"It has been a wonderful 6 years, but it is over."
For a marriage-hungry, college graduate those words were devastating.
He was the one you KNEW you couldn't have. The one you KNEW wouldn’t make you happy but the one you desperately desired.
My identity had been wrapped up in him.
I had become a Christian in college but still was terrified to let God have any control over that piece of my life.
After all, what did God really know about romance anyway?
But, there I was in the upstairs of my college house, girls laughing below me and...
I was alone.
He told me to take my dog Bella-Bear and drive to my mom's. He would take our other Rottweiler, Big Dog.
It was that simple. I did as I was told.
“He said it was over." I said through tears.
"What?" My mom asked.
“Try calling him, this must be a misunderstanding," she said.
I thought you guys were getting engaged on your trip to Montana next week? I'm confused.
Ringing to voicemail, for the third time, my mom looked at me, resolute.
“Well, you can choose to fight for this relationship, for this man who is likely not your person...OR you can decide that you deserve better.
I want better but will I find better? I asked, I begged of my mother.
That heavy pain crushing my chest. The friendly reminder of heartbreak, that if I was being honest, I had felt over the last 6 years.
Handing me a Summit IPA, my mom looked into my bloodshot doe-eyes;
You know what I think Maggie? I think you rip off the Band-Aid and you move on.
The snow fell quietly that weekend.
Tucked into my mother's home on White Bear Lake.
The house that built me.
The lake cottage I was brought into as a newborn baby, wrapped in a pink blanket.
It was the home of bruised knees, slivers from our wooden dock, pontoon boat rides, Guinea Pigs, homework assignments, ivory piano keys, and drafty windows that always needed cleaning.
It was my safe place, my home.
The snow did not stop falling that weekend. As if God was safely keeping me in the arms of my mother.
By Sunday morning, most Churches had announced their closure.
Determined, I trekked down that snowy sidewalk, grabbing the shovel, all while thinking,
I will go to Church. I NEED to go to church.
Frustrated at the heavy snow, I looked up to see my mom rushing down the sidewalk, shovel in hand.
We slowly dredged out my vehicle, her mother-bear arms pushing me over the remaining snow as my truck fishtailed onward.
Looking in my rearview mirror I saw her smiling, waving me forward.
Knowing the church I had attended with my heartbreak was closed due to the snow, I ventured to the only other place I knew, Redeeming Love Church (RLC).
Through tear-stained eyes, I pulled onto the 494 onramp towards the church I had first encountered Jesus at more than a decade before.
Between exits, the song Divine Romance began to play. Hearing the quiet voice of Jesus whispering to my soul;
Allow me to Romance you sweet daughter. I Love you.
Climbing out of that black pickup truck, I walked through those warm doors. The heat steaming up my glasses.
Sitting in the back row quietly crying, I heard the pastor say;
The decisions you make in times of devastation WILL change your life forever. Make them wisely.
Quietly walking up that aisle for prayer, a motherly African woman grabbed me. Looking deep into my eyes she sweetly said,
My dear child you are Loved. You are Beautiful. God has BIG and glorious plans for you.
I left that morning with great resolve. He was NOT my person and God did indeed have someone better for me.
Thankfully, my story did not end there.
I would go on that trip to Montana after all. Taking the train with my sister. We would ski, we would dance, we would laugh, we would be merry.
I would finish up my graduate program. I would arrive bright-eyed to my first day as an auditor at PwC.
I would meet life-long friends, I would be taken on real dates that included ice skating and fancy dinners.
I would decide to go on the World Race.
I would travel the world. I would fall in love with a group of women who would ultimately become Sound Sisters.
I would hug prostitutes, drug addicts, orphaned babies, Buddhist monks, AIDs patients and lice-infected prisoners in Honduras.
I would find myself praying for my future husband in a sleepy Romanian cabin, a Mozambican hammock, a Swaziland orange-grove, a Serbian underground church, and a Tibetan monastery.
I would eventually meet that future-husband on a blind date.
I would listen, as one of my Sound Sisters exclaimed,
"You better buy those boots, they'll find you a HUSBAND one day!"
I would wear those brown tall boots out to dinner at the Kandahar snug bar in Montana.
I would be asked by a gorgeous, curly haired woman where I had purchased the boots.
I would be setup on a blind date with her cousin back in Minneapolis. I would meet him, not like him, be forced by my mother to go on a second date because he, "liked to ski after all..."
And after two dates I would realize:
- I was going to marry this man.
- And his name was actually Braden Orlin Rogness, pronounced BRAD with an N.
I would be taken swing dancing, skiing, brew-making, to Twins Games and ultimately BACK to Honduras but this time with my future-husband picking out the lice nits from my hair.
I would be romanced.
I would fall in love
I would say YES on a snowy ski hill behind the T-Bar.
We would dance in our ski boots by the Jesus statue on Chair 2, my sister taking pictures as the sun set over Flathead Lake.
My fiancé would swing me around Moguls in my ski socks, John Dunnigan playing our song, Wagon Wheel.
We would drink champagne with my family at Kandahar and dream of our future.
I would find myself in a white dress, walking down the aisle to my Person.
I would hear my Sound Sisters singing Divine Romance as I held my bouquet.
I would say my vows.
I would MEAN my vows.
We would dance our way back down that aisle, hand-in-hand.
And finally, I would find myself years later, a little white puppy at my feet, my three babies quietly slumbering after an Easter Egg hunt at our quaint Montana church, and me...
Quietly pouring my heart onto the page.
A heart filled with thanksgiving.
A heart feeling overwhelmed by the awesome love of Jesus, knowing full well that my Divine Romance is complete.
The fullness of Your grace is here with me
The richness of Your beauty's all I see
The brightness of Your glory has arrived
In Your presence God, I'm completely satisfied
For You I sing I dance
Rejoice in this divine romance
Lift my heart and my hands
To show my love, to show my love
A deep deep flood, an Ocean flows from You
Of deep deep love, yeah it's filling up the room
Your innocent blood, has washed my guilty life
In Your presence God I'm completely satisfied
Divine Romance Songwriter: Philip David Wickham