July 10, 2015

I can't help falling in love - Part Four - CONCLUSION

"Wise men say / Only fools rush in / But I can't help falling in love with you..."

The last two and a half days of Tim's visit were a whirlwind. An incredible, beautiful, perfect whirlwind.

We went to church on Sunday morning, and I loved sitting next to this man that I was beginning to absolutely adore. He put his arm around me during the sermon, and it was exactly as I had imagined it would be the Sunday before. I saw us, sitting in that pew, together. It happened, and it was...perfect. I belong by his side, and he next to mine.

I don't remember exactly what the sermon was about, to be honest, but my father preached, and it was a message that I knew I needed to hear. When the time of an alter call approached, I knew three things:

1) I had a good thing in Tim.
2) I could acknowledge this, repent to God for my unbelief, and go forward with blessing.
3) I could acknowledge this, continue in my stubborn disbelief, and be in contention with God.

I knew that if I kept going forward the way that I had been, things would not go well for me. There is blessing when we believe, and trust God.

I didn't want to risk it. I wanted to be right with God. I knew that Tim was a gift, and I didn't want to ruin anything.

So, I went forward. I repented for my unbelief. I chose to trust God again. I felt new. I walked back to our pew, wiping tears from my eyes, and stood with Tim, who was misty-eyed, himself.

We left church, and headed to Maine. We held hands, and just before we reached Jill and Kate's home, Tim said this:

Him: There was something I wanted to say to you last night, but I got nervous.
Me: Tell me!
Him: I wanted to tell you that I like, like you.
Me: Awwww! I like, like you, too.

Let me set the scene of the night before, for you. Tim had been a dear, and made up my bed on the sofa for me (which he proceeded to do the following nights of his stay, and it was wicked sweet, and wonderful.) He took a shower, and I was laying in bed (read: sofa.) Before he went to bed, he leaned on the arm of the sofa, hovering over my head.

Me: Hey.
Him: What's up?
Me: (Reaches up and pats his beard.)
Him: Well, good night.

HA. Oh, my gosh. We still get a kick out of this whenever we talk about, because it was so random and hilarious! I didn't know what he was doing, and he didn't know what I was doing, and whatever it was was cute, and awkward, and when he closed the door to my room, and snuggled under my blanket, and smiled to myself thinking, "He likes me."

It was adorable, guys, okay?

Back to Sunday.

We spent the afternoon with Jill, and Kate, who, as always, were lovely hosts. Tim enjoyed being with them, and I'm thankful that they are in our lives. At one point, Tim was talking to Kate in the kitchen, and my mother and Auntie Jill wanted to know if anything had happened. So we grabbed dad, and all went outside to "look at the flowers," so that I could tell them about what happened in the car. I told dad that he should probably be prepared to have a more serious dad talk with Tim, because we were definitely on the verge of being in a relationship.

When Tim and I left the house, my dad's last words to him were, "We'll talk tonight." Not ominous at all.

We stopped by Starbucks so that he could meet some friends, and then went home. We had planned on going to the beach to look at the stars, so we pretty much just hung out until dark. We didn't leave before talking as a group with my parents, though.

Dad came home from the prison, and we all sat in the living room, and talked. We had an open conversation about courtship, about certain expectations, and basically got the green light to be together.

The best part of that talk was when Tim and I mutually expressed that we never thought we would find anyone like each other. Both of us had really given up, and neither of us know where we would be now if that week hadn't happened when it did.

Family talk was a success! Tim and I went off for a late night drive to the beach to look at the stars. We got a little lost, made ourselves Facebook official, and when we finally found the beach, discovered that it was a little cloudy, and really chilly. The blanket we brought with us was barely warm enough.

We huddled close together, sitting in a lovely state of bliss, talking...shivering...kissing. It was great. The best part is that we got kicked off the beach by a police officer, and our romance officially became like a Hollywood rom-com. We still laugh about it, and probably will for the rest of our lives.

We made our way home, and tried watching a movie - we watched a lot of movies. I believe it was Sunday night...no, maybe Saturday night...that we stayed up till sunrise. No, it must have been Sunday. Either way. We were up til sunrise at some point. It was romantic, okay?

Monday was a rainy day, we took a road trip to Rhode Island to visit a family friend of Tim's. They are a lovely couple, and I loved meeting them. We had a really nice time together. On the way there, and on the way home, Tim slept a while each way. All I could do was keep myself from crying out of gratitude to God. I had a man dozing on my shoulder who was everything I had dreamed of. Who wanted to be with me, and thought I was fantastic just for who I was. I didn't deserve that! I didn't deserve anything. But I was blessed. And I was overwhelmed.

