I am not reckless. I calculate all the dangers of every situation. I have to sit facing the door in a restaurant so I can see who is coming in. I don’t like surprises. I don’t like change.
And I don’t like what I can’t control.
After our first video chat, which lasted over two hours, I didn’t like what was happening. From the moment I first saw him at a distance at Hume Lake, I hadn’t liked the way my heart was feeling, and the more we connected, the more it scared me.
I started praying the most consistent prayers I’d had in a long time: “God, please take him away. Please stop this. I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want this.”
For two straight weeks, I made this request to God every single day, several times throughout the day. And God kept showing me the opposite of what I was asking. He kept revealing things about Michael that I had prayed about long before ever meeting him.
One night in particular, I felt the nudge to pull out that journal that held the list of my heart’s desires. I wrote it 13 months before meeting Michael. I was curious to see how closely he matched the “requirements” on my list.
I sat there on the floor of my closet, floored by what I was seeing.
He was everything that was written on the list of my heart’s desire.
Overcome with emotion, I called my cousin. I read her my list. Together we sat in silence, completely in awe of how closely God listens to our heart’s desires.
Since God was clearly not taking away the man in the red jacket, I realized that I needed to tell my children that I met someone and had been in contact with him.
I, of course, had it all planned out in my mind when and how the conversation would go. God, of course, had it all planned differently.
Let me just say this: the conversation was started, out of the blue, by one of my children. Before I spoke, I asked about the qualities they would like to see in someone coming into our lives. After hearing both of their lists, I knew I could proceed to tell them about the man in the red jacket.
Both children accepted the news with a maturity I was not expecting. And, like their mother, both proceeded to properly stalk him on social media. By morning, the three of them connected via FaceTime, and over the next couple of weeks, the name “Michael” became common in our home.
As I began slowly sharing the news with others, I was met with a mixture of encouragement, caution, excitement, and hesitancy.
Each night, before I went to bed, Michael would call to read scripture and pray with me. And each morning, I would sit with God and pour my heart out to him. “Am I doing the right thing? Am I getting caught up in my emotion? I need your wisdom, God…”
On a Monday morning, around 10:30am, I was seated in my family room. I began praying, but before I could mutter a word, I began sobbing. The kind of sobbing that leaves your mouth distorted with no words coming out. The kind of crying that hurts your eyes and exhausts your eyebrows.
I finally got the words out. And I was making demands. Bold demands.
“God, if this is not from You, I need You to take it NOW. I need You to stop it NOW. Show me, make it obvious to me! Expose something through Michael, not through anyone else, show me through him that this is not from you. I’m ok with it! I’m fine with it! If Michael’s purpose was merely to show me that I am capable of opening my heart again, fine. If his purpose is only to show me that You hear my heart and I shouldn’t settle for anything less than what I desire, fine. But You need to make it clear to me NOW…
…but, if this is from You…make it clear to me. I need You to be obvious. I need You to be clear and make it known. If this is from You, I will do whatever You ask me to do with it. I will have the hard conversations. I will lay the foundation and do the ground work. I will do whatever You ask of me if this is truly from You. I don’t want this to be about me. I need this to be about You.”
In the middle of this exact prayer, my doorbell rang. I was so irritated. Who in the world would be at my door in the middle of a Monday morning? Didn’t they know they were interrupting my intimate moment with God? Didn’t they know I was a hot mess and wasn’t presentable to others?
I crept to my front door and stared through the peep-hole of the door. I saw the back of a woman I didn’t immediately recognize. I waited until she left and then I opened my door. To the left of the door stood the most beautiful arrangement of roses I had ever seen in my life. I could barely lift them off the ground!
I carefully carried them into my home, curious to know who might’ve sent such a beautiful arrangement to me. I assumed it was encouragement from friends for Mother’s Day.
I opened the card, and I didn’t even read the words.
All I saw was, “Love, Michael xx”
I dropped to my knees. I was crying harder than before. My already tired eyes were now hurting. My arms felt weak, I couldn’t bring myself to stand.
I sat there on the floor near my kitchen table holding the card in my hand, shaking my head in disbelief. Loudly, through sobs, I said, “ok God. I hear You. I’ll keep going.”
That moment changed everything. I no longer feared anything. I no longer questioned what was happening.
In that moment, I completely surrendered my heart to God the way I did when I first wrote out the list of my heart’s desires more than a year earlier.
I stopped asking God to take Michael away. I stopped questioning what He was doing.
Instead, I embraced what was happening. I soaked in every detail that God was revealing to me. I recognized that this was God’s plan, not mine.
And I said ‘yes’ to a visit from the man with the red jacket.
Cookie PetzoldAugust 28, 2019 at 12:52 pm
AprilAugust 28, 2019 at 1:03 pm
😭 seriously….ugh. So blessed by this. Thank you for sharing 💗
MichelleAugust 28, 2019 at 1:06 pm
Ugh…this is so amazing and I can’t wait to read more and see where this goes. God is so amazing and your faith in Him is inspiring.
LauraAugust 28, 2019 at 1:17 pm
Your story is beautiful and you such a amazing way with words ! So happy you found someone to love and that your kids are happy with it ! Prayers for happiness and love always !
PamelaAugust 28, 2019 at 2:14 pm
Jen, you are such a talented writer. I love how openly you share your heart and your relationship with the Lord. You are truly an inspiration to me. ❤ God is so, so good!
NicolettaAugust 28, 2019 at 5:37 pm
Reading this truly warmed my heart and made me cry. Ummm, next time give me a little warning 😂😂.
Miss you so much but feel so blessed I get to be around you thru social media 🙏❤️🌸💕😭🥰
JennRenAugust 28, 2019 at 9:25 pm
Seriously! I wasn’t expecting the tears while reading! This girl and her way with words! I felt like I was there with you praying, crying, and then opening the door to flowers, JennJenn! Thank you for taking us along on your adventure! 😍🥰