I was twelve when I met and I believe fell in love with Jordan. Yes, I know it seems crazy to say that I loved him when I was 12, but as much as a 12-year-old heart can understand love, I loved him. I’ve actually had some moms during our ministry ask me to reach out to their daughters who were around 16 and “taking dating much too seriously for their age”. I had to quickly explain to them that I was, quite possibly, the WORST person they could have picked to speak on their behalf. According to my story, the guys their daughters were eyeing at 12 could have ended up their husbands, so becoming serious about a guy they were seeing at 16 was being quite prudent from my context.
Our story is long. If you wish to read about it in long, narrative detail, make sure to follow my posts in the “Story of Us” section, but I won’t elaborate much now. Let’s just say he had my heart all the way through high school and college. However, we didn’t talk much while in high school. He broke up with me during my freshman year and I never got over it. However, during those pivotal years, since I was not distracted by a different love interest every week like some of my friends, I was able to focus on my love for performing. Specifically, musical theater was an absolute passion and obsession of mine. I loved everything about it; costumes, the light plots, the stage manager’s book, the music, the dance, the direction… I even found beauty in the props list. I just knew that this was going to be a part of my life when I grew up. And that meant I could only end up in one place- New York.
By not having any significant boy in my life through high school, I got to focus on two things primarily: my faith and theater. I strove for excellence in both areas. I wanted to be a woman that the Lord was proud of, and I wanted to be a professional in the theater. I had to be.
When Jordan came to do his internship at my church the summer after senior year, we started talking and eventually started dating again. We went to college together and it all seemed perfect. I would major in musical theater, and he would major in worship. However, after only being together a few months, things got serious pretty fast. Of course, normally, this would be a great thing. After all, I had been in love with him my whole life after puberty and we were so happy together! I wanted to marry him, but I had another love. I loved the theater and was determined it was going to be the center of my life. There was no room for a distraction. No room for anything that would pull my focus from what I wanted. I knew what I had to do, so I broke up with him that first year at college.
That whole year was miserable. I missed him terribly. The only solace I ever found was within the walls of the theater and I spent as much time there as possible. I didn’t care what I was doing as long as it was in the building. I would paint sets, sew on buttons, clean brushes, rip tickets, or screlt my face off. I was addicted to everything that hinted at the art of storytelling. It was the only place where I wasn’t constantly reminded of my self-inflicted loneliness.
When I went home for summer, I would talk with my mom briefly about the breakup. She seemed to love Jordan more than she loved me at times. 🙂 When asked why I broke up with him, the only answer I could give was “it just didn’t feel right”….which was true, but I always knew in my heart the real answer. I wanted to be in New York, and Jordan was going to be a pastor! Now, I am the daughter of a pastor, so I knew what that life looked like. It meant surrendering your will to His completely. It meant going wherever God led. It meant giving up control. I just was not willing to follow him anywhere. My life was focused- going in one direction only—to Manhattan. My mom laughed and said,” baby, you don’t know what God has planned. He may open a church right in the middle of Manhattan and call Jordan to pastor there.” (picture that said with a high pitched, southern accent) Of course, I would laugh at the idea of that perfect scenario. The chances of that were just too small for me to get behind. Too small for me to bet my whole dream on it. So I made the choice myself. I was going to do what I had to do to make sure I would end up in the theater.
I’ve heard it said… “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” God knew all along that he would place us in New York for such a time as this. I can’t help but think about what He must have thought when I left Jordan for the love of my dream.
Silly, child, trust me. My ways are so much higher. I see you. Let go.
He ordained the perfect man for me to be the man that would lead us here. And I almost missed it because I tried to rely on myself, my knowledge, and my plans. Who knows what my life would’ve looked like if I had listened to myself and what made sense to me. But praise God I finally realized that I wanted God in control. Thank God I trusted Him even if it meant giving up on what I thought was the most important thing to me. Because the most important thing to me should always be what’s the most important thing to Him.
You see, when we try and make our own plans (at least it was the case for me), it was because I didn’t trust God to orchestrate my life as well as I thought I could. I had a plan that I wanted to happen, and I was determined that I was going to make it happen. So, not only did I make the plans, but I intentionally did not consult God. I never prayed. I never asked a pastor or even my family their opinion on my plan. I set my sights on something, and I ran. I thought “I am completely capable and competent enough to accomplish this on my own!!” Now before all of you who are like me get offended that I am demonizing such a personality, let me say that this is an awesome trait to have, but only if what you set your eyes on is eternal. Only if it’s on God. The more your eyes are focused on Him, the more you’ll trust Him with your plans. Think of Peter. When he lost focus on Jesus, he lost his footing. When he took his eyes off of the thing that should always be at the forefront and looked at the foreground, he sank. Because he couldn’t control the sea. The only thing that keeps us above the waves is our ability to look to the One who commands them.
This move is an incredible example of God’s faithfulness- not because He “gave me what I wanted”, and definitely not because I “did it on my own”, but because the doubt I had in Him about my future is proven worthless! Again, it’s not because He moved me to my favorite place and is going to secure me a spot on Broadway… that’s not it. Not even close! It’s because I trusted Him with my life…genuinely…and He proved Himself worthy of that trust in such an obvious, practical, tangible way. Sometimes, God proves Himself through the lessons He teaches us or the maturity He brings us to and sometimes it’s through very earthly things. Both are huge blessings. It’s because He erased doubt. It’s because He’s proven Himself in the mundane and given me more than I could have imagined for myself. He’s shown Himself faithful. He’s shown Himself trustworthy. And He’s shown that He sees me.
So here I sit. Waiting to board a plane with my husband and two little girls to go to our apartment on 57th. To serve a church where my husband will be ministering as the worship pastor. To love on a city that I’ve loved my whole life. To a life that I did not believe God was big enough to give me. To a future that I do not control and cannot fathom at this moment. And to a peace that I believe the Lord will deliver daily. To a new normal. Our beautiful, chaotic, peace. To home.