Sunday, October 10, 2010

God is Love

I've started and stopped this post in my mind at least one hundred times. (I don't exaggerate unless I tell you I am so that you'll believe me when I state numbers.)
Someone mentioned to me they had noticed I hadn't updated my blog in a while. It's because I know I cannot post again until I post this one...

I'd like to ask everyone to say a prayer right now to have an open heart and mind as you read my thoughts in this post.
God has blessed me immensely over the last months. I mentioned in my last couple of posts how the process of healing will go on forever, but God has allowed me to be joyful again. I got to the point that I honestly told God, "Okay, you and me, God. We're going to raise these children to be amazing adults and I have complete faith that I can do this alone (with You.)" I truly believed this and felt the bondage of fear for my sweet children's future fade away. I felt the fear of being a single mom fade away. I felt the sharp edge of the pain I felt for what their dad was missing as our children grew before my eyes, dull to a manageable sadness that had a more pronounced happiness as I understood more and more that Thomas is not sad. He is complete in heaven, where we all will be one day.
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died." 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 14
The overwhelming emotion that came with the release of fear and apprehension was love and joy. I had several books with titles describing Joy after Mourning, joy comes in the morning, and every other combination, but I didn't understand how I could ever feel joy when I was in the throes of grief. Yet, the bible proved itself to me again. It is true--a surrendering of our worries and fears to God leaves us with a security in Him. I'm so glad I now have relieved my friends, family, co-workers and even my children the responsibility of my "secure-ness". It's not their job to make or keep me happy. (You all can thank me later ;-) )
"Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness." Isaiah 51:11 
  So, I come to the next chapter of my life.
I have thrown myself into the author Angela Thomas' (My Single Mom Life) philosophy of becoming the most amazing moms we can be with God as the leader of our lives. I'm involved with three ongoing bible studies and each one has taught me an incredible amount about how and why God works in our lives and what matters most in this life. 

"So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold -- though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." 1 Peter 1:6 - 7
I was content and ready to live my single mom life with God helping me raise my sweet kids.  We were going to be not just "ok," we were going to be amazing! I also felt after going through GriefShare counseling for two semesters and hearing them talk about dating after being widowed that maybe in 20 years or so I'd think about dating.
So along came Tyler King.
The strange thing is...he's sort of always been around.
He ran in a circle of friends in our same christian campus group (Razorbacks for Christ) that was just different enough from my own that our circles only seldom intersected. Thomas and I definitely knew and respected Tyler from seeing him teach and attend our church for years, but we did not know each other.
Early this summer our paths crossed a few times when our small groups from church intersected.
There really is not another way to say it, but after hanging out several times with our mutual friends I woke up one morning and I felt like God had literally flipped a switch in my heart and a rush of emotions came over me for him!
I was shocked and excited and nervous. I kept it completely to myself for a couple of weeks because I wanted to make sure these were real feelings and that they were really specifically for Tyler and not just the thought of dating or something else going on. Finally, I decided I needed outside perspective and confided in my sister. I waited until I was driving us somewhere together so I didn't have to look her in
the eyes. (I just knew she would tell me in an unintentionally patronizing way, "Oh it is too soon...just be patient...he's a great guy but..." But oh no, she did nothing of the sort.
I started it with just "what do you think about Tyler and I together?" she sat
quietly for a few seconds and then with tears in her eyes said "Bonnie, this
will sound crazy, but God told me a long time ago that you and Tyler would be
together and it would be great."
(Before I go any further, please realize we aren't usually the get a "burning bush" sign from God kind of people...)
I about had to pull the car over.
I asked her to explain and she said that she was so distraught for me and my
kids that she took it to God and He comforted her with that thought. That Tyler
and I would be together.
I prayed hard about it and I knew I needed to talk to Tyler about what God was telling me.
Basically, we both told each other that same night that we felt God telling us that we are
supposed to be together.

Even the movies could not make this stuff up.

God knew I did not want to date. He knew how important my family and friends are to me and they would protect me at all costs. God specifically sent Tyler to me. Everyone that knows me, knows Tyler (very well! Yet, I did not know Tyler before this summer!) My family and friends are thrilled because they know us. They have seen Tyler's day to day life of character, warmth and caring. They know I am seeking God at all costs and determined to raise Caroline and Thomas to be happy, godly children. They are seeing the work of God at work.
It's amazing and it's God.

I am more surprised than anyone at the timing, but I trust God and His plan whole-heartedly. I was worried for a while what people might think, but God has taught me some wonderful messages of the utmost importance:
  • No opinion matters, except God's. I answer only to Him.
  • God knows what I, Caroline and Thomas need.
  • No one has any place judging a person's decisions who is seeking God's will...And no one can ever "walk in someone's shoes." Even though I have met some amazing young widowed mommas, not one of us can completely understand each others' journey.
  • God is Love. He gave us an amazing gift: the ability to love!
Thomas and I truly loved each other and had a great marriage. I'm blessed to know what a great marriage is because of him. I remember thinking when we knew we wanted a second child, "How can I love another child as I love sweet Caroline?" God's abundant love for his people is mirrored by how we have the ability to love each other. And when Baby T came along...I did not replace the love I had for my first child, or try to take some of the love from her to give to him, my capacity to love GREW. Wow. God is gracious.
Over and over through our dating and marriage Thomas would say "I only want for you to be happy." It is imprinted on my heart forever.
And I can say I am truly happy again. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

Tyler and I are committed to keeping God at the center of our relationship and
we are so thankful for what He has done in our lives.