Monday night, though...that fateful night. Tim and I drove to Haverhill to pick up pizza. He had his arms wrapped around me as I drove, and we talked. I was sharing my heart with him about the place I had been in, about how he was everything that I had given up on. I couldn't stop myself from crying. I cry, okay? I felt Tim rub his face on my shoulder, after he had handed me a tissue, and he said something to imply that he was crying.

The actual timetable of the following moments is jumbled, because we were both feeling a lot of feelings.

He told me that he loved me.
I took a deep breath. I smiled, I shook my head in happy disbelief. More tears.
I asked him if he really loved me. He said he did.
I remembered what I had been told in my spirit on Thursday...to take him at his word.
And I knew I loved him, too. I knew that I would never find anyone else like him.
So I told him that I loved him.
And we cried.
The tissues are still in my car.

Before he went inside to get the pizza, he wrapped his arms around me. And I did what I only know how to do, now...I was honest, and straight forward.

"I only know how to just say things," I said. "But you should probably propose sooner than later. Talk to my dad about this."

He didn't disagree. We went home. The pizza made all of us feel gross.

Dad said his good nights, and I gave Tim a nudge to talk to him about what had happened. He stood up, about to do it, looked at me, I gave him a "you can do it" wink, and then he sat down. I can't blame him. It's a terrifying thing to bring up to the father of the woman you love. I told him that he didn't have to do it now if he felt it wasn't time, but encouraged him to not be nervous.

And like the incredible man that he is, he stood up, and went to talk to my dad. I don't know what they said to each other, but I told my mom what had happened. Tim and my father emerged from the room. I don't quite remember what happened.

I know that Tim and I cuddled on the sofa watching a movie for the rest of the night. And long after the movie ended. We didn't want the night to end. He was leaving the next day. It was awful. But we were in love. We are in love.

Tuesday came. We reluctantly parted ways. I watched Tim walk into the airport, and he kept turning back to look at me (I told you, it's like a movie, for real.)

So, now, we talk every day. In the late hours of the night, or the wee hours of the morning. Our record so far is six hours of video chatting until about 5 or so in the morning. SIX HOURS. And we probably coud have kept going, but geez, I guess we should get sleep?

It's amazing, guys. God is so faithful. He has been so faithful to us. We both know that this is nothing except a work of God, honestly. It's too crazy to not be God.

So, I'm thankful. And incandescently happy. I've found my true soulmate. The one my soul loves. I had a rocky journey to find him, but it happened. I can't wait to see what our future together holds.


Psalm 145:17-21

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and faithful in all He does.
The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth will spesk in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise His holy name for ever and ever.

I can't help falling in love - Part Three

So, Tim is in Massachusetts. I forgot to mention a nice thing in the previous post from the night we sat in the apartment, talking. I asked him how he felt so far, and he said that he felt at home with my parents. Which was really neat. Onward.

Both of us will tell you, the first couple of days were awkward. He was quiet, I was awkward, and insecure, and a little crazy.

The day in Boston was long, and hot, and misguided, as most Boston adventures with me are. Tim was a good sport about it all, and frankly, all I could do was observe him and see what a great person he was.

He really has like, no flaws, guys. Anyway.

We dropped Sam off at her house, and headed to mine after a long day. We were tired. All I could think about was if this guy even liked me - just as a person, let alone romantically! So, I asked him. In the exuberant, exasperated way that I do, sometimes. "Do you even like me?! Are you still glad you came?!"

I knew I shouldn't have acted that way, but gosh, the guy was so hard to read! Throughout the day, I'd ask if he was having a nice time, and just got a "Yeah."

HOW CAN I WORK WITH THAT? I was still kinda nervous. Or a lot nervous. We both knew that just needed to break the ice.

He said that he wanted to spend more time with me, just us. So that he could get a better feel of how we are together. Totally legit. We got back to the house, and pretty much just went to bed.

THURSDAY. Thursday was a turning point for me. Tim, God bless him, chose to come with me to work. I was working a seven-hour day, and he was able to keep himself busy, but the poor guy - he was bored out of his mind. I felt so bad. He walked around Newburyport a little bit, found a neat antique shop. He laid in the grass by the boardwalk. He was tired, and I couldn't blame him. I felt terrible.

