New beginnings in 2010! My mind was racing as I climbed the stairs to my bedroom the evening of January 1st. “Why was Matthew so insistent that I go look in my room!? Something is up!” I thought as I rounded the corner into my bedroom doorway. I stopped in my tracks. I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a couple beats too. “Could it be!? This isn’t from Matthew, I know that.” I scanned my bedroom to make sure there wasn’t anything else waiting for me. It looked safe so I cautiously proceeded toward the items awaiting me on my desk. My mind was working triple time. “Is this for real!? Is this really happening? Does this mean what I think it means!!? No, it can’t be. But what else could it be!? It must be. It HAS to be!! But how? No, it’s not possible.”
I just stood there, trying to sort it out in my mind. I reached down and touched the handmade quilt. “Who else could it be?” I ran my hand over the teddy bear’s soft fur and gave his arm a squeeze. “It’s him, I’m sure it is. I know this teddy bear. But what if I’m wrong?” My heart was pounding in my throat. I timidly reached for the scrolled up letter held in the paws of the soft brown teddy bear. My fingers were shaking too much, I couldn’t untie the purple ribbon that fastened the letter. “There’s no one else it could be!!!” my mind screamed as I yanked the purple ribbon off the end of the scroll. My eyes desperately scanned the words on the shaking paper for an answer. “IT IS HIM!!” This special teddy bear, JB (a.k.a. Jonnie Bear), had been sent to me as a messenger from a servant of Jesus Christ by the name of Jonathan M. Cox.
Jonathan was asking me to openly walk in the light with him in a relationship clearly headed toward marriage. I was overwhelmed with joy. Just one day prior I had admitted to my journal that I could not get Jonathan off my mind and heart. I couldn’t understand why the Lord wasn’t helping me view Jonathan as nothing more than a brother. Now I understood; God was preparing my heart. I was so happy! At long last I could freely and openly let my feelings for Jonathan be known. I didn’t have to hold them in and hide them anymore. God is so good!
Needless to say, I have accepted Jonathan’s invitation and am officially walking in the light with him in a relationship for the purpose of pursuing marriage. What a blessing to do things God’s way, with all purity, walking in the light. I would greatly appreciate your prayers for us as we seek God’s wisdom for our relationship.
So, who is Jonathan, how did I meet him, where did he come from, and what do I think I’m doing entering a relationship without getting your approval first? I met Jonathan Cox on August 10, 2009 when I went to the Clark County Fair to help out with the Soul Winning booth my church had there with Amazing Grace Mission. Jonathan was being trained in the fair ministry by the missionary, Rob Holm, who was heading up the booth. As we worked together at the fair, I quickly noticed that Jonathan wasn’t just any guy. He was a sincere, respectable, and honest young man, earnestly seeking to live a life pleasing to the Lord. He was passionate about sharing the gospel with lost souls and he wasn’t afraid to push me out of my comfort zone, challenging me to study and be a workman that needeth not to be ashamed (2 Tim 2:15).
Feeling that it is very important for a single girl to keep her focus on serving the Lord, I have always done my best to view every guy as a brother and nothing more. Whenever I would struggle with this, I would pray and ask for God’s help to view the guy as only a brother and God would graciously answer that prayer. During the next few days at the Clark County Fair, I started to get acquainted with Jonathan. I quickly discovered a shocking number of similarities. “Great,” I thought. “This one’s going to be tough to view as only a brother.” As usual, I took my struggle to the Lord and handed it over to him. I knew that God could bring a guy into my life and make it clear that he was the one for me to marry without any help from me; I would only mess things up.
At the end of the Clark County Fair, I realized how much I was going to miss helping out at the booth. What a blessing it was to be able to share the gospel with numerous people every day. And I had learned so much from both Rob and Jonathan. People had asked me numerous questions; every day I would go home and study my Bible to try to find answers. I was in the race, I was fighting the fight, and I was addicted to the ministry. I wasn’t ready for it to be over. Brother Holm interrupted my sad thoughts by saying, “It’d be great to have you at the California State Fair!” “How would I get there!?” I said. Then the thoughts started going through my head. “What a wild idea! Seriously? Why am I even considering this? I really want to go! Hmmmm.”
