Monday, December 04, 2006
Once Upon a Time...
Several weeks ago, just shortly after Fall Break in October, I found myself in conversation with a girl in one of my classes. We were simply catching up on some different things, especially since classes had just resumed after the break. We talked about our boyfriends and what all we did during Fall Break. I then began telling her of three different girls I had talked to at school, two of which are close friends with each other, who had similar "stories": each had met the young man they were dating during the first week of school this semester, and were already either engaged or at least ring shopping by mid-October. I was telling her how neat it was that they were all in similar seasons of life, and how funny it was to hear of stories that were, yet again, so different from my own. This girl I was talking with then tilted her head slightly and said half-jokingly, "So when are you going to have a story to tell?" I then tilted my head in the same manner and responded, "I do have a story. Mine's just been going on for three years instead of three months."
I wouldn't say that I was offended by the question asked, but I have had a difficult time trying to come up with the appropriate word to articulate my feelings on the matter. I don't know how often it is that I am asked questions about the relationship I am in: when this and that are going to take place, how crazy it is that I've been with the same person for so long and we still haven't even transitioned into engagement yet. I've become rather used to the questions, but this particular conversation was quite different. I find it to be two completely different scenarios for someone to simply say, "Wow, you guys have been together for a long time," rather than imply that we don't have the supposed ideal relationship because of how long we've been together. The attitude and tone behind the question was of such implication. I can't say that I was offended necessarily because I was also saddened. This girl actually asked me when I was going to have a story, when...is not the Lord, the Creator and Sustainer, the very One who ordains and sets such things in place? I cannot read passages such as Psalm 139 and think that He has not already written the story of my life. He is the Author, the One who penned the details, and the more time goes by, the more I am overwhelmed and thankful for how He has and is at work in this relationship. I say to others with great humility that I am not the person I once was. I can look over the past three years and see very specific seasons the Lord has led me through, all part of the sanctification process as I have learned to put one's cares and interests above my own. I have at least started knowing what it looks like to actively love someone, what it means to apply 1 Corinthians 13 and Philippians to everyday occurrences. There are so many memories and significant times of growth packed into these past three years, and would such have been the case in a matter of months? No. This precious story, the one written before time began, is the one for me. This music was not composed for anyone else, and any other music would not be that which the Lord composed for me. This is how He has shown Himself in my life, this is how He has shown me that I truly am His child, and this is how He has so painfully and wonderfully refined me. The gift of grace I did not deserve has been manifested in my relationship to this man in a very unique, matchless way, and I have seen countless glimpses of the Father's love and patience and trust and faithfulness in him. There are women who, years ago, were of encouragement in reminding me that the Lord was already at work on my story. Even before I could comprehend that there was a story set in place, He knew the details because He spoke them into existence.
Such a question seems to cheapen the grace, beauty and handiwork of the story.