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Dec 04 2015

STARTING OVER

I think this officially counts as starting over. It has been five months and seven days since my last post. That’s a bit embarrassing to this blogger; I’m not gonna lie. However, we do sometimes have to start over, don’t we? In fact, starting over is why I’ve been absent in the first place.

I managed to get everybody all stirred up with my last post–and I’ll come back to that topic, promise–but less than a week after publishing that article, my boyfriend proposed. Again. (More on that in a minute.) We decided to get married on September 5 which gave me sixty-two days to pull together a wedding. Since then, I’ve focused on us. The new us. My little family unit and our church. So, I do hope you understand my absence, and I’d like to share with you what God’s been up to in this journey of starting over.

First of all, yes, he had to propose twice (a year apart). Dave and I went to college together a lifetime ago. We were friends but nothing more. Fast forward twenty years, and we reconnected on Facebook, starting over with a new, casual friendship which eventually–somehow–led to talking all the live-long-day. I was already a single mom by this time, and he had never married. Neither of us had any idea we were headed toward more than phone conversations. I mean, it’s not like we could date or anything. Kind of hard to do that with more than 1,000 miles between you.

More than a THOUSAND.

Two and a half months later, however, there was a plane ticket which led to another and then another. After a few months, I decided to let Dave and my little man meet each other around Christmastime, and they were two peas in a pod. It really could not have gone any better. As a matter of fact, it was almost too perfect; it kind of freaked me out a little (because if something seems too good to be true… well, you know).

We had developed a routine of every-other-month weekend visits that included a plane ticket, a hotel room for him, and trying to fit in date-time for us and hang-out time with Z… all in just a day and a half so he could get back to work on Monday. It was both insane and expensive.

Living so far away from each other was good for one thing, though. We knew each other profoundly well since all we could do, for the most part, was spend hours and hours on the phone talking. Eventually, starting over with our friendship led to so much more, and on July 4, 2014, after the city fireworks, Dave requested Z’s permission to propose. It was adorable. Z was five at the time and couldn’t contain his excitement. I said yes.

Then in September, just a few weeks later, I said no.

It’s far too complex for a full explanation, but I wasn’t ready. Starting over is hard. Marriage is forever, and I had blown that once already. Plus, I have an amazing kid, and this had to be right for all three of us. Even though my son had no objections whatsoever, he only sees right now. What if something goes wrong down the road? What if I’m not making the right decision? What if? What if? What if?

I decided that if I was still having doubts after we’d been together for over a year, then it must not be right, so I didn’t just hit the pause button in September. I hit eject. I ended it completely.

For a couple of days.

I know, but I missed him like crazy! Yes, this has psycho chick written all over it. Why in the WORLD didn’t he run? He probably should have, but instead, he just listened. He heard my anxieties and gave me space and time to work through them. Eventually, when I was ready, that Midwestern boy MOVED TO ALABAMA and got an apartment so he could pick me up for dinner or go to Walmart or whatever. Like normal people do. He was prepared to rent and wait until I was completely comfortable with either forever or never. It turns out regular time and routine together was what I needed to get comfortable with starting over, and I chose forever. So, after having Z give him the green light, Dave proposed. Again.

On July 4th. Again.

1st Engagement

1st Engagement

2nd Engagement

2nd Engagement

So why am I telling you all this?

When Dave and I first reconnected and started getting to know each other again via hours of telephone conversations, we weren’t those same kids who knew each other in college. A lot of life had happened. I was working through seven levels of crap and felt further from the Lord than I had ever imagined possible. As he listened, Dave didn’t try to fix me or point out any of the spots that needed work… except one. He wanted me to see myself the way he sees me, the way the Lord sees me. He reminded me of Scriptures without being all churchy about it. He sent well-timed songs such as Margaret Becker’s “Just Come In” (made me cry like a baby). In short, he wanted me to rediscover grace.

The more I exposed the dark corners of my heart, the more Dave embraced me. He looked past those seven levels of crap to see me and love me at my core. (You’re starting to fall for him a little too, aren’t you?)

That love of his felt warm, safe, and familiar like a love I’d known before. It reminded me of my heavenly Father’s love that I had once accepted so easily (back before I had made so many mistakes). He slowly and gently led me back to the foot of the Cross where love is “too good to be true”. Where sins aren’t just forgiven; they’re forgotten. That’s when it hit me that he actually loves me like Christ loves the Church, and how could I not fall in love with that? It was worth starting over even if it did take me a while to come to grips with it.

Look how cute he is :)

Look how cute he is :)

Maybe this will give you a little glimpse into my heart and my family, but I hope it does something much more for some of you. Perhaps you understand what I meant when I said that I felt further from the Lord than I ever dreamed possible. You know that empty feeling in your gut, and even though you might know what the Bible says about how simple it is to come to the Lord, you haven’t found it to be so easy the second time around.

You can rediscover grace too. Starting over really isn’t as hard as we make it. Sometimes God uses a future spouse to help with it, but He can also use a random blog post that you decided to click. I promise, grace can be even sweeter when you’re starting over, and He hasn’t given up on you loving Him back (even if you’ve hit the eject button).

From the heart of Dixie Mama… always say grace.

If the theme of second chances speaks to your heart, you might like some of the following as well:
A Lesson on Forgiveness from a Bird Book and a Happy Meal
Even After I Did That?
Broken Crayons Still Color
It Could Never be the Same After What I Did
What if Plan B was Part of God’s Master Plan All Along?

2 comments

  1. Uncle Randy

    DEAR Dixie Mama,

    As usual you hit another one out of the park. Also, besides all of the things you said just right, and finally got it right . . . both sets of eyes were made for each other.

    Dave, welcome to the family. I know I don’t really have to say this, but you be good to my niece, ya hear?

    ” . . . Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” [Rev. 22:20 (b) KJV]
    > Uncle Randy
    Keith Clan Motto
    Veritas Vincit
    Truth Conquers

    1. Hayley Cranfield

      Thank you! And rest assured, he’s always good to me.

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