If you’re reading this. You’re probably thinking IS SHE FOR REAL?
Well, yes….and I’m going to explain……
As I wrote in my previous blog, January was the straw that broke the camels back for me in Florida. I have been miserable there for years and finally it culminated to the point where I knew I had to leave to save my life.
I truly felt the strongest, gut feeling I’ve ever had that GOD was leading me back to North Carolina. So on January 17, 2020 I boarded an Allegiant flight back home. Little did I know it would lead me to something I couldn’t have ever even dreamed of.
In GOD’s amazing timing, my brother and sister in law (who truck drive) were scheduled to be in King, NC the same week I was.
I was really in a bad mental place with defeat and depression. I’m not going to lie, I was jaded…I hated men because of what the ones I’d dated had done. I was not in a great mindset.
Watching my little brother and his wife sweetened my bitter spirit. I saw how my once little, immature brother became a provider and a protector not only to my sister in law, but to me as well. I saw how his marriage positively affected him and made him a better person. I saw how Rachael and Joshua cared for one another and helped each other.
Josh and I had many conversations that week. But one in particular changed my life forever. He told me he was praying for GOD to send me a husband. I immediately scoffed at the idea and went into my usual rant of how I didn’t need a man and was fine by myself.
“Sis, it’s such an amazing thing when you find someone who was made for you. It makes life so much easier. You deserve that and as much as you say you don’t want it, I am praying GOD sends someone to you.” He told me.
“Good men don’t exist Josh. Men are trash. No one wants to protect and provide anymore. I’m fine by myself.” I told him.
His conversation stuck in my mind and watching he and Rachael interact that whole week really got me thinking. For the first time in my life, I began praying for a godly husband. I prayed the LORD would send me His match for me. I prayed he would let me leave Florida. I prayed He would open the doors He wanted me to walk through.
It came time for Joshua and Rachael to get back on the road. I’d never tell them this, but I cried when they left. I needed their presence so much after the trauma and decided I wasn’t quite ready to go back to Florida.
My godmother invited me to stay with her. I left King and headed to Enochville to stay with her.
During this time, I was completely off social media. As a writer, I tend to be dramatic and sometimes I’m a little to verbal online so I decided to back away for a bit.
I decided it would be a good idea for me to start over. I stared a new instagram account. My new instagram was going to be dedicated to advocacy on Addison’s disease. And that’s where the story gets interesting……
When I checked it, I noticed I had a follower I recognized. It was the first guy I ever dated in Bible college (Pensacola Christian College).
I met this guy in Florida ten years ago my freshman year of college. He was originally from Virginia and I, of course lived in NC.
When we were young, we had the same history class and used to study together. We always liked each other but he didn’t return to school the second semester. We kept in touch here and there when we both left PCC. He even visited the church my dad pastored at one time. But life happened and I moved to Florida and we lost contact.
I hadn’t seen or spoken to this guy in years….and me…..being me….immediately messaged him and was like HEEYYYYY is that you?
We started messaging on instagram and talked the whole day.
“You still in Virginia?”
“Naw.” He said. “I moved to a small town in NC.”
“Oh really, where at?”
“King.” He replied.
“Wow, I was JUST THERE….”
We agreed to hangout on his next day off. He drove all the way from King to Enochville (which was an hour and a half) to meet me.
Like I said, I was pretty jaded by men at this point so I was extremely hesitant to even meet with him. I had always liked him in college but was anxious to see him. I knew I looked completely different than I did at 18. I wondered if he would be disgusted by the effects Addison’s disease has had on me. Would he expect the same healthy 18 year old girl he once knew?
But something inside me convinced me that this was a good idea anyway. I may not be the pretty, healthy 18 year old I was…..but I was a strong, stubborn woman with a lot to still offer. Plus, I was excited to catch up with someone who I knew so many years ago.
He came to pick me up at my godmother’s house and I specifically asked her husband, Mack to meet this man. I, apparently, am a terrible judge of character and I was tired of being around awful men. I decided I would have any male interaction screened by people who were good judges of character.
When he opened the door, I saw the same brown eyes I used to see while we studied at school, but I also saw how he’d evolved into a grown man. He was dressed nicely with a gun strapped to his side. I watched him talk with my godparents and saw how much he’d matured.
Then we went to lunch to catch up. I was extremely nervous the whole time. Our electricity we had in college was still apparent. I laughed and enjoyed our conversations, but kept my guard up, But our connection was immediately apparent. We talked like we hadn’t been separated for ten years.
I decided to test him to see how he would treat me. I asked him to take me to my Aunt’s house to see my grandma…If a man will do that….He’s into you…….
And he did.
When we got there, I introduced him as my friend and just visited with my family. My grandmother, God bless her…..told him I was the ONLY granddaughter she had that wasn’t married and also that I was “barren.” Great first impressions after being apart for so long……not…….
My toddler cousins Emma and Cayson were there too and he played with them. Cayson took to him immediately. So much to the point he followed him into the bathroom. He laughed it off and continued to play with him.
After we visited grandma, we went to a local park to sit and talk. We talked about the last ten years of our lives and the time seemed to just fly by.
I had a dinner planned with some of the Dixons that night, so I invited him to join. We all went to a local BBQ place and just hung out. We had a good time swapping stories and visiting.
That whole day seemed like we’d never even been separated at all. We talked just like old friends and seeing him be so good with my family amazed me.
When he drove me back to my godmother’s house at the end of the night, he told me he considered me the “one that got away” and wanted us to see each other again.
Now, mind you, I was in a mindset that men were absolute trash at this point. But my brother’s example and conversation we had resounded in my mind. I had watched this man’s actions all day and decided I should consider seeing him again.
But, I didn’t tell him that. In my snarky, Winslow way….. I was like
“Dude, why now? After ten years you just expect me to immediately come back into your life?” I explained to him how this year I promised myself I’d watch actions and not hear words.
“Let me show you with my actions then.” He told me. “Let me see you again?”
I didn’t answer him and sent him on his way. He left back for King and I had a lot to think about that night. I planned to go to the other side of the state the next day with someone from my past. I laid there that night thinking of everything that had happened that day and about my memories with this man in the past.
I made the decision to stay in Winston Salem so I could see him again. I would be guarded and see if this man could really be a good one.
I agreed to let him take me to dinner on his next day off. I grilled him with every question I could think of. I showed him the scars from my disease, told him about all the trauma and fully expected him to walk away. But he didn’t.
My time in NC was growing short and I told him I had responsibilities I had to get back to in Florida. I had explained to him how much I hated Florida and how hard it has been. I told him how I hadn’t felt at home in years and how I was determined that in 2020 I would go home again.
“I’m not exactly sure where home is or even what home is, but I’m going to find it.” I tearfully explained.
“I want to give you that home. I want you to feel safe, provided for and protected.” He responded.
And in a booth at ihop in Winston Salem we decided to get married.
Introducing the engagement of John Paul Jackson and Winslow Elizabeth Dixon.
All I’ve been through….all the loss….all the trauma….all the struggle has led me to this moment in my life.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
I knew GOD would open the doors He wanted me to walk through! PRAISE be to GOD, Great things He Hath done!
Sometimes, the darkness can show you the light.
GOD IS FAITHFUL ya’ll! Don’t give up.