Okay, guys. Here is one of my biggest secrets. #scandalous
Hashtag, not really.
I once loved a boy named Eric.
We went on walks, watched movies, held hands and told each other beautiful things about a future together.
Guys. It was real. It was wonderful.
Each night after being with him, I would come home and think about how I was the luckiest girl in the world. Then, after I came back down to reality, I would get on my knees and talk to my Heavenly Father. I would pray. Each night, I got the same reaffirming feeling that I was meant to serve a mission.
Yep. I met Eric a week before I turned in my mission papers. If ever there was bad timing, this was surely it.
But I was up front with him.
“I’m going,” I said.
“Go,” he said.
I told myself, “I’m not going to fall in love. I’ve already given my heart to God.”
But after about a month, I found that my heart could be in two places at once.
I submitted my papers the week we started dating.
And got distracted.
And waited some more.
While I was waiting, Eric was planning.
While he still encouraged me to pursue a mission, deep down, he felt that my lack of mission call was a sign from above that the stars had aligned and fortune had brought us together.
I, on the other hand, felt differently. I kept waiting for my call.
Two weeks passed. Eric was slowly becoming one of my favorite people.
Three weeks passed. I started to think what a life plus a forever would be like with him.
Four weeks passed. “I love you,” he said. “This is too quick,” my head said. But my heart fully reciprocated.
Five weeks passed. How could one heart be so torn with two incredible prospects?
Six weeks passed. Stay with me, he said.
Thursday had come and gone again for the sixth time. My mailbox was empty yet again. Tears. Lots of them. I called Eric. “It’s been a bad day,” I said. “Why?” he said. “Let’s meet,” I said.
I met him in the lobby of the Smith building on campus.
Eric immediately saw how upset I was.
“It didn’t come,” I said.
His face dropped.
Suddenly, things were different. I didn’t understand why. Then I learned.
A few nights later, Eric came over.
“What’s going on?” I asked. He had been distant for the past couple days.
“You’re really going, aren’t you?”
Yes. As much as I loved this man, I couldn’t deny that God had confirmed my decision to serve time and time again. Eric Anderson was not the man for me to marry.
So we cried. We said goodbye.
“I wanted to marry you,” he said.
“I wanted to marry you,” I said. But I knew I was right. I couldn’t look back.
And so I didn’t. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t fun. There were times I doubted my decision. I fasted. I prayed. God is patient. God is kind.
Seven weeks passed. My call finally came. Now my heart could find pasture in the Montana Billings Mission.
I was okay.
I came back.
I was happy.
I received blessing after blessing.
One of them was named Eric Whitlock.
God has a sense of humor. Sometimes he blesses us in ways we could never expect.
I’m once again dating a boy that I love named Eric. We go on walks, hold hands and tell each other beautiful things about the future. And together, we share a love for each other and for God.
Guys. It’s real. It’s wonderful.
Now, dear sisters, my story is not your story. Perhaps yours is that God had you prepare for a mission in order to prepare for marriage. Perhaps it is something else entirely. That’s for you to decide. But my story needed a mission in it to be complete.
But whatever your story is, trust that Christ is truly the “author and the finisher.” His design is for us to be happy.
And no matter what the path may take you, you will find your Eric. You will find your joy.