November’s Thirty Days Of Gratitude Challenge – Day Two

30 Days of Thankful Challenge Day Two

November’s Thirty Days Of Gratitude Challenge – Day Two

Join Me For A Month of Being Thankful

Today is Day Two of my Thirty Days of Gratitude Challenge. I’m trying to stay with a theme this year of unexpected gifts that I am grateful for. Day Two and Day Three are my very favorite unexpected gifts. Both represent a gift I thought I would never have. Both represent a dream I had given up on that came true all the same. Both are constantly surprising me with a love so great I have no words to properly express it. And both were given to me by God Himself. My greatest blessings.

So, for Day Two of My 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge, I am calling out my amazing husband. On this blog, you know of him as Mr. Wonderful. He is appropriately named.

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Our Unity Candle

I Met Mr. Wonderful When I Least Expected To Find Love. 

In fact, I was desperately avoiding it!

The night before I met my husband I was at the very bottom of the darkness suffocating. Having spent ten years in a horrible and dangerous first marriage where I was neglected, cheated on, physically, emotionally, and mentally hurt, and finally abandoned; I had decided I did not believe in love. I probably shouldn’t admit it, but it’s true. I was convinced that real love was a fairytale. A myth. And I wanted nothing of it. Love equaled pain.

I did know and believe in another kind of love that I knew to be true. That was the love of a mother and son. T was my world. It was for him that I kept getting up every day. That I kept trying. Thank God for T.

So it was, the night before I was to meet the love of my life, I prayed a prayer I will never forget. I was so tired. Everyone wanted to set me up with this person or that person. But my wounds were still gushing, knives still protruding. All I had managed to do was to stand back up and at that point, I was teetering. Deeply wounded. I couldn’t even entertain the idea of risking it again. After all, I knew how that would inevitably end, didn’t I?

The Prayer

After getting off the phone with a well-meaning friend who had just the guy for me, I settled in next to a sleeping T and I prayed. And I mean I prayed from the tips of my toes straight through the top of my soul. I prayed so hard that afterward, I felt as if I had tried to fly that prayer all the way to Heaven myself. And I was exhausted when I finally reached that amen. I will tell you how that prayer began.

Dear God, if there is a switch in my heart that you can just turn off so I am never tempted by false love again, please turn that baby off. Please! And then seal it solid. I don’t need a husband or a marriage. I just need you and this little guy right here. That’s all I need. Besides, what is up with all these men that keep coming my way? I don’t believe a single genuinely good guy is out there. Save this little one snoring beside me. Please God, don’t let me fall for love again. Protect me. I just can’t go through that again.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that God did not answer that prayer. Instead of giving me what I asked for, He gave me what I really needed. He’s really good at doing that. He delivered me, my husband. True love. The real deal. And on top of that this guy He had in mind for me was crazy good looking, super smart, incredibly funny, wise and hardworking, and a man of great faith. He was about to teach me what real love was.

I may lose a few of you here with my next confession but it happened so I am going to tell it. When I met my husband it was the first and only time I have ever heard God audibly speak to me.

“There is one of the good guys.” He whispered when my eyes first fell upon Mr. Wonderful.

Go ahead and believe me crazy but last year I was hugely relieved to find myself less alone with this particular miracle when I read Chip and Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Story. Guess what? Joanna heard a voice telling her about Chip too. “I swear to you it was clear as day,” she writes. I texted Mr. Wonderful immediately after reading this and shared a screenshot of the page. She heard it too and she is telling people about it, I texted, thumbs flying! Until then, I had only shared this experience with those the very closest to me. Now, I am telling you. It happened. I heard it. And it would have taken nothing less than the voice of God Himself to get me to turn my heart toward love again. I’m so glad He spoke up.

Happily Ever After

And that’s where it all began. Mr. Wonderful and I have been married nine years now and I still get butterflies when he pulls in the driveway. I am absolutely completely in love with him. Before I met Mr. Wonderful I had no concept of what true love actually is.  But now I can tell you it is beautiful beyond measure.

Mr. Wonderful

Love Is…

It is putting someone before yourself every time because you want to so bad, and then they do the same for you. You don’t even have to ask.

It is thinking of ways to show the other person how amazing they are and then following through. Even if it’s just a candy bar left on a pillow, a favorite dish prepared, queuing Netflix with action-adventure films and Star Trek re-reruns when you’re totally into Rom-Com.

Sometimes it’s rushing to the hospital clutching their hand and counting on it like oxygen to keep you upright as you have to race towards your greatest nightmare.

Other days, it’s waiting at the door with an umbrella when you know they are coming home in a rainstorm.

It’s long hugs at the kitchen sink.

Soft kisses before you have to go your separate ways for the day.

Love is a genuine word of encouragement when you’re down.

A calming voice when you are encircled in chaos.

A hard truth spoken in a gentle and loving voice.

It’s never giving up.

It’s laughing until your stomach hurts. Inside jokes.

It’s giving. It’s receiving.

It’s about growing together.

Adventure and exploration and date nights.

It’s about being accepted exactly as you are. Your weird and quirky traits embraced. You don’t have to pretend for a second.

It’s about having a partner in everything. One that believes in you. That works beside you. Supports you. Wants you to succeed and is willing to work toward your goal as though it is their own.

It is about forgiveness and compassion.

It is about learning together.

Real love is empowering.

And real love is beautiful.

Real love holds you close, lifts you up, and brings out the very best within you.

Well, the Bible says it best in 1st Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.1st Corinthians 13:4-8

 

Thank you, God, for true love.

 

If you are reading this today, I hope you have found your true love and you are celebrating that every day. If not, (well, not yet) I hope you hold on to the truth that true love is a real thing and it is a treasure worth waiting for. Miracles do happen. Unexpected blessings fall upon us at the times we least expect them. God is good. He knows your heart’s desire. Ask Him to send the one he chooses for you and be ready for the real deal. In the meantime, live your best life. Love yourself better than you ever have before, and let Him handle the rest. He’s got this!

 

Be blessed,

Gwen

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1st Corinthians 13:4-8