Healthy. Honest. Faithful. Safe. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.
Those are the big words from the Romantic Partner Vision Board I wrote about a couple months ago. Alongside those are many more, a detailed description of the partner I know I need for the life I have now and for the life I hope will be mine in the future. I knew I was asking for a lot, maybe even the impossible, but I asked anyway.
Again and again. Daily in prayer, I would say to Jesus, “this is what I need. This is what I want. Oh, and when he appears, I need it to be abundantly clear. I need you to deliver up my next partner on a silver platter.”
I started praying that in November of 2021, when I wrote the vision. I fully expected to wait years, possibly forever. But in April of this year, at the advice of my spiritual director, I began dating again, an attempt to collaborate with God in finding this impossible human.
It didn’t go well. Those I liked didn’t like me. Those who liked me were anywhere from uninspiring to downright creepy. Nearly all of them moved way more quickly into sexually aggressive territory than I was comfortable with, often before we even met in person. I was thoroughly disheartened by every attempt, and the vision I’d constructed seemed to be flying further and further into the territory of wishful thinking.
So I posted this on Facebook:
That first guy who reacted, Brandyn Simmons, posted “I hear ya!” and sent a very sweet DM full of compliments and solidarity around dating as a pastor and single parent. I had no idea who he was, though we were Facebook friends, but I could see from his profile that he was both single and extremely hot.
A flurry of DMs quickly became a snow pile of common experience, shared values, and mutual attraction. I began to hope, just a little, but assumed that it would all melt away if he became more than a set of text bubbles on a screen. Wanting to just get the disappointment over with, I suggested we video chat to see how that felt.
Those who know me well know that I rarely enjoy an actual phone or video call, and reserve them either for necessary evils or people I deeply love. Yet that morning of the scheduled phone call, I woke up singing, which only happens when I’m happy. Our first phone call lasted an hour and three minutes, and I didn’t want to hang up when we were done.
A couple weeks later, we arranged to meet, no small undertaking since he lives in Chicago. I put on the outfit I’d vetted with friends the night before and headed to my favorite local restaurant. I was so nervous it was hard to breathe.
Because I’m always late, he was on the sidewalk outside the restaurant when I drove up and my first thought was “oh no! He’s even more handsome in person.” When we hugged in greeting that first time, his body felt like home. The only first date I’d ever enjoyed as much as that one was with Marrett. This time, however, no giddy boy-craziness overtook me, no dread about this failing in the future overwhelmed me. I simply felt happy and at peace. It is the sad but literal truth that I have never felt peace like this in any relationship I’ve ever been in.
When he left town a couple days later, I had to hold myself back from saying “I love you”, which felt ridiculous to even be thinking, let alone speaking out loud after such a short time. But, as he said to me in our first phone call, he is completely “fall-in-loveable”. (This term isn’t original to him, it comes from Jen Pasternak’s book On Being Human, which he gave me on our first date.)
After that first goodbye, I drove to daycare to pick up Ceci, praying all the way, in gratitude and with questions. “Is this really happening?” I asked Jesus. “Are you really just delivering Brandyn up on a silver platter, just like I asked? It seems too good to be true.”
I could feel Jesus laughing gently in my face. “My beloved, did you really think I wouldn’t do what you’ve been begging for? Did you really think I wouldn’t give you what you want and need?’ and in echo of God’s words to Abraham when Sarah laughed in Their face, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Since that first Facebook message, Brandyn has been exactly the gift that I prayed for. He checks off every. single. item. on the vision board. He is impossibly centered, incomparably mature emotionally and spiritually, and full of a compassion I am desperate to get used to receiving.
All this is to say: nothing is too good for God, or for you, God’s beloved. Be not afraid to ask for all that you desire, even when it seems impossible and demanding of your God and the universe. The God who drew Brandyn and I together across miles and years and pain is already working on so much more than we can possibly ask or imagine. We have only to ask and believe that God will deliver, preferably in a super obvious, silver platter kind of way.