It’d be hard to write much about the year following, so I’ll just sum up what happened.
In April, my plans for China suddenly fell through. Up until then, I’d been resolutely looking forward, trusting that my life and plans were in the Lord’s hands, and I knew what He was asking of me right then. The change of plans felt rather like a rug being pulled out from under me. And yet again I was unsure of what to do. Was the Lord taking away China and bringing my attention to Ryan and the possibility of a relationship? Or was my ability to obey being tested, and I needed to make China happen in order to show my single-mindedness?
That summer I was working on producing a CD with my dad. Hours and hours I would spend up in the studio, all by myself, trying to focus but often just being overwhelmed with prayers of desire and confusion and desperation, hurt and exhaustion, and ultimately, trust. God was deep at work in my heart, stripping away wrong ideas and drawing me into a deeper place of trust and obedience. My journals are filled with answers received, with records of revelation and repentance, with cries to heaven for understanding, and with peaceful prayers of trust and yieldedness. I struggled constantly with knowing how to desire, and at the same time, surrender. I remember telling my mother, through tears, “I just feel like even if God is giving something to me, I don’t know how to just take it and say thank you. All I’ve ever known is surrender and giving and dying to myself. How am I supposed to know when He’s giving something back?” And what about staying single?
Of course, intermingled with all of the struggles with God for the plans He had for me, there was the struggle to interpret the stirrings of my heart toward Ryan. There had always been deep love and admiration, but did I like him? It wasn’t too many months before I knew that: yes, I did. After that dawning came the sense that his friendship was priceless, absolutely priceless, and not only could I imagine serving the Lord with him, I couldn’t imagine serving the Lord without him!
Long, long talks with my father, trying to figure out what was in my heart, learning to express my deepest thoughts, and eventually coming to some clarity; reading the Word, believing the Word, and learning to trust that the Lord can accomplish His plans for my life–it’s not my responsibility–adjusting my thinking and getting used to the idea of getting married…those were some of the things the Lord was sorting out in my heart.