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My Epic Love Story Has Already Been Written

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Photos by Micaela Malmi Photography

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“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God with them.”

1 John 4:16

I’m a hopeful person. I believe in big things, and I have big dreams of my future. But I’ve got to be honest, I’m not always the best at trust or keeping my thoughts focused on the hope that I truly believe we all deserve to give ourselves. Funny thing is, I actually trust others very easily, sometimes too much. Probably a weakness and a strength of mine. BUT I struggle with trusting God. Which is crazy to me, as He is the very core of my soul and my life, and everything I believe and all of the joys in my life point straight back to all that He has done for me and in me. What is up with this struggle?

Well, I’m extremely human. It’s very easy and I guess I could call it impulsive of me to just reach for the things I want. I strongly desire to keep the control over everything in my life. I have clung to control in the past as if my life depended on it, but honestly, that has always ended up leaving me drowning in the pain of my own decisions. Trying to do things only “my way”.

I guess I should give myself a little credit here– I do and have made some awesome decisions for myself in the past and have quite a moral compass (I think), but the lesson I’m trying to share here is that I had reached a point where I was so convinced I needed to do things MY way. I was impatient, I was in need of control, and really I wasn’t trusting the greatest part of my soul, God, that still small voice.

After my last big breakup (a little over a year ago now), I realized I had been working so hard trying to navigate life, decisions, and choices all on my own and it had once again left me in deep heartbreak and pain. In that moment I vowed to myself that I didn’t want to do things my way anymore– no way Jose! From there on out, I only wanted to do things God’s way. This could sound like “no fun” or really hard, but honestly, this is much better for me. There is a lot of joy in each moment and so so so much hope choosing to cling to what He has for me! I mean, after all, my favorite verse is:

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your Heart.” Psalm 37:4

So I better live that out and follow through with my other two favorite verses,

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.” Psalm 37:5

and

 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

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Now here I am, trusting, like really trusting! And I’m waiting for what God has in store for me. Here’s the coolest thing… He knows my future, so no matter what, it will be so good! Because it will be His way- designed for me to live out the purpose of this life He has given me.

Sooo, I’ve spent a year praying and practicing all of this. It’s taken some discipline, major surrender, and maybe a few big tears here and there getting frustrated when I’ve been so sure the way things were going were exactly how they were supposed to be going. But then I would loosen up my grip- sometimes ever so slowly, scared to let go completely because I’m so humanly wired to my own free will. With this, I’ve watched things slip away and some things stay. This isn’t easy to watch things go, but I can rest in knowing that this is how it should be, because I’ve surrendered my control over whatever it is I might have normally chosen to fight to hang onto.

The big “a ha” here of “My epic love story has already been written…” came to me while running one day after returning home from my time in Paradise. (I do a lot of thinking and praying while running.) I was thinking about my recent decisions, feeling good about the decision I had made at the end, though it was hard, I knew that it was right, realistic, and most importantly, God’s way for me. But here I was again, SINGLE. Content, but single. I was praying something like,

“God, I’m frustrated- where is “he”? I’m doing great, doing my own thing and I’m content, but I am feeling a little discouraged. Where is that man that you have for me? I believe you designed and wired this heart of mine with these hopes and dreams that I have. But why haven’t I received these desires of my heart yet? I’m frustrated- and sometimes discouraged… Maybe even, dare I say it, worried.”

And then it was crazy, all of a sudden the most amazing peace came over me, and a thought— maybe it was a whisper to my soul,

“Don’t worry. My epic love story has already been written!”

Wow! Wow! Wow! Think about what this means! I started to cry and then I texted my mom, sister, and a few of my best girlfriends to share with them this big epiphany my heart was finally settled with!

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Since that moment I’ve had disappointments, some heartbreak, and some big moments where I’ve struggled with hanging on tightly to something I wanted so badly, but really all of that was just hurting me, holding me back from moments of joy. Moments where I could be holding onto that hope of what is to come. That love story ahead, and it will be epic! It is already written, and that is AMAZING!

