Everything is changing again.
Mark and I established a casual friendship over the course of several years as Friendly Adult Presences (chaperones) in the Quaker teen program in our region, SAYF, and it was through this that we were able to connect, which led to us exploring a romantic relationship and falling in love. Although it seems sudden, we feel we have been guided by God. As we got to know one another as unmarried individuals, we found we have an amazing number of things in common. Our faith, the way we experience God and our values are the most important but we also share taste in food (we’re both vegetarian and for the same reason), music, writing, word play and games. We both have a desire to make Christ our center, living God’s will for us in all we do.
Mark and I began talking in April, dating in May and we bought a house together this week. He will be moving here immediately after Christmas. We plan to marry in the spring, if it be God’s will for us. We have prayed about each step of our relationship, asking, questioning, wanting it to work but trusting God to know what is best for us and we feel clear that where we are and the vision we share is good.
I look back over the last year and I thank God for everything. I am so grateful that I was without work for those 7 months so I could be with my best girlfriend through a difficult health crisis last June. I am grateful I could travel with Finn this past summer, visiting family and doing interesting things together. But especially I am grateful for the time with Mark. I’m grateful I was able to listen, trust and wait as God was telling me to do. If I had rushed or pushed or forced my life forward (by applying to any and all jobs and then taking the first one offered, by renting an apartment, etc.) I would not have learned to listen nor been available when Mark (re)entered my life.
This is from my friendlymama blogpost last New Year’s Eve:
I desire a life of submission to God’s will. I will actively do what I know will increase my awareness of God in my life, writing, prayer, fellowship, community. I will try to be open to new leadings and new directions. Not my will but Thine.
I would like to live a frugal life, relatively financially independent. I don’t want to think about retirement but about what kind of impact I am making on the world right now. I would like a low-stress job which would allow me the time to write and build community. Or, I would like to create a business that I can do from home such as owning an apartment building or running a hostel. Or, I’d like to find my own “right livelihood”. I trust Spirit to guide me.
Anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows I want to be automobile independent. In Nashville, with children in school and with a job, I don’t think this is possible. I would like to build into my new life as much freedom from auto-dependence as possible. I may still need to own a car but I would like to walk, (learn to) bike and ride buses whenever possible. I trust Spirit to lead me.
I would like an open house, that is, a house which is open and warm and inviting. I want to offer hospitality and to welcome people with food and generosity. (I’d really like a country kitchen, good for baking bread.) I would like my home to be a gathering place for my friends and my communities and my children’s friends. I trust Spirit to use me.
I would like to have greater compassion coupled with a more effective ability to act. I want to be a member of the Body of Christ on Earth, doing God’s work. I trust Spirit to teach me.
When I read that post and I think of all the loss and now all that is being given, I am awed. A year ago, I couldn’t imagine entering into a new relationship and yet God brought this amazing man into my life who supports and facilitates all those things I feel God is calling me to do. Besides the fact that I’m heels-over-head crazy in love with him, Mark seems the mate God created for me. He shares my desire to make our homelife an extension of our spiritual community. The home we now own, which we are calling The Burrow due to its abundance of space, is perfect for offering hospitality and living in community. It is in a neighborhood which will allow us to be much less car-dependent. We are hoping to rent the front third of The Burrow to a single parent to build community and to allow us to have an amount of financial flexibility. I most likely could not have bought this home without Mark and I am grateful beyond my ability to express that God put Mark in my life to be my mate, this man who loves me purely and truly, who accepts my love like a priceless gift and who shares with me the yearning to live in God.