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How I Found True Love- Through God

A Freelance short-story writer, a Christian Minister and Chaplain, Founder of Christian Women Connect Ministry. Enjoy sharing my Faith.

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http://www.flickr.com/groups/travel-photography/discuss/72157600322093964/72157600321756583/

Finally Made It!

Waiting in the frigid breeze, the sharp north wind cut to her bones, causing her to shiver uncontrollably. Tiny flakes of snow stuck to her eyelashes distorting her vision. It seemed the city bus would never get there. She drew a deep cleansing breath, and her lungs began to burn from the cold air as she tightened the belted of her calf-length wool coat and smothered her cashmere scarf about her face.

Dressed in cowboy boots and attempting to hold her Stetson hat in place, Trish thought to pinch herself. She couldn’t have imagined herself…standing here in the center of midtown Atlanta. Was this real, was she really here? Slowly, she spun around not noticing her exposed face covered in cold flakes, and it began to settle in. She realized she was really doing this. The dream of being on her own, having the perfect job, learning to make her own choices- it was all happening. Shivering from the accumulating flakes as well as the excitement of her favorite upcoming seasons of the year –Thanksgiving and Christmas, this small-town, unassuming girl danced a few steps of sheer delight. She had big plans. More… she had to find more for her life, her life's purpose!

The two-bedroom, second-floor apartment Trish shared with her two college girlfriends, was just what she had dreamed of. It was a classic, located in an eclectic part of midtown Atlanta, at the corner of Ponce de Leon and Piedmont Ave., with original cherry hardwood floors and vastly high ceilings. The structure appeared to have been built in the 1920s or 1930s, with a vintage, “I Love Lucy ” feel. The oversized rooms, with a typical small kitchenette displaying the old white enamel countertops trimmed with black edgings and the large garbage shoot on the back kitchen wall, caused her to step back in time.

The master bedroom opened to its own shaded balcony facing the noisy street. She savored the noise, the sounds of the city, and in the evening, the quietness that blanketed everything as it came to rest as midnight approached. And at this time of year, everything and everyone seemed to brim with anticipation and even seemed to share knowing smiles gesturing unspoken Season’s Greetings. It was so perfect. She felt like Marlo Thomas in “That Girl ”.

Really, this was all she could ask for. Everything was falling in place, simply perfect…right? So, as things began to slow down and evening set in, she questioned, why did there seem to be this emptiness, this big open void, as if something were missing?

aspecialchristmasgift

Big City Life

She had gradually fallen into a comfortable routine. Work, home, eat, sleep…work, home, eat, sleep…etc. Her weekends were limited to binge-watching her favorite tv shows, grocery shopping, and sleeping. She occasionally enjoyed Special Events at the city park nearby and occasional visits to friends of her roommates. But they were rare and only temporary. She tried to stay busy, taking various night classes at the technical college, but nothing really seemed to satisfy.

One weekend, Trish decided to take a short walk around the neighborhood. She headed to the local shops, just blocks away, to window-shop. She gradually paced her steps to a comfortable trot. Approaching an intersection, she stood at the corner admiring the decorations in the windows across the street and the decorative holiday lights on the street corners. And as Thanksgiving was only one day away and the Christmas holiday grew closer, the hollow feeling intensified and she found herself even more distracted with loneliness and discontentment. She even considered asking her family to come for her for the holidays. But she couldn’t have them think she was struggling already.

Trish’s closest friend and roommate, Shelly, could not help sensing her boredom and discontentment. One day she summoned the courage and hesitantly suggested something Trish had pushed to the back of her mind so many times lately. “I think what you really need now is someone special in your life. What do you think?” Trish laughed, a little too loudly and brushed her friend’s suggestion off as a joke. But in the back of her mind, she began to consider the suggestion to look into dating, with a glimmer of hope. Then just as quickly, Trish gradually squelched and gave in to the fear of rejection and unworthiness. Eventually, embracing her lack of self-worth, she dismissed the idea of finding someone and retreated to her drab self-contained existence, telling Shelly, “I just don’t think I’m really ready for that. I’d like to enjoy my single self for a while.”

But secretly, the thought of finding the “man of her dreams” continued to tease her. She battled against the nagging idea and chalked it up to desperation, just another “romantic fantasy". But the loneliness continued to plague her, playing over and over in her mind until she could not avoid it any longer. She tried to convince herself that God would work it out because He would bring the right man into her life. She would wait for that man, a godly man.

Trish’s mind continued to wonder… “Shelly, I’ve got to focus more on honoring my faith. You know, that’s all I’ve known and that’s what I was taught. I want to be that “good girl.” Trish truly wanted to hold on to her strong morals and not compromise. But was it possible? Could she really find that right kind of man here… in this facade? Where would she even start? The challenge, the risks seemed insurmountable. She’d seen friends make such bad choices and sabotage their hopes and dreams. She didn’t want to take a chance that would destroy her future… a one-time fling or doing something she’d later regret. She wanted more for herself than that.

As a “twenty-something” woman, Trish thought, “we can surely find a place to meet guys without “barhopping” and humiliating ourselves like “needy women on the prowl.” And she would not think to consider online dating. Shelly reached across the dinner table for something to break the silence between them as they ate dinner. She hesitantly blurted out, “why don’t we pray and ask God for direction about the next step and maybe we should try going to church to find the right man?” Trish’s face slowly brightened as she released a huge smile of agreement. “That’s a great idea!” What better way for a young Christian woman to successfully find the RIGHT man than in a church?