So I here I am, clinging and trusting to what God has in store for my future. I hope that me sharing this has resonated with some of you and given you a restored hope for what is ahead and that you don’t have to worry, just trust, and be joyful in this peace! And for those of you that this may not resonate with in the way that I shared, there is one more component to our epic love stories for us all… the way God has loved us, and the gift of what He has done for us is our first epic love story that has been written and revealed! Celebrate that!

{Update: I now have an amazing man in my life that loves the Lord, pursues me, and loves me. I’m absolutely grateful to be experiencing this precious gift of this relationship, it was definitely worth waiting for, and only God could be so creative.}

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him, & He will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 

Epic Love STory

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Comments (29)

  • Rachel Ann Culbertson

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    Thank you for this Tenly! I often struggle with the thought of never finding “the one”, but I need to rest on God’s perfect plan for my life. Thank you for the encouragement! You are a true role model and blessing to my life!!

    Reply

  • Tracey-Jane Shelton

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    Tenley, I just wanted to encourage you. I watched you on Bachelor in Paradise; and saw you with Joshua and thought, “I don’t think he is right for Tenley.” So when you chose to let him go; knowing in your heart that he was not for you; I was happy.
    I spent all my adult life searching for the one for me; and he happened to be in the States (I am from South Africa). All those years I wondered why not him or him or what about him; and it took me being content (as you now are) to be ready for my husband. We got married when I was 33.
    God’s timing is always perfect. :) Keep waiting on Him and He will give you the desires of your heart.

    Reply

  • Taylor

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    I absolutely loved this blog! I am feeling the same way after a long time of feeling such heartbreak and wondering when my Mr Right will come into the picture. But I know and believe that God has the most perfect being for me waiting for me when the time is right for me. I used to always think “I’m ready for Mr Right so why isn’t he here yet?” I know now that God is still teaching me and helping me grow as a person so I am the best version of myself. Not until I am my best version will God allow me to cross paths with my Mr Right and I have to trust in Him daily with that thought . I know that I want to be the best version of myself when I meet Mr Right because our strengths as people and a couple will outweigh and hardship we may come across as a couple because we are the best versions of ourselves.

    I also loved the last Bible verse you posted, Proverbs 3:5-6. I have it written on a piece of paper hanging in my bathroom mirror so I can remind myself of it daily.

    Best wishes to you on finding your Mr Right when the time is right :)

    Reply

  • Samantha Scott

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    Tenley this is so beautiful and refreshing. I’m so glad you’re being bold in your faith and it gives an even greater understanding and respect for how you handled yourself and Joshua. I wish you the best of luck and am praying for your special guy to find you and sweep you off your feet :)

    Samantha

    Reply

  • Rachel Lovejoy

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    Love this tenley. Thanks for sharing and more thankful for this truth! I wrestle a lot with trust myself, and have to constantly have grace for the moments when I try to hold on to the things in my life.

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  • Lani

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    Hi Tenley! My name is Lani. I’m 23 and live in DC. So I watch the Bachelor on occasion and I’ve seen you on it a few times. As I was watching After Paradise today, I heard you say that faith is important to you. Sometimes people on TV talk about faith and the Lord, but you never know what their relationship truly looks like.

    I am so encouraged to see your blog and your heart for the Lord and your pursuit of Him! It’s beautiful that you are waiting and being patient because His timing is so dang perfect. Jesus never makes mistakes and he works for the good of those who are called according to his purpose.

    I also LOVE dancing and feel like we have similar personalities so I feel a sense of kindred spirits with you.

    Just wondering, how did you keep your relationship with the Lord steady and grounded on the show? Did you have any cool conversations with people on the show about Jesus? Just curious!

    I hope you feel encouraged and have a wonderful day!

    Lani

    Reply

  • Michelle Williams

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    That’s awesome, Tenley. You are definitely on the right path, His path. :)

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  • Cassandra

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    Beautiful words. You’re an inspiration, Tenley. God has given you a platform to reach individuals who may never know His grace. Keep being you. You will find your Prince Charming it’s all in God’s timing.

