This is a topic that has been on my heart after talks with some friends lately surrounding the search for love!
When you are a teenager and you start going on dates, it is exciting, it's fresh, everything is new. There are lists and lists of 'firsts'. Then you get older and maybe you are still on the search for Mr. (or Miss Right). As you get older, have you noticed the questions change? As a woman who was set to get married and then suddenly become single at 23, even I was out of touch with the 'dating game'. It is hard enough to be single and feel that loneliness, but then come the questions. It comes with the title. 20Something, single, white female...Christian to boot. That is quite a mouth full right? But it also gives an entire new list of questions. New things to think about, like what is Gods plan for you? Is he hiding someone? Does he want you to work on yourself? Are you destined to be Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love and travel the world to find who you love? There are a million people in and around my city and there isn't anyone God thinks I’ll be good with? Does your soul have a mate? When you are a 20 something member of your church and you are single, you are usually surrounded by young married couples, maybe even starting off their families. Your facebook news feed is full of Wedding day count downs, profile pictures that are of ultra sounds and invitations to birthday parties that are no longer for wine and dancing, but instead at 3pm on a Saturday for a toddler. Cue that feeling. That sinking awful feeling. The one that tells you that a Godly marriage is what you are aching for, and you feel like your prospect pool has run dry. You feel like you are missing out.
I joined an online dating site. You know what? It isn't always as easy and awesome as the TV commercials make it out to be. It doesn't actually just magically happen...
The simple questions are the ones that would eat away at me. “Ashley, you are such a beautiful young woman, don't worry he is out there somewhere,” “Ashley, you look so great holding that baby, don't you want to have one of your own?” The worst ones were always after I got really excited before a first date and talked about it, only to have it be awful and then have to come back defeated and tell them that yet again, I hadn't found my person. Also, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Don't worry Ashley, it will happen.” I have only ever been a bridesmaid once! That hardly seems like a fair statement! Lastly my all time favourite... ”Ashley, time is creeping away, do you even want to get married? Better get started!” Well, let me say, if you are in a community or group with some singles among you, let them bring it up to you. Its the whole 'impact, not intent' scenario.
Your intention is to try to give a compliment and all that really happens is once again I have that sinking feeling of failure. Why am I behind on “getting on with the rest of my life”? Let me tell you something, the “happiest day of your life” may never be a wedding day. Maybe it's the day you get your degree, or move to some amazing country and settle in, maybe you land a dream job, maybe you adopt an animal. Not everyone gets married. Your entire 20's are not just a waiting period to find a spouse. You need to get out and live your life and if there is a person out there you are meant to spend you days with, God will show them to you.
Love is a funny thing, but I think sometimes God has to work on people before he can bring them together.
I knew in my heart that I wanted to spend my days with a person, so you know that I did? I was impatient, I didn't trust God's plan for my life. So I did it. I joined an online dating site. You know what? It isn't always as easy and awesome as the TV commercials make it out to be. It doesn't actually just magically happen that you open up pages and pages of profiles of men holding fish and heads of animals they've killed and pick a man and say that one. He's the one. You have to put time and effort into the search and then you talk online, and then you have the inevitable coffee date and realize you actually have zero things in common. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Now that I think about it, God was probably up there laughing at me. He was getting ready to bring a man into my life. Here I was rushing to meet all the wrong ones.
Let us fast forward through months and months of that. Of dressing up to be disappointed, of picking neat and trendy restaurants and having the waitresses watch me and know that I was on horrible first dates. Lets fast forward through all of that. To a weekend this past October, where I was sitting in my living room with a coffee debating what the weekend of a single 20 something should look like. Then my phone buzzes. My phone buzzed and it was a message from a man I had gone to school with. That I had one class with 10 years ago and maybe I had ran into him three times in a decade. A simple message that just said “Hey Ashley, how's it going with you?” That turned into a few back and forth messages and we ended it with exchanging cell numbers and the idea of maybe getting a coffee and catching up soon. I thought about it and decided that I am often so busy that things get away from me.
the “happiest day of your life” may never be a wedding day. Maybe it's the day you get your degree, or move to some amazing country and settle in, maybe you land a dream job...
I often tell people we will get a coffee or we should catch up, and it never happens because life gets in the way. So after a day I decided it wasn't going to happen if I didn't say it soon. So I sent a text to the guy and we decided that Monday we would meet a Starbucks. I had such an awful day at work that I was almost going to cancel it, but instead I was 3 minutes late. I was 3 minutes late to the best unofficial “first date” I have ever had. We had coffee for hours, that turned into a dinner and the start of the best relationship I've had yet. I think that things happen when you aren't looking and you can make plans for your life and God looks down and laughs. He knows there is a plan. You have to trust that he knows what he is doing. Even if the time line isn't on the schedule you had planned out in your mind. Never in a million years would I have thought that the grade 12 student in my band class would grow to be my best friend and someone who I love with my whole heart. Love is a funny thing, but I think sometimes God has to work on people before he can bring them together. 2,3, 6 years ago I was in a relationship much different than this one. I would not have thought about him the same way. I don't think we would have connected this well.
What compelled him to shoot that message off to me initially? Why did I feel so much pressure to not let the coffee invitation go to waste? Everything happens for a reason, even if this reason took ten years. It was meant to be, it just took a decade for us to figure it out. What I can tell you is it comes with its own separate sets of questions. 3rd degrees and future questions. So maybe you really are set to be Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love. Maybe you aren't set to find someone. Whatever your path may be. Don't rush the journey. Enjoy every step. God has your back. You can make plans, but don't be surprised when God flips them around. He loves you, he wants what is best for you. You are going to find something or someone that gives you butterflies in your stomach. You don't need to be a teenager for things to feel fresh and new.
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