First, I am going to lay some groundwork. I want you to know how Tim came into the picture so you'll need to see where I came from before Tim showed up. Ready? Hope you're comfy. Here it goes.
There comes a moment in your life when you see a turning point. Or maybe you don't see it. At least not at the time, but looking back it is clear and obviously right there. See? THERE, at this time, when this happened... Yeah. One of those life-changing moments. This moment for me was clear; I saw it when my first boyfriend, Luke, and I sadly, but amicably, decided to end our dating relationship of over seven and a half years. That happened in January of 2014. We have different wants, the main one being I want to have children one day as I have desired to be a wife and a mother for as long as I can remember. I am so thankful I can say Luke and I are still in each others' lives and still friends. I don't think I could bear being one of those people who cannot be in the same room as their ex. Thanks, Luke, for being so cool!
It took two weeks after the moment of having constantly puffy eyes, escaping reality by watching any and every sappy, feel-good romantic comedy I could find on Netflix and groaning to God in my prayers, not able to form words, for me to be able to not cry everyday. It was then that I suddenly had this remarkable peace. I felt it in my heart; it covered me entirely. I have never related to Philippians 4:6,7 as well as I did then: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
God knew I needed a time of grieving. He also knew when to start the healing.
The peace in my heart flourished into a confident hope and quiet assurance. I just knew, one day, God would grant me the desires of my heart: to be a wife and a mother, seeking and serving my Savior for the rest of my life. That was another turning point moment. At this time, I still had it in my mind that this would all happen with Luke. I simply thought we'd get back together and that would be that. I think God has a sense of humor and sometimes laughs because He knows. Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses and I have quoted it here copious times because it is so good: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" God wants His very best for us - Luke and I were not that for each other. I realized it two months later. One more turning point.
Here I clung onto God's promise in Jeremiah 29:11 more than I ever have before. My life ahead seemed so open, so unplanned, which kind of scared me because I like order, plans and organization. I had to become accustomed to being single and through it all, being satisfied in my God who fully knows me and my heart. Learning to rest in God's promises is the best thing we can do. And I did rest. I rested in the knowledge of God's perfect plans and timing, trusting Him to show me who He had chosen for me at His absolutely right time. I don't remember where I read this quote, but it impacted me enough to copy it into my journal: Samuel Eryin wrote, "God does not depend on our time. Our time is chronological and linear but God... is timeless. He will act at the fullness of His time. Our prayer... may not necessarily rush God into action, but... places us before Him in fellowship." This was a period of growth in my faith and as a person - realizing who I am - and I think God probably lovingly laughed, again, as I stumbled through the lessons He wanted me to learn in this new season of being single.
Now enters the possibility of Tim.
Mom had been poking me about joining an online dating site for quite some time. She wanted me to put myself out there and not just be existing here, day to day. I, extremely reluctantly, succumbed and spent the arduous time creating a profile on Christian Mingle. I think my reluctance stems from the fact that online dating somehow just felt kind of wrong and dirty, like I was flipping through a book with pages of puppies up for adoption and carelessly tossing aside the ones I didn't want. Maybe too much control or power on my part created the discomfort. I also thought this was going to be a time in my life where I would be single -and content - for years, as long as it took for God to show me the man He had chosen for me, and knowing my list of wants was full of high and lofty demands. But, I guess I figured it couldn't hurt to just look at this online dating thing. Anyway, after finally getting through the multitude of questions, I had a profile set up and could start looking. There was perhaps a hint of excitement, but mostly just the strong feeling that this felt entirely weird and foreign to me.
I started a search with the two things checked off in the preferences that were most important to me: wants kids [at least two] and wants marriage, preferably not in that order [sharing my faith is actually number one, but seeing as it was a Christian dating site, I assumed it would be a given]. Thinking I wanted someone who was at least semi-local, I set the radius for the search with the base point of Gabriola Island to 100 miles.
OK, 150 miles. Nope.
200 miles. Still nothing.
For the 'why not' of it, I typed in a new radius.
350 miles: ZERO matches.
My thought at that moment: "This is pointless and stupid." So I deactivated my account right then and there. The very same day I put it up.
The woes of my first online dating experience were expounded to my patient mother. She was just as surprised as I was that there were absolutely no matches within 350 miles of here, but happy I had at least tried.
