I really struggled with being single. It wasn't so much that I couldn't be alone, because I actually enjoy being alone. I am capable of being independent and doing things for myself. I'm very thankful for and proud of my ability to get through life and get things done on my own without someone always having to come to my rescue. Don't get me wrong, just because I am capable and have the ability to be independent, doesn't mean that I prefer it that way. I prefer to have someone who takes care of me and that I take care of... someone to have an inter-dependent relationship with where you have support and companionship and don't have to do everything on your own. I am, in no way, the kind of girl that insists that "I can do it myself!" I grew out of the do-it-myself phase somewhere around kindergarten. :) Sometimes life just requires that you suck it up and do it yourself. My married girlfriends always say that they admire me because I just do what needs to be done and do it by myself... from moving out and renting a house and living there alone, paying all my bills and knowing what my finances look like, to the things like using a grill or checking my own oil. I just do what needs to be done, because as a single girl, I had no one else to handle my finances or to move with me so I wouldn't be alone. And I didn't ALWAYS see my dad to ask him to check my oil... and sometimes I just couldn't sweet talk him into it, no matter how hard I tried.
So, clearly, it's not that part of being single that was a struggle for me to come to terms with... instead it's that I wrestled with the whys and what-ifs.
What if my poor choices ruined God's plans for me?
What if I unalterably changed the course of my life and have forced God to settle for Plan F? (I was pretty sure I was far beyond just Plan B).
Why would God place such a strong desire to be a wife and mother in my heart, but then leave it unfulfilled?
Why did God choose to allow me to continue being single and lonely while all of my friends weren't? How will the pain that He has allowed me to go through benefit me? What is His purpose? What is He preparing me for?
It's not that I was blaming God with my whys and what-ifs. I genuinely wanted to know what God was thinking and if I ruined it.
Today, I realized that God's plan for my life is not changed by my choices. What He desires for me is not ruined or made impossible by my sinfulness. God is bigger than that. God's plan for me does not change. The same God who knows the end from the beginning has a plan for my life that does not change; He has simply been waiting on me to allow Him to fulfill that plan in my life. How arrogant of me to think that my decisions could actually rock the God of the universe. To think that my choices could shake God or mess up His plans... Really, Amber? I can just hear God saying to me as He did to Job, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?"
Over the past month, God has been showing me that His plans for me were laid and set into motion long before I ever had a clue.
My first realization of this was that God placed the idea in Eric and Christin's minds that they should introduce Brian and I long before they did it. That thought was there when I was dating and engaged to someone else, when I was busy planning... and later unplanning... my wedding. That thought was there before Brian's divorce was even final. It was present when the timing was all wrong, and looked like it would be an impossible match. I mean, I was marrying someone else! When the time was right, God really began to nudge Eric and Christin until they decided to introduce us. Right around the time I started dating J, I remember Christin mentioning to me that she had someone in mind, but that it wasn't necessary now. I was with J so I didn't really think anything of it. I was happy. Then, when I called off my wedding and ended the relationship, Christin mentioned again that she had someone in mind, but just wasn't sure about the timing. She told me she'd need to think about it and pray about it some more before telling me anything more. Everyone always tells you that they're going to introduce you to someone and no one ever does, so I didn't put much thought into it... besides, I wasn't ready to try again quite yet.
Interestingly, during that same conversation with Christin, I was sharing with her that I was so tired of dating boys. I really just wanted someone who knew what it meant to be a man, to be responsible, mature, and to know what life is like. I told her that I really wanted someone who had experienced pain in their life and could relate to me. I said that I wanted someone older, because I've seen and experienced more than most people at my age and needed someone who would be on more even footing with me. Even more specifically, I told her that I would be totally ok with, perhaps even prefer, someone who was divorced. I had been through so many bad relationships, that I needed someone who could relate to me and who could understand what it is like to struggle with trust and/ or vulnerability. Someone who understood what it's like to be afraid of getting hurt again. I told her that I knew that in that sort of situation that there may be a child involved, but that I was really ok with that. Of all the things that I could potentially have to deal with in a relationship, being a stepparent and loving a child that I didn't give birth to really wasn't something that concerned me as long as my husband and I were on the same page regarding the role that I play and made decisions together for things that affect our home and our family. Obviously, it does add an extra person to consider. (Well, two really, because the ex-wife will always be in the picture with a child involved and we would be co-parenting, so that person has to be considered too.) A child comes with challenges that wouldn't be present otherwise (like having to interact with the ex-wife... let's be honest, no girl dreams of getting married and having to deal with her husband's ex-wife for the rest of her life, no matter how wonderful of a person she may be), but that those were things that I could handle. There are a lot of "bad" relationship things that I do not have the fortitude or personality to deal with, but that is certainly not one of them.
I had no idea that I was describing Brian. Sometimes I wonder what Christin was thinking as I talked. Long before I even knew Eric and Christin, before I knew Brian or Rachael existed, I had decided that I could handle the unique set of challenges that come with having an ex-wife and a child.
Just knowing this background information of how God was working on Eric and Christin long before they mentioned anything to Brian or me, left me in awe of how God works out His plans. Interestingly, this was not the first I had heard of Brian. It goes beyond Eric and Christin's first mention of Brian. Brian and I both had profiles on a dating site and I had been checking him out for a few months, but just hadn't contacted him because... I just don't do that. Funny, but he had been checking me out too.
To be continued...