Happy 2018 Friends!
I have taken the longest hiatus ever from blogging, and boy have I missed it. I have been taken a much needed, much appreciated, and wonderful rest period with my boyfriend, Johnny, who has been home from his school in Winnipeg for the past few weeks.
We are often asked “how we do it.”
How do you survive long distance dating? The amount of “I could never do its” we’ve heard is large.
And, like the answer to many things, I am filled with the answer resounding: “Jesus.”
He is how, because He is why.
Two years ago, when Johnny and I first started dating, we couldn’t have imagined all that would come in the next two years. We were together, establishing our relationship with each other and in Christ, for eight wonderful months, and when Johnny told me he’d prayed over this new school in Winnipeg, I knew I could only have one response: “Your will be done Lord, and no matter what, for Your glory.”
And Jesus has built us up, made us stronger, and directed our hearts to Him, all for His glory, since He left.
These past few weeks together have been beautiful, while testing, and I am grateful for every second. When I am close to Johnny, I am often filled with the desire to just savour that. Time together, whether it be in tired silence, in late night laughs, in lazy sick days or in moments with friends. Time together is precious, and we know it, because we know time apart.
Both Johnny and I are coming out of very busy semesters. I feel like I have come from a never-ending season of go-go-go– beautiful, purposeful, but very busy– and have been convicted in my difficulty with rest, and my knowledge that I need to be filled up by THE SPIRIT in order to do anything.
And these few weeks have certainly brought rest. Johnny first arrived back on his birthday, and I felt closer to him than ever in every way, and loving each other continues to be such a natural, special blessing. Circumstantially, though, this holiday hasn’t been “normal,” because both of us have had consistent work ethics, busy lifestyles, and, of course, very different lives in different places. Resting together made us both feel too spoiled, I think, but in many ways we were also forced in to it.
Firstly, Johnny was quite sick for the first nearly week of our reunion. He really needed bed rest, and so our time together was me taking care of him (cooking lots, giving him tea that he drank less reluctantly than ever before, and just resting with him). We went out shopping a bit, we ate lots of good food, we soaked in each other’s presence, and prayed lots. Johnny worried that the sickness was too frustrating for me, but I just wanted him to know how grateful I was for the time together, time that always only affirms Jesus’ provision for us, for HIM.
One of our first nights together, we went on our big “adventure” of the trip: abandoning our cozy “movie day” to get McDonald’s and Starbucks. Which I paid for, since Johnny had paid for the evening’s pizza (officially my favourite; check out Urban Bricks).
That same night, after so much laughing and both of our moods so goofy and joyful, we had a much needed conversation that was so open, honest, and trusting. I think one of the best things about our relationship is that we don’t hold each other to a standard of perfection, but a standard of grace, and an expectation of Christ’s best in the other. This way, when either one of us makes mistakes, we aren’t provoked to anger, but rather to lovingly lifting the other up, submitting to Christ and HIS ability to love. This also weeds out fear of being honest with each other, and we are naturally very comfortable in talking through our feelings and thoughts with each other. Johnny is such a good listener, and I always know I am cared for and loved by him. Even when we are distant, he makes such a point of showing that.
Johnny helped me study for my exam, grocery shopped with me, and drove so much over the course of our holiday. We went shopping lots together, and one of my favourite ways to love Johnny is picking out clothes with him!
Christmas with each other’s families was beautiful, and I have loved watching Johnny become like a part of my family, and such a loved and comfortable part of my parents’ and sisters’ lives. I have had less time with his family, but whenever I am with them, I can only tell him how in awe I am of Jesus’ tangible presence and work. This holiday brought wonderful quality time with both of our families, celebrating the Father’s glorification through His Son’s birth.
Gift giving felt indulgent for both of us, and we simply had too much fun giving to each other– “No Christmas gifts next year,” we relented.
And this past week, I have been the sick one. More restful days than we could have expected came with that, as my stomach has not allowed me to do much. On top of that, my residence has not had functioning water for the past week, and so our patience has been tested. “Little things,” Johnny and I have kept saying. But when we see them as little things that are opportunities for us as a couple to look to Christ, to rely on Him more, to know what it is to have Him head our relationship and our individual lives– this is cause for rejoicing.
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. GALATIANS 1:11-12
Constant reminders to turn to the Lord. Seeing trials and struggles and mishaps as opportunities for JESUS’ strength to be manifest, every part of life becomes more joyful and truly meaningful in the process. This is all a part of His doing, His way in us, and He is so, marvellously good, and mighty to save.
But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. GALATIANS 1:16
Looking forward to another semester apart, but united always in the Holy Spirit, I am excited to continue to worship Jesus with Johnny, to encourage him in all his hard work, to know him more as we know the Father more, and to discover more of God’s will for our lives.
My dear Johnny, thank-you for two amazing years of adventure and love. I am wordlessly blessed by you.