LIFE UPDATE! "That's where Tim Came In"
I know I haven’t blogged in a while… so much has been going on! I need to catch you up! As many of you know, I started dating an amazing guy a while back (seriously, y’all, he’s the best), but what most of you probably don’t know is that this is my FIRST ever dating experience. Yes.
Hi. My name is Katherine, I’m 37 and I never dated before. Shocking, huh? Or maybe not so shocking in today’s Christian world. I mean, let’s be real… we’ve made it really, really complicated! I’m not here to try to unwind THAT ball of thread, but what I am here to do is tell you my story. How I find myself in a healthy, life giving relationship that is bringing so much joy and growth to my life. It’s pretty cool the way it all went down, but to fully appreciate the story, you need to hear the prequel. So here it is… the “She Said” version.
To give you a little background, I was in a pretty intense season of inner healing until about 6 months ago. It started about three and a half years ago. I had what you might call a mid-life crisis at 34. I woke up and realized that nothing in my life was what I wanted or dreamed, I had allowed fear and manipulation to control me and I didn’t know who I was.
So I changed everything in my life – moved, left my pretty successful catering business and the unhealthy situation I thought I was trapped in and started a new life. Emphasis on “started.” I had no idea when I made all those changes how hard it would be to walk that out and to get to know myself, but I can honestly say it was the most beautiful, messy, hard thing I’ve ever done.
I had to face all the lies I believed about myself and God. That He was distant, uncaring, harsh, critical and abusive. Yep – quite a list, huh? To say that I struggled with trusting God would be a HUGE understatement, but I’m not sure how to say it any stronger.
Let’s just say that even though I “served” Him my whole life I was petrified of giving Him the wheel of my life. I had some serious control issues. I felt out of control and used almost my whole life and Scarlet O’Hara style, “As God as my witness” I was never going to feel that way again! You can probably guess what’s coming next, huh?
Not realizing that the only thing I can count on is how much God loves me, I wrestled with Him for control for a really long time. What I finally learned (and what I have to choose to remember) is that the only thing I can control is myself. My emotions, my choices, my life – and my choice to trust God. That’s it. The rest is up to God. Through a slow, daily process God started working on my heart the way a nurse would with a critically wounded patient. It was so beautiful, guys. I can’t really fully describe the beauty and wonder of those moments where He spoke Love and Acceptance over me and healed me. What I can say is SEEK HIM!! Run to Him with your pain and He will heal you.
So that’s kind of where I came from… and what I was at the tail end of working through when Tim came along. See, one of the scariest things for me was getting into a relationship – that’s where I was wounded before. Pair with that fear the fact that I was raised to believe that dating was “evil” and I would be betrothed like they were in the Bible (I kid you not) and I had a lot to work through in this area…
Even though I walked away from the belief that dating is evil, I had a really hard time getting past the belief that I would somehow know who “the One” was before I ever went on the first date. And, as all women seem to do, I had my preconceived picture and idea of what that was going to look like (that was my way of controlling the situation) – and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less! I had this really strange mix of feelings on the subject – like God was supposed to choose for me, but really resenting that and wanting to have my own way.
I finally busted free from that whole thing last summer – one morning I had a really gut level honest conversation with God and told Him I didn’t want Him to pick for me. I wanted to get to choose like every other woman on earth seemed to be able to do. I didn’t want to be put in a box. That was a pretty tough conversation to have with Him – not because He wasn’t understanding, but because I had to face a BIG TRUTH. God wasn’t keeping me in the box. I was. He assured me that morning that He had already (and would always) give me the right to choose. So, that’s when I started asking with an open mind, “What do I really want?” Probably for the first time ever. That’s when I started realizing that I was only going to learn that by dating.
I know that’s a little controversial, but I really believe there are some things we will NEVER know about ourselves outside of relationship. And we can’t be so scared of getting hurt that we aren’t willing to learn. That’s where Tim comes in…
Rewind a little bit to the Spring of last year… Tim asked me to go to coffee with him a couple times and I went. This was even before getting set free from the idea that God was going to choose for me… I wasn’t even sure it was a date. It felt like coffee with a friend. We had a really great time and looking back, I realize there was totally a great chemistry and that I felt safe with him. But at the time, I was still working through a lot and safe felt weird and unfamiliar, so I just chocked it up to “no spark”. (Big hint here ladies – beware the spark!! It’s a myth. Keep your eyes out for the guy you can naturally be your most true, authentic self with. It’s a surefire test.)
About a month later, he asked me out for a dinner date and because I was still grasping “my picture” pretty tight, I actually said no. He was completely understanding and handled like a gentleman. I really saw so much about his character from the way he accepted a no. That was about two months before my little “I want to be able to choose!” showdown with God.
After the showdown, I actually started saying yes to some dates, but the funny thing was none of them ever panned out for some weird reason or another. Also around this time, I started realizing that Tim was really the only guy I had seen so far who pursued me the right way. He was respectful and intentional. He didn’t mess with me, take up my time without being willing to put skin in the game or leave me guessing. I told God, “If you open a door, I’ll tell him that if he asked me out again I’d say yes.”
The final straw for me was early November… in only the way He can, God brought me to the end of myself – I finally stopped wrestling with Him for control of this whole thing. I realized that I was driving myself nuts trying to play God and that the role wasn’t meant for me. It was meant for Him. One Saturday morning, I wrote out everything that I had prayed, desired and dreamed about what “love” would look like. I wrote it all – the dreamy stuff we all think, but also the kind of ugly stuff. “I want to be loved without risk of hurt or rejection. I don’t want to have to be vulnerable.”
I wrote it all, put it in a box, taped it up, took communion and gave it to God! I’m done. It’s not my show. I have no idea what’s going to happen, when it will happen or what it will look like.
THREE DAYS LATER, guys… I had to ask Tim for some help with a work thing (we both work at Gateway Church) and we started chatting. He asked me how I was, I asked how he was…. He told me he had just started dating someone (and in my mind, I was like “Well, shoot. There goes that.”) But we kept chatting and somehow got back to the subject of when he asked me out before. I honestly can’t remember how I did it, but I just slipped this in the conversation…
“Not to make it awkward, but if you asked me out again I’d say yes.” He kind of chuckled and said, “Well, that’s great.” But for me, the really amazing thing was that it didn’t get awkward. It got better and more comfortable. We just kept talking and it was so easy and natural. And the thing that had changed in me was that I was finally healthy enough to see that as a really good thing! I had tried to make hard and awkward work and this was SO MUCH BETTER! The next night he asked me if I was serious the day before and I said yes. He said, “Well, that’s great because the crazy thing is, it’s six months later and I still want to grab dinner.” My response was to crack a joke about how hungry he must be after not eating for six months – which he totally went with! “Yes, I’m starving, but it was worth it.”
Come one, guys. It doesn’t get much better than that! That’s just how the relationship started – it honestly keeps getting better. Not to say we haven’t had our moments because the REAL TRUTH is relationships stretch you and grow you in ways you never expect. But they also bring so much joy and fullness to your life and my relationship with Tim has totally done that! It’s really been such a huge answer to things that I didn’t even know I wanted or needed… more on that in my next installment of the story, but I’ll leave off for there today because it’s gorgeous outside and I need to go play in nature. The “He said” version of the prequel is coming soon so stay tuned!
Love you guys so much! Hope this story encouraged you today… let go, let God be sovereign and He will fulfill your hearts desires. He’s just NEVER going to do it the way you expect. But you WILL be happy!