Guys! Guys! Guys! Something really cool happened this morning! So you remember back in August when we had that shooting incident at the library and it was super scary and I didn’t want to go back to work the next day? No? Well, I didn’t say it was a shooting incident then, and it wasn’t really – it was just a guy waving a gun around, no shots fired, but it still shook me up pretty badly. THEN, something really cool happened the next day. Here’s what I wrote about it on my blog at the time:
I work at the public library, and most days are good. Some days are bad – like Wednesday, when we had an experience that left me shaking and begging God to get me out of my job at the library as I was crying on my way home. Yesterday was a different story. A patron came up and asked us to proofread a letter, so I did. It was a good letter, and in it, the patron shared how they struggled with anxiety and depression. I read it, told her it was good, and wished her good luck, as she was requesting assistance from an organization in the letter. Then I went to shelve books. As I was shelving God nudged me. “Go say something to her.” He said. “What should I say God?” I asked. I tossed around ideas and nothing seemed to fit, plus, how weird is it when someone just comes up to you randomly and says something about anxiety and depression to you? Finally God said “Say what you wish people had told you when you were at your worst.” So I mustered my courage and went over to her. I tapped her on the shoulder and said “Hey, I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re brave. I got on medication for depression this summer, and I know how hard it is. I think you’re very brave for doing what you’re doing.” She teared up (and so did I). She said “Thank you so much, I really needed that.” Then I went back to shelving, sniffling and wiping tears out of my eyes so I could see the call numbers.
Anyway… I thought that was a one time incident, I switched jobs, I’d probably never see her again, I’d have no idea how that God moment turned out, etc. I honestly hadn’t thought about her in months.
SHE SAT IN FRONT OF ME IN CHURCH THIS MORNING!!!
When she came in I thought, “is that her?” but she was wearing a hat and a coat so I couldn’t really tell. We sang the Christmas songs (I do love me some Christmas carols), listened to Pastor preach (he’s preaching about parenting – finally, something that doesn’t really apply to me!), and when we stood up to leave she turned around and IT WAS HER!
So I greeted her – I remembered her name ’cause I have a slightly stalker-like memory like that – and asked how she was doing. She frowned, “I know you from somewhere, don’t I?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said, “from the library. I used to work there.”
“Oh yeah!” she exclaimed, “You helped me with that letter!”
“I did.” I replied.
“Well, I got it!” She told me happily. The letter had been requesting that her financial aid be reinstated from a state university, because due to her depression and anxiety she had had to drop out of school and her financial aid had been withdrawn. We did the happy-girl-squeal thing and I gave her a hug.
She’s going to be starting school online again in January and going back on campus next fall!!! I’m so happy for her!!! She seemed like she was doing really well. She asked about me, and I told her about my new job and she was happy for me too. I was thrilled to see her in church, with people – she sat with a couple I know, and doing so well.
Guys, God is so good. He didn’t have to follow up on that God moment with me, but He did. I hope I get to see her in church again next Sunday.
But, that’s not all!
I had a bad dream this morning at 4:00 a.m. So you know how God sent people dreams in the Bible (and still does today)? Somehow I can tell a difference between my dreams: there are dreams that God gives, dreams that originate in my own subconscious, and nightmares from the devil. Dreams have taken on a new meaning for me especially the latter half of this year. I almost always discuss my dreams with my mentor, who believes in validity of dreams. I should note that we always use Scripture as our standard to back up anything that originates in a dream. We do not view my dreams as gospel or expect that what happens in them will necessarily come true. I don’t even trust my dreams most of the time. But, I have had prophetic dreams before – where I dreamed something and then sometime later (no specific time frame – it’s been days to years) it happened. At the time of the dream however, I can usually tell what kind of dream it was.
When I experience spiritual warfare I have nightmares. When God is confirming something in my life I have God dreams (which are not always prophetic – they usually just imbue me with a sense of great peace and comfort).
Honestly, I can’t remember the last normal run-of-the mill dream I had. These days, the only dreams I remember are the spiritually infused dreams.
All that as a massive introduction to say: this morning I dreamed that Trent got engaged. I dreamed that he announced it on Facebook in a picture as a comment on a post about a cat playing with a string. I know, that’s all terribly confusing. Basically, the post had nothing to do about an engagement, and it was like he wanted to tell people, but not announce it per se.
I woke up slightly panicked. Immediately God was there to reassure me. “It was only a dream, Anessa,” He said, “Go check Facebook and see.” So I did. I scrolled through Trent’s wall and there was no post about a cat playing with a string with an engagement picture in the comments. I took a few deep breaths and started talking to God.
“God,” I said, “You know that above all else, I want Your will to be done. If it’s not Your plan for Trent and I to get back together, then I don’t want it to happen. If there’s someone out there who You have in mind who would be better for Trent, then please, put them together. If I’m not the person You want for Trent then take away my desire for him and replace it with a desire for whoever or whatever You have in mind for me. I don’t want what I think is best for me or for Trent, I want what You think is best for me and for Trent.” I prayed especially for Trent’s heart and I felt a great sense of peace about him and us in general. Trent and I have been talking a bit lately. I feel released to do so again, to be his friend again. That’s because I’ve finished my quest! Well, as much of it as I can do by myself without direct help from God. Do you remember my quest? No? I’m not surprised if you don’t, some of my quest list don’t remember my quest.
