You would think this is the part where we would ride off in the sunset and live happily ever after, but it did not go that way. Somehow, she still was not very interested in me and she drifted away, and we came to an agreement in counseling that I would continue waiting for her to decide if she was either going to start dating me again or move on forever. I also made it clear I would wait if she was not going to start talking to other guys. The moment she did I wanted her to tell me so I could move on and cut her out of my life. Yet she did not stick to her side of the agreement. One of my friends told me they saw her profile on a dating app, and I called her that night to ask her if it was true and she had confessed she had gone on two dates already. I told her I never wanted to talk to her again.
Some time passed, and I had gotten to a point in my grief counseling where I had moved past all the deep hurt and anger and had come to a point where I knew I needed to forgive her. I prayed about it and decided to write her a letter, and even went as far as offering reconciliation and trying again if things changed on her end and she wanted to do so. I gave the letter to the counselor to give to Taylor (who we were both still seeing separately) and waited to see what would happen.
Eventually, Taylor wrote a letter back and had it delivered to me through the counselor. This particular day (August 27, 2016), I had my seminary orientation (as I had just started on a long journey of getting a master of theology degree at Dallas Theological Seminary) in the morning and was seeing the counselor in the afternoon. At this point, six months had passed since I told her I never wanted to talk to her again. Aside from this letter, that is exactly how things went. In my counseling session, the counselor told me she had a letter from Taylor in response and wanted to give me some time alone to read it and then process it with her.
In the letter, Taylor was extremely grateful for my forgiveness, but she did not want to try to date again. I was heartbroken all over again. I had put myself out there time and again for probably two years at this point because I loved her and felt that God may have wanted us to be together. After her journey to faith, I thought that was the successful conclusion I was due. But not so.
I told one of my close friends (Jacob), who stuck with me through all this drama and knew most of what was going on, and we decided to hang out and meet up at a bar that afternoon. This was not something I was doing often at the time or would do now. The bar was not even one we had frequented in the past when I did drink either. But I knew I did not want to be alone and needed some more therapy. Albeit this was not the healthiest form of therapy, but I chose to drink away my sorrows and take comfort in companionship with Jacob.
After several beers in, unashamed of my tear laden eyes, Jacob was doing what he does best: making people feel good. We were talking and laughing, and I was trying to forget about everything. Eventually, we got on the subject of work, and it just so happened around this time there was a girl at work I was friends with who wanted to be more than friends. Although I was not interested, I was telling Jacob about this and showing him a confessional text message from her as proof. Just as Jacob was reading the message of her love confession aloud (with his best impression of her), we hear a familiar voice behind us greet us. Without even looking around, we were both stunned because we knew whose voice it was and could not believe the timing of this.
We turned around, and it was the one and only Taylor Ann Jones. Jacob nonchalantly turned the phone over, put it down on the bar, and tried to scoot it my way as if he were caught with the murder weapon. I was shocked. I could tell as soon as she saw my face, she knew I had been both crying and drinking, and at once regretted her decision to come to say hello. I of course had questions. Mind you we had not seen each other or spoken to each other in six months. I started with “What are you doing?” Followed by “Why?” Followed by several statements like “I got your letter from the counselor today.” and “I think you’re making a mistake.” One thing led to another and next thing you know we are catching up, and I’m trying to win her back.
After pushing through all the awkwardness, in which she voluntarily stayed for, the afternoon had turned into night and she was ready to go home. I offered to drive her home and she obliged. On the way home I was asking her questions such as “Don’t you think this is interesting that you just happened to be at the same bar and sat in just the right place to see me from inside, and you dared to come to say hello on the same day I started seminary and got your rejection letter?” She could not deny it. So of course, I suggested God must have had something to do with it, and He must be telling us something. She would not buy it. So, I asked her “What do you expect to happen? God to roll out a red carpet for you? What more could you ask for?”
Somewhere along the way, I missed a turn and we ended up at a park. I remember thinking “I’m probably going to fail at this attempt to win her back and this will be the end of it, so I may as well enjoy the time with her before I have to face reality in the morning.” So, I asked her if she wanted to get out and walk around and look at the stars. She said yes and we started walking towards an open field and I prayed silently to God “If we are supposed to get back together, please send her a shooting star.” When we got to the field, we both stood there and looked up at the sky. I did not see the shooting star that I prayed for, so I looked back down in defeat, and at that moment Taylor reacted to something. I forget what she said, but there was an audible reaction, and she started acting crazy like she could not believe what just happened. She started mumbling things aloud, marching all over the field, stopping to bend over hysterically, etc. My first thought was “She saw a shooting star”, but I did not want to jump to a crazy conclusion like that and tried to play it cool. I asked her things like “Are you ok? Are you feeling sick? Is it that time of the month?”
She would not tell me what happened, but I knew it was something big. I also knew she would not tell me if she was not ready. So, I let it go and we continued to walk around the park and talk. Our walk even included going around a softball field, which is where this all started. I eventually gave up on the night and trying to figure out what happened, but I was hopeful. We got back in the car and I drove her home. Then we parted ways.
The next day we both happened to go to the same church service, although she did not see me until afterward. When I approached her, she looked completely scared of me. I walked her to her car and she admitted she prayed for something the night before too. I assumed she prayed the same thing I did and that we needed to get back together. Although, she would not tell me what her prayer was even though I told her mine.
For the next month or so, she avoided me like the plague, but we would text. I finally got tired of waiting for her again and I asked her out on a date, and she said yes. After having a few drinks to calm her nerves, and a fun night, she opened up about what she prayed for – she asked God to send a shooting star if we were supposed to get married….and she saw a big one! Who does that?! She had just rejected me, and we had not talked for six months and she jumps to that.
She was not ready for what she asked for, but after a couple more years of continued prayer, counseling, and even dreams and signs of confirmation she was finally ready for me to propose. So naturally, I was not ready anymore by that time and I made her wait about six more months before I popped the question (on September 14, 2019, in a kayak on the lake), and then COVID-19 delayed us three more months.
As much as we wish things would have been easier from start to finish, we are grateful for what God did in the process. We put in a lot of hard work, we learned a lot, we grew a lot, Taylor came to a saving faith in Christ, I was inspired to leave the financial industry to pursue a seminary degree, and a career in ministry. None of this would have happened if it were not for God orchestrating things all the way through. Even though we may have delayed the process here and there (and then COVID delayed it more), we both learned to surrender our fears, control, and desires and saw God answer prayer after prayer to get us to where we are today. We are still learning, still growing, still praying and God is still moving.