faith, freedom, food

Tag: #marriage

Making a Long Distance Relationship”Work”

Making a Long Distance Relationship”Work”

Good Wednesday! Today, Johnny and I are 80 days out from our “I Do’s,” and I could not possibly be more excited. We are also just a few weeks shy of seeing each other again for his regional soccer tournament, and less than a month […]

Having My Bridal Shower Cake… and Eating It, Too

Having My Bridal Shower Cake… and Eating It, Too

Here’s what they don’t tell you about eating disorders: They’re usually pretty innocent at first. An endeavour to “be healthier.” When my restrictive illness first developed when I was fifteen, I never would have considered that I might still be terrified of white flour and […]

05. Healing

05. Healing

This is the fifth instalment of six in my series telling my love story with my fiance Johnny. Read Part 1, “Meeting,” here, Part 2, “Dating,” here, Part 3, “Distance,” here, and Part 4, “Letters,” here.

Following the grandly miraculous healing that Jesus reigned in over my life has been a very great prevalence of what we shall call “unfinishedness.”

For about six months after that radical encounter with Jesus, I can say wholeheartedly that I did not operate in any disordered behaviours. I was a new creation. The reality of my life was in such synchronization with the Holy Spirit; I was praying constantly against the enemy, and the Lord was making me others-focused and driven by love and mercy.

This past summer and the semester apart before it, Johnny experienced a lot of hardship and strife himself that God used to challenge and change him in many ways that ultimately brought such glory to Jesus. But it was a difficult season. As I was on a “spiritual high,”– and, quite simply, a LIFE high– Johnny was struggling more overtly for the first time in our relationship.

I am SO grateful God has allowed these hardships to come to pass in both of our lives while we’ve been dating. In the almost-four-years we’ve spent together, we have endured A LOT… but none of it without God, without aiming to walk in step with Him and in alignment with His purposes for us as a couple.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. ECCLESIASTES 3:1-2

And so I am reminded of something very important as I look back on it all; we are all unfinished until we meet Jesus face to face. Knowing that His kind of love and perfect grace dwell within us, though, and that we are called to die to sin and self and allow His Spirit to reign is such an exciting and wonderful Truth. And I am so excited about the calling on the rest of my life on this earth, and that it’s become aligned with Johnny’s.

Part of healing has been recognizing that. Recognizing grace and not perfection.

Recognizing the need for child-like faith; for belly-aching laughter; for suffering with Christ, too; for tough conversations amidst mostly wonderful ones.

Recognizing that my Father has PERFECT timing.

Part of healing has been entering into the uncomfortable reality that I my sinful nature sometimes does not want the things of Christ, and being vulnerable about that.

Part of healing has been sharing the yuckiest, most tearful, ugly and bottled up parts of me with the man who is going to be my husband, and realizing just how unconditionally he loves me… and how much MORE, then, our God loves me.

Loves you, reader (I sure hope you’re finding yourself in the mix here. I see your brokenness and Jesus does too).

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

And so much of this amazing thing called love makes me realize every day how aligned we are as humans in the seasons; the ups and downs; the process that makes us realize more each passing day how truly we NEED our Saviour.

And in the seasons, how fervently I believe THIS, because it’s my experience: God wants your marriage to be more in love and butterfly-filled with each passing day.

He WANTS the gushy mushy happy feelings and spontaneous kisses and romance between you two. The passion and chemistry. He CREATED it.

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. I THESSALONIANS 5:1

But my other big piece of advice? Don’t try to take the pen out of God’s hand. Let Him write for you. Believe He’s a better storyteller than you are. It’s not too difficult to comprehend that the God who created the moon and the stars and the hairs on your head knows better what your life should look like than you do.

And fall in love with Him. “Your marriage does not need you, it needs more of you looking like Jesus” (Pst. Mike Rutledge).

And in these past few years, I’ve met Johnny’s new friends from Winnipeg and he’s become closer with mine; I’ve graduated university and he’s almost finished; I’ve watched Johnny play varsity soccer in the states, for a team he holds captaincy and awards for. I’ve grown closer to his heart than any human heart in the world, and all of that closeness through Jesus, despite MILES of distance.

And all of that closeness the perfectly written story for what was coming next.

04. Letters

04. Letters

Read Part 1, “Meeting,” here, Part 2, “Dating,” here, and Part 3, “Distance,” here. It was our second New Year’s Eve together, over our first reunion during long distance dating, that Johnny told me there was something really important he needed to talk to me about. Now, […]

02. Dating

02. Dating

All photos by the best wedding/engagement photographer on planet earth, Liam Good. Read Part 1, “Meeting,” here. That first coffee date made Johnny’s intentions even more clear. We spent it talking about what God had done in our lives, and to give Him glory for those […]

01. Meeting

01. Meeting

All photos by the best wedding/engagement photographer on planet earth, Liam Good.

I didn’t think the incredibly handsome man with the super humble but intelligent thoughts and shy smile whose name I knew to be Johnny Fulford would ever talk to me.

I assumed that, like the way most middle-school crushes of the same calibre go, the nodding and acknowledging and occasional smiles we exchanged at Tuesday morning 9am Public Faith & Politics class would be the extent of our relationship.

But oh did I have a Heavenly Father who knew differently, One who knew exactly why those middle school crushes were nothing more than hormones. One who has extended such love and grace that the only possible response is to give Him all of my life.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. JEREMIAH 29:11

And, any way, the more aligned I was becoming with Johnny Fulford before we had even once spoken had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with the way God was working in my life. Through beautiful friends, through enlivening the Word of the Bible like never before, transforming my heart and my spirit and my mind to true joy in having an intimate relationship with my One and Only God, Jesus.

I believe that Jesus revealing Himself to me as my Number One was absolutely vital for number two stepping in.

In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. PROVERBS 3:6

My first real conversation with Johnny, then, was on a car ride to Queen’s Park in Toronto for a class field trip. The everything-but-country-music-fanatic cringed a bit at my Shania-Twain-belting but I noticed that he was smiling at my soul.

While we were on the field trip, colleagues who had been in the car asked me, “Do you and Johnny have a thing? Sure seems like it.”

University isn’t the time for a boy, reverberated my mind. But the Holy Spirit was undeniably speaking something else.

Do not conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. ROMANS 12:2

When he asked me that night if he could take me for coffee, after highlighting that he was interested in what the Lord was doing in my life for His glory, I had the most overwhelming peace in Johnny’s intentions to know me; that knowing me more deeply would hopefully mean knowing Jesus and becoming more like Him.

Because of Jesus, the world had already started to look more colourful and beautiful even in all its brokenness; but that was only the beginning.

But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. MATTHEW 6:33