Chronicles of a Newlywed…Part 2

Guest Blogger: Lindsey


To read the first part of the series, go here  Chronicles of a Newlywed… Part 1

Turning Point

For my 34th birthday, much to my mom’s dismay, I left town by myself and checked into a B&B in a nearby city. It poured down rain for 2 days straight, so the only thing I could do was read and journal. Even though I had grown up in church and been a Christian since age 7, I seldom spent time alone with God without distractions. But this time, I prayed, journaled, and cried for 48 hours.

This time I heard Him.

I very clearly heard God tell me, “Your life is not going to look like everyone else’s. But that does not mean it will not be good and for My glory.”

He did not promise me marriage or anything I wanted. He just promised that He had me.

A Change Of Heart

The next few years were different. My perspective changed and I began to search out opportunities to live abundantly.

My thought was- If THIS life of singleness is what God has for me, then what do I want it to look like? If I don’t have a husband and family to pour myself into, what am I going to devote myself to-because it can’t be ME any longer.

So I…

  • Changed jobs and moved to a smaller church with single women much younger than me.  (This group gave me the opportunity to minister/mentor.)
  •  Had fun with several months of online dating…kind of. 🙂 I promised myself I would be open to any and all opportunities put in front of me.

I am not saying I never questioned or despaired-I did, more often than I want to admit. But I learned to surrender my will and my plans-every day/every hour sometimes -to God’s will for me. I also let go of the anger and bitterness that I had been hanging on to.

Small World

When I worked at my first teaching job, at the age of 23, there was a senior boy in my English class named Brian. He didn’t stick out to me then, but I knew he was a strong Christian kid from a great family. Brian graduated and went onto Hardin-Simmons, got a seminary degree, and then went to China as a Journeyman for 2 years. Post graduation, we became Facebook friends. And when he went to China, I became a part of his email and newsletter chain.

Recently, last Spring Break, I was on Facebook when I noticed a new status update from Brian. He mentioned that he’d be coming into town soon. When I saw that, I reached out to him to see if we could meet up for coffee.  I wanted to hear about his time in China, since his newsletters made it sound amazing.

We met up on St. Patrick’s Day and talked for 4 hours. I was surprised at how cute and well-spoken he was. I also admired his passion for  ministry and his passion for going back to the mission field. That night, he sent me a text to ask me to dinner.  And that night, we started dating.

This relationship was different from the start. Even though I doubted that the mission field was something I could ever see myself doing, I had more peace about this relationship than with anyone I had had before! I prayed about the relationship constantly and so did he. In January we got engaged. In May we were married in a beautiful garden ceremony.

Newly Married

I’m still really new to marriage and I have to admit that I was very nervous going in. I had become pretty set in my ways as a single. I was worried that the day to day of constantly having another person around would drive me nuts (even if I did love him)! It does take some getting used to, but it’s more because I am surprised everyday by how selfish and prideful I really am.

I think if I could say anything to my younger single self it would be, get out of your own head and bubble and quit making life all about you. Just let go. Let yourself have some hope in what God is doing without the fear of being disappointed. He will be faithful.

The time I was longing the most for marriage, Brian was in college and seminary and going through his own spiritual journey overseas. The thought that God needed to mature my future husband during all those years of waiting never crossed my mind.

The most amazing thing about my story is that Brian and I want to go back to China to minister, in the next few years, with the coffee company he is creating. The thought that God could use someone like me, who has so little faith, to reach people who have never heard of Him is incredible. I thank God daily for my husband and my marriage, but more than that, I thank Him for how He has revealed His character and grace every step of the way.

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Around The Web: Boring Chrisitans

Sometimes we ascribe to the Michael Bay* approach to our Christian life. We want a flashy testimony with sky-high numbers of instantaneous results and impact.

Too often we forget that God may choose to use the quiet, mundane things in life to reflect His glory.

I was reminded of this fact, when I stumbled across the web article  We Need Boring Christians: by Andrew Byers a few weeks ago. It was a good reminder that God does some pretty amazing things with ordinary.

I recommend that you check out the article at RelevantMagazine.com.  If you read it, let me know what you think.

-Ciao

*Michael Bay is a director who is known for his clichéd use of explosives in his films.

Chronicles of a Newlywed… Part 1

Guest Blogger: Lindsey

A few summers ago I met Lindsey at a party of a mutual friend. As a fellow single lady, I could relate to her stories about the single life.

Even though we live in different cities, from time to time, we’d keep up through Facebook.  This summer I found out that she is recently married, so I invited her to share her story.

Meet Lindsey

I am a late married woman :).  After 21 years of dating, I finally married a few months ago at 36 and it was truly an amazing gift from God that I did not expect to receive. Looking back, God grew me tremendously during my single years, which is something you hate to hear when you’re still single. But I’ve come to realize that He is faithful and good even though at times it felt like He had forgotten my desires (and my loudly ticking biological clock).

My Roots

I was raised in a great Christian home with Godly parents. We were at church every time the doors opened. However, growing up Baptist in the 80’s and 90’s, I absorbed a lot of stuff that isn’t completely Biblical. Like…

  • If you wait to have sex until you’re married, God will reward you by bringing you a perfect person and the sex will be amazing!

