All My Hope

This past weekend I did something that I would never have imagined myself doing. It’s not THAT crazy, but I am still a bit in awe myself at my willingness to get on a plane and travel over 500 miles to meet a man that I had become interested in over the past two months.

So first, let me take you back to the beginning of this story. A mutual friend reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in communicating with her brother, even though he lived states away. At the time, I had been specifically praying for open and closed doors and did not want to make any decisions myself. So despite the distance, I told her I was open to begin communication with him and see what happened.

The next night, I had a message from her brother. I could tell by his message that he was intelligent, which I find very attractive. It was also apparent that he put some effort into his message to me, instead of just a random “Hey, how are you?” He actually even ended his message stating that he ended up typing more than he set out to, and I found that very endearing.

The next night I wrote him back, although to be honest, I was hesitant of anything really working out because of our distance. So needless to say, I was not that excited. I wrote a short message, ending it quicker than I normally would, stating that I had papers I needed to grade.

Two nights later, he wrote me back. After a few days of sending long-er Facebook messages back to one another, I soon found myself becoming interested and looking forward to his messages. It seemed like he was putting forth effort and time into getting to know me. Each message had a perfect balance of asking questions and telling me about himself in a very humble way.

After about a week and a half of our Facebook messages, one of his messages ended like this:

“By now, if you were local, I would have obviously asked you to grab coffee or something, but since that is not an option, I’d love to talk sometime when your schedule allows. But “talking” on here is perfectly fine too. Whatever works for you and you’re comfortable with.”

I loved that! It was a perfect way to transition to the “next step.” I responded and passed on my number, letting him know when I was free to talk on the phone.

A few days later, on a Saturday, he called. If I remember correctly, we talked for about 45 minutes, until I had to rush the goodbye due to having to teach an online class. But I remember thinking that those 45 minutes felt like 5 minutes and I couldn’t get over how much I felt like we were so similar. I remember feeling sad that I had to let him go.

I think he might have felt the same way, because the next day, he texted and asked if I would be up for talking again. I told him I would like that and our next conversation was about two hours long! I felt like we had many similarities and what made me the most excited is that it seemed like the way we lived out our faith was similar. I remember smiling throughout most of the conversation and I even almost felt like I could “hear” the smile in his voice too. I was actually quite surprised because talking on the phone for that amount of time is most definitely not something I ever do!

That same weekend, my friend introduced me to an app called Marco Polo and after using it with her and another friend for a few days, I asked Mr. Endearing if he would be interested in “Marco Poloing” with me. I explained to him that the Marco Polo app was basically “video texting.” You could send a video through the app and the other person would receive and watch it when they could. So it allowed us to “see” one another without having to arrange times for actual, real-time video chatting.

He shared with me that he had never done any sort of video chatting before, but still agreed to it. Which of course, I found endearing. I think he felt a bit uncomfortable at first and opened his first “Marco Polo” up to me, stating that this was his first “video chat” ever.

However, in his second message back to me he said, “Actually, I must admit I lied to you because I actually sent one to my sister first to test it out.”

But here is the thing – I thought he said LIKE you instead of “lied to you” and that brought a huge smile to my face. But I couldn’t quite tell, so I listened to it another time. When I “Marco Poloed” him back, I said, “Did you say that you liked me? Because if so, that was really sweet.”

But then after listening back again, I heard “lied to” instead. He responded and clarified what he actually said but added in there that he DID like me.

I really wasn’t that embarassed for the miscommunication, but I did feel like I basically just forced the guy to admit that he liked me. I was pretty sure that he wouldn’t have said it, if he didn’t mean it, but I still felt like I backed him into the corner on that one. So while hearing that a man liked me for the first time, should have given me giddy feelings, I instead felt a bit guilty about it all.

However, later that night, I texted him and added in that I liked him too and apologized for the miscommunication and possibly “making” him say it. He responded and said that Marco Poloing with me was a good indication of his interest because it was something he probably would not have done with most people.

We began to have phone conversations on a pretty regular basis and I always felt like they were easy with a good flow. I felt that we had the perfect balance of initiating conversation and asking questions. And I now began looking forward to his calls.

