For several years now I have been showered with well-intentioned advice from dear friends. All saying that if I am ever going to want to settle down and have a family I would need to change my life style. I would need to stop having kids around me all the time (I’m a nanny), because that scares guys away, and I need to stop traveling the majority of my time. I was also told to start limiting the amount of Women’s and Mom’s conferences I was attending and working for because obviously, you don’t find boys there. It was as if society was telling me that a young girl in her 20’s should have her focus on hunting for the perfect man. It was frustrating and broke my heart all at the same time. I had always seen having a relationship as having someone who was running the race beside me. Not as someone who completed me or was my “other half” because I already felt complete. I knew who I was in Christ and I knew that what I was doing was exactly where God had called me for this season in life. I knew that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my independence and identity simply to go on a search for a boy because that is what everyone was telling me. So, I came to terms with the fact that I may never get married and I was ok with that. Don’t get me wrong…it was a desire; at times it was stronger than others, but not strong enough for me to lose myself and think of myself as incomplete without it.
So, fast-forward to this past October. I met a boy. At a Women’s Conference. He was the keyboardist. No it wasn’t “love at first sight”, just a guy who chatted with me for a few minutes. A week later we had another encounter, which is when I gave him the cold shoulder and ignored him because everyone was trying to match-make us. Don’t ask why, I really don’t know why I do these things sometimes. He invited me to coffee just to have a chance to prove that his intentions were not to be in a relationship, and I agreed to go to make up for the cold shoulder act I had pulled.
That first coffee resulted in us discussing our love for the single life, our frustration with people treating singles like they have a disease and our passion to live life fully and continue to treasure our independence. He told me how he was never going to get married and I told him I figured I never would either if it meant sacrificing who I am. Imagine our surprise walking away from that conversation…or maybe intrigue is a better word. The next couple months led us into a deep and precious friendship as God crossed our paths in every way possible. We were sent to the same states at the same time, road trips to the same places, and put on the same tours. We couldn’t avoid each other if we wanted to. We were in constant conversation about where we were and what we were as everyone around us still had it in their minds that we were destined to be married. We continued coming to the conclusion that friends was where we were at for the time being and that I personally would not make any steps further unless he did first. We didn’t want our relationship to be molded and influenced by the pressures surrounding us.
There were so many important events that occurred in a short period of time. We both ended up in Minnesota together the first week we really hung out. He got to spend that weekend getting to know my best friend, and I was amazed at his genuine love for people. We ended up on a road trip to Texas together after that because we were both scheduled to be there at the same time…so obviously why not save money on gas and make the trip together? On that trip he spent half the week with my family, pouring into my nephews and nieces and twenty hours of car time grew our friendship immensely. We talked a lot and there was never any confusion or questions as to where either of us was emotionally in the friendship. We promised to be honest and have open communication at all times, and I believe that is why we were able to grow and move forward with a healthy, strong foundation.
Through the twists and turns of God weaving our lives together, we did hit a point where there was a shift in our friendship. We realized that there was a bigger plan in the works. Did we fall madly in love right then and there? No. Not at all. In fact, we continued to have conversations and see where we each were at, making sure we were on the same page. We admitted to falling little by little…but neither of us was fully there. It was a slow process.
Fast forward a little more…
At this point we have taken the step forward. We still don’t label it, because we feel societal labels are unnecessary and bring with them pressures that cause unhealthy expectations. This does not mean we are afraid of commitment or we want our “freedom”, but rather it’s something that God has really convicted us with. We felt it’s the healthiest way to move forward. A dear friend decided to call us “friends with a future” and we’ve claimed that as our label. I’ve learned so much through this journey, but over-all I have had confirmation that we don’t need to give up our identity or who we are for something that we desire or that people tell us we need. We don’t have to lower our list of standards, because we think it will never be fulfilled. I don’t have to change who I am to win over a boy. It’s not a game to win.
I have loved what Kelly and Heather have written about how first and foremost our desire should be for Christ. Our most important wedding is not the one with all the flowers, bridesmaids and the princess dress. We are treasured and we deserve to have our standards fulfilled. I regret ever doubting that God would have someone out there for me that filled what I believed to be important however, I am grateful that I was able to get to a point of being ok remaining single. God has honored every desire of my heart and more. He has brought me someone who saw the importance of a strong friendship foundation, someone who has such a deep passion for the Lord that it challenges me to run faster and dive deeper into my own spiritual walk, and someone who walks in faith and loves recklessly despite what society tells him. God even honored a somewhat joking prayer years ago that if he was a musician, that he wouldn’t be established yet because I wanted to walk that path with him and support him. He honored my desire to have someone who loves me for all the things people told me needed to change. This boy loves my independence, my lack of need for him, my strong identity, my free spirit and spitfire personality and my love for traveling and not settling down. All of the things that I was told to change, all the things that make me who I am, all the things that were supposedly going to keep me from having a relationship. These are the things he loves about me.
I share our story in much more detail on my blog and if you would like to read the more detailed version of how we met and where we are now, feel free to hop over to www.thehandynanny.com and catch up. My encouragement to you is to not lose who you are or pour your identity into whether or not you have a boy in your life. Don’t alter how you live to make you more “available” according to what the world around you says. Dive deep into your relationship with Christ and figure out your identity there…no one…no man can complete you or give you your identity. And until you know who you are, you won’t have a full person to offer to your future spouse. Don’t lose hope, we are created to have a desire for relationship, but again, it cannot become your distraction from the rest of life God has called you to live. God honors our desires in His own time and often He doesn’t allow that time to come until we have laid it all at His feet and let go. Remember that God’s plan for us is bigger than we can even imagine.