While I was back in CA, Jon and I began talking a lot more often and really rebuilding our friendship. Actually, it may be more accurate to say, building a NEW friendship and learning to really just enjoy each other again. I spent my days striving to get closer to moving to Nashville, where I knew the Lord was taking me. As I mentioned in the last post, I didn’t have a car or a job (despite a lot of applying) so I wasn’t quite sure how or when I was going to get to Nashville. There were points that it felt virtually impossible or at least exceptionally far off. There were other days that I was SO sure I was supposed to be there that I was ready to spend some of the last of my savings to buy a oneway plane ticket and just go – even if I was jobless, carless, and homeless. Jon reminded me one day that because this was what Jesus wanted, in Him, it was already done. Later that day, through the Lord’s provision (because my striving certainly wasn’t doing anything!), I was able to buy a car. (I wrote a post about all of this at the time. Click here to read it.) Days after that, someone in the Body of believers in Nashville offered me a place to stay while I found a job and a place to live on my own. By the end of January, I was on the road and February 2nd, 2012 I arrived in my new home.
I moved to Nashville expecting Christ, and really nothing else. I believed it was no mistake that Jon was a part of this story. Naturally, I wondered if some of what the Lord had for me included “a relationship” with Jon, but I really didn’t know and chose to walk into it without expectation. I’m not going to lie… I did have some HOPE, but hope leaves all sorts of room for the Lord to direct. My expectation really was simply for Christ to be with us in our situation. I was confident that however He chose to do that, it would be GOOD!
Jon: At the beginning of January, God made it clear to me that I needed to lay it down (“it” being pursuing girls and trying to make relationships happen) and “do nothing.” I needed to just abide and rest in Him. This was not an easy thing to do for someone who was 33 years old and wanted to be married. But, trusting Him, I did just that. When Shanda moved here, I was still in this time of laying my desires down and that actually made things easier. I wasn’t thinking about what might happen or getting frustrated by not knowing how I felt about her.
Jon and I hung out a good bit. It was great to just live in the same place and be around each other in normal circumstances, with no pressure and no expectations. We both needed that. Of course, as the weeks went on and we were spending increased amounts of time together… I was certainly beginning to wonder, “Is this HAPPENING?” About the time that the wonder in me was growing, Jon began a conversation with me that lead to us beginning to date on March 3, 2012.
Jon: I remember waking up one morning during the last week of February and the Lord telling me “This is your wife!” Right then and there I was completely in love with Shanda and knew that I would marry her. It was crazy and surreal to think that just the day before I had no idea how I felt about her and wasn’t thinking about marriage at all.
Of course, Jon didn’t know that the Lord had shown me a year prior that he would be the man I would marry (as I mentioned in Part 1) [although, I’d certainly not always been confident that I’d heard correctly] and so he did not tell me ALL of that right away. It didn’t take long though. We both knew, very clearly, that THIS was Christ’s perfect timing for us. The death we experienced earlier on in our relationship was painful, but it made room for True Life to come in later. In His proper time, He brought His Life – resurrected life, not our own, into our relationship at a time when we were living in community, with each other, and many other saints. We needed them! We couldn’t do it alone! It was worth everything and we would not change any of it.
So here we are, one year later… On Friday we will have been married for 6 month, and we are more in love with each other every single day.