In one of our phone conversations, I shared with him how I was craving something sweet, but did not have anything in my house to satisfy that craving. He shared that he actually had left over Christmas cookies in his house still and I sadly explained to him that I didn’t even have one Christmas cookie this past season.

One evening I came home from work to find a package at my front door. When I opened it up, I found a package of Christmas cookies from an amazing bakery. The note inside said, “No one should go an entire season without Christmas cookies. Enjoy.”

And that is when I learned that Mr. Endearing listens very well and pays attention to details.

Over the next several weeks, we continued to “Marco Polo” back and forth and seeing his demeanor and the way he carried himself with each passing video text, I became more and more fond of the guy.

However, the more interested I grew, the more I craved his affirmation. And this is where the problem arises. I now recognize this as MY problem. I began to seek his approval and the only way I knew if I had it or not, is if he would tell me. And although I could surmise that he was interested in me because he communicated with me every day, I longed to hear it. I think one time I even asked him about it. When he responded, it was a bit choppy and I couldn’t tell if he was struggling with expressing his interest in me because he really wasn’t interested, or because he didn’t know yet or just because he had a hard time articulating it to me.

I found myself putting up a guard. But as soon as I did, I also recognized that it was not fair to him to put up a guard and begin “backing away,” when he would have no idea what changed.

So I sent him a Marco Polo explaining myself to him. I told him how important words of affirmation were to me and that I was just nervous that my interest level was not reciprocated. See the problem? I was basically asking for affirmation again. Ugh! And that didn’t feel too good. He responded very well and told me he was very interested in me. While normally that would have been exactly what I wanted to hear, I felt the same guilt that I did after he told me he liked me.

I have never been one to be so “needy” or ask for these affirmations before. What was my problem? I think it was because I could usually read most men. I could tell they were “into me” by their affirmations, or I could tell that they weren’t, by the lack of them. But with Mr. Endearing there was evidence of his interest, but a lack of affirmation, unless I asked.

He once explained to me that because of the uncertainty that the beginning of the communication stage brings, he was reluctant to say too much. I think I understood that. I mean, we hadn’t even met yet in person. That was what actually scared me. I was starting to really become interested in someone that I haven’t even had a face to face conversation with yet. I began trying to decide how to balance the act of guarding my feelings, yet still letting him know I was interested to build his confidence. All the while trying to remain confident myself that everything would be okay no matter what ended up happening between the two of us. This was not an easy task for me.

In one Marco Polo video, Mr. Endearing asked me what I thought about our distance situation. I had been hoping that he would bring up the idea of meeting in person and explained that I felt the sooner we met one another, the better. I explained that living on a tight budget kept me from flying to see him, but that he was welcome to come visit me anytime. He responded and basically said he agreed with me and even offered to pay for my plane ticket if I decided I would rather fly up to him.

When I asked him about flying down to meet me, it didn’t seem like he was too excited about that idea. So I thought maybe his preference would be me flying to him. So in our next conversation, I told him that I wouldn’t mind flying up to meet him instead. I expected him to be a bit more excited about this idea, but his voice remained the same. I was starting to think that the lack of excitement in his voice was just his personality, but I wasn’t sure, so I asked.

The problem was I kept having to ask. I realize that I should not have been analyzing the situation so much and just “go with the flow” and see what happens. But it’s who I am and it is how my brain works. I am analytical and a thinker. And I have learned that sometimes I analyze situations incorrectly, so the only thing I know to do is ask questions.

So I texted Mr. Endearing and asked him if he was excited about the idea of me flying to meet him.

His response was, “Well yeah.”

I guess it was not what I was expecting but I told him, “I guess I’ll take that, ha!”

He apologized the way it came across and we texted a bit more about it. That night, he texted me again and asked if he could call me. As soon as I saw that text, my stomach dropped a bit. Half of me thought that he was probably going to call and end our communication because he was so tired of me asking for affirmation. That shows you the confidence I had.