Three weeks passed before I had an urge to reactivate my account. In that time, Mom and I played a sort of ping pong game with variations of the same question and answer going back and forth, "why don't you try again?" and me responding, "I don't feel like it." I was slightly more disheartened at the time than I wanted to admit. Again, it taught me to trust God and wait on Him. I tried the same search once more, but this time I adjusted it slightly from 'at least two kids,' to 'at most two kids,' just to see if it made a difference. 100 mile diameter search. Matches popped up. I was floored how one word change created such drastically different results. I skimmed through the matches, but no one really grabbed my attention [there's that cold, callous part of online dating - how easy it is to snub someone, without them even knowing! Ouch! Or maybe that's a good thing - but still, waaaaay too much power for my comfort zone!].
Well, I guess it was about a week or so later that I happened to click on the "secret admirer" area. At the time, I thought this section showed people who had viewed my profile. Later on, I deduced this section was not showing people who had looked at my profile, but rather a bunch of random profiles that Christian Mingle had just thrown in there for me to look at - including, but not limited to, the match preferences I had selected. This is where I saw Tim's profile. His photo stopped me in my tracks of rapidly clicking through the so-called "secret admirer" profiles. Handsome AND holding a baby - a biiiiiiiiigggg draw for me, the baby, that is [later on, Tim joked, "Oh yeah, the baby worked"]. Handsome is just an added bonus. So I decided to actually click on his profile. I read it and my jaw dropped. Literally. This man is everything I have ever wanted, prayed for and dreamed of in a husband. I looked at his location: Shaunavon,... OK, never heard of it. I glanced at the province..... Saskatchewan!
After studying Tim's profile, I called Mom over saying, "Mom, LOOK at this guy." I told her about my jaw-dropping experience. She read Tim's profile and finished with, "Maria, you HAVE to contact him. I'll pay for the membership so you can send him an email!" So, I did. Saying a prayer and feeling entirely unsure of what to write to someone I had never met or spoken to before; even so, a little email was sent to his inbox on Christian Mingle that middle of June night.
On Christian Mingle, you can see you can see when a person has last logged into their account. Tim hadn't logged on since April. I waited a few days, then checked Christian Mingle to see if Tim had received my email yet. His most recent log in was still April. So I figured that was the end of that.
Well, it wasn't.
Days passed and I couldn't get Tim off my mind. This was not one of those young girl crushes where you meet a boy and can't stop thinking of him. This was more of an awareness, a heaviness, like a weight. It felt as though God had put Tim on my heart. It was a good weight, a comfortable one, but not so comfy that I wasn't going to do anything about it. If God had placed this man on my heart, even if we never met, perhaps he needed prayer right now. So I prayed. When I still couldn't shake Tim from my heart a week later, I knew I needed to try contacting him again.
A little more background: I created a Facebook page back in May. I only made a personal page so I could create a page for my photography business. I turned everything off on the personal page because I knew I didn't want to use it. No information, no profile photo, nothing besides my name. Tim used his real first name and what looked like it could be his actual last name for his profile on Christian Mingle. This was key. Bringing up Facebook, I thought I might be able to find him there seeing as he, obviously, was not active on Christian Mingle. I wanted to at least check if he was dating anyone. I felt like if I saw that, then I'd know and be able to shake him from my heart. In went what I assumed was Tim's full name.... and there he was. I knew it was the same guy from the photos I had seen on his Christian Mingle account. His Facebook was pretty open and I got to see more photos and I noticed he was not dating anyone according to Facebook [and we all know it's official when it's "Facebook official"]. Nerves and excitement bubbled over as I, well, basically cyber-stalked Tim's Facebook for the better part of an hour.
I wrote a letter to Tim in Word, rewrote it and then went to paste it into a message from my photography Facebook page. But, being new to Facebook and unfamiliar with how it all works [I am still learning!], I didn't find out until that moment that you can't send a message to someone from a business page! Well, this is just great! I realized I'd have to send Tim a message from my personal page which looked totally sketchy with no profile photo or anything! At least my business page would have shown a photo and some information about me and what I do! But no, Tim's first message from me on June 25th, came from a very creepy, blank Facebook profile. For all he knew, I could have been a guy!
Not sure what to expect from that, I prayed for God's guidance and His will to be very evident to me. I also prayed for Him to remove Tim from my heart if this was not the man He had chosen for me. I thought we'd perhaps start a correspondence and maybe build a friendship, if he wasn't leery of a message from a stranger with an empty Facebook page/profile. I never imagined what would come from that first message to Tim on Facebook would be what it has turned into today.
Four days later, on June 29th, I received a Facebook message from Tim.