I was checking out at Publix early one morning about 8 years ago I guess it was. Caden was in kindergarten and it was my day to bring the snack. I hadn’t prepared anything in advance so I ran to the grocery store after taking the boys to school then needed to go back and drop off the snack. That was the first time I ran into Lynn out in public somewhere. Lynn was the new music minister at my dad’s church so we’d met but that was about it. I see people I know at the grocery store all the time but this brief encounter stood out to me.
A few weeks later I saw him again at a UAH basketball game. The boys were meeting up with a family from church to watch the game and there he was, just a few rows behind us. I went and talked with him, sat with him a bit. It was nice.
You see, I was in (and trying to get out of) a toxic relationship and it wasn’t pretty. I was struggling and confused and hurting and so many things and yet each of these times I ran into Lynn I felt like God was putting him in my path for a reason. I even said to a few close friends that I feel like God is putting this man in my path to show me there’s a better way, there’s someone else. And honestly that scared me even more, but I just knew God was showing me something.
I saw him occasionally when I visited dad’s church and he was always so friendly, checking on how things were with my job, the boys, my church, always offering to pray for me and whatever was going on at the time. He’s an amazing pianist and one time when I was really, really low I asked him if he’d meet me at the church and play hymns so I could sing. I just wanted to sing and feel better. He did and it’s a sweet memory.
He kinda sorta asked me out that day, mentioning a movie coming out and saying we could see it together if I wanted. I ended up seeing the movie with a girl friend instead but we stayed in touch periodically.
Some time later our conversations turned more flirty and I invited him over one night after the boys went to bed and we sat in bag chairs in my driveway and talked. After an hour or so it was late and time for him to leave. I hugged him goodbye — near my trashcan of all places — and he kissed me. And then said he loved me. It kinda freaked me out. Like he’d known his feelings for me for a while and I wasn’t in the same place … yet.
So I backed off from a relationship but wanted to stay friends, and we did. A few years must have passed … the timeline is a little hazy … but I knew I was still attracted to him and looked forward to seeing him when we visited dad’s church.
About 3 years ago we went out there for the church Thanksgiving meal and when it came time to find a seat I wanted to sit by Lynn and looked for a way to do that but there was no room near him. I was disappointed and really searched my heart for why it bothered me so much. I finally figured it out. It was quite simple really. I wanted to be the one that he saved a seat for, or that saved a seat for him, and I realized that as long as we were just friends I’d never have that right. So I got up the courage to tell him that and wondered if he felt the same. He did and we started dating.
My feelings were catching up to where his had been for a while and we were having a great time. But after about 6 or 7 months I had a moment that felt to me like what Peter experienced when he was walking on water and all the sudden looked down and realized “Oh my gosh I’m walking on water.” For me it was like “oh my gosh I’m in this amazing relationship with this really awesome guy and it’s freaking me out.” I started looking for reasons it wouldn’t work out and of course you find what you’re looking for. I ended it (which was really hard for me to do, by the way) and said let’s be friends, but I also knew I didn’t want to hurt him and being my friend might have been asking too much.
We did stay friends, with loose ties. My heart for him never changed I just pushed those feelings away and now, in addition to all the reasons I had looked for as to why this wouldn’t work, I now felt like I could never ever ask for another chance — for one, I was too risky for him to take a chance on, and two I couldn’t stand to hurt him again and decided I was too risky for *me* to take chance on.
So I stuffed my feelings and told myself don’t even think about it.
I did think about it though. All the time. When I missed him I’d text my friend all about it and sometimes had weak moments when I’d text him. Sometimes he’d reply and we’d have a good friendly conversation. Sometimes he didn’t reply at all and I thought well maybe he’s moved on, seeing someone else even, or maybe he’s still hurt by me and just let it go.
A few months ago though something changed. He left my dad’s church, on good terms, to do music at a different church. Reality hit me that I wouldn’t see him again unless we were intentional. It hurt my heart to think about. We talked on the phone about the change and I understood and supported completely but selfishly thought what do I do now?
Turns out what I did next was tell him the truth, how my feelings had never stopped and only been stuffed down and I wondered if he still felt the same. We cautiously rekindled our romance and it’s been a very good thing.
I tell all of that to say this, that I truly see this man as a gift that God has been trying to give me for a long time I just wasn’t a good at receiving it. I’ve told him this before, that he’s gift to me and one I don’t deserve. He loves the Lord. He is hilarious and keeps me smiling and laughing all the time. He is an amazingly talented pianist and singer. I could just sit and watch and hear him play for long stretches if it wouldn’t hurt his hands, lol. I hear anything with piano music and think he can play it! He’s sweet and a gentleman and a “man’s man” fixing lawn mowers and cars and taking care of his yard and even helped me with mine! He opens doors for me and walks me to my door or my car at the end of our dates. He’s a great dad to two daughters who adore him. In one phone call he can be my weatherman telling me what to prepare for and my sportscaster keeping me in the loop about our favorite sports and teams.
I don’t know the future of course but it looks bright, and I truly believe we’re on a path set into motion all those years ago with what seemed like chance encounters but what I knew then and really know now were really God moments.