But instead, he called me to make sure I was okay. I loved that he was willing to call me to talk through what might have been a miscommunication. In our phone conversation he again informed me that the uncertainty of everything just made this whole “thing” very hard. And the more we talked, I couldn’t shake this feeling that I was more interested in him than he was in me. I guess you can never be sure of that, but I remember thinking I needed to guard myself a bit more until he “caught up.”

Soon the plane ticket was bought and we continued to talk every day, whether it was through text, Marco Polo or with a phone conversation. For Valentine’s Day, he sent me one of my favorite snacks and a movie that I had mentioned wanting to see. This again showed me how great of a listener he really was and his gift was extremely sweet.

While I was certainly looking forward to meeting him, I will admit a rush of anxiety over took me a few times. But I would soon rationalize my way through the anxiety and remembered to constantly give it over to the Lord. Overall I enjoyed our communication and talking with Mr. Endearing filled my days with joy. I couldn’t wait to meet the man in person.

Finally the weekend was here. As I got ready the morning of my trip and drove to the airport, I felt such peace throughout my entire body. I knew that meeting for the first time was going to be a bit awkward, but I was used to going on first dates and I had confidence that I could make him feel comfortable.

I walked out of the airport and he got out of his car to grab my bag. We hugged and I told him, “This is certainly the farthest I have ever traveled for a date.”

We got in the car and he asked me how my flight was. We talked a bit about that and then he asked what time we should get dinner. I suggested 6, but it was only 3:30 at the time.

So he asked if we should just go back to his house and I said, “sure.”

After showing me around his house, we both didn’t know what to do from there. Imagine the awkwardness of a first date times ten now. Any conversation that would have normally been talked about on a first date had already been covered and I think we were both just grasping for something.

I realized that I was used to going out on first dates, feeling confident in who I was and not really caring about the outcome. I was used to creating conversation to make the other person feel a bit more comfortable and relaxed. But what I quickly realized after I got there, was that I wasn’t used to meeting someone for the first time that I ALREADY liked. This was so much different. And with that came more pressure than I expected.

Despite the awkwardness, I remember thinking that I was attracted to him. I liked his style and his smell (this is a big deal for me – ha!) and I was glad to be sitting in his house with him.

My goal was to just go into the weekend and have fun. Hang out with a man that I liked and try to get to know him even more. But looking back on it now, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t lift my head above the pressure.

We somehow finally made it to dinner. I was determined to try and make things a bit more comfortable at dinner, so he knew I was still interested in him and glad to be there with him. So I started asking questions. This was very hard because we had covered so much ground in the month and a half of talking that the normal first date conversation just didn’t exist. So in hindsight, I think our dinner conversation just felt forced, like we were trying to fill the silence.

However, none of this awkwardness made me like him any less. I felt like I already knew so much about him and his character, that I knew we just had to get past this awkward first date conversation and we would be fine. We had to be. Right? Things were going so very well prior.

That night I spent the night at my friend’s house and when she asked how things went I responded with “I am just not sure.” I told her that I liked him, but I couldn’t tell if he was having fun with me. I was hoping for some sort of text from him that Friday night letting me know that he was glad I was here or something. But nothing came. And rightfully so, I guess, he knew I was with my friends. So I didn’t think too much of it at the time.

I had lunch plans with my friends the next day, so after lunch, I waited at my friend’s house for him to pick me up. During that time, I was talking with my friend’s three year old daughter and she said to me, “I couldn’t wait to see your pretty face.”

I laughed and told her thank you and silently thanked the Lord for letting me hear that statement, even though it came from a three year old, adorable, little girl and not the 35 year old man that was about to pick me up.

I was hoping Saturday was going to be a day where we could get past the awkwardness, but I kept wondering if I had become a burden to him.

I wondered if he felt “stuck” hanging out with me all weekend long. I couldn’t shake the feeling, but all I knew was that I wanted to be in his presence again. I liked being with him. I did know that.

On Saturday, he had a great idea of baking cookies together. I thought that was such a cute idea because he knew how much I loved cookies. But, I barely had an appetite and did my best to force a cookie down. I honestly don’t think I realized how nervous I was until looking back now.