My quest started three days after the break up, way back on June 29th. I was deep in the depths of depression at the time – it was actually the day before I went really suicidal and called the national suicide hotline. I was laying in bed praying about the whole situation and a thought popped into my head “I need to get more people praying about us!” I already knew then that only God could put us back together, that our issues were too big for us to handle on our own. So I made a list of people I thought would be good ones to ask to pray for us and I ran it past my mentor. She didn’t dismiss it, but it felt like she did. (Now, as I’m typing it, I know I’ve written this before. Man, there are a lot of posts on this blog already, I’m just going to retype it rather than searching back through my posts to find it. Don’t stop me, even though I know you’ve heard it before.) So I put away the list and focused on getting myself better.
It wasn’t until the fourth meeting that God arranged that I realized He was working His way through my list, which I then dubbed my Quest List. He organized the first four meetings, then once I realized what we were doing, worked together on the next three. There are ten total individuals or couples on the list. I don’t think God let me start on the list right away, because I’m pretty sure I would have asked the people to pray for the wrong thing back then. At each quest meeting I tell them our story, all the reasons why I’m still convinced that God put us together and Satan tore us apart. I tell them about my own journey of healing and what God is doing for me personally. Then I ask them to pray for God’s will to be done, no matter what that is, and for God to keep working in both of our lives. As I’ve talked to more people on the list, I’ve sent out email updates with more specific prayer requests. The last two meetings have been the hardest, if I’m honest.
Way back in June I put my parents on the list. I wondered why at the time, and when God said “they’re next” I wondered why again. I love my parents dearly, and I know they love me an incredible amount, but they were not excited when Trent and I got together. They hated the distance the most. I mean, it was weird for them to see me with one of their former pastors, and Trent’s personality is very different than any of the personalities in my family, so there was some “I don’t like you because you’re different than we are”. But they really did not want me to move fourteen hours away, and I understand that. You know that at times I have doubted if I could really move that far away from my family because we’re so close. So while they were not hostile, they were also not very encouraging, not like any of the other people on the list were.
So when God said “they’re next” I was like, “really God? I love them, I love talking to them, but we don’t talk about Trent. That’s not a topic they like to talk about and I’ve learned that if I just don’t say anything we all get a long a lot better than when I’m constantly bringing him up. How about I go talk to this other couple, who loved me and Trent being together – in fact, they were the first people who invited us out as a couple. They’ll be so much easier to talk to about it.” But God didn’t let up, so I talked to my parents, and it went much better than I was expecting (probably because that was a specific request I asked the rest of the Quest List to pray for).
Then it was the “easy” couple. But it wasn’t easy. It was hard. Much harder than I was expecting. It took me weeks of seeing this couple every Sunday at church to work up the nerve to go ask if we could get together sometime. And God seemed to be no help. It was like He sat back and said “Alright Anessa, you know what you need to do. Are you going to do it or not?” I finally did it last Sunday and we met for lunch last Tuesday. I think the fear of talking to them was that I would expect something to happen when I finished the list. I mean, I’ve been working on the list for almost six months. What if I finished it and nothing happened? What if all those dreams and coincidences and promptings that I always attributed to God turned out to be nothing? What if after all that, God said, “alright, now you’re done with Trent. And now I’m done with you and Trent.” I think it’s taken this long for me to work my way through the list so that my faith would grow to the point of me being able to pray that prayer I prayed this morning after my dream: “God, Your will be done. Do what is best for me and for Trent, even if the best isn’t each other for each other.” and mean it.
There is one more couple on my list. When I put them on the list I told God, “You’re going to have to make this one work.” I’ve never met this couple. They live in Indiana, in a town I’ve never been to. They’re friends of Trent’s and I connected with her while we were together. I have no plans to go to Indiana any time soon. I’m pretty sure South Dakota is not on their list of vacation destinations. All the other meetings have been in person, like that’s a requirement or something. This one is going to take God getting involved. As far as it depends on me, I am done with my Quest. So I started texting with Trent again because I felt a release from God to do so.
Talking with him still brings me great joy. Most of the time I also feel great peace – peace I attribute to God. I have to watch myself though, because when I push too much or expect too much then I get agitated and antsy. I’m realizing that we have to go back to the very beginning – friends – and I have to be content with being friends forever. Trent has changed, honestly. I know, so have I. But he’s different, and not in the most positive of ways. I’m concerned about his heart, and talking with him has renewed my prayers for God to work in his heart. Not to turn it back to me, not unless God prompts that, but in other ways. I’m asking God to restore his heart to “factory settings” – the way it was before his ex-wife, before me, before all the hurt and disillusionment that life has thrown at him, that God would bring healing to his hurt, draw Trent ever closer to God, and set Trent’s heart on fire for God. Trent really does have the most amazing heart and it is my favorite thing about him. Those of you who pray, would you pray for that with me?
Anyway, that’s what’s God’s been up to lately. No, no fleece yet exactly, but we’ll see what God does with that. I think it’s pretty evident that He’s still doing something with me, something with Trent, and maybe even something with me and Trent. We’ll see. It’s all in His hands.