    Reply

  • Anna

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    Wow! Thanks for sharing, Tenley. What a great message for all of us.

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  • Stephanie Coombs Smith

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    Thank you for sharing your heart and God’s heart for you. I have been a fan ever since I recognized your last name on your first season, since I was at the school your mom worked at back then. Just a head’s up, there is a one letter slip in a very big font in this post, where I think it should read “story” “Don’t worry. My epic love store has already been written!”

    Reply

  • Jennifer Krieg Snider

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    This is so awesome! Thanks for sharing. I think I told you once on Twitter that your light shines so bright – you have a pure happiness and easy love about you and it makes me want to seek out God more in me. You display the fruits of the spirit and it is inspiring. Thank you for your honesty and boldness!

    Reply

  • Dj

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    Wow Tenley very well put, almost brought tears to my eyes to think of the struggles that good people go through, but we all must remain strong and keep the faith that the best in life is God’s favor and he will always keep us in the direction of his plans!!
    Amen sister,
    Dj

    Reply

  • carltown

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    Nice – and many of us have followed you on a big part of the story! God has something special for you. (Carl, Portland OR)

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  • sara i

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    Thank you! I needed to read that!

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  • SMO

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    Hi Tenley, Could you share what sort of thought exercise you were doing when trying to sort out your feeling on whether or not to continue with Joshua? It looked like you were writing words down on a page. I would love to see a post on this. Thank you!

    Reply

  • Kristin S

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    Yes, yes, yes! That’s what I wanted to say on Instagram when everyone was posting about Joshua. I also wanted to ask if he loved Jesus first. But that can come across as weird and too personal on crazy social media. Yes, your story (and mine as a 44 year old single girl would love to be married) is written and better than you could ever imagine!

    Reply

  • Cindy

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    Thank you for sharing this with us! I have been searching for the right next step for me professionally. I have experienced many disappointments in this process, but I know that’s plan for my life is perfect!

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  • Britney Davis

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    I pray that God will bless you and that many will come to know Him through your testimony. Thank you

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  • Shelby Potgeter

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    Tenley, this was very well written and I can see if came straight from the heart, thank you for sharing and for your willingness to be transparent!! I too am single, and have been for the last 5 years. I just recently listened to a podcast which spoke to single woman and highlighted the phrase “happily ever after”. Our “happily ever after” doesn’t start the day we find a husband and get married, it’s starts the day we begin a relationship with God. Our husband is just PART of the “happily ever after” (and yes a big part), but our “happily ever after” is with Jesus. Only He can fulfill our desire for true joy and happiness in life. Now do I desire for a husband someday, absolutely, but like you I have to chose to be patient and trust in God and his timing.

    Reply

  • Carrie

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    Tenley, your heart is so tender. I love that you stand for God and his love and grace. It’s so admirable that you keep your head up and continue to trust God with your life and His plans for you. Thank you for being a light among the darkness, especially in the media these days. Proverbs 3:5-6 has always been my life verse, as well as Lamentations 3:22-25. I would encourage you to look it up as well. God bless you!

    Reply

  • Steve Miller

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    Tenley! Solid words of wisdom well beyond your years! I knew you said you were a “Christian” which can mean anything these days. However, this recent blog of yours made me realize how well grounded you are in your faith in Jesus. Your words are so eloquent yet raw and real. You may have written this to share your heart and encourage other women, but you certainly got to my heart quickly. :) I completely resonate with you and I too share in a similar path as I sometimes struggle to have faith that God has that person for me. Your words that God has already written your future love story really encouraged me to continue to have faith in Him to bring someone, and to prepare even my own heart for her. My mom has a romantic and beautiful heart like yours. Her actions my entire life have been Christ centered and selfless. I tell her she’s the reason why I’m still single because she raised the bar so high being such a great mother and wife to my dad. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you and encourage you to continue what you’re doing. And by the way, Justina says hello. =) – Steve M.