I wondered how long he wanted me to stay at his house on Saturday or if he was just counting down the hours until I went back to my friend’s house. And I wondered if he even wanted to see me again on Sunday. The only thing I knew to do was ask him. He explained to me that if he wouldn’t have wanted to spend time with me Saturday, he could have made an excuse not to.

When I told him that I just had a hard time reading him, he asked me “Are you trying to read me?”

“Yes,” I responded with a smile.

“That must be exhausting for you,” he replied.

I smiled again and shook my head yes, knowing that we were probably finished with this conversation. And I was right, he changed the topic to something else.

I knew in my head that this was not going as well as it could have, but again, it didn’t make me stop liking him. I just kept trying to get my confidence level up, but by Saturday night, I had lost it all. That night, I barely slept. I finally fell asleep around 1am, but woke back up at 3am with my mind racing. I didn’t fall back asleep until three hours later and finished the night with two more hours of sleep.

When he picked me up on Sunday, I was prepared for him to tell me that this would be the end of our communication.

At brunch, I ordered the smallest thing on the menu and still only ate about half of it. My appetite was completely gone.

At the end of brunch he gave me the answer that I was anticipating. He shared with me that he just didn’t feel the “spark.” I remember thinking that even if a tiny spark tried to light, I am sure the pressure of the weekend would just snuff it out before it even had a chance. So I wasn’t surprised with his realization.

He asked me how I was feeling about everything and I told him that while I understood that maybe the romantic, excited feelings were missing, it might have just been because we had to get past the awkwardness of the “first meeting.” But then that is when he shared with me that he had felt the “spark” with other women on first dates before and conversation flowed nice and easy.

So I didn’t know what else to say. I didn’t want to convince him to keep communicating with me or to give “us” another chance, if that was not his desire. I told him that I wondered if we would have had that first phone conversation in person, if a “spark” would have ignited then. He said he wondered the same thing.

He said it might have been different if I lived close by and we could see if the spark would build, but I was getting back on a plane to go home. And without a spark, he had no desire to come visit me. I understood that.

After brunch we went back to his house. That day he had a family obligation he needed to adhere to and I explained that I would be more than happy to entertain myself at his house while he was gone. He didn’t leave right away and instead kept asking me questions, “Do you want the TV on?”

“No, I am good.”

“Do you want me to turn on the music?”

“No thank you.”

“Do you want something to eat?”

And at this point, what I wanted to say was, “I just want you to leave, so I can cry.” I was doing all that I could to hold back my tears because the last thing I wanted to do was make him feel badly about what he told me.

He finally left. And I finally could cry.

I had written a card for him prior to our brunch conversation before knowing how we would leave things. In my card I told him that no matter what was decided between us, I wanted him to know that he started off my 2018 with joy, hope and excitement and I thanked him for that. I placed the card in his bedroom for him to find later that night.

After a little while, Mr. Endearing came back home and asked me if I had any more thoughts about our brunch conversation now that I had time to think about it a little more. Looking back now, I could have said about ten different things, but at the time, I didn’t know what to say. I again didn’t want to make him feel badly and I wanted this to be easy for him. So I just smiled and told him that I accepted his answer.

On the way to the airport I told Mr. Endearing that I would miss him. He told me that we didn’t have to stop communicating and that he would hope we could be friends. I agreed, although, I didn’t really know how that would all play out. I have had situations in the past where that was agreed upon and I never ended up gaining a friend. The only thing I gained, was another blog post story 🙂

However, I did feel like this time may be different. I cared for Mr. Endearing and I certainly did not want him out of my life. I spend most of my summers in his home state, so I knew I would be back there in June and told him that he was welcome to call me up then. However, I did say that the ball would be in his court with that. He said okay, but wanted to make sure that I knew I could reach out to him whenever I wanted. I nodded, but knew I was going to need to gain some of my confidence back before that happened.

Being back home now after that weekend, I have analyzed the weekend about 100 times. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t stop. But thankfully, I am determined to settle on truth.

