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I can change him...

You know the saying, “can’t change a man” and that’s true, but there are times where you hold on to the thought that you just might be able to.   

We started as co-workers, ended up friends with all the laughing we did together then he asked me out on a date. How could I say no, it was like turning down the captain of the football team down, except Rick was not athletic. Actually he was cute, with olive complexion, curly black hair and probably measured about 5 feet 4 inches.  Now you know he was overly charming if a 5ft 7inch Latina was overlooking his height.  He just had a way about him, super charismatic and the life of any room. 

 At the time I met Ricky  I was teaching bible studies for the youth in my church and we were watching this video series called “The Truth Project”. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. But there was this part in the series where they interviewed people of many different faiths  or no faith at all  asking them questions about the universe, and purpose. It was really interesting and the kids asked if we could interview an Atheist? I knew a couple, but I also knew that the couple that I did know would be rude or condescending with the kids. So, came the quest to find an atheist suitable for the interview.

I was in the office discussing my quest with a co-worker who dropped a bomb on me that Ricky was an atheist. I was disappointed to say the least. Thank goodness we hadn't had our first date. And just then and there in that moment I looked down at my phone and I was getting a text from Ricky, “Hey, how are you? Thinking of you”.  I hate to chalk things up to signs but it sure felt like one.  I also knew how Ricky felt about me so I knew he wouldn’t be rude. So I invited him to our next youth bible study.

At this point I knew it was over between Ricky and I. You might say that’s unfair, but when you have kids you think differently than the average single person. I couldn’t be with an atheist. I am on so many levels about introducing people to Christ. How does it look that the believer, the bible study teacher the evangelist is dating an atheist? The entire purpose of dating is looking for a husband. If not that's wasted time and unnecessary heart ache I don't need. 

Ricky did show up and it was a night to remember. I was so proud of the kids in the group, how they tackled each question he posed. They were supposed to be interviewing him but somehow it ended in a debate. No one was disrespectful, there were moments where we had to just laugh and so did Ricky. It was so much fun the kids invited Ricky to watch the next video session with them.  I was surprised he accepted the invite. He stayed till the end and I prayed the entire time that God would plant a seed in his heart. And I thought He did because Ricky was into the video, when I say into, he was so absorbed that he didn’t even notice me staring at him. All the kids noticed and grinned but whispered to stay quiet and we waited for Ricky’s to notice the room of ten people all staring at him watch this video. We all giggled when he looked up in surprise and noticed all the probing eyes on him. 

At the close of the video Ricky stood up and said, “that was really interesting. When we go out, I have some questions”. Now..... we had not scheduled our date. The monkey wrench… no the BOMB of him being an atheist changed my mind. But how does one say no to that, what if God placed Ricky in my life to romance him back into God’s arms! What if I was the person who would lead him to Christ. What if I could convert him and it be genuine.  I was here as the romancing tool to be use to bring Ricky to salvation. (all these thoughts lasted maybe 2 seconds) Then I blurted out,  “Are you free this Saturday?” 

Date 1- Just perfect,  he took me out to eat at a fancy restaurant and we spoke about why he didn’t believe in God and why I did.

Date 2- Perfect again, another romantic restaurant under the stars by the water and we spoke about the purpose of life and why.

Date 3- I am invited to a cook out at his gorgeous house. We had the same job I really didn’t understand how he had this amazing house, but he was single with no children. I am sure that had something to do with it.

Date 4- Ricky surprised me at church and brought his mom with him. (Pause for dramatic effect here, that's huge)  I wasn’t expecting to meet his mom but she was anxious to meet me since her son wouldn’t stop talking about me and low and behold his mom was a believer so I was an answered prayer. I just might be right about God wanting to use me in the transformation of Ricky.

Valentine’s Day
Ricky and I are just having so much fun and I am really falling for him but our conversations have steered away from who God is to focusing on us, on what we wanted to do on our next date, on what we wanted to see, explore and of course kissing. Ricky was a gentleman, he never pushed on me. I could tell he wanted to but he wanted me to be completely sure, and we even discussed it. He was willing to wait.  He respected my values and beliefs.  So on this particular valentine’s day he gave me a gift that floored me. It was a really heavy box and when I opened it, it was a copy of the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary. I know that makes no sense to you but it meant everything to me.  Ricky learned about the Dictionary the first night of the youth bible study. It meant that he was really paying attention, he was really listening, and he researched it. It was Noah Webster's ministry, and if you read it you will see how politically correct we have become over time. And in this Dictionary they don't leave God out of it. It was a ministry.  It meant he was willing to support my ministry.

What went wrong?

He told me he loved me. He told me that he wanted to support me and everything that I did because it was important to me. He told me he believed in me, but he wasn’t convinced that there was a God. I felt like a case of crazies in that moment. Like I was dreaming about a God, and Ricky loved me so much he would play along with me as long as I stood by his side.
I was already divorced, I know what the heart leads to. I followed my heart the first time and love fades. I wanted what God intended for me and I knew a man who denied him wasn't it. That was hard to swallow. Things were good, I was happy, we never argued. But I knew better and I knew this wasn't what God wanted for me. 
Ricky thought I was worried about what others thought, and said, “I will tell people I believe, it’s not that big of a deal” But it was. I loved that he believed in me but I cannot meet that type of expectation. I needed him to believe in Him who would sustain us, that type of belief and hope in me was only setting me up to fail and he couldn't understand it. 
Every conversation dulled after until the phone calls stopped. Everything faded away, I don't even remember saying goodbye. He just disappeared. 

One of the most powerful lessons I learned was that its lonely waiting on God's promises. No one likes waiting, they all want to see you marry the person you have right now and if you don't something is wrong with you.  If too much time passes your labeled with names as picky, stubborn, shallow, you name it I have been called it. But I knew what God wanted for me, and I wanted it too, and I was willing to wait for it, even if it never happened. Its better to be single than soul tied to someone God didn't intend for you.

Second, only God can change someone. I walked away feeling like a failure from this relationship. I was on a mission to change him, instead it was changing me.
If this is you right now, here is my advice "That broken thing that you keep trying to put back together, is keeping  your life from that beautiful thing that's waiting to be built"

PS. I was still single a long time after Ricky, and I did troll his Facebook to see his wedding day that looked like a Pinterest fairy tale wedding. And I had the moment, "that could've been me" and I knew everyone was thinking it too.  I get it, its lonely and it sucks. But I promise every painful situation you walk away from is one step closer to God's promise and it will surpass your fantasies. The Pinterest perfect wedding will look ghetto compared to God's promises.


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