Day 16 of truth telling: An unexpected impossible boyfriend

IMG_0187Today my truth is:

I believe in impossible things.

In the story of the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy lived in a black and white and grey world. It was a world of normal and mundane. It was a world of the possible. Dorothy longed for something more. She longed for a life over the rainbow. She wondered what lived there. She questioned why she couldn’t. Then, suddenly, in the middle of her mundane life in Kansas, tragedy struck. A tornado blew through her home and she was taken up in it. Tragedy.

When she came to, she opened her eyes and noticed a peculiar sight. There was color and light beaming through the windows of her home. Unfamiliar, sights and sounds filled her senses. She was awake. She was over the rainbow.

Life became other worldly. She made friends with lions and scarecrows. There were monkeys that flew and witches to conquer. There were wicked wizards and humble munchkins. She was over the rainbow and it was tragedy that brought her there.

I, like Dorothy, believe there is more to be had in life. There is more than the mundane of this present existence and there is more to the story that meets the eye. I believe, that I was created for more. Not because I’m so special, but because I believe we were all created with greater purpose and mission and possibility than most of us could truly ever imagine. I believe in a God, who invites me to live as though I were over the rainbow every day.

God invites me to life that is more than I could ever imagine, life in full color and full of mystery. This belief invites me to a life of great risk and even greater dependence. It is a life that is illogical to the world and humanly foolish. It is a life where the Kingdom of God is real and I get to live in it every day. It is a life where there is purpose beyond the seen and there is possible beyond the possible. I believe that Jesus is still capable of miracles. I believe that the blind can be given sight. I believe that God at times invites us to live risky, non-safe and seemingly foolish lives because He holds a greater and truer story. I believe that at times obedience to God is foolish to those who think in only the terms of humanly possible. This belief, is a belief that has written the most amazing, scary, heartbreaking and breathtaking stories. It is this belief that met me in 2006 when Matthew first asked me out.

I had met Matthew at an event and we hit it off immediately. We began to spend time together. He asked great questions, loved Jesus, was a part of a church plant and had this desire to see the world be a better place.  He was kind. I was drawn to his kindness. I found myself wondering if he was interested in me or if we were just friends. Then I got the call, “I think we need to talk.” We made plans to talk on a Tuesday evening. I chose my outfit carefully, spent an hour getting ready and calming my nerves and geared up for the D.T.R. (define the relationship talk)

He told me his story and I listened. My stomach churned, my hands shook. His words and story were not too surprising, but they were not the words a girl, who wanted a guy to be interested her wanted to hear. “Cari, I am gay.” (Tragedy) My heart sank and I stayed engaged in the conversation at the same time. “Cari, I’m gay and I am attracted to you and don’t know what to do about it. Would you be willing to try this with me?” What an invitation! Not quite the story I was going for, but it was the story I was in. My mind started racing. What was my answer going to be?

Logic would say, go, it won’t work out. But what was Jesus saying? We talked for another hour or so and in that time, we made a decision to date. (Life in color. Life of impossibility. Life over rainbows.) We decided we would allow ourselves to try this out as long as we were honest with each other along the way. We took a walk, held hands and hugged as we said good-bye. I had no idea what was to happen next but I knew I was to enter this journey with him and he with me.

That night I laid in bed and prayed. I asked the Lord what I was to do. Am I foolish for thinking You’re inviting me into this story? Am I foolish for allowing my heart to grow attached to a man who has a story layered with questions in his own sexual identity? Am I foolish to you Lord?

I felt the Lord say, “Cari, I am in this. It is for your good. Do not be afraid.” Over the next 5 months Matthew and I dated I learned more about the love of God, hope in the Lord and believing in the impossible. God had invited me into life over the rainbow. He invited me into the impossible and the foolish and it was for my good. It was for Matthew’s good. It was for a communal good.

I will write about this more in the days to come. I’ve only spoken publicly about this relationship once and I have felt nudged to share this part of my story in these days of honesty and truth telling.

Every day there are impossibilities that surround us. Every day we touch lives with those whose have only their belief to keep them going and God, at times, seems silent in the midst of struggles and questions. Every day there are cliffs to jump off of with Jesus. It is part of living in the impossible, being made possible with God. I learned many things in my relationship with Matthew. He and I remain good friends and I asked him if it’d be okay for me to start writing about my experience dating him. He kindly gave me permission.

So the next few posts will hold questions, heart ache, beauty and both answered and unanswered prayer. I am not sharing these stories to say anything other than the truth of my own experience. I hope that you will be encouraged as I share about obedience and trust, even in the most seemingly foolish of circumstances.

It is impossibly possible

A decision has been made, a course plotted and a journey ahead. There is an ending point, but what lies between now and the ending point is a trail of adventure and a river of uncertainty.  I wonder if this is how the Israelites felt as they decided to follow Joshua. He led them, like those before, to the banks of a huge river. The river was at flood stage and waters were rushing before them.

Right in front of them was the impossible. All they wanted, truly, was to reach the other side, and yet, the river made that seemingly impossible. The Lord commanded the priests who carried the ark of the covenant to step into the river. Wait, What? Step into the river, rushing with water, at flood stage?

Yes, that is what was asked of them. And the priests followed orders.

As they stepped into the rushing river the waters ceased to flow and the priests made their way on dry ground to the center of the river bed while Israelites crossed on dry ground to the other side.

The other side. That is where most of us want to be. We come to the river bed, hear the words step and we laugh. We sit and stare thinking about the other side. Or we begin walking up and down the river’s shore for another way. We look for bridges, rocks to step on, we think about constructing a boat and we waste time, for we were not instructed to make a boat, we were instructed to step.  Stepping into the river is hard. It is where our faith and logic collide in a face off and to the mind, logic usually has the upper hand.

This is why the story of the Israelites did not end after the huge step was taken and all had crossed. God knew and knows His creation well. He knew that once the Israelites had reached the other side that they would move quickly into the promised land and would forget the story, difficulty and impossibility of the river.  So He commanded Joshua to have 12 priests go into the middle of the river and each grab a huge stone and bring it to him. And there, right on the rivers edge an alter was built, to help people remember.

In fact Joshua 4 tells us that the stones would serve as a sign so that when the Israelites’ children and grandchild would pass by they would remember that at this sight, in this very place God parted the waters of impossibility and all of Israel walked on dry ground.

When we stand at the rivers edge, being invited to step in, we need faith and we need to remember. We need to remember that the One who invites us to step, is preparing the way and has done this before. We then we need to place our faith in Him. Logic would have it, that if God can do the impossible and has done the impossible, that there is actually nothing impossible with God.

So where you’re invited to step into a river of sorts in your life and you’re wondering if there is another way, take a moment to remember when God has done the impossible. And step with God into the possible.

I’m wondering would you be willing to share a time when God invited you to the impossible and He helped you cross your own version of the Jordan river? I know I would be encouraged by the “Stones” of remembrance in your personal history as I know others would be as well.