I identify with Shane and Oliver in more ways than I would probably want to admit when all is said and done. I didn't grow up in a traditional two-parent home, my mother left when I was twelve to chase after my father (whom I never knew and was married, by the way) and my grandmother, who, God bless this woman, stuck around to raise me the rest of the way, did so on her own. I never got the benefit of watching a marriage play out, or wounds from the past fully heal, and all the years of rejection and abandonment---no matter how hard I tried to ignore it, or how far I tried to run---always seemed to catch up with me. And the strange mix of circumstances at an age that was already awkward---my teens---didn't make things any easier. I didn't really have friends and never really figured out how to have them. What never left, though, was my very strong desire to connect with someone, particularly in a way that might eventually lead to marriage one day. Not surprisingly, I had to reconnect with Someone else, first, if I ever intended to get there.
Recently God imparted on me a very logical piece of wisdom: Little girls grow up dreaming of the perfect love story. But if God is Love, then how can a true Love story even begin to be written without Him?
Suddenly my last (and really only) relationship made complete sense. I had tried to start writing the story without Him and, perhaps mid-way through, decided to try and hand over the pen. Problem was I was handing over the pen for God to fix a story He likely never intended to write at all (thanks, free will). What I didn't realize until later was that He started using Signed, Sealed, Delivered---the first season of which was completely dedicated to love in its many forms---to start re-working the story by re-writing my heart.
Getting there, however, required obeying very specific instructions: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself." Matthew 6:33-34 (NIV) In order to get what He wanted for me I was going to have to give up what I had. While it was extremely hard breaking off my engagement, to let go of someone I had grown close to and truly valued, I had peace about it, and, as we know, peace "is essential." I wasn't proud of the fact I had broken this guys' heart, but I knew the tug on my heart and that I had to answer it---whatever that meant, wherever that led (one of those destinations ended up being A&D---six months to the day, in fact).
Looking back it's very clear that pursuing God was the key. Like Shane, I had a lot of broken places and pieces that needed repaired in my heart and in my life. I needed to stop being a "free agent," get connected to community and figure out how to build those meaningful friend relationships, to re-discover my worth, resolve to "never settle in love," and begin to see myself as my Father sees me. In order to get where I wanted to go, each piece had to be restored in its own time, and God has been faithful to do just that, surrounding me with a large community of people to be loved by, and love on, beyond what I could have ever imagined.
Shane and Oliver's story has also made something abundantly clear: God really does do a better job of writing the kind of Love story I want to be part of than I could ever dream of writing myself. Theirs is one layered in the most dynamic and profound of ways, its complexity speaks volumes about the way God wishes to---and is capable of---connecting people.
I've eagerly transferred ownership of the pen, and am content to stick to blogging in the meantime---things work better that way! What I desire will require a lot of work, but I honestly believe that God is faithfully and completely preparing me for that labor of Love. When I think of it that way, it feels like a Promise that I'll receive that precious and sacred gift of marriage one day if I #TrustTheTiming. And when I do so, it will be His way and with His blessing---no re-writes/revisions required.
For now, I'm content with the Love of my God, my Nana and my POstables family, gifts in and of themselves. But when you see another post about Shane and Oliver, remember it won't always really just be about Shane and Oliver. Indeed, it might just be more proof that God is in the business of restoring His Children and preparing them to build bright futures---even right before your eyes.
P.S. I am taking the rest of the week off to work on some new content (a commentary on compartmentalization, a living triptych [go watch The Masterpiece for more], and what happens when a Next-Gen POstable happens upon now infamous artifacts---just to name a few). But don't worry, I'll be back on Friday with a rundown of Week 2 Filming. See you then!