Now that David has shared the events of our meeting, let me tell you how wonderful the Lord is to those who are Waiting On God.
My story begins in the year 1980 at the age of 29 as I prayed a simple prayer to God, “God, please bring a ‘Christian’ man into my life so I can ‘get my life right’.” That is the first time I really remember receiving an answer to my prayers. You see, I went forward for salvation around the age of five or six and distinctly remember the preacher questioning me on who Jesus was to me before he baptized me. I was such a shy child that it had to be the Holy Spirit who sent me forward for salvation because that would have been impossible for me to do on my own, as everything that caused any attention to be directed my way embarrassed me. However, as the years passed and the events of my life unfolded, Jesus was lost to my understanding, but somehow deep within me I continued to long for that which I did not understand. I could find no real joy or fulfillment in life. “Why am I here?” “Do I have purpose?” Those questions haunted me often.
I was brought up in a very unstable home life. My father was an alcoholic and very abusive, both emotionally and physically, to the members of my family. My precious mother tried hard to bring stability to our troubled family, but at the age of 42, she went home to be with the Lord after a short battle with cancer. I was only 13 when my mother died. Because of the abuse the family endured, my mother left my father a couple of years prior to her illness, and it was 19 years later before I saw my father again. After my mother died, an older sister took on the task of motherhood, and what a mother she was. (Pat, I love you.) God was with us, and somehow I knew God was in control—at least in the major events of life.
As I got older, I knew many times God had intervened in circumstances of my life. I recall to this day a story that was told to me by my two older sisters who believed an angel appeared to them when I was a baby, and they could have only been seven and nine. The story was that my mother, again separated from my father, was working nights and had no money for a babysitter, so we were all left alone (four sisters). She would attempt to come home and check on us one time during the night, but this particular night she was unable to come. So I was in my baby crib, and one sister was sleeping on the floor and the others on the bed. The “beautiful woman” came to the bed and said, “Isn’t it getting a little cool in here.” She then turned the air conditioner off and went to my bed and looked at me and said, “Everything is going to be just fine—yes, just fine.” She came back to their bed and smiled.
One sister said her robe that touched her arm felt like fine mist and that she was very beautiful and kind. When my mother arrived the next day, my sisters asked her how she had gotten in the night before (thinking in their sleep the lady was my mother) because they had not moved the chair from under the door. (Mother instructed the girls to put a chair under the door in order to secure it.) She said she was unable to come home, and my mother was curiously stunned by the fact that the air conditioner, which was too high for the children to reach, had been turned off.
This story always touched my heart, and as a young child and even as I grew older, I always had a heart for the things of God; but I only knew Him to be a distant God who sometimes (at critical times) became involved in my life. For example, I knew He was involved in the timing of my mother’s death, as my oldest sister had just graduated from nursing school and was then working, which enabled her to finish rearing my sister and me.
Even though I knew the Lord became involved in my life at critical times, I still didn’t know that the Lord was so loving that He desired to commune with me continually and to have an ongoing, intimate relationship with me. But I always prayed and desired to know the purpose for my life. Even though I had lost my understanding of who Jesus was, I never quit believing there was a God who was in charge. So I continued searching—frustrated and anxious with my life.
At the age of 28, I began my search, looking for my answer in reincarnation—anything that would bring peace to my troubled and anxious heart. Once on a psychological test, it was reported that “she is anxious and wants to go somewhere, but she doesn’t know where.” Of course, now I know that my quest was for the Lord Himself, and that is why nothing brought joy or peace to my heart. I always knew that something was missing in my life, but what I could not fathom.
I always wanted to be married even at a very early age, but somehow marriage seemed to be what happened to everyone else. By this time I was 29 years old, and even with all the numerous relationships I had had, marriage seemed to elude me. I was invariably in some strange and difficult relationship and later came to know the reason—God was not in those relationships; I was the one creating my own unhappiness and destruction by following a path that was not the Lord’s. So my walk with Jesus began in 1980 at age 29.
It was on my 30th birthday in September 1980 that God answered my prayer and brought a “Christian” man (Alvis) into my life. I knew he was different, and even on our first date, I somehow knew that my prayer was answered and that this man would be my husband. He indeed was to be my husband but not for twelve long, painful years down the road.
There was much growing in the spirit that the Lord desired to accomplish in my life, and as with all of us, that growth came with much pain. The walk of learning to wait, trust and believe in what I was beginning to learn was the voice of my Lord was very hard and lonely. The Father was requiring things of me that I did not understand but were necessary in order to arrive at His calling. That is where all of our walks begin; they begin in confusion with no answer as to why the Lord seems to allow everything to be so hard and painful. What was He saying to me?
