Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More Engagement Pictures... and When You Wait

Three girls walk down the sidewalk
of a tiny town off the highway.
Three highschool pals.
Two visiting their

March air surrounds the trio.
They laugh,
laugh more.

"I hear that two interns are coming to your church for the summer,"
a tall, light-haired girl comments.

"Yep.  I think they're around their early twenties,"
the only brunette in the group replies.

"That'll be fun! I'm sure you'll fall in love with one of them!"

All three girls laugh.
The brunette shakes her head.

"I highly doubt that."

It wasn't that I didn't want to meet someone, fall in love, and get married.

I wanted that badly.

But, much more than that, I didn't want to throw my heart away in a three-month fling with a young man I would never see again. 

And God had been teaching me some things lately.

Out of the three friends I had in highschool... the ones I spent the most time with... all three of them had a "boyfriend" at some point.  It wasn't easy not having someone special in my life to tell me how beautiful I was, to make me smile and laugh, to plan a future with, to look forward to spending time with... to love me more than anyone else could love me. 

It could be unsettling being alone.  Was I making the right choice in waiting?

What if I never meet the right guy?  What if a great guy comes along but doesn't notice me?  Why do so many women who don't wait find a man while so many wonderful, Godly young women are STILL waiting for their mate?  What if *oh horrors!* I never get married?

I'm sure I'm not the only girl who has asked those haunting thoughts. 

More than two years ago, my family began planning to move.  My Dad would take a position as "Assistant to the Pastor" at a small church.  We visited and I can remember glancing around the church to see if there were any people my age.  I found myself discouraged.  Not only because I saw that I wouldn't have any girlfriends my age, but also that my prospects of meeting my future spouse at this church were a whopping zero!

I sat with my Dad hours later, voicing my thoughts.  In his wisdom, he smiled and told me, "Honey, don't put God in a box."

"But what if I never meet the right guy?  What if I never get married?"

"Would that be so bad?"

Would that be so bad?

I felt my world grind to a halt.  Could I be single if God asked me too?  The question scared me to death that day as I pondered it.

As my family prepared to move to this small town off the highway, I wrestled with the issue.

"God... what if Your plan for me is to be single?  Can I trust you with that?"

By the time my family set up our new home in January 2010, I was ready.  I was willing to trust God whether I was a young bride, an older bride, or an old maid.

"Help me find joy, Lord, in whatever You bring."

The next month before the conversation at the beginning of this post was filled with new experiences.  I was given the opportunity to do something I'd always dreamed of doing: direct a drama for the purpose of ministry.  As another month went by, I started serving on worship team as a vocalist and pianist.  I helped with youth ministries.  I took time to work on one of my novels.  I had no peers, so I was had no struggles with pressure, trying to fit in, or trying to impress anyone.  I was able to focus on my Lord and His ministry with no distractions.  I was SO happy.

I had discovered something:  I needed no other Lover but my Savior.  I realized that I DID have Someone special in my life. 

Someone who had made me beautiful for Him. 

Someone who made me smile and laugh even in times of hardship.

Someone I could always count on; someone to plan a future with.

Someone I could look forward to spending time with... every day... every moment.

Someone who loved me more than anyone else could ever love me.

And could I be happy with that?  Yes.  What more could a girl ask for?

By the time May rolled around, I was completely convinced that I knew what my future held.  I would continue to live at home enjoying my family, I would write novels and become an (at least semi-famous) author, I would teach and minister through music, I would lead the teen drama teams (seeing many groups of teens come and go through the years), I would run an online jewelry business, I would continue to blog and show how to live a meaningful, joyful life as a single young woman.  And, IF God should ever bring a young man into my life, it would probably happen years down the road... when I was thirty or something.  :-)

I was content.

I was secure.

I had a purpose, a passion.

Then I met Andrew.

Taking aside the fact that God completely messed up my "plans" when He brought Andrew into my life, I am still so astonished at His incredible timing.

And He was working in Andrew's life too.  Helping Andrew through many valleys in his life, He had given him a wonderful peace as he came out to Indiana for a summer of ministry.

When we met, we never could have seen where God would take us in such a short amount of time.  Rather, Andrew was surprised by how different I was from how he had imagined the "girl directing the summer skits" (who he knew only through emails concerning his role in the drama) to be.  Okay, he had visualized a short, chubby girl and I am neither.  :-)  The first thought in my head when I saw Andrew was, "Well... he'll make a good British butler in the skit. I hope he can do a decent accent."

