. I was afraid of guns. But the thought of him showing me how sounded kind of awesome. I wouldn’t even have to look him in the eye. Then, if it went well, we could eat. It couldn’t have sounded any better as my perpetually low heart rate climbed to dangerously high levels. Like 65 at least. I was so nervous!

I left myself a funny note on my phone about having a date on that Tuesday, April 7. I was geeked. It had been almost three years since I allowed myself to think of men. And possibilities. Blips, sure. But not at all for real.

We met at the Family, Farm & Home in Wayland for our date. I mean, that’s where you do meet when you’re on FarmersOnly.com. Oops, not that one. But we did meet in the parking lot. He made some comment about having the ‘hot date’ as I stepped up into his big diesel and I know I almost fainted.

This story isn’t about a boy, though. I had you all fooled, didn’t I?!

The truth is that the shooting was as amazing as I thought it would be. And we wound up agreeing that we could tolerate each other long enough to eat dinner as well. But not too fancy, of course. We headed to Panera. And for some reason, I felt led to pray for our meal. I don’t think I would have normally but I had this feeling Mike would be okay with it. And he was.

I honestly could talk about Mike for all of ever because I do, in fact, have the most giant of crushes on him. I can’t even talk about the first time I hugged him and my entire being melted onto the Family, Farm & Home parking lot. I’ve referred to him as a ‘boy toy’ and a ‘man friend’ and once or twice, as boyfriend, but in all reality, he’s truly just one of the most amazing human beings the Lord could have ever put in my path. And neither of us can figure out exactly what the Lord was doing because we are 100% wrong for each other. But guess what? We don’t always know how the Lord works, do we? #thejokeisonus

Interestingly, Mike is a fairly new Christian. Like, he’d come to accept Christ only a month or so before we met. And, since I’ve known him, he’s been hungry for more. And he pushes me to pursue the same. From that initial date, we’ve continued to pray together. And to talk about our questions. And to keep pursuing by surrounding ourselves with Truth however we can. And to trust that what the Lord is doing here is good. And not to set expectations in what ‘this thing’ is but to embrace each day as a gift that God has given both of us, because we both realize we’ve come from some pretty intense places of pain into this amazing outpouring of His grace.

The Lord has used Mike to open my eyes more fully to the true meaning of love. Love is everything that the passage in 1 Corinthians 13 says it is:

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. … “

But it’s also more.

Mike asked me not long ago why I haven’t written about ‘us’ yet. I always am cautious to say things like ‘us’ and ‘boyfriend’ because I still almost can’t believe that any of this is actually happening. But, I hadn’t written because I knew I couldn’t keep it short. And because I knew that if I started, I’d likely have to type through tears.

Because what Mike has given me is just … life. He’s saved me in a number of ways, truth be told. He’s allowed me to fall apart on numerous occasions without judgment. He’s accepted me for my brokenness and challenged me to find ways to accept my mess as well. He’s pushed me to share my faith and on numerous occasions, right straight out of my comfort zone. He’s held me through some of the most intense pain I’ve ever felt over the course of these past two months when I was worried about falling apart when I felt I needed to be strong elsewhere. He’s become my best friend.

But because he’s given me that life, it’s allowed me to give it right back. I’ve been able to love freely because I realize that sometimes, love is also messy. And it’s painful. And it doesn’t make sense. But just like that passage says, it just doesn’t fail. So through all of it, I’ve realized just how much God loves me. Still. Always. And I’m more in love with Him than I’ve ever been.

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