Here is a story I've decided to put on here, except this is a bit different than most. You see, this is something happening to me right here and right now. I'm starting with what happened a month or so ago and then eventually it'll be me writing about what's happening in my life, as it happens. I hope this story ends romantically, and I know how I want it to end, but I don't know what God has planned for my life, so it should be interesting. If you want, come along for the ride. God's the only one who knows the outline for this story, so I can't promise a happily ever after, but I can promise true emotions, events, and a look into a normal girl's life struggling to live for the Creator.

All the events I've written are true, but I've changed the names of the people for their safety and the protection of one character's job.

Little did I know this would ever happen, even now I feel as if I can't be sure it's true. I want to believe it's true, and I want to trust that I might be able to have a happy ending similar to those in movies, but sometimes reality seems so distant from romantic dreams. I wonder if anything will ever turn out how I hope it will.

It all started in November, at that fateful mission trip. Little did I know how much it would change my life. I heard that people came back changed from the experience, and that was totally true. The mission trip was incredible, I loved using my Spanish and giving hope and love to kids who really needed it.

But, there was something else that changed my life, changed it drastically, even if I never want to admit it. Something that changed how I think, how I react to situations, even if I try to not let it. Something that changed me.

I should start from the beginning though. It all started a few weeks before the trip when my mom told me a true story she read.

There was a man who really wanted to get married. He was a Christian and dedicated to staying pure until marriage, and as he got into his twenties, he began looking for a wife. No one seemed right though, he kept getting older, and kept praying that God would let him meet the right woman. He got engaged to one woman, but God revealed that they were not meant to be together, so they called it off. Near his thirtieth birthday, he felt desperate, he began begging God to reveal to him his plan.

"God," he prayed, "I have an intense desire to be married and have a family, I feel as if this desire is from you, but if it is not, please help me overcome this desire and serve you with my life. But, if this desire is from you, please put a name in my head, the name of my future wife. Your will be done. Amen."

God answered him, with a whisper, the name of the girl who was to be his future wife. He stood shocked with his mouth in an o. He knew the girl all right.

She was thirteen years younger than him.

"And they sort of- kind of lived happily ever after," ended my mom. I thought the story was so sweet, how romantic that he would wait for so long for the woman who he was supposed to be with. Of course, my mom had to ruin that thought with her next comparison.

"You know, it'd be like you marrying Matt, he's 13 years older than you."

"Ewww, mom, seriously, don't even put that thought in my head, ick!" Matt was my youth pastor. He was 29 and I was 16, the thought of me marrying him was just so weird, he was a great guy, but much older.

So, after hearing that story, I left for my mission trip. We were driving, so it would take 2 days. We had a few buses and all piled into them. I was not very comfortable with the people in my group, so I was trying to get to know everyone. Once we switched around the people in all the vans, I was squished between Matt and Chris. Both of them were bigger (not fat, just tall) than I was and so I felt very tiny. My legs were pressed against both of theirs. I didn't even notice the fact that Chris's leg was touching mine, but I was all too aware of the fact with Matt.

We talked a bit, and I kept trying to ignore the fact that I could feel a slight tingle where Matt's leg touched mine. I kept trying to ignore the thought and focus on conversation. Eventually I was able to do that, until he did something nice or considerate and I would think about what a great husband he would make, at which point my mind would start screaming at itself wondering what the heck it was doing thinking these thoughts.

Finally, we got to Mexico and I figured once we started working all the thoughts would go away. I was so excited to meet the people and try to help those in the area. I got to do just that, I felt so sure of my purpose and where I lay with God, it was incredible. I felt used in such an obvious, clear way that I could not even express the feeling.

I got to help run a Vacation Bible School for kids in the neighborhood, they were incredible and fun and just wanted to be loved. Unfortunately, however, that did not help the thoughts. There was one girl who I was carrying on my back as I ran around. I would ask her "A dónde?" or "A quién?" and the girl would point to someone or somewhere and I would carry her to them.

Whenever we got to a person that she wanted to go to, she would reach out and tickle them, hoping they would tickle her back and chase us as I ran away. She pointed to Matt, so I ran over to him. When he felt her tickle his back, he turned around and laughed with her as he tried to tickle her. Our eyes connected, and once again I felt one of those weird thoughts pop in my head. 'He would be a great father, this is what we could do with one of our children.' I felt shocked at that thought, the earlier ones had been noticing his qualities that would be good as a husband or as a father, but it had never combined the two of us in a thought.

That night, we had a rerun of the day with our whole group. Matt talked briefly about his day and he referred to something I had told him that morning about breakfast and how he had thought about it the whole day, but he never mentioned my name.

Laying in bed after the lights were turned out, I started praying.

"Father, Daddy, Abba, I don't understand why I'm having these thoughts, I want this trip to be about you and spreading your love and hope. Please Lord, I don't want these thoughts distracting me from your purpose. I beg you Dad, please take them away from me."

I kept praying these words and praising God for the incredible day he had blessed me with. When I entered the phase between being awake and completely asleep (the phase where you know you're in bed, but you can't control your thoughts, they have a dream-like quality), I was walking down the aisle, in a beautiful white dress, I looked up and my eyes connected with Matt's. I felt this intense joy and hope and excitement upon seeing his face filled with such expectation and love as I walked toward him.