    Reply

  • TenleyMolzahn

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    Yep! I do!

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  • Lynn Marie

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    Wow! Very powerfu! I don’t believe in coincidences & I really needed this today…I’m 39 & have been battling cancer for a year & 1/2. Though my faith is strong, I often struggle with completely surrendering to Gods plan for me. I have days where I’m like, Will I ever get married? I no longer can have kids of my own & I was always so sure that that would be a big part of my life. Something I’ve always wanted…Will I live to see my niece & nephews grow up? Will I ever get to go back to the job I so enjoy? Things like this. Then I sit & pray. I see & feel Gods presence every day, yet I understand exactly what you are saying. It’s SO hard to completely let go of our own goals & dreams & just trust in his plan. Thank you for sharing this. Your heart is beautiful. Continue spreading your light!

    Reply

  • Lauren Byrd

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    Thank you so much for sharing such a personal thought, Tenley! I am just recently out of a 5 year relationship and engagement. While it has been a rough few months, I am now clinging to that my epic love story has already been written as well. Thank you for sharing and I am so happy to know that you’ve found an amazing man!

    Reply

  • Amanda L

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    I have to say that I love reading your posts like this and I think it comes at a time when I am meant to read them and really listen to them. It is as if God has put me in alignment to read these posts. I understand and agree that it is hard to fully trust God and his plan.

    I currently ended a relationship that I believe was toxic for a while. We were together for about 3 years and this past year we were just dating. I knew that things were not going to change and have been learning to trust God that he has a plan for me and that things are going to be ok. Before I ended the relationship, I mentally removed myself from it and during this time I learned to trust myself and have learned to love myself. When I came to this realization I felt liberated. This was a long time coming for me. I am not necessarily happy on how long it took me to get to this point, but now that I am here I couldn’t be happier.

    I feel bad for the person that I hurt, but I know he caused me a great deal of heartbreak and pain for a while. It was something that I knew I couldn’t continue and I had to get out. Learning to lean on the Lord has been a challenge, but something that has been helping me get through this journey.

    Thank you for this post, I really needed it today.

    Reply

  • Lyn

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    Very beautiful and raw!! Very beautiful and raw! Since watching you on the bachelorette you on the bachelorette, I have been rooting for you. You were such a beautiful young lady and A kind soul! God knows what he wants from us, helps us find it find it! I wish you lots of love and happy days ahead!

    Reply

  • Kelli I.

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    I’m just really really happy for you. You’re not a tv personality ,you’re a sweet, genuine, child of God, and I have prayed for you that you would find love soon. I’m so glad you did, and the way you did it. From one child of God to another, I love you Tenley, and wish you the very best in life.

    Reply

  • Karen

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    Hey Tenley, I’m laying here in a ball of tears as I re-read your message. In my heart of hearts I agree and believe 100% that God is writing an epic love story for me. But, I can’t lie I’m worried I might grow old alone as I face a decision of possibly having to let go and walk away from a friendship I’ve been firmly holding onto and at the same time wishing it was more. It’s so humanly hard to trust in this blank future I cannot see when all I seem to be focused on is the pain of today. Anyway, I’ve been tossing all night and didn’t have anyone to talk to so sorry for dumping on your blog. I pray tomorrow is a better day.

    P.S. We met Oct last year in the Taiwan Airport. I was headed to Bali and you and your mom were on your way to the Philippines. I’m happy to hear your love story has evolved into the story of your dreams :)

    Best,
    Karen

    Reply

    • Tenley

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      Hey Karen! I’ve wondered about your journey. I’m sorry to hear your heart is in a tender place right now. I know days, weeks, months, and years can feel super discouraging, but I truly do believe that God has greater than we could ever imagine in stored for all of us. Sometimes it takes letting go of other things for us to get to that place where we can really see what He has before us. Wishing you the greatest and hope your heart starts thriving with a great hope! xo!

      Reply

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