Sometimes we try to force things to work, and sometimes the universe or in my case, God orchestrates things where it's just so easy. I'd take the latter any day, but more than once I have tried to force my way into situations and the end result was and is always well...not easy. I never believed in the whole, soul mate thing. I really didn't. I would be the first to roll my eyes when someone would mention the whole idea.
I wasn't expecting to my meet my soul mate. It was the furthest thing from my mind. If you had told me what was to come, I would have said, "there is absolutely NO WAY that will happen." I would have placed money on it. And it never ceases to amaze me how God hears the cries of our heart, and when we solely focus on what He has called us to do, he gives us those desires of our heart.
I was in Charlotte, North Carolina with some hairstylists friends, it was a trip we've made numerous times before. But this time it was different, I was right smack in the middle of a divorce. And I was not in a great place. I wasn't in a horrible place, but I wasn't in the best either. If a man even so much as glanced at me, I would cut them death rays with my eyes. I had NO DESIRE to speak to the opposite sex. NONE
My divorce, which is not the focus here, but needs to be addressed so that you can rejoice with me, instead of jump to conclusions. And I promise you will jump up and down at what is possible when you let go and let God in. After 5, yes FIVE separations, 3 of the those with lawyers, God reached down and no longer made staying with my now ex-husband even an option. When your parents physically remove you and your children from an extremely toxic situation, you know it's over. I had spent countless years in therapy over this relationship. And I begged and pleaded for God to intervene. And oh, He did! God showed up in the middle of my divorce.
Back to my story...
So here I am in Charlotte with a bunch of friends. Of course as always on weekends away and no kids in sight we all want to go eat a great meal and have a glass of wine. This trip was no different, except that I was in a horrible mood. I can distinctly remember begging my friends to stay in. "Let's order a pizza." in which they side glanced me and promptly said no way. No kids means dinner out! I was outnumbered. I could either stay at the hotel by myself or join my friends out. I joined my friends but not without them knowing I was not happy about it. I threw my hair in a pony tail (which says a lot about my state of mind right there. The only time you see my hair in a pony tail is at the gym!), refused to change my clothes and said we better be home by 10!
Jump to a few hours later, where I, still in a foul mood stood talking to a friend when a small tap on the shoulder interrupted me mid sentence. I turn to find this guy directly behind me. Grinning he says "Hi!, my friends and I have a bet and want to know what you are drinking." With a Texas size chip on my shoulder, I not so politely answered him. He smiles and walks away. Through out the rest of the night, he found every excuse to talk to me. I didn't really understand why this guy continued to joyfully speak to me when I gave him nothing but icicles, but eventually his persistence and straight up confidence melted me slightly. And when I say slightly, I mean I started answering his questions with less ice. By the end of the night he wanted my phone number, and I responded with a flat NO. He asked again, I said NO again. He asked a third time, and I simply said "if you've been paying attention at all you can find it on the internet. Good luck!" I walked away. Sassy yes, nice of me? No. I had no intention of seeing him ever again. But the thing was...this guy, who repeatedly smiled at my rejection had actually paid attention when I spoke. James is a man who pays attention. He found my phone number from my business website within 30 seconds and called me as I was walking away.
Our first date a week later was ambushed by 2 of my girlfriends. I begged them to come with on this date. I had no desire to be alone with a guy, in fact I was totally uncomfortable. I told James 5 minutes before he was suppose to arrive that my friends were going to join us. He rolled with the punches. I could tell he was slightly miffed, but nonetheless he ended up taking 3 ladies to dinner. From the point on, James was hooked. I on the other hand was like ummmm...I still am paying lawyer bills from a divorce. This is the worst timing ever.
As you can imagine, I really wasn't the best version of myself. I was still in the process of healing and my actions showed just how much healing I still needed. I had moments of extreme fear; more times than I can count he talked me out of breaking it off with him. I thought there is no way God is in this, the timing is too off. I showed him the crazy, and the not-so-great sides of me. He saw the yelling-mom-side of Carla, he saw the stressed-to-the-max Carla. I questioned his motives, I questioned his character. I thought this is too good to be true. I made him prove himself over and Over and OVER again. I was far from a beautiful girl that one would want to date. Most people show the best of themselves while dating, I did the complete opposite. I hid nothing and I fully expected him to run for the hills. Instead of running, three months from the day we met he got down on one knee in front of all my friends and asked me to marry him.
I joyfully said yes, and immediately panicked on the inside. I mean, my parents had not even met him yet. They knew of him, but were still in a place where they needed time. They told me it was too soon for me to be "jumping" into a relationship. I didn't push him on them, I waited for God to act. He led me to Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." I sat still, and still worried how everything would work out. Because that's what I do...I worry how things are going to work out. I tend to carry anxiety like a well-loved security blanket, but in this case I was at complete peace about it. I always trust that things will work out, but I constantly wonder the "how."
A few weeks later a weird-out of the norm-situation arose and my parents out of the blue asked for me to come meet them and to bring James. I thought I heard my mom wrong, and I asked her to re-peat herself. She said, "we want you to bring James." I told her "you will like him better than me, I promise." I was right, my parents over time fell in love with James for me. They saw exactly who he was and found him to be a perfect match for me. I'm pretty sure he is my mom's new favorite in the family.
A month later, my dad called James and basically told him we needed to set a date for the wedding. Wait, what?
To tell you this was so crazy, and so uncharacteristic for my parents is completely an understatement! But you know what? My parents also place their trust in God and God spoke to them. I did nothing but be still and God fought that battle for me. Now you may ask why my parent's approval was so important to me....it is for the simple reason that I believe in their wisdom. I believe that placing value on the opinions of those closest to you who are in not emotionally involved in the sitatuation is A GOOD THING. I did not ask my family or God what they thought of my first marriage and I sure as heck wasn't going to make that mistake again.
I wanted to tell you that I was right smack in the middle of a divorce for a reason. Because nothing made sense about the timing in which I met James. And I mean NOTHING. From the outside it may even have seemed like a re-bound relationship, but I knew in my heart what it was...it was a divine intervention. Can I just insert here..that I technically met James in a bar. I mean they served food and all but none of us where there to eat. I say this because in my head, I would have thought that God would bring me my soul mate in a more appropriate setting, such as church. But nope! God meets us right where we are and brings us right what we need, no matter the location! In my case, it was in a bar. God wants to intervene on our behalf if you ask him to. He never forces himself on us, he only invites. James is my other half. Plain and simple. I am so beyond thankful that God brought him into my life. The future has never looked brighter.
"Delight yourself in my me and I will give you the desires of your heart." Psalms 37:4
Photos by Alexa's Photography, Greensboro NC