When facing a rejection, it is very easy to feel worthless and unloveable. We hear the same statements over and over again from broken-hearted women riding away in the limo the night The Bachelor sends them home. And each time I watch them crying, I want to remind them that their worth is not found by being chosen by a man. So I reminded myself that same truth.

It made me think back to Saturday night when I couldn’t sleep. Sometime between 3am and 6am when I was praying, I heard, “Your worth is found in ME alone, my dear daughter.”

How in the world did I forget that? Even for just one weekend? Why was I looking to get affirmed by a man so much? Where had my confidence gone?

My confidence left me because I forgot how much I am loved by my Heavenly Father. If I fully realized how much the God of this Universe loved me, I would not lose my confidence. Not for any reason. Not ever. Not even amongst disappointments or trials.

Today I walked into a small cafe that was playing Crowder and Tauren Wells’ song “All My Hope” and I realized that for the past two months, I thought ALL my hope was in Jesus BUT if that had been true, I wouldn’t have sought after a man’s affirmations. I wouldn’t have lost my confidence just because a weekend wasn’t playing out like I thought it would. To have ALL my hope in Jesus, is to live in the security of His love. And with that security comes great confidence. Something that no one could ever take away.

“All My Hope”

I’ve been held by the Savior
I’ve felt fire from above
I’ve been down to the river
I ain’t the same, a prodigal returned

All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God that yesterday’s gone
All my sins are forgiven
I’ve been washed by the blood

I’m no stranger to the prison
I’ve worn shackles and chains
But I’ve been freed and forgiven
And I’m not going back, I’ll never be the same
That’s why I sing

All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God my yesterday’s gone
All my sins are forgiven
I’ve been washed by the blood

There’s a kind of thing that just breaks a man
Break him down to his knees
God, I’ve been broken more than a time or two
Yes, Lord then He picked me up and showed me
What it means to be a man

Come on and sing
All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God my yesterday’s gone
All my sins are forgiven
I’ve been washed by the blood

Come on and sing
All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God my yesterday’s gone
All my sins are forgiven
Oh I’ve, I’ve been washed by the blood

The morning after returning home, I opened the book “The Signet Ring” by Kerri Kenyon. It has been sitting on my night stand for about a year and when I went to go pick it up, my bookmark was left in the exact place that I needed to read.

Here are some truths that I found in her book.

“It is simply impossible for us to fathom because in our human logic and understanding we will always see ourselves as unloved and unworthy.”

“If I really knew the love that God had for me, I would be way more powerful in overcoming the schemes and lies of the enemy.”

“When the deepest places of our being are saturated with the Father’s love, we operate in His power.”

I was not operating in His power that weekend. After analyzing the weekend, there are many things that I would have done or said differently. But my biggest regret is not fully remembering my security and power in Christ alone. I was trying too hard in my own flesh to make “things work.” And you see how that ended up – I failed.

I am so very thankful to have learned this lesson this past week. I wish I could apologize to Mr. Endearing for the pressure that I may have put on him to say the right words. I am sorry that I looked to him so much to affirm me.

Maybe some of you reading this, need to learn a similar lesson. It’s not an easy one to learn, but oh my goodness, when you can fully embrace the Lord’s love, imagine the power you will have in this life!!!

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:37-39 (ESV)

And as I pray this for myself this evening, I want you to know that I am including you in my prayer.

My prayer for you today is for you to fully realize the love that God has for YOU -for you to embrace it and live in the knowledge that you are more than a conqueror!

Now let’s go conquer this life together my friend!

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2 thoughts on “All My Hope

  1. Kirk Chwialkowski says:

    Hey my Sweet Daughter,
    Thanks for sharing your heart and most important the “lesson learned”. If we can learn from them and not repeat them, life is much easier. Our Father is always teaching us if we are willing to listen, and this is a major one. I trust He has accomplished that in you through this adventure.

    Our Father knows when the sparrow falls, so how much more does he know and care about His own kids. I know you know that, but we all need words of affirmation right! This one is from the Creator of the universe! You can trust and count on His Word and amen.

    Love you Elisa Rose. Enjoy this journey.
    Psalm 119:57-59

    Like

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