I woke up fully, shocked. I was a hopeless romantic, so I pictured my wedding all the time, but normally, I was looking from an outside perspective, looking at my dress, my hair, etc. But this time, I was the girl walking down the aisle, and I saw my future husband's face. I drifted off to sleep feeling extremely confused as to what God was doing.

The next morning, I did my devotions along with the rest of our group. I read the passage and then spent some time in prayer. I kept thinking back to my thought-dream from the night before. I had just prayed that God would take away those thoughts, and then I think about me marrying Matt? It did not make sense to me. Suddenly, the story my mom had told me returned, and at first I thought it must have just been the story that had put the ideas in my mind, but then I started wondering if perhaps God wanted me to know that story and be open to the idea. So, I decided we'd make a little deal.

"God, okay, I don't understand what you're doing here, and the fact that I'm saying this just seems so weird that it's hard to process. But, if you have the thoughts coming to my mind for a reason, then please let me know. I need a sign Lord."

I thought about what the sign could be, when suddenly, it came to me, I knew what the sign could be.

"Okay God, I don't want to test you or anything, cause I know that's wrong, but I also want to know your will and whether these thoughts are going to distract me, or whether they're there on purpose. So, if I'm supposed to mar…marr…marry Matt, let him say my name tonight in the meeting, and then talk for an extensive amount of time about me, not just to call on me or something."

I felt like that was what the sign was supposed to be, the night before Matt had never mentioned anyone's name, and even though he had referred to me, he never mentioned my name. Plus, I figured since he had somewhat talked about me the night before, he wouldn't that night.

I went about my day, trying to be normal, still having those thoughts, and feeling slightly curious as to what would happen that night. I was pretty sure he wouldn't talk about me, and then that would be God's sign to get rid of those thoughts, with his help of course.

That day at the Vacation Bible School, I got to lead. I was expecting to talk through the translator, but she turned to me and told me that she had heard me speak Spanish the day before, and she thought I could do it without her. I spoke to the kids, and read them a book, and felt so blessed by God to be able to use something that I had learned in school for such an incredible, eternal purpose. I almost forgot about my "deal" with God for that night. When the time came though, I was nervous.

We split into groups to talk about reflections from the day. I was put in Matt's group, but I knew that did not count because that was not "talking extensively" about me. Once we went back in the main group I thought to myself, 'well, that's it then, these thoughts are just weird, and I'm going to have to find a way to stop myself from thinking them.' Just then, Matt told us we were doing something different from the night before. Tonight we would be encouraging each other.

In Matt's words, "we have a licorice box that will be passed around. When you get encouraged you get to take a piece of licorice and then you pass the box to the person you are going to encourage. I'll start."

I watched as he looked around the room, my heart began to pound. Suddenly, it was as if I knew, as if God had whispered loudly in my ear that this was the moment to find out if we were meant to be together or not.

"I want to encourage Katie," my mouth dropped, he had picked me. My mind started whirling, what could this mean? How was I supposed to handle this? I shut my brain off and listened. "I think Katie is the best Spanish speaking student we have ever had on this trip. But, you know, I think the cool part is that she doesn't just speak because she knows she can, she speaks because she realizes that she can give people hope and life through her speech, she helps people, communicates with the kids, and loves them through her speech. Katie lights up when she works with the kids, and even though I knew you before, I've never been able to see you this animated and this alive. Your eyes shine with laughter as you play with the kids, so it's been incredible to watch that. So, I'm encouraging you."

"Thanks Matt," I struggled to keep my voice steady and keep my brain shut off. I went on to encourage a girl in our group and then I listened closely to all of the other encouragements, needing something to keep my mind off the revelation.

The girls returned to our cabin, and we were really hyper, we walked around, laughing a lot. I laughed with them, but I could sense the edge of hysteria in my laugh, knowing that there was that huge idea pressed into the back of my thoughts.

Sure enough, I fell into bed and started praying. I felt so close and yet so distant from God. I had felt him use me, I had felt him reveal something huge to me, and yet, as I struggled to comprehend it all, I couldn't feel him. Late into the night, I looked out the window and saw the brilliant stars all shining above me.

"You know about all those stars, don't you Father, you know how many there are and all the details about them. Just like you know me, and my future. It's incredible that you care for me so much. Help me trust you right now God, it's difficult knowing this and wanting more answers, but not having them. Let me trust that you have a plan for my life, a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, a plan to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)"

After getting about two hours of sleep, I got up at 6 to play volleyball with some of the kids. Near the end, Matt came out and watched us, and I felt my heart twitch. Even so, I knew I needed to be careful and not let this 'revelation' get in the way of our strictly professional relationship. I needed to act as if nothing had changed, and I needed to protect my heart. Another thing I knew… that would be a lot easier said than done.

Coming next… our long conversation and interaction that day…

Please review, I would love to hear people's advice if they have any for my situation. And also, if you wouldn't mind praying for me when you think about it, I'd greatly appreciate it!