It was a cool evening in late summer. I was leaving home the next morning - my family would drive me to my first year of college the next morning. I was excited. Scared. Uncertain. Conflicted. Was I doing the right thing?
As I often did, I opened my bedroom window and removed the screen from the sill, and climbed out onto the little section of roof outside. I curled my knees to my chest, took a deep breath, and sighed as I stared up at the evening sky. Are you there, God? I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. Please help me figure this out.
I waited and waited. The navy sky deepened in to a heavy blanket of black with stars twinkling through the fabric of night. The crickets chirped their reliable song from the grass below. The air became chilly...cold even as the breeze fluttered through my hair and chilled the tears that trickled down my cheeks.
When no answer streaked across the night sky or even whispered in my ear, I gave up. I crawled into my bedroom to sleep in my childhood bed for the last time as a full time resident there. As I laid in bed, I thought of the black shoebox still sitting on the bed near my feet. It was filled with an old dream.
Love notes. A little stuffed gorilla. A worn and faded football t-shirt. A tape filled with his voice. A small bottle of his favorite cologne. Memories of what I once thought was real and lasting love.
He had asked me to marry him. I graduated from high school, and he came back from college to whisk me away just as we'd planned just a couple of years before. He still felt it. He still wanted the future we'd both dreamed of. But my heart, no matter how I tried to re-kindle what I'd once felt, had moved on. There was no going back. I didn't love him anymore. I cared enough that it nearly killed me to tell him the truth - to see the pain in his eyes - to feel him fight tears as he held me and asked me to just try a little harder.
But I couldn't. I couldn't love him, and I didn't know why.
He was two years into a college program in another state. I was signed up and ready to follow him there - to try convincing my heart to love him. I was also signed up to go to a state college just 4 hours from home. When I woke in the morning, what would I do? Would I go with the plan of going to school closer to home, or would I announce to my parents that I wanted to go even farther away to chase what might be my one chance for love?
The what-ifs and the should-I's and the can-I's circled in my brain as I drifted off to sleep. One last call to the Maker of the stars...help...please help me...I don't know what to do.
Help came in the form of a dream.
In my dream, I was walking alone in a golden ripe wheat field. The wheat was high,
and I skimmed my fingers over the soft heads of grain as I walked.
The color...oh, the color...the field glowed with the light of sunshine.
It was the most beautiful color I'd ever seen in my life.
Was this real? Was beauty like this even of this planet?
The sky was a vibrant blue, with puffy clouds floating on the breeze.
Suddenly, I was no longer walking alone. A man came up to me on my left, and
draped his arm over my shoulders. It was second nature for me to
wrap my arm around his waist. We walked side by side. We
fit perfectly. Being with him was...bliss.
I was overcome by the...rightness...of being with this man.
He was perfect. He was mine.
He was who God made just for me, and I for him.
I can still feel the swell in my heart in that dream as if I just woke from it.
I thought I'd burst with sheer joy and contentment.
I longed for nothing, but to be with him.
And then, a voice. What was this voice?
"This, Daiquiri. This is how it is supposed to be. Wait. He is not the one."
Yes. Yes, I know. This is how it is supposed to be. I looked up and to my left.
I wanted to see his face. I wanted to know who he was.
He had golden hair - his hair was the same color as the wheat field we
were walking through. But his face...somehow I knew that he was
looking down at me and smiling...but his face was a blur.
And then I woke. It was morning, the day I was to leave. With utter confidence and peace, I got out of bed, put the lid on that shoebox, and slid the box under my bed. It would stay behind. God has a different future planned for me.
Fast forward a year.
I had spent my first year at college at that state school. I had a lot of fun. I changed my major about 5 times. I learned for certain that I was not supposed to be an accountant. I went to parties. I drank too much. I made friends I'll have forever. I dated. I got good grades. And the next thing I knew, I was registered to go to a different school the next year. I was having a "who am I and what should I do" crisis, and somehow, somewhere along the way, I decided that I needed to go to Moscow, Idaho and attend the University of Idaho.
I truly don't remember making the decision. Suddenly, it was just...done.
What I do remember, though, was driving to northern Idaho for the first time. I'll never forget driving up that windy mountain road with my mom in the passenger's seat...cresting a hill...and feeling the wind sucked from my lungs as I saw a view a lot like this (photo rights to Jean Yates):
I gasped loudly. "What?!" My mom asked. "Nothing". But it hit me, and I knew. The place I was entering was the place of my long-ago dream.
Fast forward another two years. Luke and I had met and began dating. For the story of the beginning of "us", click here (but finish this story first!).
We had only been dating a couple of weeks, and I knew that there was something special going on. Heck, I knew there was something special from the first time I heard his voice and my knees betrayed me my turning to jello! But my suspicion that this was something REALLY special came, again, in the form of a dream.
That same field.
The same me walking through the field.
The same clouds floating through the sky.
The same arm tucking me safely to his side.
The same feeling of bliss and contentment and overwhelming love.
The same golden-haired man.
But now...I look to see his face...and I see Luke smiling back at me.
I woke with a smile on my face, thinking "I knew it. Thank you, God."
We dated for almost exactly 2 years before we took our vows before God to love and honor each other forever. And now...impossibly...here we are. We've been together for 15 years, and married for 13 years. Four babies and all these years later, I'm still crazy about the incredible man that God made just for me. The man I was made for. There has never been a moment of doubt in my mind or heart as to whether I belong with Luke.
Happy Anniversary, my sweet and strong (and totally hot) man! I love you with all I am, and I'm thrilled that my future is with you. You make me a better person. You still make my pulse quicken and my knees turn to jello. You make me feel safe and loved and cherished. You in my life is my proof that God is good and that He loves me - you are my grandest and sweetest blessing.
And you...quite literally...make my every dream come true.