However, I had a really interesting encounter with the Holy Spirit that day. As I was working, and watching Tim from behind my espresso machine, talking to God about it all, I heard this still, small voice say to me:

"Hannah, take him at his word. Don't make assumptions. You have no reason to not believe what he says. Keep being yourself, and make him feel comfortable."

My attitude was based out of fear from the past, where I had learned to be manipulative, and that I was always bound to be manipulated. I had to read into things, I had to find hidden meanings...that's what I was used to. But I knew that this was sound. So I changed. I knew that if I kept doubting, and questioning, I would push him away. I didn't want to do that.

Tim got meet my Aunts that day, and we went out to a late lunch after work. As the meal was ending, I thanked him for paying.

"Of course," he said. "Why wouldn't I? I'm here for you." We looked at each other, and smiled. And I knew it was going to be okay.

We saw "Jurassic World" that night, and agreed to go with my parents the night night to help them with a New Brothers event.

FRIDAY NIGHT. Friday night is when I knew he was perfect. I'll just say it. I knew.

Prison Ministry events aren't the norm. Especially when you drag a poor guy along, who is out of his element. None of us would have been surprised or upset if Tim had just sat somewhere out of the way, and been on his phone the whole time.

But he didn't. Before we even left the house, and were getting ready, he was helpful. He jumped in. He did whatever he was asked to do, and then some. If he saw something to do, he did it. He was friendly to the guys at the house, he shook their hands, and handed out sodas gladly. He enjoyed listening to the people who spoke. He helped clean up. He was amazing. My parents and I noticed. I went to my mother and said that he was amazing. I didn't even realize how important it was that he was willing to serve until that night, and I saw him. I still can't believe it. I can, because he's absolutely wonderful, but I still shake my head.

That night, we ended up driving around, listening to music, and talking. We ended up across from Plum Island, at a dead end. We turned around, and went to Denny's to get some food.

We had a great time. We laughed a lot. We talked. It was great. And I can't confirm or deny it, but it was either Friday night, or Saturday that I held his hand for the first time. I couldn't wait any longer, okay? I really liked him. It was probably Saturday. No! It WAS definitely Saturday. For the following reason...

Friday night, when we got home, we watched "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." We watched it in my room, on his laptop. Sitting close together on my bed. The only way that this awkward position could be remotely comfortable was if one of us put our arm around the other. So I put my arm around him. After a while, he asked if I wanted to trade arms, and he put his arm around me. And its was great. And we laughed like idiots, because Monty Python is brilliant.

Saturday, we went to see an outdoor theatre at the state park in Newburyport. We both really enjoyed it, and he said the words "I like plays," and I probably swooned. I'm not gonna lie. We just chilled for the rest of the day. We sat on the sofa after getting back from the park, and talked about where we were at, how we felt.

He said that he really enjoyed my company. I told him that I really liked him. He said he really liked me too. It was adorable, and he was getting more comfortable putting his arm around me, and holding my hand, etc. We went out for hibachi that night, came home, and watched The Sixth Sense. He knew that I had tried watching it again recently, but couldn't finish because it was freaking me out. He promised to make me feel safe, and that he did. We had a great time.

Cuddling is great, guys. Now, I know.

I thought that this would be the last one, but Sunday through when Tim left really do need their own blog post. So...

To Be Continued...

I can't help falling in love - Part Two

Let me backtrack a little. When I was about 12 years old, I decided that I wasn't going to date. I was going to wait until God brought the perfect man into my path, and then we would court, and we would get married. I was steadfast with this conviction for years, until I got to college. At the time, I was liking a guy back home who seemed really great, I convinced myself that the Lord had told me he was the one, and I was waiting for him...without there having been any communication between us, because God was going to just tell him that I was the One, duh.

Then enter Zack, that guy I've written about, and bemoaned for eons. He was the closest thing to a soulmate that I had ever encountered. We knew each others thoughts, we were best friends, we manipulated each other by not being straight forward, I was there for him at any moment that he needed me to be his listening ear...we liked each other. He told me that he could see us working out really well together. He told me to pray about it.

You can see where this is going, right? You are also in the future with me, right? From the summer of 2009, to the summer of 2013, Zack was IT. I was willing to go through anything, I believed and never doubted for a second that he was THE ONE. Who cares that I couldn't understand what was right in front of me? Who cares that even though I knew his desire to "be best friends with the same emotionally intimate relationship we had before," AS WELL as have a steady girlfriend was unhealthy. I would win that battle. We were made for each other. He would see.

