My Love Story… Finally

Everyone has a love story, even if they haven’t fallen in love yet… 

I love reading love stories. I love hearing love stories. I just love everything about love stories.

I’m always imagining mine and making up different scenarios for what it might turn out to be like. The funny thing is that it probably won’t be anything like what I’ve imagined. And that’s just fine. I like surprises.

One of my favorite loves is my parents’ love. It always inspires me and gives me hope for my future husband and me. I’ve heard different parts of their love story a million times, and it never gets old.

My parents met in high school. My mom was 14 and my dad was 17. They’ve been in love ever since.

It got brought up on one of many mother/daughter days my mom and I had. She got this look in her eye and said, “I loved him before we ever loved each other.” Wow. What a statement. A statement that is true in almost every relationship. There is almost always one that falls for the other first.

It was beautiful that she said it. She had loved him from a distance until he finally fell for her too. She knew from the start that he was the one.

Then they broke up. She was heartbroken and devastated. He was the love of her life and he was gone.

He began dating someone else, so she did too (to make him jealous).

My mom attended a wedding of a mutual friend of her and her ex (my dad). My dad was in the wedding as a groomsman and my mom was in the crowd with her boyfriend.

Her next statement brought us both to tears. “I watched him and thought to myself, ‘I really hope I get to stand up there with him one day.'”

It took me back to that moment. I felt her heartache. I felt her despair and the love she had for this guy that had broken her heart. For a second, my dad wasn’t my dad; he was the boy my mom was in love with, and also the boy that had once broken my mom’s heart.

The second he and this new girl broke up, he called my mom. She immediately canceled the date she had that night and went back to my dad. If I would’ve been her best friend then, I would’ve told her not to go back to him. I sure am glad no one gave her that advice because I wouldn’t be here writing this.

I’m glad she didn’t listen to magazine tips about how to play hard to get and get back at an ex. She just followed her heart, and it turned out to be pretty great.

He ended up being the best husband and father, and because she trusted her heart, she gave him the chance to be both of those things.

We cried and laughed and I was overwhelmed with joy that I had these amazing, loving people as my parents. Their love story was the love that made me. It created me and the person I am. It gave me life and a future.

My mom then said, “I hope you get to have a love story.”

I replied, “Mom, everyone has a love story.”

She had no idea that she had just told me my love story.

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The Best 4 Years

Let’s make this the beginning of the rest of our lives instead of just the best 4 years we’ll ever have…

All I have heard for the past 4 years is that these are the best 4 years of my life. That upsets me and depresses me on a regular basis. I found a quote I had written in my journal that says, “I’m so afraid this is the happiest I’ll ever be.” That is such garbage. I hope I just get happier and happier. 

I have seen so many beautiful older women lately that look so vibrant and happy. Do you think they look back and say college was the best section of their lives? I doubt it. They’ve gotten to fall in love (maybe a few times), get married, see their children fall in love, see their grandchildren grow up, and maybe even seen the birth of a few great-grandchildren. Now those are the best years of life. 

Now don’t get me wrong, college has been the best years of my life SO FAR, but it makes me sad to think that I may never feel this happy again. Getting close to graduation has me terrified because I don’t know if I’ll ever be this comfortable or free again. I won’t ever get to be an irresponsible college kid with friends all over campus again. I won’t get to stay up all night talking about what the future will be like. I won’t get to stay in bed all day then stay out all night. Or will I? Who says I can’t? 

Who says I can’t keep in touch with all the cool people I’ve met in college? Who says I can’t stay up all night with my girlfriends? Who says my husband and I can’t stay in our PJs all day until we decide to finally go get dinner at 9 pm? 

We freak ourselves out and try to rush to do all the cool things we want to do in this 4 year span when in all actuality, we may do something even cooler 4 years from now. We use college as an excuse to be wild and carefree for 4 years, but we should be making these years count for more than parties and wild nights. We should be making connections and making differences. We should be spreading love and giving life to others. 

It’s a confusing time and a time to figure out who you are. Mistakes will be made, but they’ll be made for the next 400 years as well. It’s the way we handle ourselves and the negativity that makes for a good 4 years. These 4 years should really be the foundation for the rest of our lives. 

Use the time to find yourself and figure out who you are and where you want to be, but don’t let these 4 years limit you to the happiest years. Use them as a glimpse into the future. Build your character and then run free with it until the last 4 seconds of your life. 

