Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Chrisliss Story

"Well, didn't you just jump on out that boat, Peter. Congrats on the leap of faith!" 

Those were the exact words spoken in a Facebook comment by my friend, Shenora, after making it publicly known that Chris and I are going to get married. Those words have been ringing in my head ever since. They were a prophetic statement of confirmation and encouragement; as well as a foreshadowing of things to come. My heart was lifted and reassured to have such blessed words come out of the mouth of a godly woman. It cemented my confidence and strengthened my faith as I held tight to the image in my mind of walking on the water towards Jesus and His plan for my life (and all the lives involved).

In regards to the foreshadowing part, I knew that I would need to hold onto that courage and strength if I were to KEEP walking on the waters. We all know that Peter is often bold and full of faith, but that his tendency to be impulsive, second-guess, and worry were often his trouble spots. It's nothing I can fault him for, because I have the same tendencies. It hasn't been easy preparing to move and make a bunch of fresh new changes after finally getting settled down. I had bought a house, put a lot of time and money into fixing it up, and was very content in my new job and church home. I was perfectly happy with how things were going and was even at the point where I had become pretty indifferent to having a relationship. My promise to follow through on Gianna's request for a "new Daddy" wasn't forgotten, but my need for a man was no longer that high of a priority and I had become more patient and relaxed about when that part of the picture would be fulfilled. Therefore, that was obviously God's cue to surprise me and shake things up so I wouldn't get too comfortable lol!

So, here it is, peeps! This is for everyone who always loves to know a couple's "story" about how they met and all the "details" regarding the upcoming nuptials (though there isn't much to share regarding that part considering it's basically a private wedding). If nothing else, I hope and pray that all of you who have been so loving and supportive of the both of us will make sure to the read the part at the end about how you can pray for/support our upcoming marriage/blended family. Your prayers mean so much to us! Thank you!

Our Story

There was a moment in the infancy of our relationship where Chris stated: "It's so odd how we've followed similar but at the same time oddly different paths to arrive at the almost mirrored image of each other that we both are today." Indeed! Our life stories are very parallel to each other. We were raised in the Christian faith, grew up in blended families, and have always done our best to live the kind of lives that our faith has taught us to live. Yet, despite our best efforts, we both managed to find ourselves in marriages where those values weren't fully shared. We both tried our hardest to honor our commitments to our mates and to God. Unfortunately, sometimes, things still don't work out. Ultimately, in both of our cases, we were forced to make the painful decision to move on for the sake of our health, safety, and the well-being of ourselves and our children (those close to us know and understand the reasons why).

Chris started saying this early on so he was thrilled
to randomly find this picture one day
(which he immediately texted to my phone lol). 
Eventually, we both began to start over and move on. In that process, our paths finally crossed on Plenty of Fish (a free dating site). He was fresh to the dating game, but I had been on and off the site for a while. It had gotten to the point where I figured I had seen all the other "fish in the sea" and I was annoyed and tired of fishing. Not only did there seem to be no new fish, but there truly weren't any worth catching. I even had some that would message me and tell me that I was too good or too pretty for the site and that a nice girl like me wouldn't find the kind of guy I was looking for on a site like that. That's because my profile was very specific as to the kind of person I was looking for; faith and character were the top priorities. My best friend even told me that my standards were too high, but no matter what, I stuck to them. There was NO WAY I was going to compromise on those two things, but anything else was optional. I didn't have requirements as far as looks, income, ethnicity, etc. was concerned. All I cared about was the heart.

What nerd could
resist lol?
Imagine my surprise when I was using the "Meet Me" feature and a picture of a handsome guy popped up. "Do you want to meet him?" it asked. Before hitting "yes" or "no", I always check out the profile first because looks are secondary to substance. In my experience, it is very rare to find a guy who has both. Therefore, I was shocked to be proven wrong lol. I was amazed and refreshed to see almost a mirror image of my own profile as I began reading his lol! Every time I read something, it was just another new level of jaw dropping awesomeness and common ground as he showcased his heart, humor, interests, etc. Where had he been and why hadn't I seen him before now?! Oh well, at least I found him and I couldn't believe that I had probably just viewed the profile of the ideal guy for me! The best part was, the two things I always look at first (faith affiliation and kids) matched up with mine! So, I clicked "yes" to meeting him and promptly "favorited" him. Then, I waited to see how long it would take before he would contact me (call me old-fashioned, but I believe in finding out who the real men are and waiting for THEM to make the first move! The site does let you know when you've been viewed, faved, or if someone wants to meet you). Almost immediately, I got a message from him....and it made me laugh because he obviously had taken note of my picture in Jedi attire. He had said, "Hey, I saw that! Some sith in a jedi disguise trying to spy on me?? lol." I promptly responded with: "Sith?! Never!!! I would have used a Jedi hand wave to make you message me, but I see I didn't have to. ;) They only work on the weak minded anyways...so it would have been wasted on you. I LOVE your profile."

The pictures on the ends were our "main" photos when we met. :)

Long story short, the conversation continued via messages and then over the phone. We did a video call on Skype the same night and we have been inseparable ever since lol! Our lives for nearly six months (yeah, I know....but when you know, you KNOW!) have consisted of constant communication and connection via text/Facebook/Skype; and always looking forward to the weekends when we could finally get to see each other for a short time before resuming our daily work/life routines. This 75 minutes apart thing has been rather tiresome and taxing (but always worth it!).

