Do you remember the age when you realized that someday soon you'll have to "grow up" and make decisions for your own life? The weight of responsibility becomes a true reality and it is heavy!
I said "yes" to God's offer of salvation in Jesus when I was 12 years old. That "yes" gave me a new filter with which to make every decision in my life.
Decision making feels like it rolls in at lightning speed pace in college. I got to decide my classes, my bedtime, my friends, foods to eat, what to do for fun, how to spend the precious time I was given, what church to join,... with what young man to give my heart.
I said "yes" to a tall, handsome, goofy-grinning, energetic-for- Jesus man who was "hitting on me" at my job in a bookstore back in 1994. I said "yes" to being his wife in 1996 and to loving him, respecting him, serving him, helping him, getting to birth 8 precious children with him, moving 9 times in 21 years of marriage, to job changes, to walking through him earning a seminary degree, to serving the Lord in many capacities together, to making Jesus known, to accepting a surprise cancer diagnosis, to walking alongside him for dr visits, to diet changes, to getting him to have fun when we didn't feel like it, to having to watch his physical and mental abilities dwindle, to accepting that the dr. wasn't just giving us a studied answer to Matt's life expectancy, "yes" to a miraculous big trip to Disney that our kids will never forget, to calling hospice care for help, to telling our loved ones and family that he didn't have much more time on earth. I got to say "yes" to being at his side listening to the last breath he breathed on this earth. And then I said "yes" to what was taken away from me in the death of the love of my life, to single parenting, and to so many things I did not want to say "yes" to in my life.
I also said "yes" to HOPE in the ANCHOR of my soul during the most devastating days of my life. This yes was and has continued to be be my endurance and strength.
Saying "yes" doesn't involve getting to know every part to what you are agreeing. (just like in marriage) It means you are committed to clinging to Him in whatever He allows across your journey in this life, the good and the bad. We will face it with Him always at our side.
Saying "yes" to lament and grieving for the past 23 months of my life has been brutal... but biblical. I'm thankful that grief is how you know you loved and were loved well. Lament draws me closer to God and His Words. And that Jesus promises to comfort those who mourn.
But loving others is worth it! LOVE IS WORTH IT! Jesus showed us that! Some people have asked me, "How are you surviving this tragedy? How are surviving this pain? How are you making decisions?..." The famous hymn "Great is Thy Faithfulness" written by Thomas Crisholm reminded me recently that "there is no shadow of turning with Thee". God is consistent. He is walking in the Light, inviting us to walk in that Light with Him, following Him. He loves best. He provides best. There has not been a slight shift in His faithfulness to me EVER.
Many of you know that I am saying "yes" again to loving and being loved again in this life. Dave and I met almost a year (August 2018) ago through a ministry in Franklin, TN called Solo Parent Society.
Our meeting was not planned or even expected at that time in my life. But when you let God write your love story...well, He is the best Author. I needed help in my single parenting and one morning I was down to the "end of my rope". I was on my knees asking God for something or someone to help me help my kids. And the Solo Parent Society name popped into my head. Dave and I had crossed paths once at a meeting but had never spoken to one another. As I continued to pray that morning "Dave Quint" popped into my head and I fought back hard. I cannot possibly reach out to a man I don't know...now. But I continued to hear in my head that I need to trust God.
So I messaged him through Facebook messenger via Solo Parent group. Within an hour he messaged me back and said he was willing to help and would be praying for my kids and I. He gave me the phone number to the founder of the Solo Parent group whom he had been serving the solo parents alongside for a year. I called him explaining my situation and he vouched for Dave and that he would be a great help to me and my family having the life experience that he has.
Over the course of the next week we had many conversations, he served my family, was here for us in a trial and prayed. As this happened, I began to feel in my heart an unexpected attraction to this stranger. I laid it down at the feet of Jesus, asking Him, as Proverbs 4:23 says , help me to "guard my heart, for it is the wellspring of life". I spent my mornings on my knees with open hands before the Lord. I was not looking for a new love but I continued to remain secure in Him while I asked Him what He wanted.
I had just weeks before prayed and told Him, "Lord, if you want me to remain a single parent for the rest of my days, I accept that, but if you want me to be a wife again somehow, please make it soon." I am so grateful for the time I got to be Matt's wife but the reality that that was no longer a part of my life was very real. A friend told me once on the phone, "Sara, you are made to be a wife. You loved Matt well, you can love another man well still." So I continued to ask the Lord to keep me close.
The more Dave and I talked and worked through some of the messes I was facing the more I was curious about his life, and story and his heart for the Lord. Over the course of some short time, as I was surrendering my feelings and thoughts to the Lord, Dave invited me to dinner. He told me that night that He had seen the "fragrance of Christ" in me and that he had been praying for God to bring a Chapter 2 to his life. He wanted to know if I was open to a courtship type relationship, not a dating relationship. (the difference being that one is just for a good time with a person and the other knows it is moving in the direction of marriage) He was bold yet gentle in asking me about my grief journey, respecting where I was and where my kids were. I asked him, "you realize I have 8 kids, right?" He said, "I see that as one of your attractive qualities". I kind of sat there stunned but at the same time peaceful. I could rest in the fact that I was walking alongside the Lord's leading here. I was not on my own, blazing a trail I wanted and this was so surprising. My thoughts went back to many conversations Matt and I had about this happening "one day". Matt preached Proverbs 4:23 to me over and over and I felt a strong sense of confidence in the Lord and even a reassuring look from Matt as I told Dave, "I am open to a courtship relationship, as the Lord leads. It will be difficult and I want to be open and honest with my kids about it."
The Lord continued to write a beautiful story between us that only He could write. So many things lined up between our lives and the Lord confirmed many things over the months of our courtship. We were engaged on 4/13/19 and that was another amazing story I will save. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine ever standing in this life beside another godly, handsome man. The path hasn't been easy for sure as we continue to love one another through grief triggers, healing and HOPE in the faithfulness of God!