Now, there was a stirring excitement for the first time in a long time about going to church. We began to attend Sunday morning services, then Sunday evening fellowships, even joining the choir and attending Wednesday night choir rehearsals. After weeks of church attendance and seeking, disappointment begin to seep in, and Trish felt her hopes start to dwindle about her search. There were few possibilities, but they quickly dissipated before they ever sprouted wings. Most of the men had their own plans of brief flings (which blew away her vision of an ideal, trustworthy Christian man), or they soon became compulsive obsessives with fractured illusions of me supporting them financially and emotionally or a live-in servant, serving them hand and foot…
Not for Trish! She treasured her independence while holding on to her own dreams of being the recipient of security and love. Admittedly, she considered that she was a hopeless romantic, she shamelessly accepted the title.

Mount Paran Church Atlanta (1970-1989)

He Watches Over Me!

One sunny, cool Sunday evening, Trish and Shelly, unaware of their surroundings, (with their bibles tucked under their arms), briskly rushed up the sidewalk to the church they’d been attending a few blocks from their apartment. Cautiously, a car approached slowing down then came to a stop beside them. The white-haired elderly couple opened the window and tentatively called out to them. The couple seemed so kind and truly genuine. The couple inquired if Trish and Shelly were headed to church (noticing their bibles) and offered them a ride. The girls explained that they had only a few blocks to walk. But the couple persisted. Trish and Shelly paused and searched each other’s face then relented. As they rode, the older couple explained they were also heading to evening service at their church. The couple asked if they would like to attend service with them. Trish and Shelly whispered in each other’s ears. For some exceptional reason, feeling so at ease and very taken by the couple they confidently accepted the invitation to attend church service with the kind couple that evening.

Trish had never attended such a large church. As they entered the impressive narthex of Mount Paran Church, Trish and Shelly were swept away by the grandeur and drawn-in by the welcoming sounds of praise and worship that engulfed the sanctuary. Making a visual sweep of the room they saw there were people of varied races, ages, and sizes, all mixed in total unity. With their hands raised and their eyes either closed or looking heavenward they appeared enthralled. Their faces illuminated serenity and peace, each person seemingly captivated, just caught-up in the music.

Trish first watched with unabashed amazement, committing to keep a tight grip on caution. This felt as if it might be way over her head. She listened to the music and watched the older couple as they settled in and joined the display of openness. She listened to the worship leader encourage everyone to join in. “In the presence of Jehovah, God Almighty, Prince of Peace. Troubles vanish, hearts are mended, in the presence of the king.” Trish began to mouth the words displayed on the overhead screen. Soon her voice blends with those around her as she closed her eyes and heard herself freely blending her voice in worship. She absorbed the experience, the excitement , the warmth and unexplainable peace. So distracted, she found herself completely immersed, losing sight of her original plans of “man-hunting”, and found herself “heart-seeking” instead.

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Trish felt something she had never known in her head, something so satisfying, so right, captured her heart. As the music flowed, Trish found herself overwhelmed to the point of tears. Unable to deny her feelings, she again lifted her hands as if controlled by someone unseen not wanting the music to stop. And when the pastor began to speak, it all fell in place. As if he'd read her thoughts, the pastor quoted, "Proverbs 8:17 says 'I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.'”

Bible Gateway

True Love

Trish knew her desire had been hijacked. As if everything came to a screeching halt, and truth begin to shine a spotlight exposing her brokenness. She’d been seeking to fill her emptiness with all the things she’d been convinced would fill and satisfy that vacuum, that hollowness. Money, success, yes, even “the right man” ...

She considered her past, and realized growing up in the church, she’d heard the words throughout all her childhood. But now, God's words came alive, changing her heart and mind, helping her see more clearly than ever. Now she wanted more. She had never allowed God to take full control. She wanted to surrender to Him completely. Her faith now sored, but what Trish clearly understood now was she desired a true relationship with her Savior. She knew she wanted someone to know her and fill the void that had haunted her.

As the pastor spoke about God’s desire to walk in the cool of the day with Adam, he explained that this was God’s gift for us all along. To satisfy our longings with the unquenchable need for a relationship (a walk with Him) only found through God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

That was it! The message made so much sense as though her heart had been awakened to the voice of God. At this point, Trish realized, nothing else…no job, no thing, and not eve man, could ever satisfy like this. That day and even now, Trish continues to fill her thirst for more of her God and knows this thrust is quenched only by seeking the only free gift, from God Our Father, His precious Son, Jesus . She realized this is the true love, the true romance for which she had been searching.

This was now home. Trish and Shelly knew they had found the church that would help them grow in their relationship with the Lord and as they followed Him, He would direct their steps and lead them to the right man He had for them when the time was right.

© 2008 Cheryl Goff

Comments

Bill on September 27, 2010:

A wonderful story that is so heartfelt. Thank you for sharing. It is true that all man can provide and create will fall short and leave you wanting. Jesus is the only way that lasts, will not tarnish and still be there when you wake up. You are not dreaming He is the way the truth and the life.

Bill on September 27, 2010:

A wonderful story that is so heartfelt. Thank you for sharing

Cheryl Goff (author) from Under the Shelter of His Wings on September 27, 2010:

Thanks so much RT.

RTalloni on September 26, 2010:

Yes, praise God that you got the message right...

"no job, place or man could ever satisfy like this"

Looking forward to reading more of your work!

Cristina Santander from Manila on August 14, 2009:

What an awesome testimony. Praise God for what He has done in your life.

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