Thomas and I spent almost everyday together after our first date. We simply could not get enough of each other. I’ll never forget the time, not long after our first date, when I went over to the Faris residence. It was around my third time visiting, and I was still getting to know everyone. Thomas’ Mom, Connie, asked us to come into the kitchen to talk to us about something. Both Connie and John (Thomas’ Dad) were in the kitchen together. I was feeling a bit nervous, thinking maybe they don’t like me.
Connie looked at us both and said, “What are you waiting for? Why don’t you just get married already?!” I was a bit caught off guard, and we all laughed, but Connie was dead serious. To my relief, I guess this meant she does like me! What she saw was how God brought us together, and the love we had for each other. It was not unusual for her to wonder when the wedding bells would be ringing, especially since quick marriages were common in the Faris family. Might I add – long lasting, beautiful marriages too!
Thomas and I started talking about marriage within the first month of being together. We both wanted to get married and start our lives together. When you know you know, so they say. We both thought we were on the right path, and to be honest, life could not get any better! We were happy and in love. At this point, I was so caught up in Thomas that I put God on the back burner. Who really needs God’s help when things are great? He’s only there when we are stuck, right? Well, I sure am glad that He is always there, regardless of when we think we need Him or not. As perfect as everything was, we were about to hit a valley; a time when we were grateful that God was there, just waiting for our call.
Unfortunately, Morgan Freeman did not return our phone call, so we left a message and will wait to hear back. (hehe, just kidding).
All jokes aside, I want to pause and mention that I am not going to go into detail about our valley. This is personal and something we both keep close to our heart. I can say that if it weren’t for the valley, we would not be as strong together as we are now. If it weren’t for the valley, I would not have the same faith I have now. I believe the valley we went through was meant to destroy us, but it actually made us stronger. During this time, Thomas and I both turned to God for answers. Once we asked for His help, he blessed us beyond our imagination. We both realized that even through the good times, God was only someone we were “talking about”, not “talking with.” It was during the valley that we prayed and asked for HIS plan for our life, not our own; whether that meant being together or not. To this day, I still am in awe of how clearly He answered our prayers.
1 Peter 1:6-7
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Thomas and I took time apart during our valley. I can tell you, this time apart felt like a lifetime, but it was necessary to bring us both closer to God. Sometimes taking a little break can do wonderful things. I came to a crossroad at this time, and had to make the hardest decision of my life; either I was to be with Thomas forever, or turn away and never look back. I got down on my knees and prayed for a sign from above. I wanted to be with Thomas, but I wanted it to be God’s plan. I wanted to be sure that Thomas was the only one. I didn’t want to play games, and I didn’t want to play with anyone’s heart. I wanted love. True love. The kind of love you see when you look at a couple who have been together for 50 years, and they’re still holding hands and have that light in their eyes.
I wanted that kind of love. So I decided that I would only be with Thomas if God showed me he was the one that I would spend the rest of my life with. Period.
You know when people do a cleanse to clean out all the junk in their body? Call it a cleanse or a fast, I decided to try it. I think cleansing brings a sense of closeness to one’s self. A feeling of control over one’s body and will. Fasting brings a closeness to God, or so they say. I knew that I needed a clear mind and an open heart to hear from God. I was willing to give up something I deeply enjoyed, for a clear answer to my prayers. Maybe it sounds a bit wacky or religious, but to be honest, I was desperate and willing to try anything. Haven’t you ever found yourself in a place where you feel so alone? A place where if God really does exist, He is the only one who can help you? “What is the point of that?” you may be wondering…”You seriously believe that can bring you closer to God?” To be honest, I wasn’t sure if it would make a difference, heck, I didn’t really care. The way I saw it was – if it works, great! If it doesn’t, then I practiced self-control for a day (Some days, I need a little more practice with this…)
“Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Please!”
Just Kidding…Double chocolate chip is way better.
But I did feel this whole cleanse was something worth trying, even if it turned out to be nothing.
