My History of “Different”

Ever since I was little I wanted to be different. It always bugged me when people did the same thing, or had the same opinion, or wore the same style clothing. I never understood why people wanted to be just like other people. 

My parents always nurtured the idea of me not wanting to follow trends and began teaching me at a young age how to be independent. My dad and my grandfather both had their own businesses. They never had to do things because a boss told them to. For years I watched how my momma and daddy were able to make decisions through thorough prayer and discussion. I learned that sometimes even the hardest decisions can be a blessing just because you have the freedom to make them as you see fit.

My first passion in life was horses. Even though I was young in my relationship with Christ, I knew without a doubt that the Lord almighty had laid that passion on my heart. My parents taught me how to work for it. I started out wanting their help with everything, asking them to make calls every night on various horse sale adds, and wanting them to take me anywhere I could get more experience. Usually they were happy to accommodate, but I remember the day daddy told me I could be making those calls myself. He gave me a yellow legal pad and a headset for the phone. He had a lot more confidence in me than I did at the time, but I trusted his judgement.

I learned quickly that the game of making calls to people selling horses was for them not to realize that I was 9… that’s where I would usually lose them. I was all business though. That is where I believe it all started with me doing things in life younger than normal. I absolutely loved the feeling. I was starting to feel like my dad and my grandpa – independent in pursuing my passion.

As I grew, so did my relationship with Christ. I learned to call Him my friend as He began walking and talking with me daily. I was never “alone” in middle school or high school as many often feel they are because I had already learned to lean on Him for comfort and acceptance. Not everyone thought I was cool for it, but I would just tell myself I was different, that’s how I wanted to be, that’s who God wants me to be, and that’s ok. By His grace alone He became my sifter that I put potential friends and relationships through to determine who to invest my time in the most.

I made many friends that I still love so much, but in freshman year I met Isaac. God just kind of threw him into my life in one big explosion of Isaacness. What I mean but that is, I went from never having laid eyes on him before to seeing him almost every day between church and school. We were pretty fast friends I guess. I had never met anyone before who I could talk to freely and have everything make total sense to them. We had a lot in common… I didn’t really know what to do with that. We both still had a lot of growing in ourselves and in our relationships with Christ to do. There was always something special about his heart to me though.

One of the biggest things God was teaching me then was how to listen to Him. When you’re a teenager you’re always wondering what your future holds. He knew exactly what He wanted me to do, but I still had a lot of childlike fear and stubbornness to get over. I’ve always had a hard time with decisions, but as bigger decisions started to come up in my life God began to give me peace about them. I had never known that kind of peace before. I know it was hard for my parents seeing me grow up so quickly and move into making big decisions by myself, but I hope that they could see God’s peace in all of it. They had raised me to always pray any situation out seeking God’s will. Now He was slowly but surely showing it to me in vibrant detail.

The year I graduated high school was the year I really learned about faith. My life was getting progressively busier and I was so ready to just run with it. It’s never that simple though, and thank God it’s not. After a lot of back and forth between me and God, I faced the fear that I knew was coming. He moved my heart back to Isaac. I was terrified, I was excited, I was unsure of the timing, but God’s call this time was one of the clearest and simplest I’ve heard. We had our first date in June, made it official in July, and it was my delight to learn that he was as different as I was. He had dreams and passions too that God was constantly teaching him more about. Nothing was terrifying anymore, God’s plan was all starting to make sense.

It was a dynamic duo kind of thing. We were just better together. We realized quickly through studying God together that He had so much He wanted to teach us both. I knew we were where God wanted us because my relationship with Christ had never been stronger. We actually started praying for hard times too because we learned that they made us stronger in Christ… He gave us plenty of them.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 – “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”

Crazy faith kind of became our motto. God would put these big ideas on our hearts and basically just say “Go”. Try explaining to your parents that God wants you and your boyfriend to move to an island. It doesn’t make sense. Especially not when you’re 18. We wanted so badly to practice that crazy faith He was calling us to though, so we put ourselves in an open position for Him to work. That was literally it. God did everything else. He worked out the horses, the jobs, two separate places to live, and a church family like you wouldn’t believe. It was so obvious that He wanted us there that no one could doubt it. He wanted us to be different… and thank God my parents supported it. Both of ours did!

James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Fast forward a year and a half and we’ve been through more trials than I can count. However, things that would usually stress us out God has taught us how to just have more faith in. The money hasn’t always been there, yet it’s never been an issue. We both learned to give it to God and He’s blessed us in it. We haven’t always pleased everyone either. That one is particularly hard for me because I care deeply about people’s feelings. I have learned though how much sweeter it is when you worry solely about God’s opinion and stop worrying about offending everyone else. His way will always be the right way. (That’s not relevant to current events at all is it?)

Luke 9:23 – “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’ 

Our life seems to move on a different time table than our friends. I’ve already moved multiple times and plan on doing it a few more. I love being back in Virginia with my family. They’re funny and smart and fun to be around and I love them like crazy. I know God is already tugging on Isaac and I’s hearts though for what He wants to do with us next. I know a lot of people would rather us stay here longer, save more money, have steadier jobs and not be so busy all the time. I hope this doesn’t sound mean, but there’s something so comforting in knowing that it’s not up to those people. It’s not up to me. It’s not up to Isaac. My life is the Lord’s and I aspire to go, move , stay, do, be, live and decide in accordance to His will.

I like different, and I think God likes it too.

riley1

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