like coming home

There has been so much change, so much growth, so much expectation unraveled in these months. I remember the deeply-breathed release of the move almost two years ago—releasing home, releasing familiarity, releasing the expectation of that special companionship not usually found by moving to small villages in Africa. Breathe in, breathe out, move forward holding all things lightly. And where the release left corners of my heart feeling stripped, God, lover and provider, filled me—daily and weekly and monthly, as I continued to discover needs I didn’t even know I had.

And against that backdrop, I vividly remember my first conversation with you.

We were both there, teaching (but probably learning more than we taught) and loving and pressing deeply into grace. That first day, we stood on the path and talked for hours.

Meeting you there was a happy surprise, orchestrated I know by God, bridegroom and romancer. Beginning to know you there was a blessing—to see your heart, watch you learn, share laughter and even tears. My heart, I think, loved yours because yours is so set on loving His.

I remember the day you offered to teach me guitar, the enjoyable afternoons we spent talking long of life and faith and chameleons, and that memorable day when an accidental text informed me that your feelings were a little more than friendship.

(I smiled a lot that day.)

As often happens in stories, there is an ebb and flow, ups and downs, driving the growth that carries us to the conclusion. You left suddenly to be with family in a time of grief; I stayed in the place that has such a hold on my heart. God, the one who heals and sustains, was with us through countless Skype dates and long conversations. How blessed we were in that season, even when we didn’t know it, to learn to listen and speak and share and know one another. Over and over, you showed me what it means to approach a person in humble vulnerability—to relate in a manner that is saturated in a grace that grows love.

The ebbing and flowing brought both of us back again to America—to Texas, to Colorado, to meeting families and holding hands and processing transition and growing together. All of it building toward that day, standing on a hill in the northern part of England, when you asked to spend the rest of your life knowing me and a ring sealed the deal: that we will go forward from here together, always.

Here is where I stop, and look back, and feel absolute wonder at this story we are walking—two stories, woven together as small strands of His larger design.

I know that God does not provide romantic companionship to fill us, complete us, or make us whole. I know that He satisfied my 20-year-old self as I released expectations just like he satisfies my 23-year-old self as I plan a wedding. In Him, I am completely satisfied. And from that complete satisfaction, I want to learn to see you, the man next to me in life, for who you truly are: a child of God. A recipient of unfathomable grace. A man gifted with a soft heart and a beautiful voice. A friend, companion, and safe place. A priceless treasure.

Loving you is something I think I will be learning for the rest of my life. It is my joy, and my privilege, and my challenge. Loving you is just one way God has chosen to reveal more of Himself to me, and it is a beautiful revealing. Loving you is a greater adventure than the many great adventures we’ve already been on together.

In the many travels of these past months, my heart has often been settled and uprooted…but loving you is like coming home.

4 thoughts on “like coming home

  1. Little Beth, wow you have grown up. I still have you in my memory with your long brown braids, long skirt, barefoot, running around your Long Beach house.
    We look forward to hearing more about this young man who has your heart.
    Couldn’t see any of the pics. Hmm. Can you email a picture of the two of you?
    Beautiful writing of your relationship with our Lord.

  2. I love the wise woman you have become Beth, from those home school blogger days of our early acquaintance. We have still never met in ‘real life’, as we say, and contact is very sparce, but I love you as a sister in Christ and delight to see his character becoming more and more evident in you as I read your blog journey.
    May our loving Father continue to guide and accompany you through all the moments ahead of you and your beloved fiancé, I was going to write ‘years’ but none of us know how much time we have ahead of us before our Lord’s return or our own individual journey to meet Him in person occurs. In the meantime, what matters is the moments which we have with Him and with those He sends us to love in His name, so I pray that you will have great joy and peace, despite the circumstances of some of those moments, knowing that you are safe and secure as you abide in Him.
    I am sorry to keep on at you about this, but we would dearly LOVE to meet you if your travels ever take you to Australasia. So much in fact that I would seriously consider (with Gabrielle of course), meeting you in Australia if you were not able to make the full trip to NZ. We could probably not afford Perth, but any of the east coast cities would be do-able.
    Anyway, there’s always Heaven if that scheme fails…
    :^)

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