After much prayer, and talking it over with my parents and my pastor, I called Rob Holm and said, “I’m interested in going to help with the California State Fair.” One week later, my fiddle, my teddy bear, and I headed to California. I couldn’t believe Dad was letting me go. I couldn’t believe I was going. But it couldn’t have been clearer to me that God wanted me to go to California, I just didn’t know why. As I drove, I had A LOT of time for thinking. And I had a lot to think about. I realized that I would have been headed back to college right then if the Lord hadn’t made it clear to me that he didn’t want me to return to college. I didn’t know why he didn’t want me back at college, I just knew he didn’t. I also realized I wouldn’t be able to go to California like that if I had a regular job, something I’d considered looking into at the beginning of the summer. I had decided that I should keep my focus on what the Lord had already provided for me: my violin studio. Therefore, I was not tied down by a job and was able to just reschedule my student’s lessons.
I thought God had answered my prayer to help me view Jonathan as nothing more than a brother…until about a week into the California State Fair. The struggles were back, only they’d grown a lot while they were away. Oh dear! And I had an entire week to go! What was I going to do? I had to get victory! But it didn’t matter how much I prayed or tried…it wouldn’t leave me alone. I felt hopeless. After some conversations with a few different people, and having them pray for me, I once again thought the Lord was helping me view Jonathan as a brother. Thank the Lord! What a relief. My focus was back on the Lord and the work he had for me to do at the fair. I was able to interact with Jonathan as a brother for the rest of the time we had together in California, and it was a great blessing. Being a girl, it wasn’t safe for me to roam the fairgrounds alone so Jonathan would escort me to and from the booth each day. We did some other things together when we weren’t busy at the fair too. The fellowship was very refreshing and a much needed break from the work at the fair.
So I basically spent 3 weeks working with Jonathan. I got to know him pretty well during that time. After returning home, Jonathan and I were staying in touch as brother and sister. This was working out great for a while but the longer I was away from him, the more I realized that I missed him. He lives in Salem, OR, two hours South of my house. I had seen him 3 times since we got home from California. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. When I realized how I felt, I realized I couldn’t keep corresponding with Jonathan the way I had been. I seriously considered sending him an email, asking him to delete all the letters I’d ever sent him; telling him that I was no longer able to treat him as only a brother and, for the sake of guarding my heart, I needed to break contact with him. But the Lord would not give me peace about this.
Out of sheer frustration, I finally went to my journal to sort out my thoughts. That was December 31st, my last journal entry for 2009. I had never admitted to my journal that I was interested in Jonathan because I only wanted to write about one guy in my journal; the guy I would marry. But I desperately needed to sort out my thoughts, something I frequently use my journal for. In my journal, I stated that I thought it was important for a girl to treat every guy as a brother until the guy she’s supposed to marry goes to her dad to get his permission and blessing to win her heart. Little did I know the night before I wrote that, Jonathan had done just that!!!
I knew I wasn’t supposed to return to college at the University of Puget Sound, but I didn’t know why. I knew I was supposed to go to California to help with the California State Fair, but I didn’t know why. I knew I was supposed to focus on my violin studio, but I didn’t know why. I thought I should be able to view Jonathan as a brother, but I didn’t know why I couldn’t. I knew I wasn’t supposed to ask Jonathan to stop contacting me, but I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do because I knew something had to change. I’m so thankful that God is God and he has it all under control. He is the master orchestrator!
If you would like to read Jonathan’s perspective, visit his blog: Somebody New in Jonathan’s Life
Psalm 46:10a “Be still, and know that I [am] God…” – He is God!! He is in complete control and he knows exactly what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. And, if God wants something to happen, it will! What great peace there is in that truth.
Proverbs 4:26 “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.”
Proverbs 3:5 – 6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Oh that men would trust Him more!
Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”