• Mandy

surrender your fairy tale


Kyle and I met on November 3rd, 2012 at La Paz Mexican restaurant in Atlanta, GA. We were strategically set up by our mutual friend, Kelly Hayes. I remember looking across the table into his gentle, attentive brown eyes thinking, “He’s cute. But this will never work.” I wish I could have been a fly on the wall in Heaven that night because I imagine God was watching our evening with a cheeky, “I can’t wait for this one to unfold” grin. I never imagined Kyle would be my husband one day, but looking back, I can see God’s glory shining throughout our entire story.


At the time, I was closer to the Lord than I had ever been. After years of fighting off insecurities, I finally believed God's love was enough for me. I felt full of purpose, confident and strong. I had a great group of friends, a church I wholeheartedly believed in, and a job I was grateful for (most of the time). I believed God could send me a spouse, but I didn’t feel entitled to one. I viewed marriage as an added bonus to what He had already graciously blessed me with.


Regardless, I still hoped and prayed for the desires of my heart to unfold. I prayed continually for my future husband even though I didn’t know his name. I asked God to prepare him for marriage and to give him boldness, courage and strength. I also asked God to prepare me for marriage, and to refine me as a believer. He answered in His timing, and of course, in a way I never could have predicted.


Kyle and I enjoyed the chips and queso, and each other’s company the night we met, but I immediately wrote him off. At the time, Kyle was not practicing any kind of faith. He also had 19 tattoos, which was something I struggled with accepting. For most of my twenties, I gripped tightly to what I thought my fairy tale dating life should look like. Opening my heart and mind to dating someone who didn’t share my beliefs was like prying open the doors of a shut elevator. I wouldn’t budge in the slightest bit. I assumed God would answer my prayers in the way I had imagined; like, you know, in the form of Tim Tebow. Not in the form of a non-believer with 19 tattoos!


Kyle and I kept in touch after we initially met, and over time, the walls around my heart slowly came down. I started to realize Kyle was gentle and kind, engaging, and open to faith after all. Kyle never gave up on pursuing me and in hindsight, I’m so grateful he didn’t quit. After an entire year of Kyle’s patient pursuit, we finally went on our first real date. When I let go of my expectations, I started to enjoy the gift I had right in front of me.


I am not a dating or relationship expert, but the Lord has been nudging me to share what I’ve learned about surrender and love through our story. When we cling tightly to our expectations, or our version of an abundant life, we are indirectly telling God we think that’s the best He can do. I want you to know this important truth I’ve learned to embrace: God’s dreams for your life cannot be contained. He’s the biggest dreamer of them all. God specializes in providing immeasurably more in our relationships and in life. His unpredictable order of events can be exciting, mysterious and full of joy when you choose to embrace them instead of resist.


I know this to be true because I am living proof.


Although the next few weeks will be focused on sharing what I’ve learned about faith in dating and marriage, I want to encourage you to practice surrendering in all areas of life. You can surrender your expectations concerning work, parenting, health and more, and replace them with God’s powerful vision for your life. When we align our hearts and desires with God’s, our attitudes begin to change. Letting go and leaning in is just the beginning.


I’m so excited to share more of our story with you. See you next week!


Love y’all.


Reflections:

  • What if you had the courage to surrender your expectations to God in exchange for His plans, whatever those plans may be?

  • Ask God to give you the courage to let go of any expectations you are clinging too tightly to, and invite Him in that space.

  • Are you bringing unrealistic expectations into dating or marriage?