So I guess I’m writing this to myself as much as I am to anyone else. Don’t be afraid that you’ll never laugh or cry or feel again. This is just the start. These aren’t the best 4 years of your life, they’re the first 4 years of the rest of forever. 

Angel Mocha Latte

He sends us angels and He sends us to be angels…

I think God gives us angels here on earth. They aren’t always necessarily our family or very best friends, but they leave handprints on our hearts and give us a peace that can only be from God. 

I have a friend that I don’t really get to see a lot, but every single time I see her, I just feel great. If I’ve had a bad day, she immediately makes it better without even knowing she does. 

We go on coffee dates every couple of weeks. It began last semester as just an “every so often” kind of thing. We later found out that we had both gone through a lot of stuff that matched up that semester. We had never discussed anything we were going through; we always just talked. We talked about life. We talked about scripture. We talked about God. She encouraged me in a way I had never been encouraged. She told me all the beautiful things about me that I rarely heard. 

I cherish her more than she knows. I do a lot of listening when we meet up and I love that the most. She’s helped me grow and helped me learn how to love myself. 

I had such a bad yesterday. Nothing terribly bad happened; I was just so down because of some discouraging things said about me on a petty social media site. I knew it was so stupid, but it made me sad nonetheless. I invest a lot in words, so the words of others have a strong effect on me.

It’s easy for me to tell someone else to focus on God’s words rather than others, but I can’t seem to do it myself. 

Right after I had read the rude comment, my friend walked in the room. It’s like I wasn’t even controlling my mouth or words. I immediately asked her to go get coffee without even thinking. I was so comforted by her presence. She said yes, of course, and we met for coffee as planned.

As soon as I sat down, she said, “How are you? You look stressed.” I smiled and told her I was fine, but I knew she knew. Although I had planned to immediately tell her about the petty drama bothering me, I didn’t. She immediately went into scripture. She read me verses about being adopted into His kingdom and living in glory that we have been chosen for. She said it was so cool to be known as God’s daughter. And I think it is really cool too. It’s the coolest thing about me or anyone else I know. I love that. 

Just like my parents brag about me, God brags about His children. He thinks I’m great even when someone else might not, even when I might not.

My friend kept encouraging me to live out my position in Christ. She expressed her awe of His giving of this position and how spectacular it is that his love is never stagnant; it’s always being given. I teared up while she talked and she didn’t even notice because she was so into His word. It was beautiful. It was a rare moment that I will never forget.

I eventually told her what was bothering me. I started crying because my feelings were still so hurt. She looked so sad for me. She looked so sad that anyone would be that mean ever. I felt her compassion from across the table. 

She told me something she tells me so often. “There are so many beautiful things about you that completely overpower any of your flaws and God handcrafted you just like He handcrafted everyone else specifically. You are so loved and bring love to so many people you meet without even knowing it. You mean a lot to a lot of people and you have something about you that makes other people feel comfortable and important. So, don’t think about what some jealous person says. Think about what God says about you.” She then told me I needed people to be that audible voice that relays His thoughts of me so that I could rest in that every day.

She didn’t even realize that she was that voice. She is always that voice. He has given me her encouraging voice to keep pushing me.

I cried and thanked her for always being that person for me. I told her that although I have low self-esteem anyway, maybe the comment was just another tool to humble me.

She looked almost angry and said, “Don’t let Satan lie to you. Humility is not low confidence. You can’t listen to Him. I want you to get down on your knees and get desperate for God’s thoughts and words and stop making the thoughts of others a god.”

It was so honest and so loving and so true. We dwell so much on what everyone thinks about us– if we are good enough, pretty enough, cool enough, skinny enough, or popular enough. No matter what it is, it’s never enough. Luckily, God is enough and we don’t have to be.  Living for the majority can be an idol–a dangerous idol.

Within 15 minutes, she had encouraged me, showed me my struggles, taught me, and made me feel beautiful all at once. She was an angel in that moment and she has been in so many other moments. 

I am certain that God sends people to us to be our angels. I am certain that He sends us to be angels to others, and we may never know when we have served as one. 

Always be prepared to be someone’s angel because you never know who you’ve been assigned to.

My dear friend has been assigned to me, and I am so thankful. We might not talk every day. We might not go shopping together or stay up all night talking about boys, but we share something special. 

We share a coffee table, we share words, and we share love. 

I sure am glad my guardian angel likes lattes as much as I do. 

