I was a late bloomer when it comes to dating. Awkward and shy in high school, I didn’t go on my first date till I was seventeen. The second guy I dated turned into my first long term relationship. We dated for two years. It would have been over sooner, but we slept together and I thought for sure he was THE ONE. Then he cheated on me, and I didn’t think I could trust him again, so I broke up with him. From there followed a string of relationships with nice guys which never quite worked out. You see there was always something: maybe he had trouble holding down a consistent job, maybe he had trouble with commitment, maybe he would rather spend his time with his guy friends than his girlfriend. Can you relate? But even with those issues, it was always so hard to break off these relationships, because, of course, we had sex, which took the relationship to a whole other level. AND, the guys were always so NICE. They were easy to get along with so I thought eventually he would figure out his problem, and we would get married.
Then, I became a Christian and all my problems were solved. Ha! Not true! I prayed hard to God to help me meet THE ONE. I was ready: I owned my own house, had a car, a great job. I promised the Lord I would remain celibate until I married. One day my sister set me up with a mutual friend’s brother. He was an artist and didn’t attend church, BUT that did not stop me. We went on our first date. Shortly thereafter I went on my first mission trip overseas. I loved it! I prayed the entire time over this relationship ignoring all the blaring signals that it was not good. I wanted to mission this guy into becoming a christian, and I was sure once this happened we would get married. We kept dating once I returned from my trip and eventually slept together. It was all downhill from there. I was now emotionally committed to this relationship and I was going to make it work.
In the meantime, I was struggling with enjoying my job. Ever since I had been on the mission trip, I had been on fire for the Lord. I had trouble finding fulfillment in my job and was burnt out. I found a mentor at church and we started going through a bible study about finding purpose. I shared my struggles with my boss and she offered me a short term position at an affiliate that was more of a management position. It was the most challenging job I had up until that point. During the ninety days we agreed on as a trial period, one woman’s sister died, another woman developed brain cancer, and there was someone I had to fire. It was emotionally draining.
And all the while, my artist boyfriend was showing his true colors more and more. Finally, I broke it off. One night I was at home and an old friend stopped by to say hello. While we were talking on my porch, my ex boyfriend showed up and was irate that there was another guy there. My friend, who was a really nice guy, kindly and quickly left. I was left with my ex, and it got heated. Have you ever seen that show “Cops”? Friends, if I would have had a camera I could have filmed an episode in my front yard. I am embarrassed to write this, because it is soooooo not me. I hate having attention drawn to myself. The argument ended with my ex grabbing my phone and screeching off in his truck. I quickly followed him and he drove to my sister’s house. Yes, so bizarre, I know. It was around 11:00 at night and they were asleep, but he knocked on her door. I begged him to give me my phone and just leave. My sister and her husband came out on the porch and eventually he handed me my flip phone, which I proceeded to break in half tossing the pieces into the yard. Finally, he left, nd I was left wondering what in the world was going on with my life.
I prayed and asked God for forgiveness. I know now that relationship forced me to confront my pattern of relationships. I was so desperate to get married, I was willing to marry a guy who I was completely wrong for and who was completely wrong for me and that marriage would have absolutely caused both of us misery. And I realized every relationship before that one had been the same way, which was me trying to make it work out, because it was what I wanted. Finally, I came to a point where I was willing to give up my dreams of marriage and children for whatever God’s plans were for me. Unfortunately, I had to come to a terrible place to realize how wrong I had been.
When the ninety day trial period was up for my job, my company made me an incredible offer to become partner, but I turned it down. I quit my job, even though I still owed on my house and car, which is completely out of character for me. I called the real estate agent who sold me my house and scheduled a meeting, because without a job I could no longer afford a house. We met for lunch and I told him how much I needed to make on my house to pay off all my debts. He smirked and, knowing what I know now about buying and selling houses, he should have smirked. He told me I would never get that price for my house, and I said I felt God was leading me down this path and I was going to trust Him. The real estate agent came over the next day, Saturday, and took pictures of my house. It went on the market on Sunday and I had an offer for full price less $500 on Monday. I countered for full price, and got it. Now I was boyfriend-less, jobless and homeless. I spent the next thirty days cleaning out my house and searching the internet for international jobs. I found one and submitted a resume. Within a week I had an interview. That interview was so easy, and by the end of the month I had a job in Japan. My mentor connected me with some Christian friends living close to where I would be in Japan, and in a few short months I left the US and headed overseas. The next year was so amazing! It was a challenging time, but God was with me the whole time and I drew close to Him there. I finally realized God’s plans were way better than any plans I had for myself. I just needed to keep my focus on Him and He would “work all things to the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)