I never imagined I would be sitting down to write this story, but sometimes those are the best stories, aren’t they?
For years, I’ve been sharing my dating journey and stories very publicly through social media updates, blogs, and podcast episodes. From October 2019 to June 2020 specifically, I was very aware of signs, synchronicities, and where I felt I was being led when it came to the men I was meeting. In fact, much of my third book (still in the process of being written) is about much of my dating journey. I really believed Book Three would end with a partner. Many of you know it did not.
I headed off to Utah, fully expecting my life of nomadic travel to continue. You know the story— I was guided back to Phoenix to root down. At the same time I was making that transition, Jesus began knocking louder. When I returned to Phoenix, I started reading the Bible regularly as I circled around Phoenix, staying in different Airbnbs. I had no clue how much things would begin to change in my life, but God got to work pretty quickly.
At the end of September 2020, I scrolled through Facebook and came across a new friend’s post about taxes. Against any logic (I’m not one who gets intrigued by convos regarding taxes), I came across a comment from a man recommending a book. I commented, sent him a friend request (he was cute, single, and seemed like a nice guy), and he then sent me the first message.
When Brandon asked about my business, I ran down the list of things I do, and his response couldn’t have been any more fulfilling to my ego, “That’s not an entrepreneur, that’s a tycoon!” We sent a few more messages that night, probably both believing it would fizzle fairly quickly. He lived in the Midwest and I was rooting down in Phoenix. If anything, I figured we’d have a few flirty messages and eventually find partners in our own areas of the country.
Over the next month, the conversations continued on and off. He (not so) jokingly tried to get me to move back to the Midwest (which, being an Iowa girl, was going to be a lost cause. I’ve been craving the west for a long time and had no desire to go back to farmland). We moved from Facebook messenger to texting and when I gave him my number, I jokingly told him, “Write it down on a piece of paper, old school style. That way years down the road if this ends up being something, you’ll remember the night you got my phone number.”
He made me a video. First, the camera was on his face with the look of, “You’re so annoyingly cute, so I’m going to do this just for you.” The camera then turned around to face his pen and paper as I watched him write, “Potential life partner.” He crossed out “life” and subbed in “wife”, then wrote down my number. I immediately started laughing and thought to myself, “Never gonna happen, dude.” It wasn’t him. I had no desire to be a wife after having already been married for a couple years back in 2013. I wanted a lifelong partner, but I could take or leave the wife role.
We spent the next nearly two months just talking on and off as friends and not much more. I was entertaining relationships with other men, including the idea of rekindling a relationship with Morgan (the main relationship I wrote about in Radical Rebirth) if he ever entered back into my life. I also had a few conversations with Anton (again from Radical Rebirth) about coming to visit but even in one of our conversations, Anton said to me, “I think you’ll be meeting someone soon.”
I was on and off of dating apps, while also trying to rekindle things with men along the way until finally God boldly said, “Stop. Stop trying.” He had already told me my partner wasn’t on a dating app, but I had no interest in hearing that. I was continuously guided back to my Bible, while also reading The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and I remember very clearly having a deep realization of what God was asking of me. Against all logic and my normal desires, God was asking me to be open to getting married again one day. Not only did I want God first in my own life, but I wanted a partner who put God first in theirs. In addition, I was realizing God was guiding me to be with someone who would understand the importance of putting God first in our relationship.
All of a sudden, I had a craving for a man who would be a true leader in our relationship. I wanted a man who understood what it meant to truly honor me as a woman. I wanted a man who would pray not just for me but for our relationship. I knew, but wasn’t ready to accept yet, I wanted a Christian relationship. I didn’t even identify as a Christian, but I wanted a Christian man.
By January 2021, I was being strongly called by Jesus and was being asked to remove any spiritual paraphernalia from my home and to commit to a Christian path. I swapped out my crystal necklace for a silver cross and Brandon was one of the first people I messaged.
“Jesus and I have been getting quite close lately.”
“That’s good. What’s happening with it?”
I sent him a few voice messages to tell him and then sent him a picture of my cross necklace.
“I’m glad you’re getting closer with him!”
In one of our previous conversations, he shared with me his own struggles with Jesus, in which I jokingly stated, “Maybe my role is to help bring you back to the Bible.” I laughed at the absurdity of that statement and months later, I began to realize it could actually happen.
During my transition to Christianity, I began to feel naturally closer to him. He hadn’t experienced what I had on my own spiritual journey the last four years, but he was always a gentle, listening ear when I had my own revelations and reflections. He was someone I could share resources with that I was enjoying in my own life. Between Brandon and our mutual friend who is a pastor, I began to feel this small sense of protection surrounding me. Both began to check in on me to see how I was doing and I felt as though Jesus was saying to me, “You will never be alone. You will always be protected.”