Love Clocks

We all really just want love– to love and to be loved. Sometimes we just have to wait a little longer than planned…

Isn’t love such a strange thing? It’s everywhere. We are absolutely obsessed with it. But why shouldn’t we be?

Even the cynics that say they hate love or they’ll never be in love are lying. They probably want it more than the love-obsessed number one fans of love.

I was reading an article about how to know you’ve found your soulmate and I just started crying. I want so badly to be in love and I think that’s just the problem.

I see friends and people I know with significant others and my heart just aches to find that person that’s really all mine. That’s a pretty big commitment to be someone’s “all mine.” So maybe that’s the thing. Maybe it’s supposed to be a little bit of a wait. Maybe you’re supposed to want it so bad then give up on it until it comes to you.

I mean there are times when I could’ve jumped in to something. There are times when I have. But neither of those ever really seem to end in “true love.” They tell you to jump and fall, but maybe we’re supposed to just gently sink into it. It doesn’t have to be a drastic jump. It can be safe if we do it right.

Patience is a virtue, right? Well I have zero patience, especially when it comes to this whole love thing. I mean how is it fair that everyone else has a Prince Charming and I am still trapped in this extremely high tower of loneliness?

But maybe it really is fair. Maybe God has a little clock for all of us that has how long until we find our soulmate. And you and your soulmate have the exact same amount of time left until you finally run into each other. And that’s when your joint clock starts and lasts until the clock of your life stops.

Quite an analogy, but that’s really how I look at it. God gives us time to grow and love ourselves and life before we pour that love into another human being that will desperately need that love.

It gets hard and it gets lonely, but knowing that there might be some time left on my single clock lets me know that I have time to work out everything with myself.

It doesn’t ever make a lot of sense why some of us are alone while everyone else gets to share their moments with someone else, but I really think it will all make a lot of sense when that life-changing moment happens and one clock meets another.

You Never Know

You never know what’s waiting around the corner…

 If we always keep walking straight, we’ll keep heading in the same direction. So, turn the corner and take a chance because you never know who or what you might run in to.

It’s human nature to stay in our comfort zone for fear of getting hurt if we step out. But you just never know what might happen when you take a leap of faith. 

I decided to write this blog when I was on a plane headed to Los Angeles, California. I sat in between two strangers (so of course I couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep). One guy was a teacher that lived in LA and worked in Japan so he brought his students to LA for a week. I got to talk with him about my experience in Tokyo. The girl to my left worked in film in LA. She has worked with Justin Timberlake, Nicki Minaj, and so many other huge artists. She was incredible to talk to. 

As I looked out the window over the Grand Canyon, I thought, “Wow, you really just never know who you’re going to talk to or where you’re going to end up.” It is really amazing how every event leads to another, even the smallest events that we consider minor. 

You never know when you’re going to meet the love of your life or land your dream job. It all just falls into place without you having a single hand in it. 

During my trip in LA, I won tickets to American Idol by tweeting #CopCar to Keith Urban. (See, you really never know what’s going to happen). Other than hoping to get on camera for .3 seconds, I really didn’t expect anything cool to happen at the show.

The most adorable woman turned around before the show started and asked where we were from. We found out she was a friend of one of the judges. J Lo. Yep. She and her husband are best friends with Jennifer Lopez’s boyfriend. Her mom and dad were there as well, and her dad stopped to talk to us on his way to the bathroom. 

He asked why we were here all the way from Alabama and told us that he was the CEO of a social media company that hired Steve Wozniak, creator of the Mac computer. We told him about the broadcasting convention and he asked for a business card. Since I didn’t have one on me (so unprepared), I dug for a scrap piece of paper to write my information down on. While I was writing he said, “You just never know.” I stopped writing and looked up to tell him that I had just started writing a blog post titled “You Never Know” and told him he would now be mentioned in it. He told me he would actually be writing a blog about it as well and asked me to send him the link to my blog.

He did write about it (davidbradford.com) and he went to my blog site as well. 

My entire experience in LA was full of “you never know moments.” We never know what might happen next and that’s how we should live. Whether the next moment is good or bad, we have to really appreciate the moment we’re in because you never know when it might end. 

I think the best part of life is not knowing. How scary it would be to see even five minutes into the future, let alone five years. It would drive us crazy. It seems pretty intelligently designed that we only know what we know now. 

Not knowing is a gift and you never know when you’ll get to open it.