Lol, Hannah. Lol. No, that culminated in a heartbreaking phone call the Monday before my birthday, where Zack cornered me about my feelings for him, and told me that he would never have romantic feelings for me. We were "too perfect for each other."


That's fine. I can deal with this. I'll deal with it by slowly letting myself get angry with God, and giving up on trusting Him for anything that I trusted Him for before. There was no perfect man. I had been believing God for a joke. Trusting God meant inviting pain into your life.

I didn't acknowledge the place I was really in until late last year/this year. 

I decided that it was better to trust myself - that way, I knew that I would be disappointed. I'm imperfect. No expectations there.

I just didn't care about anything, anymore. I had my first kiss this past January with someone who (is a fine person as a human being,) was completely wrong for me. We got along, but I knew nothing would come of it. It couldn't. He did drugs, and he didn't have any kind of walk with God, and so what if he had gentle smiles? But I had given up. I got tired of waiting. What's the point of waiting for something that doesn't exist? Something that I was never really promised in the first place? If you had asked me if I still wanted to wait to have sex before I was married, I probably would have said "I don't know. I'll have to be in the situation to find out."

I did everything right. I got heartbroken. God let me down. He saw what I had wanted, and let me down. So why bother, anymore?

That was all pretty dark, I know. I'm not trying to throw these men under the bus, most of everything that happened to me was my fault, but there needs to be background for why I fell away from the Lord.

Finding the love of my life has been a huge part of my life. It's what I completely invested myself into believing for. Why? I don't know. Sometimes I wished that I could have just gotten into drugs or something. 

Anyway. Moving forward.

Tim was different. In ways that were important to me back when I was a little girl. Things about him existed on my "List" that I had given up on long ago. "Never had a girlfriend before," was one of them. Even my pastor's wife wished me luck with that one when I told her about it all those years ago.

And when I found out this little factoid about him, a voice in my head gently reminded me: "Remember when that was important to you?" Yeah, I do. Weird.

We have the ability to talk for hours. So much to the point where it's becoming a problem. But in the early days, this was pretty big for me. When we first talked on the phone, we talked for an hour and a half. I stuggle to talk to my best friends on the phone for an hour and a half, let alone a man I've never met. We skyped for two hours with ease, not realizing how much time had gone by - "Time flies when you're having fun," he had said. And then, the last phone call we had before he came up here lasted a grand total of three hours. Who even am I? I NEVER talk to ANYONE for three hours. Ever. EVER. This was different.

During that particular phone call, I found out that he too, was waiting until marriage. Heck, I gave up on finding anyone who was still willing to wait. No one does that at my age. They don't exist. If they do, they're secluded, and don't know how to pursue women. It's just true.

But here was someone..who did exist. The sigh of relief we both let out after finding out that we were both waiting was so heavy that you could use it for strength training.

We've both discussed how insane it is that we couldn't find anything wrong with each other before we met. He told me that he would try to ask questions that could potentially have a deal-breaking answer. I never gave one. The same is true for me. He could do no wrong.

The truly telling moment before we met also occurred during that 3-hour call.

Me: So, we know that you flying up from Florida is insane, right? It's super great, and fantastic but it's also crazy. And it's a really big deal. So, because it's such a big deal, my dad is probably going to have a conversation with you.
Him: Like a dad talk?
Me: Yeahh..
Him: Okay. ... Whatever I gotta do.
Me: -mind explodes-
Him: I could buy him a prop gun, and give it to him when I get there.
Me: You definitely should.

Who is okay with this? I mean, it turned out that my dad was going to pick him up from the airport, and he didn't shy from it. Who does this? WHO? TELL ME.

I mean, this guy is incredible. He's faced some pretty intimidating stuff since meeting me and my family, but he hasn't shied away from them. He just goes with it, and not because he's just trying to please anyone, but because he wants to. He thinks things through, and he has a mind of his own, and it's amazing.

Okay, okay. Sidetracked.

TIM COMES TO MASSACHUSETTS.  I hadn't felt nervous until the day he was going to arrive. 

This is what I instagrammed (so white. ugh.)

And before I knew it, he was here. I went outside to greet him, we hugged. He hugged my mom. I was crazy nervous. His ride with dad went well, they didn't have a very intense "dad talk," mostly because we didn't know if this would turn into a thing or not (however, before he came, I predicted that we would be a couple before he left.) But it went well, nonetheless. 

