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I’ve always been an expert at foreboding joy. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Seeing the glass as half empty. Cynicism. When you live from a place of fear it makes it hard to trust people. Makes it hard to trust God too.

Thankfully God is patient and has gently pursued my heart year after year with big and small reminders that He always has been, and always will be, faithful.

Learning to trust God’s goodness is hard, but not nearly as hard as learning to trust that people are good too. So, when God told me to go out on a date with a guy last spring, I was more scared than excited. But I went. That was over a year ago, and in the last year I’ve asked God a lot of question, one more than all of the others, “is this man good?” Not just is he good, but is he good for me, is he good for my kids, is he good for my relationship with God?

Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’ve been so hurt by people that you pushed away love, doubted it, and ran from it. I decided a long time ago that being single is great and that I’d rather be single the rest of my days then give someone access to my heart again.

Life taught me to look out for myself. To be strong. To not depend on others. So when God sent a man my way I fought against it. I didn’t want to lose my independence, or my freedom, or my identity. I didn’t want to need someone.

In the last year I have cautiously dated a good man. For the longest time I didn’t tell anyone outside of my very closest circle of friends about him. Because I just knew it wouldn’t last, and didn’t want to do damage control with a large group of people when it ended. But it didn’t end. He kept pursuing me. Kept letting me be scared and ask hard question. He was patient. And gentle. And kind. He wasn’t afraid of my baggage or my brokenness. He made me feel competent and strong and worthy of love. He was honest… about his feelings, about his past, about his shortcomings, about his intentions. He prayed for me and with me. He prayed for my kids, and made time to get to know them.

What he’s taught me in the last year is that love doesn’t make you less yourself, it makes you more. Love liberates. It creates room for strength and hope and dreams. Love cheers for you, loudly and with enthusiasm.  Love fights for you, never against you.

Last spring a man showed up and fought hard for my heart. Last week he asked for my heart and my hand… and I said YES!!

We are both old enough and wise enough to know that marriage isn’t a promise of happily ever after. We are going into this with eyes wide open. We are so blessed to be surrounded by a group of friends and mentors that love us and are committed to helping us walk in love, committed to each other, for the rest of our days. We are bringing together 2 lives, and 6 kids, and 3 dogs, and 1 very grumpy cat. We’re sure that during the transition there will be some bumps in the road. We’re also sure that those bumps will be worth navigating together.

And so… a new chapter begins.