Saturday, May 16, 2009

What Happened Next!

So, our story ended with us recognizing God's hand in the midst of our trial.

What seemed to be something to divide our friendship, the Lord called us closer to Him and than closer to one another. We became official about a week before our birthdays, which are only 4 days apart! Prior to our "issue" I had been planning something fun to do for Carlos's birthday, but felt disappointed at the thought that I wouldn't get to treat him to a nice birthday. Turns out, I was wrong and we had WONDERFUL birthdays!

His came first and I took him to breakfast at this house-turned-restaurant we'd seen a dozen times. It's called "The Cottage Cafe". It was a cute place and we had great food! We than decided to let our food settle and we just watched an old black and white movie at my house before heading out and grabbing a Hot Apple Cider from the infamous Greenbluff Orchards! I took Carlos to the Garland Theatre where they have $3 movies and we watched "Wall-E" which was a cute, animated show about a computer. It was pretty cute!

Carlos had always wanted to learn how to make lasagna, so I had bought everything needed to assemble a fabulous homemade lasagna the day before this, so we went back to my house again and thus, the cooking lesson began. And not to toot my own horn, but "BEEP" "BEEP" lasagna turned out SO GOOD! The best I.......WE had ever made, let alone, had for a long time.

Final stop.....I took him into Coeur D'Alene and we went to a place called The Wine Cellar. Little did he know, his best friend and his wife (Jason and Hannah) would be there waiting for us. We all shared some laughs and dessert and listened to some live music.

Needless to say, I went all out for his birthday and we had a GREAT time. He said it was the best birthday he had ever had. We had been joking all along about how he would "out-do" me for my birthday, but after this day, he had his doubts. =)

My birthday fell on a Wednesday, so Carlos told me that he'd do a little something for me on my actual day, but the real deal would be on Saturday. So, Wednesday rolls around and I get home and I'm waiting for him to come pick me up. I'm sitting at my computer in my front office and I hear him come in the front door. But what a racket he was making! I thought he had some plastic bags in his hand or something, I only heard the noise, but didn't see him.

I come out of my office to see him with a dozen roses in his hand and the biggest Birthday balloon I think I've ever seen! I was laughing so hard! He then took me out to a place that we had never been before called the Steamplant Grill in Downtown Spokane. We had a great dinner there and shared a dessert. Let's not fail to mention that this is the first time he told me that he loved me!! It was very sweet and a wonderful birthday. Carlos seemed worried that this still hadn't been enough and assured me that Saturday was the big day! I would have been content with this, but part of me wanted to see what he was made of, so I was anxious for Saturday. So were all my co-workers. They heard me talking about his surprise but wanted to know so bad what it was!
Saturday rolls around and Carlos took me to breakfast at The Old European. We than did one of my favorite activities and just strolled around the Dollar Store. Carlos wasn't feeling so great, so I told him to amend his plans and not push himself. He wanted to do more and keep going with Plan A, but we opted to rest for awhile and proceed with the rest of his ideas in the afternoon.

Afternoon rolls in and he takes me to the well known and classy Clinkerdaggers! I had the most amazing Crab Sandwich. It was SO rich and delicious! He then takes me to Coeur D'Alene and I have no idea what we're doing next..........
We are now standing in line by the docks and the waterfront. Before too long, we are boarding a Riverboat and going on what I thought was just a cruise along Lake Couer D'Alene to see some Christmas Lights as I had heard they had a great display. And they did and I saw what I thought was all we were set out to observe.

The boat continued out into the dark and I was thinking that this cruise was becoming a little weird. Especially when we stop and I can vaguely see houses with their lights off on the shore in front of us.

All of a sudden all these lights flash on and right before my eyes is The North Pole!!! It had lights for the 12 Days of Christmas and than more lights come on and it's Santa and Mrs. Clause and they are live characters who are shouting out their list of the Naughty and Nice and asking everyone what they want for Christmas. It was pretty amazing.

This birthday marked a wonderful beginning of many memories like these that we've continued to share and hope to have thousands more like it!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Final Stretch....

These last couple of days, my heart was breaking for Carlos. My head kept telling me "no" but my heart was so much softer, but I had trained myself to retain all my hurts and thus kept trying to convince myself that he is not it for me. Meanwhile, telling God to change my heart if He had other plans.

Saturday rolls around and I asked my friend Pauline if we could drive by Carlos' house so I could see if he was home. He had mentioned going home to visit family and I wondered if he had actually gone. I was also half convinced that this week apart and time for him to "seek the Lord with all he has" would amount to nothing and I could potentially find Carlos just taking it easy.

