and so begins a new chapter of my life…

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I can hear the slap of the back cover of a book as it closes and I pull out a new book, ready to begin a whole new chapter of my life. All the pages are blank as of yet; I have no idea what will fill them. The last chapter ended suddenly – my three-month engagement was abruptly cut short faster than I could understand it myself, and the last pages of that chapter were filled with heartache and confusion. I didn’t know what to do, what to think; I only knew I didn’t want to have to start over again.

But here I am, standing in an open doorway looking at my future. I can see partway down the road: Taylor, Fairlane, my show, graduation. Much of it looks foggy and I am a bit scared to begin this journey. I look behind me and if I ignore all the recent yucky stuff I have been wading through, the past looks so much brighter. But alas, the road that could have been has disappeared and I am left standing here – alone – with my future in front of me.

But am I really alone? Once, two summers ago, it was raining really bad here in Orlando – so bad I couldn’t even see the road. But I had to go to work, and my dad was headed to Atlanta. I was driving our van, which has bad breaks, and my dad had taken the family cell phone. I was really scared, but I had to go. I took it slowly… It was so tense but I took it one little bit at a time. The rain let up halfway there, and I was stopped at a stoplight when I heard a knock at my window. It terrified me, but when I turned to look my dad was standing there. He had been following me the whole way, unknown to me, because he loved me and wanted to make sure I was safe. Isn’t that what God’s like? You can’t see three feet in front of you, and you feel scared and all alone, and then God taps you on the shoulder and says “Don’t worry, I’m right here with you, and I have been this whole time.” And you know it’s going to be alright.

Right now, I’m embarking on this long, windy road ahead, with just God by my side, but that’s okay. God’s been whispering me to have hope, because someday Paul’s road will turn around and merge into mine and we’ll be together again. But until then I need to let God lead him wherever he needs to go, and I need to focus on God to guide me to where I need to go. Our relationship isn’t definable by familiar terms right now. I’m not engaged, I’m not dating… But my heart is definitely taken. I won’t hear from him for several months, if not longer… I won’t have him to tell my secrets to, to share my excitement, to unwind after a hard day. I don’t have the special someone who’ll do random things to make me feel like a princess, or who will take me out on dates, or tell me I’m beautiful. So I guess that makes me single right now… but not available. Through it all I’ll never stop thinking about him or praying for him, or desperately wanting him back. When he went to Ireland, counting down the days till his return helped me a lot… But now I don’t have that definite date; I just have to wait on God. And wait for Paul to reach back out to me.

They say if you love someone you should let him go, and if he comes back then he’s yours to keep. I can understand that now; if I don’t let Paul go now then I’m going to lose him forever. If only the “letting go” process didn’t have to be so yucky, or the waiting so painful.

But God is with me through it all, just like my dad was watching out for me during that rainstorm two years ago. I need to put my faith and hope in Him, that He will lead me to the greener pastures in the end. Renoir, my favorite artist, once said about continuing to paint despite arthritis, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.” A friend told me, “This will make something beautiful in the end, and it’ll blow you away because He is God.”

And so it begins. It’s the morning after the hurricane; the quiet after the storm. But the door behind me is closed and I only have memories of dreams of the road that could have been. For now, I must take a deep breath, and make that first step forward. This time, though, God is going to be writing the rest of the book. And I pray this is simply a short chapter.