We fast and pray for the Lord to bring men and women into relationship with Him, for men to lead in the church and in relationships, for our hearts to be soft to the Lord’s leading, and for God-honoring marriages for those who desire them.
Since the beginning of FastPray, this community has been a place where people have honestly wrestled with God with unintended singleness, their desire for marriage and for men and women to recognize their unique giftedness in relationships—all within a context of hope in a sovereign God and His goodness to us even when we can’t see it.
I’ll admit that at times I prayed Monday prayers for men, women, and the gift of marriage with a doubtful heart. I thought for sure that God was going to answer these prayers for someone else, not me. I couldn’t even get a date, much less a boyfriend. Get married? Ha. That’s for the skinnier, prettier, funnier girls. Not me.
And yet, somehow, I went from meeting this random coworker on December 10, 2014 to having him ask me to marry him on December 10, 2015. Yes, you read that right. Meeting to engagement. One year.
He says that I actually said yes. I was so overwhelmed that I can’t even remember him asking the question, much less my answer.
I wrote a few months back a little about our story, but I wanted to pull out two themes that may encourage you.
This relationship was the most unlikely thing ever. He lived and worked in Arizona. I was in DC and headed to grad school in the Midwest. We met randomly in a doorway and had a 20-minute conversation at the end of a company Christmas party when I was actively looking for a different guy. (True story.) He’d done long distance before with it not working out and had promised himself not to do it again. (It took him six months to admit he liked me.)
Honestly, the sheer improbability of the whole thing baffles me. From the large-scale life decisions (like my accepting a job offer in 2012 that wasn’t, on the surface, the best career move) to the tiny minute detail of bumping into him at exactly the right moment, clearly…. Someone was making plans that I had no idea about. It reminds me of this random verse from the end of Ruth 1:
So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
An ordinary factoid from an otherwise profound story of God’s sovereign care, Naomi and Ruth just happened to come back to Bethlehem at the time when God would provide for them. The author of Ruth is being a little tongue and cheek. Ruth and Naomi didn’t plan it. They showed up, but there’s nothing “just happened” about it.
My story feels random, and I want that to encourage you. You may feel like there’s no way ever that God could answer your prayers for marriage, and for obviously reasons, I’m not going to promise that He will. But, there’s nothing “just happened” about your life. God, in His sovereign care, is working in and through the good, the horrific, the tragic, the everyday, and the joy-filled circumstances in your life.
Singleness and datelessness was good for the relationship. If you’ve been wrestling with being single or being dateless for a while, you may have been like me in thinking that you’re never going to know if you can do the “relationship” thing. I was worried that the longer I was single the more single I’d seem. Like singleness was a contagion. She’s single! Stay away! Desperate woman alert!
Often, we get this idea from our married counterparts. People may tell you unintentionally heartless things like, “if you’d stop thinking about being single and lived a little, you’d meet someone in no time.” Or, the dreaded classic, “Stop looking. You’ll meet someone when you least expect it.” Basically, being too consciously single isn’t cool or sexy. So, stop it. Be more Eat, Pray, Love and less Bridget Jones Diary. I had gotten to a point of being fairly content with singleness before December 10 of last year, but even on my best days, I was way more Bridget Jones. I was definitely still looking and thinking about relationships.
Here’s the bottom line: being single and honest with yourself that you wanted to get married and that your heart is sad that it hasn’t happened means that you’ve had years of practice being honest before God and before man, of bringing your vulnerable, squishy heart to the surface. It turns out: vulnerability is key component in building a relationship.
So, while I’m not advocating for either of us to wallow and despair, I am saying that don’t let Satan lie to you and tell you that actively praying and thinking and wrestling with your singleness is a defect. It’s the type of weakness Paul boasts about in 2 Corinthians.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I don’t know where your heart is today. I don’t know if hearing of another engagement brings you joy or reminds you of pain, but be assured that I don’t write any of this from a place great spiritual or relational strength. My story didn’t involve me getting better or fitter, praying longer or louder, or even knowing what the heck was happening when it was happening. It’s a story of odds-defying, mundane grace that somehow turned a chance meeting into a future marriage. I didn’t earn it. I wasn’t perfect. But, God somehow saw fit to write it this way.
My prayer for you, as I continue praying for God to give the gift of marriage to you who desire it, is that God would meet you where you are, comfort you in your own story, and fill you with joy each new day whether or not you can tell if it’s the beginning of the barley harvest.