There are blessings that we never anticipate we will have or need. Back in April of 1997 I met the love of my life. I didn’t know it then, but the special way God orchestrated our relationship back then would bring a beautiful treasure to my life now without him.
We casually met in ’97, but we didn’t see nor talk to each other for a full year. It was not until 1998 that Jonathan and I began dating. We had a few magical days together in my hometown of Xalapa, Mexico during the month of May, but soon our relationship became long distance. God was bringing us together not only from living in two different cities, but belonging to two different countries, and the practicalities of that settled in fast. We saw each other two other times before he traveled back to the US after a two year period living in Mexico. From that point on, and for the next 20 months, we enjoyed only a few in-person short periods, many hours on the phone and, praise God, a nice stack of written correspondence.
Those letters are a treasure today.
Jonathan’s physical presence left us four years ago today. Life has been hard. God has been gracious. I have felt infinitely lonely. I have lacked nothing. Time has frozen. The world has not stopped. All of it: grief, contentment, despair, joy. Pain is deep. God is with us. Our hope doesn’t disappoint.
And in the midst of it all, I have sweet letters.
I have ordinary letters telling the story of two young people trying to figure out what God has in store for their future. Experiencing strong feelings for each other, doing their best to encourage, to keeping things real, and to be honest about dreams and fears.
There is plenty silliness and “everydayness” mixed in. But the story these pages tell is not just a memory, and that is such a blessing today. A have a little testament of what God was doing over 20 years ago, and I can distinguish a clear theme; a loving God who was guiding us and keeping us, gently leading us to know Him more. In all of these years the theme has not changed.
October 6, 1998
“I know that my true identity is Christ and that if I seek after Him, I will not be dissapointed. Only He brings fulfillment, only through knowing Christ may we know our true identity. I just pray that by His grace He would remind me of that fact more often and that I would not stray from Him.”
He remained faithful. He is still faithful.
The awareness of today is painful. We will visit a grave knowing that we have a promise of eternal life. And we will continue walking.
And I will have the words of young Jonathan to remind me that Christ will always be my fulfillment, that my identity is safe in Him, and that I ought to diligently pray I would never stray from Him.