Knowing our thoughts, God must have laughed at us both.  And now, less than two years later, Andrew and I are engaged.

Did I have to wait very long to meet this special man after finding the amazing contentment that Christ brings?  No.  Does it always happen that way?  No.  Is Jesus still the best Lord, Friend, and Lover that I could ever ask for? 

A resounding YES!

I hope I can encourage you, dear sisters in the faith, who are waiting for "Prince Charming".  I think that many of us have the mental picture of a girl sitting at a train-stop on a gloomy day when we think of this time of "waiting".  Where the picture is sweet and sentimental, I think it is also deceptive.  The single years (no matter how many you are given) are a gift from God, no less valuable than any other years of your life.

"...The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin,
is concerned about the things of the Lord,
that she may be holy both in body and spirit;
but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world,
how she may please her husband."
~ 1 Cor. 7:34

Think about it!!!  Time to focus solely on the Lord in a way that only a single woman can.  A married woman can have an amazing walk with the Lord, no more or less amazing than I single woman's, but she has many other responsibilities: being a helpmeet to her husband, running a home, tending to children, etc... 

The time in a woman's life when she can seek the Lord without distraction is a gift to be treasured.

And God honors those who are surrendered to Him.  I can't promise that months after you've truly found your contentment in Christ that a dashing young man will leap into your life, but I do know that God knows the desires of your heart and you can trust Him with them.  The pen that writes your story is in His hand.  And your story is unlike any other person's story. 

So don't compare.  Don't worry.  Love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, and strength.  Let Him be your perfect Prince.

Once you let Him sweep you off your feet, you will never be the same.

So, sister, keep waiting faithfully.  But never wait idly.  Whether you have marriage in your future or God reveals a different path, your love story with HIM will outshine any romance between two human beings. 

Pursue it with all of your heart.  He will never disappoint you.


Mary said...

Such an sweet post and so much truth! God is good.
I absolutely adore the pictures of you and Andrew...the two of you are so cute! I love the beautiful glow about you in these photos♥

Kimmy said...

Congrats to you sweet blogging friend! I never understood when people would tell me. "you will know with out a doubt when the right one comes along." I wasn't looking for it. I actually thought I had it....Until He came along...and then I understood. You just know. there is no doubt! It's a feeling like no other! Praying sweet blessings upon you and and your soul mate!;)

Jessica said...

Congratulations Rachel!!! How exciting :D

Amen and amen on what you said...'never wait idly'. This time is certainly not just for waiting, but for preparing, serving and living in the here and now ;)

Love and hugs! So happy for you :D


p.s. the power is back on *hooray!* :D

Yvonne said...

This was such an encouraging post. I have been struggling this year with this very thing- waiting. God has placed a desire on my heart to be married, and it's so hard to be patient sometimes! But again and again He is showing me that through Him I am fulfilled and can be perfectly content!

Your blog has been such an encouragement and blessing to me.
I am actually teary-eyed writing this. Congratulations to you and Andrew and thank you again for this post!

Lucia said...

Rachel, this is an amazing post. So many times, I fee sorrow for young ladies whose SOLE purpose in life is marriage.

It is always so encouraging to meet those who understand that God’s plan for His daughters is not always marriage and motherhood and falling in love..though all of those things are wonderful, dear things to be cherished—that we all dream of (or think we do). BUT--that is not all there can be to a woman's life.

I am not yet old enough to be even thinking marriage yet, but I know I will struggle if the years pass and I am well into my twenties without a Prince. That is why I am resolved to be as you were--steadfast with my eyes upon Him, trusting and knowing His will is so much better than my dreams, if I can just let go and trust.

I am SO happy you got Andrew, anyways, despite your resolve. ;) You are adorable together, and I know the LORD is going to bless your marriage in the coming..oh, 100 years! ;)

Bless you, friend!

In Him,

Maiden Princess said...

You are so encouraging! Thank you for still considering those of us who are still Maiden's in Waiting. The Lord is revealing more and more of letting Him be my everything to me, and not just in a good theory but how to actually live it out everyday. Thank you for also encouraging young ladies towards that same end. My heart's cry is that when people see me, I dont' want them to see a young woman desperate for marriage. I want them to see a young woman desperate for God! THank you for being such a young woman. May the Lord richly bless your union with Andrew as your lives join together as one to serve Him.

Many Blessings,
Maiden Princess

Melanie said...

Beautiful post, friend. Beautiful. <3 He is so faithful, and His timing is always far better than we could ever imagine.