I was new to the group and didn't know anyone, and part of me felt like a fraud for even being there. I had left church several years ago and dated a string of non-Christians, and quite frankly, wasn't sure if I believed in God anymore. I wasn't ready for a church commitment but wanted to dip my toes in the faith again, and this is how I ended up in a room with a group of Christian women studying the Bible.
I know how to play good Christian. I even used to teach Bible Study myself. But I hadn't touched the Bible in years and wanted to remain low-key, for fear of being found out. Most of the women in the group were surprisingly shy, except for this one girl who was very vocal. I couldn't help staring at her. Whatever it was that she had, I used to have... and I wanted it again.
It took a few weeks before I had the courage to talk to her. We ended up taking the train home together, and I found it so easy to open up to her. I spoke to her about my time teaching in Japan, doing my postgraduate studies in Australia, breaking up with the ex and meeting Andrew.
To my surprise, she confessed to me that she had been crying at work that very morning, wondering where her life was headed. What I had shared about my life encouraged her greatly, and she knew that God was calling her to pursue her dreams like I did.
I was floored. Here I was hoping for her to share some wisdom with me, and yet God had used me, imperfect as I was, to encourage her! That moment marked a new beginning for me, and it gave me the courage I needed to get back on track with my faith.
Our friendship grew quickly over the next few months.
I remember talking to her about my long-distance relationship with Andrew and how I wasn't sure about our future. "Trish, you know, I have a feeling he is going to propose very soon," she said, despite never having met him. And Andrew did get down on one knee and asked me to marry him not long after we had that conversation.
In the meantime, she was applying to schools in the UK to do her masters. She spoke of her dreams of starting a fashion company in her hometown and giving back to the community. She worked hard on her portfolio and studied for the entrance exams. I couldn't be more proud when she told me she had been accepted into London College of Fashion.
We didn't know that we were both at the crossroads of our lives when we first met, and that God had plans for us that we would never imagine for ourselves. She is leaving for London in less than 2 weeks, and I for New York in a month's time. I'm so thankful that God has brought our paths together, and a new adventure awaits the both of us!