-or-

  • If you live a life pleasing to the Lord, He will bless you with the desires of your heart. In my case, this meant marriage and kids in my 20’s, since being a wife and mom was what I had always seen myself doing.

The College Years

I dated a little in high school, but nothing serious. Then I went to Texas A&M for college. I hoped my time there would prove more eventful in the dating department.  In fact, I majored in History intending to become a teacher, since that would be the easiest career to leave when I decided to have kids.

Note this- My line of thinking was all about MY plans. At this point, although my faith was growing and I was surrounded by a great Christian community, I didn’t actually factor God into a lot of big decisions.  So when it came to dating, I thought surely my college experience would bring me a husband before I graduated.

But no guy appeared…

Moving On

I got my degree and changed locations so I could start teaching and work on my Masters in Library Science. My first job was at a high school where I taught English and coached cheerleading. I was there 4 years before finishing my degree. After graduation, I got a job at a high school library in the town where I grew up. During this time, I found a great church with a large singles group, but this turned out to be a season of a HUGE dating drought.  Although, I had a ton of male friends, some I was even interested in, we all hung out in groups constantly and practically no one paired up.

To make matters worse, at the same time as my dating drought, my younger sister married a pastor and started her ministry and family. This development was really hard. I think that was the time I truly began questioning God’s plan for me.

I had done everything right…

  • I had saved my virginity.
  • I only dated strong Christian guys.
  • I was deeply involved in church and I had a quiet time every morning.

God should have been rewarding me for all of this.  I was nearing 30-one of the big ones-and my life had in no way turned out how I planned.

Lessons Learned

One thing you should know about me is… I’m a big planner or said another way, I’m control freak. I like checking things off “the list”.

Case in point:

  • I wanted to buy a house before 30, so I bought my own house at 28.

I was scared and sad to do it on my own, but I was also very prideful in the fact that I did it. It was MINE and I could do everything on my own if I had to.

  • I wanted to stay in shape, so I started working out like a crazy person and dieting pretty strictly.
  •  I wanted a relationship, so…

I got into a relationship with a guy from my church that was purely making out and it is only through the grace of God that we did not have sex. These were very unhealthy years. I was in complete rebellion against God, but it was a hidden. No one else could see.

I was still involved in church, still leading a small group, but my heart was hard and bitter and I resented God for not giving me what He seemed to give everyone else so easily…a family of my own.

I would cry out to God, begging Him to end this season of my life because it had gone on for so long. I was so tired of trying to be perfect so that I could be attractive and worthy of what I wanted Him to give me.

Learning To Wait On God

At 33 I met a guy through a friend. He was an awesome Christian and I was enjoying dating again for the first time in a long time. I really thought he was the answer to my prayers…and then he broke my heart after 6 months of dating.

I had let myself care and hope so much during that relationship that when he ended things very suddenly, I didn’t know what to do.

I had to start over. But I felt too old and too tired. However, I remember coming to a place of surrender after that. And please believe me that I am not a fan of those who say “You have to give up your desire to be married and God will bring you someone then!” I think that is a box you cannot put God into.

During this time…

  • I continued to long for marriage.
  • I continued to pray and plead with God about what on earth He thought He was doing.
  • I even had many cry fests in the shower with God.

But there was a surrender that wasn’t there before…

To be continued next week: Chronicles of a Newlywed… Part 2

Hear This

An Oldy But A Goody: DC Talk

DC Talk was one of the groups that made up the soundtrack of my junior high and high school life. What they did to the genre of Christian music was truly epic for their time. In fact, I can still remember the first time I heard the songs from their album Jesus Freak. I was blown away. (If you grew up on Christian Music, you know what I’m talking about.)

So take a trip with me down memory lane…enjoy

*Coming Soon: Next week, Chronicles of a single Christian Woman will have its first guest post. 🙂

Love Is Blind

Been There Done That: The Blind Date

The blind date can be tricky.  The setups tend to fall into 2 camps:

1. Warm body approach: These dates are typically initiated by people who think- I know a single guy/girl with a pulse. I’m going to ask them to check out my friend.

*The racial variant to this approach is- I know a (insert race) guy/girl with a pulse. I’m going to ask them to check out my friend.

2. Good friend/acquaintance approach: These dates tend to be a little more thought-out.  Meaning, the person/people doing the matchmaking take into consideration the interests, background, age, etc. of the potential parties involved.

I have been on  a blind date. I was set up by a nurse from my doctor’s office.  Unfortunately, a love connection was not made, but I’d do again. After all, my parents, who’ve been married for over 40 years, met through a blind date.

What say you?

  • Have you done it?
  • Would you do it again?
  • Match made in Heaven or Hell?
  • Have you tried to play the matchmaker?

Hear This

Esperanza Spalding

How can you not be impressed with a girl who can sing and play the upright bass at the same time?  Granted Esperanza is known for being a musical genius, but her instrumental and vocal abilities are impressive.

-Ps. She’s very good live too!

The Silver Cord Has Broken

My grandmother passed away recently.  Although I did not know her as well as I would have liked (we seldom lived in the same state when I was growing up), I was able to be with her during her final days.

One thing that we shared is our love of music.  My grandmother especially loved hymns.  In honor of her, I would like to share a recording I made of one her favorite hymns-How Great Thou Art.