Do you ever wonder why things happen when they do?
Why do good things happen? Why do bad things happen?
Do you push against something so hard but lose control and it happens anyways? Do you ever stop and think, “Is this really God’s plan for my life”?
8 years ago today, I was still coming out of a very dark place. I trusted no one. I was not opening up my life to anyone for the fear of getting hurt. You see, I had built this wall around myself. I promised myself that I would NEVER let anyone hurt me again. These walls were safe. Only I could hurt myself.
I found myself lonely and in a dark place within these walls but I felt that this was better than being vulnerable.
This day 8 years ago was a pivotal day in my healing. Bryan and I were on a cruise…the K-LOVE cruise to be exact. This was a safe cruise with other Jesus followers. On this day I met a girl by the name of Jennifer King.
It was the first night of the cruise in the dining room on a boat full of thousands of people. My insecurities kicked in and fear paralyzed me. I wanted a table for two. I wanted a table for only myself and Bryan.
But God laughed. He had other plans.
As Bryan and I approached a table that seated four, two other couples approached the same table. Bryan politely gave up OUR table to them. I shared with Bryan that I was NOT going to sit with someone else. I didn’t want to talk to anyone.
I was scared….scared of total strangers. I was still dealing with a lot of emotions. I hated faking that all was “okay”.
As we walked around the dining room, Bryan found a table that seated eight. EIGHT! I did not want to sit with six other people. There was a family of three sitting on one side of the table. This family caught Bryan’s eye before we tried to grab the table for four. We sat across from this family who quickly changed our lives forever.
You see, it was all God’s plan from the beginning.
As the conversation started between Ryan and Bryan, there were so many incredible similarities. Bryan grew up 30 miles from Ryan and Jenn. We knew some of the same people. Ryan and Bryan even share the same birthday! It was this day that Bryan and I were blessed to meet the King family; Ryan, Jenn, and Annika.
I believe Jenn and I spoke two words to each during that evening…hi and bye. I was not going to allow this girl into my life.
If she only knew the real Shayla, I was terrified that she wouldn’t accept me.
The next three days on the cruise, we were inseparable. It was during these three days that small pieces of the wall around my heart began to come down. We were able to share our journey and learned of their journey.
God knew that these two families needed to collide in the middle of the ocean, thousands of miles away from their homes.
We left the cruise full of sadness because our time together had come to an end. We wondered if we would ever see them again. There was a friendship that was developed over the four short days together that when we left it was so difficult to say good-bye. But God’s plan didn’t stop there. Our friendship with the King family has grown into an amazing bond over the past 8 years. We have added children into our families and have watched our kids grow up together.
The common thread that we have with this family is Jesus. The King family is passionate about Him. We have pushed each other closer to Him during difficult times. We often call each asking for prayer. This family has changed our family so much over the past 8 years. It is an example of how Christ wants us to live in community together.
God knew that Bryan and I needed Ryan and Jenn in our life. This was His perfect plan.
We love you Ryan and Jenn King.
Today is a reminder that we should never overlook opportunities to open our hearts to others. Things do happen for a reason. God is in control and is orchestrating people to meet at exactly the time that is needed.
If you are living behind walls that you have built up, reach out to me. I want to help you. You can email me or contact me through Facebook. There is hope to live outside of these walls. I have been exactly where you are.
You are not alone,
Our first picture together...8 years ago.