Check out my story of meeting Daniel and then truly seeing him.
As I think about how all of this unfolded, it makes me laugh to see how much I was noticing Daniel, yet I was completely unaware that there might be something there. Perhaps the LORD was helping to protect me from myself a little.
What do I mean by that?
Well.... I'm going to be really honest. I have never been super good at this whole "dating" thing. (I know, for those of you who really know me, this is not a shocking statement.)
I've always been the girl who had crushes on boys who didn't like me, but that was okay because I really didn't expect them to be interested, and I would pride myself in my resilience as I recovered from the feelings of rejection. Turns out, that was just a well-masked defense mechanism and maybe I was actually scared of being seen and desired. If a guy expressed interest in me and it wasn't my idea first, I'd run. Fast.
I was scared, but I also really wanted to find this kind of love. If a worthy-seeming candidate would come on the scene, I'd position myself nearby, engage in conversation, and somewhat manipulate circumstances so that this thing could happen! A couple of times it kinda worked. But ultimately I came to see that I wasn't really trusting GOD with this, and I was truly scared out of my mind.
That's what I mean by GOD protecting me from myself. Daniel wasn't on the forefront of my mind. I didn't have some crazy crush that made me awkward in his presence or obsessively scheming in his absence. I was free to be myself.
And free was absolutely what HE intended me to be.
If you remember, free was my word for 2014.
I was free from my fear of failure and free to thrive in the now. I was on the verge of something incredible. The LORD was stirring and I could sense that HE was on the move. HE had uprooted the deep weeds of insecurity that had been choking my heart. HE had shown me a better view into HIS intentions when forming and creating me. HE had given me a broader vision of how I could fulfill HIS dreams for me and use the gifts HE had given me. I was in the midst of the most exciting time of my life. I, in no way, needed a guy for my deep desires in the LORD to be realized in my life.
HE was already so much more than enough for me.
I guess that was the perfect place for me to be.
I imagine that was HIS intent...
So when my friend Robin and I were talking one afternoon and she asked me if I'd ever considered moving somewhere else so I could find that man that would be my husband, I was a little caught off guard. She told me she didn't want me to move, but she so deeply wanted me to get to experience the joys of marriage and there just didn't seem to be anyone around who was right for me. (I love her so much for loving me that much.)
And it was true. I was having no luck finding someone who would be a good fit for me.
For a lot of people, such a bold move to a new city, open to encountering whatever and whomever the LORD had for them would be an incredible act of faith.
For me, it felt like it would be disobedience.
You see, in the fall of 2013, GOD had a word for me about settling. You may remember this blog post I'd written that November.
HE had sweetly whispered to my heart: Jenna, settle isn't always a bad word.
And as I had surrendered my restless spirit to HIM, HE showed me that HE was ready to put me in the ground. I could trust HIM and root myself in this place HE had me.
I kinda pictured myself as a little potted plant. I started in a comfortable little pot in Cleveland, Tennessee with my family and my small town and my small church and my safe world. Then GOD had transplanted me, putting me in a larger pot. That larger pot was Montgomery, Alabama. A bigger city, a new state, a long drive alone, and the world of college. But it wasn't too big of a jump. My university was small and the Christian community kept me feeling safe and secure. Montgomery soon became home, but then GOD transplanted me again. This time the pot felt a lot bigger. Huntsville. With all its engineers and rocket scientists and big, fancy houses. This was not my world. And I was working in a church that, when driving by, could be confused for a college campus. A couple thousand members, a couple hundred teenagers... My world at Mayfair was overwhelming at first, but in time, it had become home.
I guess a part of me always felt like I should be ready to give it up at any moment. I didn't know how long HE would want me at Mayfair, so I wanted to be positioned so I could transition easily if HE asked.
Turns out, maybe that was a lack of trust too...
LORD, do you really want me to root myself more deeply here?
To let go of the thought that one day you might want to move me?
Jenna, settle isn't always a bad word...
In the ground, your roots can go deeper and your branches can spread wider and bear more fruit. Something within you has held you back from this full surrender. Let go of the security of a pot around you. Let ME put you in the ground.
No promises, I still may uproot you at some point.
But you can trust ME.
And I did trust HIM.
I trusted HIM so much.
And I had been praying for more and more and more trust.
Trust without borders.
So I decided I could trust GOD in this too.
GOD, I have no idea how YOU are going to do this. I can't see any possibilities on the horizon, and I have no clue where I will meet a man that will be a good match for me....
But I trust YOU.
I trust that YOU will do what YOU say YOU will do.
I can trust YOU even here.
For some, faith might look like a big move.
For me, faith was to be still.
So I did.
And I sure am glad I did because I wouldn't have wanted to miss what was coming next!!!