Thursday, February 16, 2017

Again and Again - I'll Ask You


Plane picture from my last journey to TX.

    Tomorrow I'm flying to Dallas TX for a dear friend's wedding. ^_^  It's still hard to grasp that I'm going...It won't feel quite real until I'm on the plane, haha.

Grace and I have been online friends for years, and this will be the second time I'll have been able to see her face to face. The last time was back in 2012 when I was 17, and I spent a week with her. 
   The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to ask God about the life choices I'm making. He's the Creator of time itself - He knows my life, and so I ask Him about it. Between it being a big financial choice - a plane ticket and a hotel room -  and a couple other reasons, I prayed and asked God to make it very clear if should go. Specifically, I asked God to help me have money over and above my regular paycheck.

      So I prayed about it.

     On December 13th, while sitting in a parking lot, about to go in to get my wheel changed on my car, I said, "Maybe it's best not to go." I remember gripping the steering wheel and looking out at the snow and feeling... torn.

    Those were words to hold back my emotions from simply making a decision. I was weighing options - wondering what was best. I'd been told several times that, "That's a lot of money to spend on a weekend away." And yes, I understand that, - buuut it's my friend's wedding...  And so I warred in my mind, and with others' opinions of my finances. That was the day I decided that without a clear answer, maybe I was supposed to stay home.

     When I got back from the car dealership, my mom - who knew nothing of my prayers - informed me that instead of Christmas presents, my grandparents were sending us money. It was such a direct answer to prayer, I couldn't contain my joy. God? You answered me that clearly?

     But it still wasn't enough to cover what I needed, so I prayed again that night... Because it's good to ask.

      The next day, December 14, I got a message on my FB Clay-Art page, asking if I'd be available to teach clay-figure making at a kids birthday party. *Laughs* It's then that I knew that I knew that I'd be going to the wedding. I was totally able to cover my flight expenses.

      I remember sitting on my bedroom floor, rocking back and forth and laughing and almost crying. Because how else do you explain this, but God's goodness to me? How could I find words for that overwhelming, flooring joy? God had answered me twice, one day after another. And if God had answered me financially, then I trusted that I'd be able to take a three day weekend off from work to travel. He answered that too.

      God isn't some genie in the sky who grants all our wishes. But I believe we'd more readily see His blessings if we prayed more... I wouldn't have seen God's blessings so deeply if I hadn't asked Him to provide for me - perhaps I would have still received the blessing, but I wouldn't have been so floored by His grace. Prayer reminds me to be grateful for His goodness to me. Prayer gives me conversation and connection with my God - a way to hear His voice. Prayer allows me to better see His guiding hand in every facet of life. He is so Good.

    Tomorrow I am flying out on a grand, short little adventure that God blessed me with. Saturday I get to see my friend enter joyfully into marriage. What a beautiful joy.

       Again and again - I'll ask You, God. I'll ask You, and I'll listen. I know You see better than I do.

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To God be the glory,

~ZA

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I Realize We're an Oddity to Some



"So when are you moving in with him?"

I've lost track now of how many times I've been asked this since I got engaged at the end of December.



 Jimmy and I have been dating long distance for the entirety of our relationship - he lives in PA, and I live in Michigan, and funny enough, we met via ChristianMingle. (But that's another story. ;) ) We Skype several times a week for hours on end, and he visits me once a month for a weekend. We've had two week-long visits together - once in the summer, and once in December. We miss each other, but we make it work. ^_^

All that to say - we're as "used to"  having a long distance relationship as one can get.



And still that question, "So when are are moving in with him?"

My response is: "After we get married in July."

 Well meaning follow up questions/statements from people include: "Don't you want to move in with him now?" - "It's nice to move in before getting married because it takes some getting used to." - "I lived with my fiance/boyfriend _____ before we got married."

 It's funny to me how backwards all this is, as well meaning as all these people are. Yes - I realize marriage won't be all easy-happy-fluff - I realize it takes work - but I don't need to start "getting used to" married life before I'm married. And yes - I want to live with him - that's why we're getting married... But I don't need a test few months of living together before the wedding to make sure I want to get married to this man.

God has things ordered in certain ways on purpose - I believe His ways are best for us. We're doing what God calls "good" - and it seems odd to a lot of people...

   Besides that - sometimes, the way we interact in public makes people comment.

   One time when we were out, Jimmy opened my car door for me to get in, like he always does. He shut the door, and a lady shouted over to him, catching him off guard. She wanted to know if his car door was stuck, because he had me get in first. He told her no, and she swore at him in an "approval" type of way, and told him that that was how to treat a lady.



Last time we were on a date, when the waitress brought the receipt for the dinner, he was gone in the restroom. The waitress had put the receipt upside down, instead of offering it to me. When I picked it up, she said in kind of an apologetic tone, "He didn't seem the type who'd want you to see the check. He seems like quite a gentleman." I laughed. "Oh yes - he won't let me pay for things. But I have a gift card, so we're going to use that."

 And then there's the times where I've been asked by people I know, "Is he religious too?" As if... it were a side thing, instead of the central part of a healthy relationship... Of course he's "religious" - if by that, you mean a growing Christian. Knowing Jesus is the center-point of who I am - I'm not going to marry someone who doesn't share that with me.

  The reality is - we're a bit of an oddity in the world's eyes, and people notice. It's a good kind of oddity - I pray we can be good examples of how to love, and follow God's timing, and be patient, and grow in Christ.

   The kind of example that speaks well of each other. The kind where he treats me kindly, and I respect him. The kind where we pray together, and attend church together. The kind where we manage our finances, and discuss our goals, and work together. The kind of people who live lives of strength in Christ.

That's the kind of example I pray we are, and will continue to be. :) God never promised life would be easy - He tells us there will be hardships - but I trust God knows the way. I'm excited to run through life with a man who will chase after Jesus with me.

To God be the Glory,

~ZA

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