Eight years ago today, I walked through an unfamiliar set of doors at church and took a seat inside. I was nervous and not sure what to expect, but determined this would be a first step in moving forward with my life and beginning the healing process of the divorce through which I was going. Moments after I sat down, a man with dark hair and bright blue eyes walked through the same set of doors and sat down across from me. I soon learned his name was Allen; he was a few years older than me, had two kids, and was there for the same reason as I. Both of us had nearly stayed home that night, but felt a little “push” to make the trip, despite the frigid winter night.
That evening we spoke for the first time, and the next week we spoke again–two lost, scared, hurting individuals–and found a common bond. It was comforting in a way, to find someone with whom we could truly relate. Inevitably, a friendship began to form. He made me laugh. He helped me find my inner strength. It felt safe at first–neither one of us were looking for a relationship so there was no pressure. We talked. A lot. He challenged me, prayed for me, and encouraged me. He helped me discover the best in myself. And the more I grew to know him, the more I grew to respect him. I’m not really sure when it happened, but one day it occurred to me that my feelings were changing, that I was falling for him. Once that realization hit, I promptly freaked out because this was the last thing I wanted to happen. Lol. He’d become my best friend, and I didn’t want to lose the precious relationship we currently had or risk it changing and no longer being the valuable friendship I’d come to cherish so much. What was I supposed to do now? Do I tell him? Do I keep it to myself? What if he doesn’t feel the same way? What if he does? (Insert pulling out hair and screaming with frustration into my pillow.) My “safe” relationship had suddenly become terrifying.
So naturally, I took it to my Father. I poured out my heart, asked for direction, and begged for peace. Mostly, I asked for wisdom to know His will and for the courage to follow it, whatever that may be.
Months later I underwent major surgery (reconstructive jaw surgery due to an overdeveloped upper jaw and underdeveloped lower jaw which caused TMJ, arthritis, migraines, and lock-jaw) and I needed pretty much constant care for over a week. While my awesome sister took care of my kids, Allen took care of me. He barely left my side for the three days I was in the hospital. He slept in a chair so he could be there if I woke and needed something. He held my hair back when I was sick, helped me to the bathroom, pulled blood clots out of my nose so I could breathe, fed me broth and medicine through a tube, cleaned my clothes and washed my sheets. He even told me in the most sincere way that I was beautiful, even though my face was swollen, bruised, and completely different from the one I’d had when we met. He held my hand and tried to keep me comfortable. He wiped my tears and held me when the pain was so great all I could do was cry. I was incredibly weak–physically and emotionally–and he became my strength during that time. It was an embarrassing, incredibly humbling, and eye-opening experience.
When I thanked him for everything he was doing, he told me “I’m in love with you. How could I not take care of you?” And he’s taken care of me ever since. He’s loved and cared for my kids like his own. He’s been a living example of 1 Corinthians 13: his love has been patient, kind, humble, selfless, forgiving, accepting, and honorable. He more than loves me; he cherishes me. He demonstrates his love for me every day with actions to give credibility to his words, whether it be with a hug as he walks by me, random acts of kindness, a special look, a flirtatious comment or sincere compliment, or helping me around the house. He goes out of his way to make me feel special. It’s impossible to put into words the way this man has changed my life. My love for him is indescribable, and I know that we have something truly special. And to think it all started by simply being in the right place at the right time…our lives forever changed simply by walking through those doors.
Looking at my life now, my heart overflows with gratitude. Never in my life have I been so thankful for the doors–both metaphorical and actual–that God opens to us when He knows we’re ready. I’m so glad that God brought us to those doors that night and gave us the courage to walk through them, for on the other side waited a beautiful plan for our lives that began with this simple step of faith.
When God opens doors, He really knows what He’s doing. My advice to you is to walk through them, in spite of whatever fear, doubt, or uncertainty you might be feeling. Because God sees the bigger picture, the one that we can’t see and most of the time can’t even imagine. He knows us so intimately and He knows what our hearts need and are ready to handle. If we can put our trust in Him, He will not let us down. Even when bad things happen–disappointment, disillusionment, heartbreak, divorce, lost jobs, lost opportunities, even death–He still holds us in the palm of His capable hands. He still redeems. He still makes beauty from ashes. I don’t say this lightly…I say this because I have lived it and experienced it many times in my life. I may not always understand why I’m going through what I’m going through–many times I hate what I’m going through–but I can always trust that God will carry me through it and bring me to something greater than I ever could have imagined. He never disappoints.
So walk through those God-doors. You never know what wonderful, life-changing thing might be waiting on the other side. :o) Many blessings and much love to you, my friends.