Pauline and I drive by and I didn't see him or his car until we were almost past the house and that's when I saw him...on the roof, cleaning the gutters. This is my rental house that he lives in and he knows I need to sell it and he was working on it. I didn't ask him to and this was HIS weekend, his Saturday and it was cold outside. At this precise moment, the CD my friend really wanted me to listen to was playing a song that said "raindrops falling on the rooftop, makes me feel so lonely...." I broke.

Pauline asked me what was wrong and I told her that I had seen Carlos working on the roof and than pointed out what the song was singing about. She said that it was so beautiful and that she wanted to cry.

I took off my sunglasses so she could see that I was doing just that.

Pauline left to go back home and I was lonely and bored so I drove around. Naturally, I drove past my other house. I couldn't see him, but his car was there and I saw the main lights on. I figured he was inside doing something in the living room or kitchen. So I circled the block to head back home. That's when I saw him in the backyard cleaning leaves and picking up fruit that had fallen from the trees! He was still serving me. Even though he didn't know I could see what he was doing at my rental house and even though he had no clue what response I would have for him after this week, he was serving me. Just as I had asked the Lord for.

Carlos called me tonight and asked if we could talk. I felt ready to talk in my heart, but I think my mind was still trying to be hard towards him. He came over and told me that what he heard from the Lord was that he needed to talk to my Dad. He knows that my policy is - if you want to get to me, you have to get through Papa first! I don't know what happened with me, but he said something that made me upset and rekindled my hurt. Had I not already been so raw and vulnerable, this wouldn't have bothered me like it did, but when I'm hurt and frustrated, it comes out as anger. I just can't understand how to sort what I'm feeling so I get really mad. I proceeded to explode and say every mean thing I could possibly think of. My heart was hurting still and it really was hurting for both of us. I heard myself and couldn't believe how horrible I was being. Carlos took it and continued to be patient with me (he always has been) and tried to keep talking to me. My tirade went on until 3 in the morning and I wasn't really sure what we had concluded or really, everything I had yelled about. All I knew is I had depths of pain that surfaced this night and I emoted on someone who would love me unconditionally and bear that burden with me.

This morning I woke up with concern for Carlos. I texted him to make sure he made it to work ok and he didn't. He was home. We texted for a little bit and I was still determined to have my attitude, but I felt myself change. Carlos said that he wanted to stay in the Word so the Lord could help him from hurting me anymore. He said he didn't like to see me like that and now he understood the magnitude of my hurts. He also said that I didn't understand the magnitude that he cares for me. He said he wanted me to be free as I used to be and see that my heart was healed.

I remember sitting at my desk, looking at my phone and I said "Lord, if he is for me, I am going to push him away one more time, and if this is who you have, he won't let that happen." So I told Carlos that for me to be free, he needed to leave me alone. I immediately got a text back from him that said "No, I won't. I don't feel like taking me out of the picture will help anything and I feel like the Lord has pressed on my heart to serve you as unto Him."


Jody from work came in right after this and I told her the latest happenings and we were both crying. From that moment on, something inside of me broke and I was free. I texted Carlos and asked him if he meant it when he said he would never leave and if that was even if I was emotional and explosive. He promised me he wouldn't and I believed him. He said that no matter how long it took or how hard things got, he would be here for me to get free.

I talked to my Mom this evening and spent a couple hours telling her the whole story of how God chiseled at my heart slowly, but surely and what an amazing thing he did for Carlos and I. She would normally give me lots of advice and input, but she only asked if I loved him. I told her that it wouldn't have hurt so much if I didn't. Her final statement was "I guess all I have to know now is when are you getting married?" She said that my Dad would probably be cool with it and she would be having lots of grand babies soon!


We became official. I told Carlos all about my week and he told me his. He cried when he realized that God told him to serve me and he didn't understand why, but he obeyed. He felt the Lord tell him specifically "Serve Manesseh and don't complain."
And because of Carlos' obedience, it changed me and he proved himself. I told Carlos that I realized a lot about myself and what I really needed. I had prayed wrong all these years for this certain kind of guy. But God knew my heart and what I really needed. I had surrendered to God's will and told the Lord that I wanted to get married at 33 and that I wanted to scratch everything I had prayed for up to this point and just wanted His will. I also told Carlos that he made me feel at home and safe with him. I could say anything (and believe me, I have!) to him and he's going to love me through it. My anger was years of pain coming to the surface and needing restored. I have needed someone to prove that love CAN be different and can be long-suffering and self-less. Carlos brought that out of me in more ways than one. He allowed me to emote fully and made it safe for me to do so.

We started our first bible study together and started in 1 Corinthians 13........The Love Chapter

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Days 5 & 6.....

