Can I Tell You a Story? (Part 2)

  A little over a year ago, I wrote what I thought was the end of a story. Well, it was the end of a chapter. I learned that God has a bigger story, and a happier chapter ahead. Just less than 3 months would pass and every single part of my life would change. Again. To get the prequel - read here. 

July 4 weekend last year was devastating.

I had heartbreak, loneliness, devastation and a huge wide unknown of the future. Home wasn't going to be home. Work was a huge question bank account was dangerously thin.

But Jesus.

I couldn't see it - the big wide open space He was about to bust open for me.

Abusive relationships were a part of my story. The guy I thought was a prince but poured poisoned water over until the princess I had been was unrecognizable. I didn't know myself anymore. But summer came. And I was broken to pieces again. Of course I was. The boy...he chased more girls, took them into his life....and made sure I was well broken. And he mocked my pain, as usual.

Give it time, my friends said. You'll heal, you'll mend. And mend, Jesus did, but still I was limping. Like Jacob who had wrestled with God and walked away lame. I was lame. At peace and happy with Jesus, walking along through life, limping.

I think it made me better, to be limping. I was able to walk into a new work family and shed some joy. Real joy. Jesus restored my smile...He made me shine. It certainly wasn't me. But all I saw were people who responded to the girl who laughed, wore glitter anyway she could, and made kick ass coffee.

I fell in love with Jesus and with myself again. My limping, broken hearted, used up self. I was approached by a coworker one day and asked how I was always so upbeat, so happy even when days were crummy and I had early mornings, or whatever. This was my response:

"I have survived the darkest of days. I have had the worst of bad days and lived. I didn't think I would some days. But I lived. I figure that as far as I have survived, there really isn't much life can throw at me that hasn't been survived. I have to wake up happy, I can't be anything but grateful because I'm alive and I'm not experiencing those days anymore."

The ashes had washed off, and the Phoenix heart of mine was alive and glowing embers of hope.

And then....the boy came back. But...I was not who I was. I had been reborn, stronger and brave. He kept coming back. I was hesitant.

But Jesus....

Sent a man my way - a real man. The kind of man that reminded me that I wasn't a toy to be used like a little boy would. The kind of man that would quietly, steadily pursue me until I was confident in his intentions. The kind of man who hid nothing about himself, his past or his heart. And I never saw him coming.

I was just busy letting Jesus stir the embers of life, hope, peace and happiness in me. I was busy investing in the people God put in my path. Because they were gifts from him. I was busy rebuilding myself and I learned how to do that by loving other broken people.

And the King sent a true servant my way. He had his own story of brokenness, heartbreak, devastation. In fact, while the players of our stories were different and circumstances different, the wounds were the same. I remember watching this man at work and thinking "he's looks afraid to be happy, to really smile." and I would use every encounter at the register, coffee bar, cleaning tables, make him smile.

My heart knew his heart. Knew his broken spirit that was rebuilding, a heart that was tender and kind...that needed a gentle, kind touch. We needed life...and God sent us to each other.

I wasn't looking for anyone to marry. Neither was he. Both of us were certain that part of our story was over. Love...well it wasn't going to come for me except through my Father...and that was ok by me. Two months into that...the story that was mine became the story that was OURS.

On October 13, I sat at a table in Barnes & Noble, weeping and telling this man in front of me that the boy from my past was clamoring for me again in the wake of a date with him (my man). Fully expecting to hear the Man say, "...go ahead if you want..." instead I heard "You have a future away from the past..."

A future. God spoke in that 10 second pause...and said "Amanda, the choice is yours - this man is your future, or you can go back to the past with the boy..." And in a breath of a second, I knew that my future lay in the hands of the very capable, steady, kind, gentle, strong man in front of me...and he would follow Jesus to secure that future with the goodness of our Savior.

I breathed out the past and took a moment to say yes to the future.....

To be continued....


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