Our wedding week, wedding day, honeymoon and first weeks of marriage have been blissful! Truly blessed. Full of new beginnings, unspeakable joy, so much fun, lots of learning and growing, and some trials and difficult things, too. I began my blog over three years ago with a passion to share my love for Jesus and to encourage young women. The blog quickly melded into somewhat of a "waiting"and relationship blog.... I sort of became known as the "singleness and purity blogger." And spoke at events, The Influence Conference, and wrote much about waiting. It became my ministry. One that I could have never imagined! Every single day for about three years straight -- without fail -- I would receive more than a 2-3 emails from different young women from ALL over the world about how they were waiting, too, and found encouragement in my honest words and struggles shared. How they wanted to wait. Or how they desired the "sweeter song" (as authors Eric and Leslie Ludy write) -- a romantic life that is not full of emptiness and meaningless hook-ups and searching, but is filled with meaning, life-long happiness, cherishing love, respect, and dreams come true! Every day, I would sit and email them back -- gals who needed hope, we felt like their loneliness would never end, who didn't see God's hand in their season, who felt left out and very forgotten. Who were the only ones in their high school and college who were choosing to wait on God to write their love story and be fearless and fierce in that commitment, to pray for their future husbands and to be trust Him -- with reckless faith and abandon -- to write their love stories. There were gals who felt so so guilty and lived in shame for things God had already given them grace for... for we all fail and fall every day, and need Him. I found my days full of trying -- with empty and sometimes shaking hands -- to encourage and speak hope into their lives. To tell them how much He adores them. How much He forgives and gives second chances to and has unimaginably beautiful plans for. How He desires them, all of them -- and waits to woo and win their hearts. How big and beautiful His plans for them are, and how all they had to do was ask, and step out in bold faith, for His best and most amazing plans.. to share with them how He is not some angry face looking down at us, shaking His head and pointing His finger, waiting to humiliate and shame us. But how He is the most kind-faced Father who look at us as His babies, precious and wanted and loved. How He -- in all His infinite power and holiness and glory and wisdom -- looks at us with eyes of grace. (So much grace.) And how He longs for us to know that He only tells us how we should live because He knows best for us. Like a Daddy telling his little pig-tailed baby girl, "Sweetie, don't run out into the street while you play in the yard. You'll get hurt, love." -- how He does not want to stifle us and keep us from living life or having fun. But He wants us to have the most wonderful, fun, joyful, healthy, and safe life! "The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life and have it to the full!" John 10:10
Because I was in my own waiting journey, not wanting to settle for anything or anyone less than a godly, kind hearted, honorable, man of character, it was sometimes hard to share so openly here on my blog.. about my loneliness, the struggles - and the joys - of singleness and choosing to wait, pray for and prepare for my hoped-for future husband, and to live quite "counter the culture." Treating dating, relationships, and marriage with sacredness and care. Not always perfectly but with a heart that desired to honor the Lord. Sometimes, as I've shared my words, photos, and life pretty much exclusively on my Instagram account lately, I'll get comments from readers (or lurckers haha!) telling me that I sound super desperate in my writing about singleness. That I "come off" as if I was just waiting around, desperate for the first man who would look my way, suffering through being single and just dying to be married. And I see how it could "look" that way from the words on my IG -- yet, knowing the full context of my ministry on this blog and my story in full (as some of you sweet readers who've read through the last years of posts or have been here for them as I've posted -- I adore you guys!) I am simply trying to share with my still-single sisterhood how I so fully understand the loneliness you sometimes experience, the questioning of the Lord at times, and the pain of feeling forgotten. Singleness for me was amazing. I traveled, found out who I am, spent time with family and friends, had lots of fun with other single people and getting to know guys and had some sweet friendships with brothers, got to sleep in when I wanted, stay up as late as I liked, spend my money how I wanted, and just be fabulous by myself! It was awesome! And I loved being independent and wouldn't trade that season for the world. But I struggled, too. Because getting married to a good man was one of my biggest life dreams, something God put in my heart as a little girl -- and I believe there is nothing wrong with that. I understand how single gals can feel like your dreams and hopes and prayers are forgotten or unheard. I totally get it. And I almost feel a responsibility -- after sharing the long 28 year journey of waiting -- so openly on a blog -- the promises that CAME TRUE at the end of that single road! I openly shared the joys and heartaches of waiting. And now, I don't want to just ride off into the sunset and move on -- I want to remember this ministry and journey I have shared, and continue to openly and honestly share my life with you all. Because, every season is a gift from God. And I want to encourage those who are waiting still that it is fully and completely WORTH IT! I am so thankful, unbelievably grateful, that God gave me the sheer grace and strength (that did not come from me!) to wait for my now-husband. He is an absolute gem of a man. And I can truthfully and honestly say that he is everything I prayed for and more. He and I are far from perfect, obviously. But he is truly a man of integrity, character, and kindness. And ladies in waiting, I want you to know that every single lonely night, every time I sat at friend after friend's wedding (wiping away happy tears for them, and ducking into the bathroom alone to wipe away sad and "forgotten feeling" tears for me), every prayer, every moment I looked around this culture and world and said to myself, "How the heck are there any men of God left? They all look like losers and players to me...", every time I doubted and literally kicked and screamed to the Lord and voiced every single desire and pain and doubt (He knows them anyway...) and the times I got to know and dated guys, was in a few relationships before Daniel and I met -- and I just knew in the pit of my stomach that I could "push it through" and make it happen -- I could marry those guys, and just settle and get married for goodness sake! When I was tired of waiting and liked the attention... but knew that the guy I was dating just was not what I dreamed of, he didn't cherish and respect me or deeply know the Lord -- and when I broke up with those guys, and my heart felt like it was being torn to shreds. When I cried and wept. And knew I did the right thing, but saw the dream of marriage moving further and further away. It was ALL WORTH EVERY SINGLE SECOND! I want you to know that! That marriage is wonderful and a blessing and literally a dream. And marriage to a good and godly man of character is the best decision you will ever make. So ladies in waiting, keep praying for your man. Keep waiting, keep hoping. Keep dreaming. Keep working on your hearts instead of running around frantically trying to make something happen. Become a woman of character, yourself. And press hard into the Lord. Make Him your goal, your hope, your joy, your peace, your love and your life's greatest romance. As wonderful as Daniel is (and he is truly amazing. My sister and I call him an angel -- he is that sweet!) my relationship with him is second to the lifelong relationship I have with the Lord. The Lord is my first love and my greatest romance, my most valiant Prince Charming, and my dream come true. And waiting on HIS timing and trusting His pen to write my earthly love story is one of my greatest joys in life and the best decisions I've made.
All of that to say, I can't wait to share more here again. Of my life, my heart, my travels, my faith, my story and our journey, my love story, my love for fashion, food, home, and just my tips for lifestyle -- and just every day fun things! You are all such a blessing to me, and thank you for sticking around through the last year of me being absent because I was falling in love, getting engaged and married! Life truly is a gift and oh so precious and beautiful, redeemed and joyful when lived with Jesus. I'm really incredibly thankful for it all!