It was only one day, and I think I stayed in bed for most of it. My head stayed buried deep in my pillow and my room pitch black. If you can believe it, I, yes me, the girl who loves food, did not feel hungry. That’s how you know when I’m in a tough place. I seriously just wanted to sleep and wake up with the answers to all of my problems. Little did I know, sleeping was just what I needed; I had a dream. One of the most vivid dreams I have ever had. It did not involve cupcakes, I swear.
When I woke up from this dream, I immediately grabbed the notebook sitting on my nightstand and I wrote down the dream, right down to every little detail. It was one of those absurd dreams, the kind you can’t seem to shake or forget about. Even to this day, I remember that dream so vividly, but more importantly, I remember what the dream began to reveal to me. Maybe you think this was subconscious trying to tell me something, or maybe just a wild dream. But to me, this dream was beginning to reveal the answer to my prayers.
I was walking down the streets of Los Angeles, the place I have always wanted to live since I was a little girl. The streets were dirty, not like I envisioned them being, and walking beside me was a man. I felt safe with this man. As we were walking, suddenly a gang of bikers pulled out in front of us. I became fearful, knowing that something was wrong. The man in my dream saw the danger in this gang, and turned and said to me, “Turn around, we need to go the other way.” So we did.
We were suddenly at the ocean, standing by the water’s edge. Swimming on top of the water was a beautiful baby duckling. It was cute and fluffy.
<—–Isn’t He Cute?!
It began to walk out of the water and onto the sandy shore. Suddenly this cute duckling grew into the size of a dinosaur.
It was massive and stood over me. I fell down on my back and threw my hands over my face. I could hear voices around me saying, “Do not be afraid, he won’t hurt you. He brings treasure!”
The duck bent over me and pecked me with his beak. It did not hurt; in fact, I realized that he was not scary at all! Then people started shouting, “Look! The duck is digging treasure out of the sand!” I was so excited and happy that the duck was there. I felt the urge to find Thomas and tell him what happened! Off I ran to find him. I told him the great news about the duck and the treasures it dug up, and we both were filled with joy and excitement.
I awoke from my dream and immediately knew that this dream meant something. Looking back on this now, I know it meant something. (*Do dreams really have a deeper meaning? I don’t know… I certainly don’t believe all of them do. Otherwise I’d probably be hanging out with Barney by now or travelling the world in a circus. But I do believe some of our dreams really do mean something. I wouldn’t use your dreams as a fortune-teller by all means, but I do believe God can use our dreams to say something to us.) Here is what I believe my dream meant:
I was walking in the place that I always wanted to be, but something was not right. There was danger. I needed to turn away from what I wanted for now, and let God guide my path. Sometimes life is great when we go at it on our own (cute and fuzzy like a baby duck), but sometimes it can become scary and not what you expect (not so cute). But remember, God uses ALL THINGS for good for those who love him (Romans 8:28). When you put your trust in Him, He will bring you great rewards! He can use even the scary terrible times in our life to bring even greater blessings. Instead of being afraid during the trials in life, see it as an opportunity to grow. With every deep valley you may end up in, there come greater blessings and even bigger mountains to climb.
I didn’t know the answers to all of my questions from this dream; in fact, I think I was even more confused. I’ll be honest, I was probably trying to figure out too much from a simple dream. I wasn’t sure at this point if I ever would know the right thing to do. What I did feel was encouragement and hope. I knew that good things were to come no matter what happens next.
Every valley in life can be a blessing.
I closed my eyes and said in my heart one last time, “God, please show me if Thomas is the one. I will not make a move unless you tell me to.” I kept my eyes closed tightly and envisioned a beautiful rose. I decided in my heart at that moment that a rose would be my sign from God. “Send me a rose in a way that is a clear symbol to me. Then I will know that he is the one.” If God can move mountains, He certainly can show me a rose, I thought. I took a leap of faith with this one.
Sometimes when you want something to happen, you immediately begin looking for the “sign” everywhere you go. I swear when you go on a diet, chocolate cookies show up everywhere!!! Why is that?!
But for once in my life, I wasn’t looking for a sign. I didn’t have to go looking, because it showed up at my doorstep…the very next day.
To Be Continued…