Thursday, July 16, 2020

Letting Your Heart Fall in Love (romance blog #1)

I’d never had a boyfriend til this one.

Long before he called me and confessed his love, he’d become my favorite person alive. For years. And for years, I tried to get over him. I tried. But it didn’t work.

The way he paid attention when people spoke to him, listened, really listened, how he held his daughter like it’s all he wanted to do, his sense of humor (seemingly as odd as mine), his freckled skin, his farming family, his thoughtful words, & the biggest atop of the very long list—how he kept letting God do what He wanted with him. 

I’d watch up close and personal for a couple years when he first started knowing Jesus, then I’d watch from a far distance for several years—he said “yes” to that King, would face hard stuff, trip, but always come back to Him again. 

I watched it and I kept falling deeper in love. But I kept staying away. 

He was younger than me. 

With a very different history. 

I had this run-around-the-globe independent tendency, he had a daughter and stay-put life in my hometown. 

It didn’t seem our lives could mesh.

So I kept staying away. 

And surrendering him to God, crying, grasping my aching heart, and surrendering again.

He let me know he loved me once. And I clutched the phone, fell on my knees, and cried the same heavy tears I'd been crying for years. The tears coming from my heart that was in love with him but determined it could never be with him. So I told heart "no" again, told that man I loved "no" again, and kept up with the surrendering, crying, grasping, surrendering, again. 

Then God met me in my car at the gas pump at Kroger. There wasn't any thunder or thick cloud or burning bush. 

Just an old gray steering wheel in my hands, a gas pump to my left, and a gentle God pulling my heart out into the light, into the open. God helped me start thinking these honest thoughts I'd never let myself think. It was February 15, 2020. A Saturday. Me and God had a heart-confronting conversation at pump number four and I sobbed. 

Years and pounds of fear started bubbling up to the surface of my heart. So I could see it. It had been hiding pretty deep. 

I was terrified to date. 

I was terrified of Dylan Martin. 

I was terrified of heart break. 

I was terrified of not being super-single-missionary girl who skipped around the world.

 I was terrified of people’s opinions.

 I was terrified of romance. 

You get the picture; I was terrified. 

And before that gas pump moment, I'd had no idea. 

So there in front of Kroger I started handing God fear mountains & slimy pride & He started setting my heart free. 

This happens. 

We’re going about our lives, fear & nasty hidden goop tucked down into our hearts, leading our choices, our days, while we just let it. Fear is an awful leader. And that stupid stuff robs us blind. Because that's what fear does. But this is what God does—shows us the fear and other hidden slime, & then blasts it all out with courage-filled love. If we'll let Him, God will help us directly confront what’s going on in our own hearts--hard and scary and freeing. 

I called Dylan Martin the next day.

February 16. 

A Sunday. 

“I like you, Dylan. And I have for a long time. I’ve got a lot of questions and I’m not sure how this can work out, but, I’d like to try.”

So we’ve been trying. 

And it’s been working out. 

He's nicer and funnier and more thoughtful and more generous and more handsome and more crazy about his daughter and the top notch of the list--more surrendered to that King--than I thought he was. And romance! It's delightful! 

Regularly, I cry at the sheer joy of this thought; 

"I'm dating Dylan Martin."

Then he looks over at his passenger seat to see my tear-soaked face, again, and wipes the tears off, again. And we smile at each other. 


I've been saying "ah" often lately. 

I feel relieved, thankful beyond what I've ever felt, and happy. Man I like being in love. 

God is nice!

God is romantic!

God loves us!

God made Dylan Martin!


Love takes risks.

Love doesn’t listen to fear.

Love pulls our hearts out into the light and cleans them up, frees them up, and teaches them how to fall in love. 

p.s. pictured: holding hands in the woods on a family hike. Like I said, "ah."

p.p.s. I got more romance words than one blog can hold. stay tuned for more learning & falling in love.