We've also bonded easily and quickly with each other's family and friends and received their approval and blessings. We are so touched and amazed at how wonderful, loving, accepting, and encouraging everyone has been to us! The Vineyard Church has also been just as amazing and apparently, the family counselor had given Chris a prophetic word a few months before we had gotten together. He had said that God had showed him that there would be a lot of positive changes that would happen in the coming year and at a very rapid pace. Chris didn't know what that meant at the time, but it's definitely come to pass now lol!

The moments of affirmation just continue to come too! We have had our moments of doubt and struggle (particularly as we prepare for this upcoming transition and all that is on our "to do" list) but today's sermon was a big help to us. Kent was talking about the Lord's guidance and how it comes to us in many different forms. It comes through prayer and His Word, but also through godly counsel. Sometimes, we expect these big signs when all we need to do is line it up with God's Word and see if it fits with what's "in the book." Kent kept saying, "Well, it's in the book. Did you read the book?" Lol! He said that 9 times out of 10, the solution to our problem has been addressed "in the book." Want to know how to parent a child? It's in the book. Want to know how to treat people? It's in the book. Want to know how a marriage is supposed to function and look like? It's in the book.

He's right, it's "in the book" and if more people would pay attention to it, we would all function better! He pointed out that in his career as a pastor, he has seen so much pain (especially in regards to marriage and divorce) because people haven't heeded what's "in the book" or the godly counsel of others. He mentioned that so many "blew through stop signs" and failed to heed the warnings. All of this really hit home for Chris
and I (and I was wiping away tears) because we have experienced both situations. With our first marriages, we both ignored the "stop" signs and warnings from godly counsel. We went through so much unnecessary pain. Now, we have the reverse situation where everything is lining up with what's "in the book". Lots of good godly counsel is giving us prophetic words and tons of support, and yet we sometimes are LOOKING for the "stop" signs out of fear. I just couldn't help but cry because all of Kent's words were absolutely melting all that fear and reminding me WHY I jumped out of the boat. I need to keep walking on the water. God set this in motion and I don't have to keep looking for "stop" signs that don't exist this time just because I ignored the ones that DID exist last time. Everything is going to be alright!

How You Can Pray For/Support Us

We are so grateful for the prayers and support of our family and friends throughout our lives! We appreciate your prayers now as well because right now is a very high-stress time for us. I won't specify every little thing, but here is the gist of it:


  • Our houses; refinancing his and selling mine. The good news is, I've added a lot of value to my house and I'll come out ahead once I DO get it sold. The bad news is, we don't know when that will be. Pray that the right buyers (and nice new neighbors for my Dad's sake) will come along soon. Paying for two houses isn't doable for us. Also, the refinancing that needs done on his is another catch-22. He's also going to get some money out of it (which will go for my ring and some car repairs he desperately needs to get done before it conks out or something) but coming up with the initial funds to get a foundation inspection done has us in a bind; especially when he was initially told he wasn't going to have any upfront costs. I told Chris that I would marry him with or without a ring. There are a lot of "traditions" that just haven't happened the "traditional" way, but that's ok lol. We're old enough to know what's really important, so that's why we aren't hung up on rings or the wedding itself (it's going to be private and small; just us, our kids, best man/matron of honor, and parents. His step-father will be officiating us in their backyard; sweet, intimate, and non-expensive lol. We HOPE to have some kind of a reception for our close family/friends at a later date, but we don't know when or how that will be possible yet). 
  • My Job & the Kids' School: I'm sad about having to leave a job/people I love, to say the least. Pray that the right person will fill my shoes and that I will be able to find somewhere else to work and serve when the time comes. I'm working up until the wedding/move and then I'll be around to watch the kids so we don't have to worry about childcare for the rest of the summer. I hope to start a new job after we're settled and school starts again. That's another area too...getting all the school stuff figured out/transitioned for Casey and Gianna; especially Casey's special needs stuff. Good special help is rare and this is the part that concerns me a lot because I don't know how any other school could ever be as great as Casey's current one. 
  • Faith, Wisdom, Provision, and Patience: There is a never-ending list of transitions, adjustments, and changes for all of us. Address/name changes, packing up and moving (and figuring out how to get all that done) and just so many phone calls and changeovers to make, things to do, pay for, etc. My brain is overloaded and I have been beyond exhausted trying to stay on top of things! I just keep praying for the wisdom, endurance, and patience to get through it and that my faith will build up as I trust that God's timing is going to be perfect and He will find a way to provide for us all. He led us out of Egypt to go to the promised land. I won't complain in the desert. He'll provide and He'll get us where He plans for us to be! It may not go the way we think or look the way we thought it would look, but we can deal with whatever happens because He's got a plan! 
Grace and peace to you, my friends! Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to read this! We hope it's given you a glimpse into our journey and we thank all of you for your prayers and support! We also realize that there are some people that have (or will ask) about wedding gifts and such. Obviously, we have enough stuff accumulated between the two of us over the years so we aren't the typical wedding couple that needs "stuff". I am not one that likes to ask for/accept help, but since I am always one that likes to give it, I have to be humble enough to receive it too. So, if anyone DOES feel led to support us monetarily so we can take care of the avalanche of urgent financial needs that we have, you can Paypal it to chrislisscunning@gmail.com (or if you'd like to hire Chris for computer work or me for some furniture project work, we will gladly take on the jobs; or maybe you'd like to sign up as a Team Beachbody coach through me and/or make a purchase for yourself? :) It all helps!). No matter what, as long as we're all praying, things will happen! We'll keep our eyes fixed on the big picture God has for us; we're not getting back in the boat! :) Be infused! God bless you! 

2 comments:

  1. I'm very happy for you! You and your babies deserve to have a wonderful man in your lives. I'm gonna pray everything works out for you guys!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Michelle! I appreciate your support and prayers so much!! :)

      Delete