Day 5

This morning I left my house praying again for a man that continues to serve me. I was pretty much convinced that if this issue between Carlos and I continued, than he would stop doing the nice things within a few days. No way, without encouragement, could someone continue this!

I told the Lord that I needed a WORD! I said I wanted to hear from Him through someone who is Godly, knows His word and can be objective about my situation. I told the Lord to consider me a spiritual and relationship retard because I can't sort between His will and my emotions. I reminded Him of how I had prayed before that the man for me would be in my face pursuing me and wooing me, so I wouldn't have to guess. I told him it would have to be like lightening hitting me. I went so far as to admitting to the Lord that at this point I needed Him to "come in the flesh and sit across from me, look me in the eyes and tell me what His will is." I than said that I second guess everything and that "even if you did do that Lord, my next step would be ask if it was really Satan disguised as you." What a mess! I told the Lord that I had decided that not only did I want my WORD this very day, but I wanted 3 signs! After all, you ARE God right?!

I came to work and chose another online teaching to listen to called "Examining our Motives." Pastor Steve started out by saying how often times we make decisions in our understanding and that we do things that we think will be better, but they end up hurting ourselves or someone else. He told the story of Abraham and Sarai and how Abraham thought it would be best to lie and say that she was his sister. Sounded like a good idea, but Sarai ended up in another man's harem anyways! The pastor went on to say that we think when we mess up that God is going to unleash His wrath to teach us a lesson. He went on to read that God came to Abraham's rescue as He often does with us! This made me think of Carlos. He thought similar to Abraham and thought he was protecting me by shielding me from a hurtful truth.

I had an email from my Mom telling me that I needed to forgive Carlos and that she knows he is a solid, stable comfort for me. She confronted the fear in my life that has gripped me and my worry about what someone may do to hurt me. I later tell my co-worker, Jody about the online message, my Mom's email and how I received both and she told me that "Carlos is your guy Manesseh!" Can we say that I may have gotten my 3 signs including my Word? I went home that night to my cat boxes cleaned again and my mail brought in.

Day 6

This day was pretty quiet and I was really at peace and feeling like God had things under His control. I still wasn't willing to buy into Carlos just yet, I needed even more convincing. I was in a hurry after work and ran home to meet my friend Pauline to go out. My yard was mowed, edged, all the leaves were picked up, cat boxes were clean and the mail was brought in. I told Pauline that Carlos must have been here and she said that she thought my yard looked really good. She had advised me earlier in the week that what had happened between Carlos and I was a moment where he fell short but it wasn't a deal breaker.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Days 3 & 4

Day 3
Today I had the day off of work and I spent my time cleaning and of course, reflecting. At one point in my day, I had just thought so much about everything that I needed to explode and emote it all out on someone. Guess who the lucky recipient was? Carlos. Although we were "on a break" I just couldn't contain what was happening inside and he graciously listened, apologized again and reminded me that he never intended or ever wanted to hurt me.

Day 4
I had a stronger sense of God's peace this day, but I was STILL not sure where I stood with things. Obviously, this meant more to me than I ever thought it would but my head kept telling me that Carlos couldn't possibly be what I've waited for. This isn't how I would have imagined it, yet my heart was growing softer by the minute and I actually longed for Carlos' companionship again.

I left work this evening and prayed on my drive home. I said "You know what God? The man who really is for me is still going to fight for me and not stop doing nice things for me even in conflict! Especially if he caused it! I have prayed for years for a man who is consistent with me and doesn't sulk in the midst of conflict. I want a man that serves me and knows that's my love language. I just know that the man for me is going to take care of my heart even when I'm unlovely."

I came home to my trash cans being brought back to the side of the house (I had put them out by the road for garbage pickup). While pulling up and seeing this, my attitude was still like "oh that's SO noble, you pull off the road and sling the cans by the side of the house. How sacrificial!"

I went in the house and my mail was brought in and the cat boxes were clean. Again, I wasn't that impressed. I was more glad that I didn't have to do that stuff now. I was choosing this hardness because inside I had peace. I guess I thought my attitude was somehow going to punish Carlos, but really it was only poisoning me. I always thought and still believed up to this point that Carlos was a good man, but I wanted to resist it.

