Some would call my story a fairy tale. That’s how it looked on the outside.
I was 20 years old when I finally worked up the courage to end a very unhealthy relationship—one that I had known (for four years) was not where God wanted me. I remember the feeling of freedom I had when that relationship was truly over. I was in college and so excited about this new single life that awaited me. I couldn’t wait to see how God was going to use me, and what exotic places I would go with my job and/or ministry. I was even so bold as to tell God I wouldn’t date for years.
Not two months later, I took a job at our college gym. I had the lovely job of monitoring the rooms to make sure weights were being put back correctly (translation: I stared at the clock on the wall, watching the minutes tick by).
Work was boring until I met a guy named Matt. He and I got along great. The best part was that he wasn’t like any of the other college guys; he had no interest in flirting or asking me out. Matt and I would bump into each other all over that huge university, and we even discovered that we attended the same church. I began to think about Matt all the time, and I fought it so hard because I just knew the Lord was not going to bring me a relationship for several years. I was sure Matt had no interest in me because he would never be around me alone, even to ride in a car.
Fast-forward a few months. Matt came to me and said he needed to talk; God had told him I was the one, but he didn’t want to date me if it wasn’t going to lead to marriage. Matt also shared with me that he had been saved a few months before he met me. At that time, he had also made a commitment not to simply “date.” We were both very confused at God’s timing, but because it was so clear we were supposed to be married, we were engaged six months later and married another six months later.
This is the part of the story where I am supposed to tell you, “Just stop looking for Mr. Right, and he will fall right into your lap!” But that is not the moral of this story.
While on the outside it looked like I had it all—married at age 21 and pregnant with our first child just nine months later—things were falling apart on the inside. You see, I felt ripped off from my single life. I was even a little angry that God didn’t allow me to do all the fun things that single people get to experience. I went from living with roommates to living with a husband. There was no adventure. There was no making it on my own. In hindsight, I see what a big brat I was, but the fact remains that in that season, it was just how I felt.
I am sad to say that it took about four years into marriage for me to be happy with where God had me. I had friends all around me who were single and living the dream, and if God hadn’t gotten ahold of my mind and heart, I am scared to think where my marriage might be today.
As I looked back on my journey from singleness to marriage, I asked God to shed some light for me on my story. Here is what he showed me:
His timing is always perfect. While we all have different stories, the one constant for everyone is God’s timing. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 states that there is a time for everything. His timing almost never makes sense, but when we look back at our life, we “get it.”
He cares about your heart. I carried a lot of wounds into my marriage. I used to think, “Why did I get married before I dealt with all this pain?” But the Lord’s answer to that was, “I have used your marriage to heal that pain.” God longs to heal us, but we must be willing to submit to his timing and his ways of doing it—married or not.
His ways are always higher. While I never understood his timing on my marriage, and I definitely didn’t understand why I got pregnant so soon, I now see that He had a plan all along. We will never get to see that plan unfold if we aren’t willing to stand our ground in the hard times and embrace our place. If you need a daily reminder of this, just remember what He says in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans for hope and a future.”
I don’t know where you are in your waiting period right now, but I do know that God cares. He loves you more than you will ever know, and He does have plans to work all things together for your good.