I stood in one of my favorite places. Panera. Not sure why but I’ve always found comfort in its wooden booths, warm fire place, and doughy aromas. At least, I have since grad school. This particular location was truly a reminder of my time in school because it was the very one I often visited near the campus.
I stood there and had flashbacks of working diligently, pouring over debits and credits for hours on end, and drinking lattes to stay energized. So many hours and months and years, working towards a goal I would eventually achieve: my MBA in Accounting. But while I was driven and excited and encouraged at this endeavor, I still felt the longing of a single soul awaiting companionship.
The longing burned within me.
No matter what I did to ignore it, it lingered. I thought about this and how many years have passed. On that day at Panera I didn’t feel the intense, burning, longing that I felt in my 20s, and even in my early 30s, but I still felt…alone.
I liken my desire for a romantic relationship to fasting. When first starting a fast the hunger of food feels overwhelming and the task nearly impossible. Yet as time goes on the desire simmers. It’s still there, but it feels “dulled”.
With fasting, you learn how to be full off less.
The stomach shrinks and with it so does your mindset. As a friend once told me when not having enough for a meal, “Well, there’s always water.” She said this because she has experienced several 21-day “liquid only” fasts.
Water becomes enough.
Memory after memory visited me as I waited for my order. The painful ones. The hard ones. I thought about how time had moved but my circumstances had not. I also thought about the guy I had met recently. We were in the early stages of getting to know each other and I had not yet received a phone call. I started debating on initiating the call but decided against it. That just wasn’t me. Within moments I felt my phone vibrate. It was him.
We talked that night for the first time. I sat and ate my food while looking out the window and being very much aware of the Father’s provision. I had reached a place of understanding that we do not always get what we desire in this life. We are not promised that. I understood self denial and waiting and humbling one’s self for the sake of the kingdom. In fact, I am still learning those lessons. However I think there are new lessons He is teaching me, hence He is moving in a new way. Because in that moment, while sitting in Panera, looking out the window and having the first of many to come conversations with a man who has great purpose in my life, I knew the Lord was saying, “See Nicole, your circumstances are changing.”
And more importantly, “Nicole, you are not alone”.
To prove it He brought me, Emmanuel…