Several years ago, I posted a bit about how my faith in God as Father banishes fear. I've never worried about the future or how the dust would settle because I knew He was directing things and would point me in the right direction.
He put up a giant, neon sign in July of 2017.
For those of you who hadn't been following along, a quick synopsis.
For the rest of you, the story continues with a 10-day vacation over Fourth of July weekend. It was my first holiday without the boys and I knew I needed to pack my "vacation" with as many things as possible to keep my mind off that fact. I decided to travel and see some old friends.
I had friends in upstate New York that I hadn't seen in a while. I also had a friend from high school who had recently moved to Kansas with her family. Interestingly, if I was able to swing Kansas, there was a third friend who had ALSO just moved to Kansas, but on the other side of the state. Being the ridiculously efficient person I am, I tried to knock out all of them during the same 10 day period.
I carpooled to NY with the first set of friends and spent several days enjoying games, hiking, and food, then came back home. Early the following morning, I hopped on a plane to Catherine's house (my friend from high school). Finally, after being spoiled rotten by her incredible family, I took a 4-hour bus ride across the state to see Chris, a recent transplant from North Carolina (and before that, New Jersey).
While I missed my boys those 10 days, I filled my heart with so much love and laughter that I couldn't help but be grateful. In all things, God is good.
This entire time, the Tribunal was still waving at me from the shadows. I wasn't worried about it, but I wasn't thrilled about not having a decision, either. Limbo isn't a fun place to be.
Anyway, to the good stuff:
Chris and I have known each other for about 15 years. He was in my wedding party, I had visited him a couple times in Carolina, I was (and am) still friendly with one of his ex-girlfriends, and I always viewed his little brother as my own little brother. There had never been an inkling of romance between the two of us and this trip was no different. We hung out as we normally would, visited some fun places, caught up on each other's lives and had some great conversations.
The night before I was to leave, I anxiously tried to prepare myself for the airport. At the time, I was still very scared of flying and never slept the night before boarding. Knowing this, he put on The Count of Monte Cristo and we settled onto his couch for the next few hours. By the end of the movie, it was after 3AM. I was WIRED, excited to talk about a movie I'd never seen before; he was exhausted.
I turned to look at him as the credits rolled and I was shocked at how bloodshot his eyes were. Utterly sapped, he pushed himself to stay awake and watch a movie so I wasn't anxious and alone the night before my flight. He had to work the next day, too!!! In that moment, I was overcome with gratitude that God had blessed me with such an amazing friend.
It was as if someone flipped a switch that opened a dam directly to my soul. I was flooded so quickly with love, affection and appreciation that I almost reached out to touch his face. I then experienced emotional whiplash as I realized this flood of emotion was directed at Chris.
CHRIS? My insanely intelligent, witty, musically gifted and goofy friend Chris? THAT CHRIS? No. Clearly someone got their wires mixed.
So I blurted out "I'm gonna go brush my teeth!" and ran to the bathroom. I had to take a minute to sort myself out. My brain was yelling:
WHAT WAS THAT?! Did I just experience feelings for CHRIS?
NO! That's not possible. I mean... right?
No. Absolutely not.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
I'm sleep deprived. I can't possibly be attracted to Chris. It's not possible.
But he stayed up with you because he knows you're scared of flying and you didn't even have to ask. He didn't want you to be alone! *SWOON*
NO! YOU STOP THAT. Now go back out before he starts to wonder why you're taking forever.
I went back out to the couch where he was still half asleep, trying to soldier on. I was fighting myself internally and couldn't focus on anything other than stifling the "KISS HIM, KISS HIM NOW" scream ringing in my brain.
I sent him to bed. He protested, because he didn't want to leave me on my own, but I was genuinely amped and he was ready to pass out. I laid on the couch, and I heard him collapse into bed. I could hear him rolling around, seemingly discontent, himself. Finally, he settled and a few hours later, we got up to head to the airport. I flew home, and fitfully slept that night as I mulled over what all these psychotic feelings were about.
The next morning was July 6th. I went into work and groaned when I saw the pile of mail waiting for me at my desk. However, a large envelope caught my eye; it was from the Tribunal. I anxiously opened the packet and quickly scanned the letter; a decision had been reached. The Tribunal ruled that I was free - FREE!!!
I then caught the date the letter was addressed to me: July 5th.
During the Hour of Mercy on July 5th, a switch got flipped and my heart directed itself almost instantaneously towards Chris. Just as I had said to the countless people who told me to "move on" or "date around," I knew it wasn't right and promised God I'd let Him sort out the details of when and who.
And sure enough, He set up a giant neon sign for me. That's not to say I immediately bounded down the path towards Chris.
In fact, I actively fought against it for a few months as I argued with myself over the insanity of seeing Chris as anything but a good friend. If I'm being honest, it still feels a bit crazy to me, but when have God's plans ever made sense to us?
So that's how Chris and I (started) our journey. On the very day the Tribunal sent its ruling to me, God pulled the veil from my eyes and I saw my friend of 15 years in a new and unimaginable light. It'd be a few months until we were ready to actually DO something with that, but the barrier had been removed and we were open to seeing where the road would take us.
Trust in God, folks. He's always got a plan and I assure you... you will never be smart enough to figure it out. Had you given me a million years and a library of the wildest possibilities, I couldn't have come up with this one.
So sit back and enjoy the ride, because in the end, God's got you.