This story is much different than the way I would have written it. It’s a story that doesn’t completely make sense to me yet. Yet, it’s a story that I believe God is writing and I am excited to be a part of.
I’m a bit bashful, so come a little closer, and I’ll tell you a secret: I have a boyfriend. Eeeeeee! I know, right?
Now that my girly squeals have ended, let’s get to the serious stuff. I need to backtrack a little, but I promise I’ll tell you more about the boyfriend thing by the end of this post…
As a student at Asbury College, a small Christian liberal arts school, I found myself in the mindset of many young ladies walking the halls with me. I expected, or at least hoped, I’d be dating someone seriously or possibly be getting married soon after graduation. Now that I’m 28 years old and in my 7th year working as a single woman post-college, I can tell you that my hopes did not come to fruition on my timeline. However, as I’ve learned time and time again, God’s timeline is much better than mine. You’ll see why.
I also thought I would go right to the mission field after college, but again, God had other plans. He took me to teach in a school in New Jersey the year after I graduated. I thought that I would work that job while applying to the Southern Baptist IMB to go on a two-year mission program. Ha! That job consumed my life, and there was no time or energy left to put a major application together.
After my year in New Jersey, I was itching to move out of my parents’ home and be on my own for a while. My year of teaching confirmed it was a job that I enjoyed and found meaning in, and by a seemingly haphazard string of conversations and interviews, I landed another teaching job in Lexington, Kentucky, a place to which I happily returned. At the time, I really didn’t understand God’s plan, but I walked through the open door anyway. I still wanted to go to the mission field, and another year as a teacher seemed to be pulling me away from that direction. Still, God knew so much better than I.
Three years of teaching passed in Kentucky, and I learned a lot about living independently (with lovely roommates, of course, but no mom or dad to handle the “grown up” things). I also learned a lot about teaching, being a professional, using my gifts for God’s purposes, participating in church ministry, and following the Lord in the good times and bad. Basically, I grew up a lot during that time in Kentucky. As year three came to a close, I was again seeking an open door from God, and this time, He used my sister to point me in the right direction.
At the time, Sara was teaching 2nd grade in a school in Taiwan. During her visit at Christmas, she told me of an open position in the ELL department at the school, and I decided to apply. This is a VERY long story that I will cut short, but suffice it to say, I was offered the job, and I left Kentucky to move to Taiwan. This is now my third year teaching in Taiwan, and God has used my time here to shape me and grow me and enhance my understanding of Him so much more than He did even during my time in Kentucky. I must also point out that my vision for missions finally became reality in Taiwan, but the very cool thing is that God used all of my experience as a teacher for my mission work. When I thought that spending time teaching in the States was pulling me away from my call to missions, God KNEW what He was doing and how He was preparing me. Thanks, God.
I have grown up A LOT and changed so much since I graduated from college, but one thing hasn’t changed, and that is my desire for companionship. If you are a close friend, you know that I truly do want to get married and have a family someday. You have also probably prayed for me, especially over the past few years as that desire has strengthened.
So, now I can get back to the reason you’re reading this post anyway: the boyfriend. His name is Charles, and we met online on a Christian dating site. Yep, that’s right. I never would have written my story this way, but so far God has been working it out quite nicely. The positive thing about meeting and communicating online is that we spend a lot of time talking about the big and small stuff, so we are really getting to know each other well. The negative thing is that we will not meet in person until this summer since we currently reside approximately 7,000 miles away from each other. Here’s a picture of what our “dates” usually look like:
Truly, I am looking forward to closing the gap in terms of distance this summer. Charles and I are planning to spend time in New York with my family and in South Carolina at his home. Though I feel like I know him so well already, there is still a lot to learn about each other that will happen in person.
Let me brag on Charles for a moment: Charles is a strong man of God who truly loves the Lord. The thing I enjoy most about him is his heart for pursuing Christ passionately. He works full-time at his church in the technology department; this is great because his training is in technology, but he is also using it for ministry. He is incredibly smart, and we have very fun conversations discussing a plethora of topics. We are both a bit on the nerdy side–he leans toward science and math, and of course, I am the language lady–and we are both quite comfortable with this characteristic. Charles has also become interested in missions over the past few years, and we have in common a desire to see China reached for Christ. I also think that Charles is quite sensitive and is a great communicator, a trait that is important to someone who likes to talk and interact socially as much as I do. I could go on and on about Charles, but I feel a little like I’m writing a personal add for him right now (and I don’t want anyone else to grow too fond of him at this point!).
The very, very exciting thing about this relationship is that Charles and I both sense God’s hand on it in a powerful way. It doesn’t completely make sense to either of us why God would bring us together from this far apart, but what are a few oceans to God? At this point, we are simply excited to see where God leads us. For me, I am thrilled to walk through God’s open doors trusting that as He has never led me astray in the past, He will continue to guide me soundly.
Seven years ago, I was confused and even disappointed about leaving Asbury with no prospects of marriage, but now I realize how much of life I needed to experience before I would be ready for a serious relationship like that. Just as God, the Great Author, wrote the story that has taken me through twists and turns to this point in my life, I know that He has penned the details and has great reasons for the timeline He is working out for me now.
I know that this relationship with Charles came “out of the blue” to many friends who follow me on Facebook, and it might still seem a little unconventional to you (it does even to me!), but I hope that you can catch a glimpse of God’s hand in this story. I am excited to share it with you and to invite you to journey with me as I walk where Christ leads.