I had talked to my longtime friend Molly earlier in the day and she has always offered me great advice and Godly counsel. I had shared with her all the goings-on and she reminded me that no matter who we choose, they are a sinner and will make mistakes. She pointed out that my ex-boyfriend had never let me emote and release what hurt me like Carlos has. She also asked me a very pointed question which convicted me of the same thing that I was mad at Carlos for. Basically, I had to confess that I am guilty of the same wrong doing as he was and I expected to be excused. My problem was that it felt so much more personal now that it had been done to me! Molly so wisely said that I couldn't expect something from someone that I wasn't myself willing to make my standard.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Thus the week apart begins.......Days 1 & 2

Day 1
Pretty uneventful. I had told Carlos to just leave me alone, yet I still had hoped that he would try, at least, to make contact with me. Naturally, I wouldn't answer the phone, but the point is, that I wanted a man that would show me I was worth fighting for. Nonetheless, I had been praying that the Lord would really show me who Carlos was in HIS eyes and that He would give me forgiveness and soften my heart to do HIS will and not my own. I told the Lord that "I surrender" to His will, like never before. I told Him I wanted what HE had for me and I would accept His gift in the packaging that He chooses. I promised to stop making MY will priority and being unwilling to have something if it doesn't come like I think it should. Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure I'm done with Carlos and that God may have someone else for me.

Day 2
Carlos called me at lunchtime despite our "break" and I was still reeling from the hurt I had felt. I had written him a long letter this morning unleashing how I felt to which he wanted to respond. In my heart though, I missed who I believed Carlos really was, but my emotions were really taking over and confusing me. I was at work when I started to pray for him and that's when my phone rang! He asked me if I wanted to talk to him and if he could please talk to me about what happened. I told him sure and we agreed to talk the following night.

I had been listening to some online teachings from my Dad's Pastor (Steve Schell) and I felt compelled to listen to his series called "Stormy Times." This message talked about how we often let fearful speculation grip us and we than make decisions based on what we THINK is going to happen. We play things out in our minds that "If I say this, he'll do this...." etc...So true for me! He said that we have to do what David did before we make decisions based on fear! He said the least you will want to do is praise and worship, but that is what David did to get free from fear BEFORE he faced what was coming his way. So, I took great notes and continued to do some reading in my Bible in 1 Peter.

I was reading out of my Joyce Meyer's Bible and she adds some great commentary and explanation of scripture. She was talking about how they were looking for the king and kept by-passing all of the brothers until they came to David, who was the least likely to be "king material". She said that we often judge by outside appearances or actions, but that God looks at the heart and that we need to see people as God sees them. Reading this really broke me because I recognized that God doesn't see Carlos's faults against me any differently than he sees MY faults against Him. I offered to meet with Carlos tonight instead because I figured that he should catch me while God had prepared my heart and softened me. I still was undecided and completely uncertain as to what was next.

Carlos came over and we talked. I still chose to be cool toward him. My hurt wasn't gone and although the Lord spoke to me about seeing him as HE does, I felt I was doing all I could by allowing Carlos to even speak his piece to me. Carlos said that he wanted to seek the Lord with all he has about me. I felt like this time apart wouldn't produce a different outcome for us.

Boy was I wrong!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Trouble in Paradise........

The Love Story
Part Four

Speaking of being my date for my friend's weddings.....Carlos had attended one such wedding with me and we had a wonderful time! I was seriously starting to consider Carlos as a possible option, meanwhile still asking the Lord to divide us if he wasn't the man for my future. At the wedding, my eyes were wide open to how he offered to get me more food or punch and we just laughed and danced until almost everyone had left. Now that's a trooper! Most guys don't like even going to weddings, let alone, staying until the very end. He was great and hadn't complained a bit.

After my friend's wedding, we decided to change into "comfy" clothes and do our usual sushi and a movie custom when we ended up in a HUGE fight! I was so upset and surprisingly hurt by our fight, that I immediately realized how much more I cared for him than I ever thought. After much ado, I sent him home and I was convinced I wanted nothing to do with him. Not because our fight and his offense was a "deal-breaker" but more so because I had never expected this to happen with us. I felt very hopeless about finding my true love and thought that this must have been the Lord dividing us.

At the end of this particular evening, we agreed to disagree and Carlos asked us to just take a week apart to seek the Lord's will for our lives and once we talk again, he would have an answer as to whether or not we are going to pursue a relationship as more than friends, stay just friends or part ways indefinitely. In my hurt, I felt defeated and didn't expect anything to come of this break also because I didn't feel like the Lord had said "yes" to me in regards to Carlos and I having a committed relationship.

I started our week apart completely confused, hurt and feeling hopeless. By the end of the week, I was more clear than I have EVER been in my life and God showed just how big and how amazing HIS plans are for us if we are willing to see them. I started my week off by simply asking Him to help me see through His eyes and to see Carlos as He sees Him.

What I thought could NEVER be a beginning or any bit the fairy tale, the Lord through his sovereign hand made this a beautiful story.....

Saturday, February 21, 2009