I began to understand that He wanted me to ask Him what was wrong with me? You see I always thought that I was okay, that it was the men in my life who had all the problems. I felt I was a “good woman,” and I simply wanted a “good man” to make my life complete. God had to reveal to me that men were “idols,” and my finding fulfillment in life was to come from the Lord Himself—not from anything external, including men.
Psalm 37:4 tells us to
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” I was to learn that as I found my delight in Him, the pieces of life’s puzzle would begin to come together. I came to understand that Jesus ordered my steps, for “The steps of a good man (or one who delights in Christ) are ordered of the Lord, and He delights in his way.” (Psalm 37:23)
The reason we struggle so to find true love in relationships is because the Father has created us to desire agape (unconditional) love. Man cannot truly give us this kind of love for which our hearts yearn. Have you ever offended a friend or even a family member and found how difficult it was to bring the relationship back to its former state? Sometimes, unfortunately, relationships are never restored. We have a hard time accepting and forgiving the flaws in our brethren. If we could only understand that most often the enemy has lied to us, twisted facts and deceived us concerning the offense, we would not allow the enemy to bring destruction to our relationships and our families.
How incredible and indescribable it is to know that our Lord never gets offended with us. He never walks away and says, “I’ve had it; it’s all over for you. I’ll never help you again.” No. Remember what the soldiers had done to Jesus. They spat on Him, they beat Him inflicting Him with 39 stripes, they pulled out His beard, they insulted Him and struck Him with their fists, and they crucified Him. The Scriptures indicate that He was so disfigured that the people were astonished that “His visage was marred more than any man.” (Isaiah 52:14) But what did our Lord say hanging on that cross?
“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
We marvel at this great love for us, and it is this kind of love that melts our hearts and draws us to the heart of the Father.
Romans 12:20-21 states,
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing, you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
If only we as Christians could get this right, it would seem the conversion of the lost would be so much easier, for in us they would see Jesus.
“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do….For I know that in me (my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice….O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:15-25)
Praise the Lord—if we continue to abide in Him, He will transform us into His likeness, and the good that we “would” to do, we will do.
The Lord, of course, blesses us with our mates to bring a form of satisfaction to this life; He brings us one who can walk with us and help us along life’s journey, for He loves us through each other. Our marriage should be a symbolic picture of our relationship with Him—a union of growing into everlasting perfection and beauty that is only found as we “abide” in Him. The word “abide” means to take up residence or to remain stable and fixed. As long as we remain stable and our eyes fixed on Him, our marriages can grow to become the beautiful union that Christ intended for His beloveds. It is only as we cleanse our minds with the washing of the Word of God that we become like Him; and therefore our natures, being transformed, bring forth the fruit of the Spirit that enables our marriages to be nurtured and sustained.
We should understand that the natural marriage of love, security and happiness is symbolic of what Jesus Christ desires to give His bride. He desires to give His bride a marriage for all eternity that will far surpass all that we could ever desire in our earthly marriages. He wants to give us a love that far exceeds any love we could ever dream of—a relationship of forgiveness, understanding, love, patience, kindness, unselfishness, peace, joy unspeakable and faithfulness—a relationship where the Groom is totally enraptured with His bride. We cannot comprehend this type of marital bliss, but we get a sample of His love by reading the Song of Solomon (the Song of all Songs). This beautiful book so succinctly depicts Christ’s love for His bride and her love for Him.
“Love” is the key word. This love presents the passionate desire between man and woman or symbolically, Christ for His bride, and it celebrates the glorious potential of covenant marriage between us and our Maker. Song of Solomon also expresses the longing of the Bride to give herself totally to Jesus, her Groom. “He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love. Sustain me with cakes of raisins; refresh me with apples, for I am lovesick….When I found the one I loved, I held Him and would not let Him go.” (Song of Solomon 2:4-5 and 3:4) One day the mystery of “The Bride of Christ” will be revealed, as we celebrate the “Wedding of the Lamb.”
But you say I have never married—what about me? I truly believe that if we have a desire to be married, the Lord has that special mate for each of us whose calling will complement our own. After all we do not give ourselves our godly desires, for the Lord says in Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” So if there is a desire, He placed it there, and we should pray for that one who will walk along side of us that we might be able to perform God’s call for our lives; and then we should stand—believing, trusting, waiting and thanking Him for His gift.
The wait may be long, but our greatest decision in life, next to our decision for salvation, is the choice we make concerning our lifetime mate; so we shouldn’t become impatient in waiting upon the Lord. Satan knows that if he can deceive you and cause you to marry outside of God’s perfect will, he will have succeeded in thwarting God’s plan—if not totally destroying His plan and call for your life. Never settle for God’s permissive will, as all eternity we will pay the price for that erroneous decision. In other words, you will be unable to fully run the race that the Lord has called you to if you settle for a mate who is not the chosen one of the Lord.
