Many people have been asking about our love story and how Dan and I came together. I’m going to write about it because I want to encourage you that sometimes we have to open our hearts and let God do the seemingly weird and crazy things and nothing really is impossible with him.
The last relationship I had was in 2010 and I enjoyed the years being on my own. It was great and I felt that I was able to discover myself, focus on my relationship with the Lord and devote time for my loved ones. I was able to do the things that I wanted to on my own without worrying about anyone else. I got to do things and travel and explore many different places that I never could have with somebody.
After many years of living the single life, it came to a point when I longed to be with someone. I didn’t just want anyone but really the man that I would be with for the rest of my life. I had non-negotiables and I didn’t want to compromise in that area. I wanted someone, first and foremost, who loved the Lord wholeheartedly and had a personal relationship with Him. My faith is important to me - I desired to be with a man whose faith is important to him too.
I’ve gone out with men from my church and other churches but I never felt at peace and didn’t have any connection with them. There were lots of praying, crying and begging to the Lord. I was even mad at God because I felt I prayed hard about it but he didn’t grant my prayers. There was even a period that my heart cried out to God almost every single night for months. I felt I was done with the single life and was willing to jump to the next season but it just wasn’t happening. As a single woman who longed to be with a man, this can be rather difficult. But still, I clung on to God’s hope and promises to me. I held on to God’s very first promise to me: Matthew 6:33, which says, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” I was also comforted with Isaiah 55:8-9 which spoke that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than mine, that even if I didn’t understand what was happening, I can only trust a God who is sovereign and infinite.
During this period of waiting, it’s amazing what the Lord has taught me. He taught me many valuable lessons on being patient, relying on Him, letting go of deep seated fears and just learning how to trust in Him alone (that’s another story but let’s not get into that now). It was an agonizing and painful process but the Lord has grown my heart.
All this time, I waited. When a friend suggested back in 2015 that I try online dating, I immediately declined. I was like, no way and I didn’t even think twice about it. A few months later, I had 2 friends again suggest that I try eHarmony. I found it strange that 2 people, who didn’t know each other, would bring it up to me on the same week. I remembered as well my friend who suggested the same site to me a few months back. I believe I’ve tried to open up my heart to other people but that clearly wasn’t working. I just told myself, hey, you're praying for someone and what’s the harm in trying? I might as well try.
Again, a few months later, on August 1, 2016, Dan sent his first message to me - and that started it all. We began messaging each other and sending long email and then chatting to phone calls. We just seemed to really get along and be genuinely interested in one another. Our very first Skype call, we talked to each other for 3 hours and the next call was 4 hours. There more I talked to him, the more I was starting to really like this guy. But I was also starting to become incredibly scared. I placed walls - thick, big, strong walls - around my heart so it can’t be hurt or vulnerable. I didn’t want to set myself up for another heartache, disappointment and failure. I especially had a big fear of commitment and marriage based on how it was like with my family and my personal experience. I was so scared and I felt like running every time.
But every time I ran, Dan somehow seemed to be there. He would constantly reassure me and show that he cared. I also prayed a lot about it, and every time I did, I felt God impressing in my heart that I shouldn’t run away and instead take a chance on this child of His. I actually felt like I was going to disobey by not allowing this blessing in my life. One by one, slowly by slowly, the walls I’ve built began to crumble. However, it really wasn’t easy. Each time I felt my walls were coming down, something would happen and I felt them go right back up in an instant. I would be flooded with thoughts like: he wouldn’t like me if he really knew who I was. He wouldn’t stay and leave when things got hard. There’s somebody better out there. I’m not pretty enough for him. I’m not good enough.
Yet he stayed. It might seem absurd, given that it was a long distance online relationship. I look back and I also think it’s crazy, like how did we even get here! But that’s also the beauty of this relationship is that we spend hours and hours just getting to know each other further and talking - talking about daily, mundane things to the deepest matters going on in our hearts. You can fake that to a certain extent but not when you’re talking everyday and investing huge amounts of time with each other.
After a few months of communicating, Dan decided to fly to the Philippines and meet me. I won’t go into the details (again, that’s another story) but we were both so comfortable with each other and it felt like meeting a friend.
I look back at it now and I write this not even hitting a year since we first met. In less than a year, I got to meet someone, be scared, fall in love, risk my heart, got together and now I’m wearing a ring on my finger, looking forward to the time we can say I do in front of God and our family and friends and finally be with him. It sounds so crazy! But I guess when you know, you know. I’ve prayed about it, I feel immense peace with it and our families and friends have been incredibly supportive.
There are different love stories. Stories of relationships strengthened through time while some are short because they were just so sure. Some are really really short, I know someone who got engaged 3 days after they met. Some are long distance, some are not. Some started with friendship and some started with romance immediately. Some who parted ways and then finding each other again. I mean, there’s no one single way to do it and that’s the beauty of it.
As for me and Dan, this is how the Lord wrote our love story. It wasn’t the love story I pictured for myself. But in fact, I praise God, because it’s even better than I could ever imagine. All the waiting, it’s so worth it, knowing that I waited, we both waited, for God’s perfect timing. He truly knows what's best. And, as what Dan tells me, "He is the author of all good things."