love and growth.

I had a post 7 years ago that described a notion of valentine’s day being an everyday thing rather than be relegated to a single day. I found it here. I was single then, haha. But I’m also single now.

A year ago, I remember her sharing with me that she had difficulty with Valentine’s Days after the fact… I was in Hawaii at the time, and I remember wanting to be there with her so badly on that day. I looked up plane tickets just for a round trip. The fare exceeded my bank account. So I got more creative and just leveraged technology instead.

I wondered that day last year. She was uncharacteristically silent on a day where love was encouraged by culture. It didn’t bother me, it didn’t hurt me, my go-to response was empathy and wonderment.

Today, I can’t talk to her nor encourage her anymore. It would betray the space. So I did the only thing I knew what I could do to support and encourage her without violating that space – I prayed. I prayed that she would find comfort and joy and strength, that she would work through whatever she is going through with strength. But also… this morning I’ve prayed a prayer for her that genuinely surprised me. In praying for her health, happiness, and future, I found myself feeling prompted to pray that she would find someone that would love her and communicate love exactly the way she was designed to feel it. I prayed for the man that would one day treasure her heart for life, that this man would not shy away from the battles and growth that will develop the character needed to sustain her heart. I prayed that they would click together, partner together, fight and make up in a way that strengthened their resolve, their commitments. That he would treasure her scar tissue the same way I did, covering each one with the assurance that he would not leave because of them. I prayed that God would give her someone that would blow me out of the water, and I would have no choice but to look up to him.

And to my surprise and astonishment, I prayed it without tears.

One memory I had recalled when I woke up this morning was a conversation that we had on the phone one day in October. I remember being frustrated with a lot of people and feeling disrespected, and after sharing there was a pause, and she asked me to “please never ever lose patience with her ever.”

Recalling that memory made me sad… I was prepared to never leave her. but I was also able to release that moment to Jesus in forgiveness and exercise gratitude in that moment. it was amazing to think that we even shared a moment so vulnerable and beautiful.

After all, I never thought in 2016 that my year of Patience, my theme for that year, would have been exercised and grown in the context of a relationship. It was so sudden – we met on Christmas Eve and started dating on New Years, and were an official couple by the end of January. When we shared our story with others, it sounded straight out of a movie. It felt blessed, and others celebrated our story. She had even journaled right before we met that she wanted a relationship. I suppose it eventually made me prideful, and my identity got wrapped up in it

Similarly, I never thought that in 2017 that my year of Growth, my current theme for the year, would be in the context of singleness. It’s frustrating how God listens sometimes… He hears us and then proceeds to give us what we want, putting us in the most nutrient-rich soil for the very thing we ask Him for. Last year He knew that the most fertile place for me to learn Patience would be in this relationship. This year He knows that the most fertile place for me to learn Growth would be in my singleness. And throughout this process I get to exercise the belief that God is good.

Frustrating as it may be, however, He can give and take away… but His love and motivations never change. He is always good, no matter what we have, or no longer have.

I’m starting to think that maybe this is the season where my Patience grows even more. I intend to keep my promise to her, I will “never ever lose patience with her ever.” This doesn’t mean I will wait for a romantic relationship to bloom again. In all health that can’t be my motivation; it just means that one day I will be her friend. One day I will get to support her, be in the audience, watch her in movies and plays, and though my role in her life has changed, it doesn’t mean that the job of being a good, constant person in her life goes out the door. I had always promised her a friendship. I had always promised her that I wasn’t going anywhere. And I had promised her patience. I can still be all these things as a friend. They don’t just exist in a romantic sense. I mean, I can still help produce her play if the offer still stands. I can still participate in her dreams and help them become a reality much in the same way I do that for my friends and their dreams.

Ultimately, this is the way that I love to live. I love the process of becoming strong. I love knowing intimately the things that I have been given, and I love treasuring them when I have them. I love choosing gratitude. I love praying. I love others. Now, I am learning to love myself.

More uncomfortably, after I finished praying, I felt a prompting to pray for myself. I prayed for healing. I prayed for wisdom. I prayed for strength. More patience. I prayed that God would keep giving me opportunities to grow. And I prayed (and this is where the tears started coming in) that I would find myself with a lifelong someone where our relationship looked like health, kindness, gratitude, and strength. I prayed that I would be given someone who understood me, supported me, and that there would be an undeniable chemistry. And in turn, I would be given an opportunity to build a life that supported and encouraged her realizing her deepest passions and dreams. I want a relationship that makes God attractive to others through our lifelong creative competition of trying to outdo one another. Through the tears I surrendered to the promise and faith that God does hear me and is preparing me and her to be each other’s best encouragement.

It’s not to say that this Valentine’s Day isn’t tough – because it is. I miss her with an unfathomable deepness. There aren’t words for it. But also, it’s tough because I still has so much love left to give. So many date ideas. A long list she never knew I kept of things I wanted to do together. And I’m becoming more aware that my creativity love tank doesn’t really deplete… frustratingly, I’m still generating tons of ideas and gifts and no longer have a recipient. But it’s okay… this is who I am, who I want to be, who I like being.

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