As the turmoil within the country got more chaotic, the fear within me began to build. I was becoming extremely aware that it was just me— and my two cats. Although I had always felt safe and protected, I could feel that deep sense of, “I don’t want to do this alone anymore. I know I can, but I don’t want to.” The night before the inauguration, as helicopters began circling over my apartment and I began to fear the worst case scenario of a dystopian society or riots, I reached back out to Brandon and he reassured me, “Nothing is going to happen to you. If I ever believed you were actually in danger, I would be there.”
For months, I wondered to myself, “Am I supposed to be paying attention to this guy?” I noticed my resistance to commit to anything, really, in my life. In my faith journey it was, “Yeah, I’m checking out this Christianity thing,” and with Brandon it was, “You’re a nice guy and all, but I don’t really know if I want to see what’s there.” My fear of commitment was rearing its ugly head again. It’s not that I didn’t want to commit. I had been in plenty of committed relationships, but when I sat with it, I realized at the core of the fear was, “What if I lose myself? What if I lose who I am? What if I lose who I’ve been? What if my nomadic journey gets swept under the rug as if it never happened? What if all the magic I experienced as an intuitive nomad doesn’t exist within the life of a committed Christian?”
I sat with it and Jesus began to speak to me again, “Commit to me. It is only in being willing to commit to me that you will be able to commit to another man.” For years (my entire life, really) I showed up in relationships in the masculine role. I was the dominant leader who wanted to tell a man how to respond to and love me. What would it mean if I gave up that role? Who would I be if I fully embraced my feminine, allowing a man to support me, hold space for me, and lead me? As I continued to sit with those questions, I knew why I didn’t feel close to Brandon— I didn’t allow myself to.
I didn’t allow myself to actually like him. I didn’t allow myself to really show up with him. I always approached him, keeping him at arm’s length, making sure he knew I was stubborn as hell. I knew what I needed to do, and it terrified me. Be vulnerable. Let him know your fears and just see how he responds.
I don’t remember what I told him, but I remember dropping into my feminine and opening up my heart to him. I remember sharing my fears, afraid that he would just dismiss them and crack some joke (we both use humor a lot in our communication). He did the exact opposite. He heard me. He held space for me. He honored that there was nothing to fix within me. That was the beginning of understanding what a special man I had in my life for months without even knowing it.
For days, I doubted what I was feeling was real, so I asked Jesus to show me. When the FOMO (fear of missing out) popped up, I went into prayer, asking Jesus to show me very clearly the direction I was meant to go in. The more I prayed, the more Brandon showed up with the qualities I’ve always desired in a man. The more I expressed myself vulnerably, the more he listened and held space. The more we talked, the more we both realized that the futures we each had been envisioning for our individual lives for years aligned. There was no trying to figure out how to fit one person into the others’ vision for their life. Our visions and individual skills complemented each other perfectly. Neither of us are perfect, but we meet each other at the appropriate place for massive potential growth.
For nearly a week straight, I continued to ask Jesus to show me that I was actually supposed to explore this connection. I prayed for Brandon, not just in his own relationship with Jesus but prayed for him to go to Jesus for guidance on how to lead me. After a morning of miscommunication and frustration, wanting to go back to my masculine ways of, “Do this!” I chose to pause. I chose to drop back into my heart and speak from vulnerability once again.
Before I knew it, I was receiving a message, “I don’t know why, but I’m feeling called to pray right now.” I sat there, eyes wide open, listening in disbelief to this loving, compassionate man praying. He prayed words of thanksgiving, thanking God for bringing me into his life. He prayed for guidance and more specifically, “God, please show me how to be a leader for Anne.” A smile crept across my face. God was guiding him to do exactly what I had prayed for. I didn’t need to try to control anything because I knew I was connected to a man who would go to God for guidance not just within his own life, but within our relationship, as well.
Many will look at the beginning of our story from the outside in with all kinds of doubts, judgments, projections, and fears based off of their own lives. I look at our story and know there is so much I couldn’t possibly share in one small piece of writing. I know the hours of conversations we’ve had, the intimate and vulnerable details we’ve shared with one another, and most of all, our hearts. I know we did not come together impulsively out of a need or lack.
I know all the times we knew on paper there was no reason it made sense to pursue it and how God kept guiding us back to one another. I know when God said to me, “This may not be what you thought you wanted for your life, but it’s what you need.” I know above all else that as long as we continue to put God first in our own lives and within our relationship, we will always be guided.
I don’t know exactly what will come of all of this, but I have every reason to believe it’s the beginning of something beautiful.