Courage to Love: A Real Life Romance
It was a cloudy spring Sunday when I pulled my little PT cruiser into my then-new church’s parking lot at the direction of a tall, red bearded guy. I threw the parking brake on and walked over to church and down the sidewalk at an angle where I could try and do a ring check on this parking lot volunteer. I sat down by myself in the back, tucking myself into a corner of a red cushioned pew, I took a deep breath and tried to not crane my neck looking around to see where this guy normally sat for the church service.
Months later after finding him on Facebook, asking my new small group leader, the discipleship director, and pastor about him—we were introduced. I couldn’t work up the nerve to introduce myself to him even though I saw him almost every week—and our church isn’t that big. We were introduced because we had both signed up to go on a mission trip to Haiti the following February. And I had signed up for the group he was leading about refugees and the response of the Church. My motives were twofold, there.
Week one or two of that group I “lost my car keys” and came back into the group room where he was cleaning up, just as an excuse to talk to him. My keys were tucked in my book.
That one ridiculous move of mine was a step of courage.
The steps that followed were more in line with one of my favorite definitions of the word: moving scared.
I moved from shyly tiptoeing and just looking for this guy around church, watching him really worship from across the aisle, to making small talk with him. Then we went to talking about food and worship music, Haiti and our mission partners down there since he’d been there before, and how he dressed up like Yukon Cornelius from the old Rudolph cartoon for a Halloween party once.
Then I took another step and texted him about anything I could think of to try and make conversation with him, and I was consistently shocked when he replied. I got scared as our friendship grew and my crush only deepened.
But I kept moving scared. One step at a time. Asking friends to hold me accountable about being content in friendship, and for them to pray for my twitterpated heart. To wait on God, and not try and force things with this guy.
This guy who sought to love and know God increasingly more. A guy that served our church well and had this way of making me think that challenged me in the best way.
I kept moving scared into our friendship, and into a new job at our church, right before our trip to Haiti. My fear of rejection was palpable in my anxiety around Jeff some days, and I’d pray safe prayers of surrender along the lines of: “God please take away these feelings. I do not want to lose him as a friend.”
What I didn’t voice until the last day in Haiti when we were boarding our plane, was what I confided to a new friend under my breath when Jeff was yards away: “No guy like that would ever go for someone like me.”
Moving scared in love began three weeks after returning from that life-altering trip to Haiti where God did so much revealing and refining work on my fears. After a spontaneous four-hour taco lunch after church, the next day’s mission trip team dinner—Jeff asked me on a date. And I didn’t want to even dare think it was a date. But it was—because he liked me, which I found out after dinner, and a legit five miles walked around a local mall, just talking.
My word for that year was Fearless, and the verses that God wove into every day of that year were 1 John 4:18-19:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.”
That year I didn’t fall in love, but moved scared into love with a man whose name means heavenly peace, which is the result of waiting and trusting God with my love story. God was the one to give me courage to love—and He will give you the same if you ask. It takes faith, and we have not because we ask not. My challenge to you is to ask God to open up your heart and mind to experience and know His love that will cast out your fears, build your faith, and move you towards courage in who He says He is. A God of love.
More about Meghan DeWalt– She is an author and medical office assistant who is passionate about theology, discipleship, and encouraging others to know and love God more. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Jeff, where they enjoy cooking, adventuring together, and serving the Church.
You can keep up with Meghan on Instagram, Facebook, and her website: www.meghandewalt.com. Sign up for her weekly newsletter Remembrance Reminders or check out her weekly reflective podcast, Remembrance & Redemption.
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