Because of this decision, opportunities you will miss will forfeit the crowns that could have been laid at the Master’s feet. The enemy of our souls will sound his fiendish laughter at his satisfaction of what he has accomplished. And the Lord will shed tears because of souls lost who could have been reached if only we had come in to our proper position in the Body of Christ with the mate of His choosing.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the one where Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac. Abraham did not want his son marrying a Canaanite woman, so he sent his servant to go to his country to find Isaac a wife. Abraham told his servant,
“The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land.’ He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.” (Genesis 24:7)
The servant arrives in Mesopotamia and hasn’t a clue as to how to find this wife for Isaac, so he prays to the Lord:
“O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day and show kindness to my master Abraham. Behold here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac….And it happened, before he had finished speaking that behold, Rebekah…came out with her pitcher on her shoulder…And when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” (Genesis 24:12-19)
Genesis 24:27 indicates that the servant knows God has shown him the wife of His choosing; and the servant then says:
“…Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren.”
I believe Abraham (representing a type of the Father) sent forth his servant (representing a type of the Holy Spirit) to pick a wife for Isaac. Notice how God ordered the steps of this servant, and by divine providence, he was in the right place at the right time. Our God is not a respecter of persons; He wants to do the same for us. The Father has created your mate to complement you and to walk with you to help you fulfill God’s high call for your life. He knows you have no knowledge of who would be best suited for you according to the gifts and talents He has given you. I am proof of that, as all my relationships ended in total frustration and futility. So if we learn to trust our Lord and wait, we will never be disappointed in the one He has chosen.
I learned in my long wait that if I concerned myself with the things of God, He would concern Himself with my affairs. I grew to a place of no longer experiencing anguish and frustration in attempting to find a mate, as I came to understand that God would provide that mate in His perfect timing. So I went to church and got involved in spiritual activities as the Holy Spirit led.
Becoming a “covenant leader,” I learned the joy of finding my place in the body of Christ and ministering to the needs of others. As I did, my life became full and filled with peace. I no longer had those depressing days of a self-centered, introspective existence. I had begun to learn the meaning of, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I was giving of myself to teaching in monthly meetings and ministry to the ladies in my group. My days were filled with the joy and deep satisfaction of knowing I was in the Lord’s will. I was doing His work to bless and help others come to a closer walk with Him. In addition, I had my own joy of growing into a deeper and more intimate walk with Him. I was learning to see ministry opportunities with all the people God brought across my path, so I no longer had time to have “pity parties.” True meaning for my life had become a reality. However, there was still much more to learn concerning my strivings, efforts and manipulations. I was still trying to make things happen, especially concerning getting married.
I remember a dream in which God taught me a valuable lesson concerning my efforts in trying to bring about my marriage to Alvis. Let me tell you what was happening before I relate the dream. My prayers for Alvis were being answered so quickly. God brought him that spiritual mentor I had prayed for. He was drawing closer to the Lord and to me, and I literally saw my prayers being answered in detail. I was so excited. In a prayer one day to the Lord I said, “Lord, I don’t want You to “make” him love me. You wouldn’t want anyone being made to love You.” I didn’t realize the pride and arrogance of such a statement. Alvis came over that same night and was cold and indifferent. Upon his leaving, I cried, “Lord, what happened?” That night in a dream the Lord showed me so gently the error of my prayer.
In this dream I was with several friends, and we were praying and singing praises to the Lord. The words of one song went something like this,
“You’re doing it all by yourself.” When I awakened, I received quite a revelation. I realized how foolish and prideful my prayer had been, as the Lord showed me that “for without Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
So in other words, it wasn’t my being so charming and wonderful that would bring forth his love for me (or anyone for that matter), but it could only happen when God put that love in his heart. I had asked God to stop His work. I repented and realized as the Word says in Proverbs 21:1: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”
Also, I remembered the scripture that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17) So I came to realize that I could not give myself the gift of a godly husband who would love me; that gift would have to come from the Lord.
This taught me a profound lesson in humility and was also so liberating. It was liberating in the knowledge that it wasn’t me, with all my efforts and manipulations, who could accomplish anything, but it is by His Spirit that all is accomplished, for “It is not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6) This eliminates both pride and insecurities in us, as we realize that all things are accomplished through Him and by His working in us and through us. We are only vessels created for His glory and to be used for His glory, as we yield ourselves to Him.
End of Chapter 1