We went on to get some stuff from the grocery store together. He was all gentlemanly, and carried the grocery basket for me. He was quiet, and I was quiet, kind of. I told him I was nervous. He was really nice about it.

He had dinner with us that night, and then I brought him into Boston to stay with his friend for the first night. I hung around at the apartment with him  - alone! Scandalous! - and I basically asked him, "WHY ARE YOU HERE?!" He didn't know. He wanted to get to know me. I forced myself to believe him. We sat on the futon together for about an hour before I decided I should head home, and stop being a bad friend - Sam was spending the night, and we were all going to spend the day in Boston the next day.

We parted ways with a hug, and that was that.

I can't help falling in love - Part One

“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” - Nora Ephron, 'When Harry Met Sally'

This little quote, written by one of my favorite women, pretty much sums up where I'm at right now.

You've read my blog. You know my story, my struggles, and the inner turmoil that tossed and turned concerning my love life - or lack, thereof. I don't need to rehash any of my past for you. You know it. You've prayed for me, maybe rolled your eyes at me, laughed with me (or maybe even at me.)

Now, I ask you to celebrate with me.

If you've reached this blog post from my Facebook, you know that my 'single' relationship status has been pulled from the dusty, cobwebby shelf that it's sat on since the birth of my Facebook page, and has been replaced with the ever-coveted, "in a relationship" status instead.

It's exciting. It's more than exciting. It's mind-blowing. It's humbling. It's more than I ever dreamed it could be...well, I guess it's more like its everything that I dreamed it could be, I just reached the point of having given up on everything that I was dreaming about.

I recently got my girlfriend Sam to join a dating app. Just for fun, mostly. I had a couple okay connections on it, and being single is kinda lame sometimes, so I told her to check it out. One day, she connected to guy on said dating app. They talked for a little while, and eventually, she sent me a picture of him.

I don't really know what to say from this point, to be honest. This was in April. Sam didn't tell David about me right away. Once she did, he was more than willing to contact "beard friend" to see if he'd be interested in talking to me. 

Our numbers were exchanged. I couldn't believe what I had done. I don't give my number to random men that live in Florida! How would this even work out? He doesn't live near me at all! I decided that I didn't want to text him first. I would wait. I had already been so uncharacteristically aggressive that I didn't think I could make myself do it. Later that night, as I was getting home from a walk...
It took me a while to write back. I was nervous, excited, confused - what even was I doing??
And, that's how it started.

We talked for a few days, here and there, and then...

Now, when I read his initial text, what went through my head was, "Wow, he's just...planning to talk on the phone. This is weird..." and he didn't ask like, "Hey, wanna talk on the phone some time?" He just put it out there. We're gonna talk on the phone, when out of these options works for you?

I liked that. I didn't have to try and make him talk on the phone. I will note, that he preferred to talk on Tuesday, as opposed to Wednesday, because it was a full week after we had begun texting...who pays attention to that?

We talked on the phone when I got out of work for an hour and a half. There was some extended moments of silence, but we both were pretty honest about the fact that we're terrible at small talk, and it wasn't personal.

I liked him. He was different. He was thoughtful, and open.

We made plans to video chat on the upcoming Sunday. I got to kind of meet his mom. And we just...talked. Laughed. Then, at one point in the conversation, he tells me that he's looking at flights to come up here.

Here's what went through my mind: "What?! Why? What if we aren't even talking after another week? He already knows he wants to fly up here? What?!"

Here's what I said (essentially): That would be super great. Let me know when you wanna come up.

I rationalized it by later telling myself that if he ended up hating me, he's the one who was losing out by spending money on plane tickets. I was clearly prepared to disassociate, and become heartless at a moment's notice lol.

So we had a date. We were going to see "Jurassic World." It was insane. It was exciting. Why not just go along for the ride?

Not long after Tim had talked about looking at flights, maybe a little over a week, his flight was officially booked. It was insane. I had a boy flying across the country...to meet ME. I mean, I've come to the acceptance that I'm a pretty fantastic person, so of course he would want to meet me - I'm a frickin' catch. (Look, it's not ego, okay? It's taken me years to think that I'm truly worth anyone's attention. Love me.)

But it was madness. I don't know this guy. He doesn't know me. He's FLYING FROM FLORIDA to meet ME. Something must have stuck out within that first week that made him feel compelled to do this, right?

My mind was reeling, to say the least.

To Be Continued...