Our whole lives we spend in pursuit of something. We search high and low, in the nooks and crannies, in the love of others, all over. We look for something to fulfill the deep desires, the heart and soul aches, needs we have. We look for it in all the wrong places, but some of us finally come to the true, only solution, and that solution, though I've known for a long time, has taken a while, some trials, some pain, for me to realize what it is that I need-- just Jesus, His love, and His plans for my life.
My whole life I have had this deep desire to be a wife. Don't get me wrong, I have so many other dreams and passions and things I want to do and be in life as well, but this one thing is something I have so deeply and intimately desired and prayed so constantly for. And not just to be a wife but a Godly wife, and to have a Godly husband who would relentlessly, passionately pursue me, love me, cherish me and push me to do the things God calls me to and to lead us in the callings God has for us.
There have been many times when I thought I was about to finally have that. So many times I said, "This is it! This is God's will! This is where my prayers get answered!" and then I quickly, or sometimes painfully and slowly, find out that, well, it just wasn't going to pan out the way it was "suppose to". The way I envisioned it. The way I thought it was going to look like. The way that I, not God, wanted it.
But this last time was the most painful of them all. I was going to actually get married. I was going to actually, finally get to be a Mrs. I was going to be an actual, real- life wife, a bride that would be celebrated and wrapped up in a loving, intimate, God-centered marriage. But again, things don't always pan out that way. And it isn't necessarily anyones fault, sometimes, God just says "no" and we just have to accept it and move on. Hard, but worth it.
What I found in this past season of again thinking my prayers to be a bride were going to be answered, is that there has been a pattern in my life. A pattern that was beginning to define me and make me someone that I didn't want to be nor that God intended me to be.
I've always loved deeply. I'm not saying this in a proud way like I am selfless cause I am not at all, but in a I-so-deeply-must-love-you-and-give-up-everything-for-you-to-make-myself-happy-and-get-marriage-like-I-selfishly-want kind of way (phew, that was a mouthful!). Give up my dreams, my desires, my passions, my callings, even what I have known God has promised me. I had consistently, over every season like this let my desire for marriage be more important than the promises God had made to me and the things He had called me to. It wasn't the other person in these times necessarily, but it was always my unhealthy and ungodly type of desire to be married immediately. (Please DO NOT take this as a post against people in or who have been in my life-- I love and respect all and this is ONLY a post about MY flaws and how I'VE messed up but God STILL redeems me). It's embarrassing and shameful even to look at some of the things I have or have not done in my life because I was so caught up in grooming myself to be the "perfect bride".
I was made for so much more than that.
(And I really should have just been completely satisfied being the Bride of Christ, the church, all along).
So, I did it finally. I gave it up. God revealed to me, or should I say God spoke to me for the millionth time and I finally stopped being stubborn and listened, that every time I thought I was closer to getting this promise I tried to do everything in my power to make it happen in MY way, not Gods. I didn't truly lay it down at God's feet consistently. I clung so tightly to it and didn't just trust God to make it happen. I would do everything I could to hold these relationships together, and when it didn't end in marriage I felt like I must not be worthy of being a bride. I felt unwanted, undesired, and not worth being pursued and cherished. I believed those awful, straight from hell lies.
Then one of a young womens worst nightmares happened to me. I had a broken engagement.
Now is that the worst thing that could happen to you? Absolutely not, there are far worse pains in the world. But it still hurt. And what hurt the most is that it was I who broke it off. The girl who is always trying to fix everything, the people-pleaser, the marriage-obsessed broke it off. "Why on earth, God, would you get me this far into being engaged, this much closer to being married, then tell me, a weak, and often unrealistic dreamer to break something so important to me off?" But then I remembered. I told God I was giving it up to Him, I was laying it at His feet, sacrificing it, yet I didn't like how God made the outcome when I actually told Him I was laying it down to Him. I expected God to see my "sacrifice", to see my "obedience", and to immediately honor it by giving me the marriage. But He didn't. And you know why? Because I am not God, I do not see what He sees, and He knows WAY better.
In the book of Genesis there is this crazy story where God tells his servant Abraham to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering... wait, what? Yep, GOD asked his servant to kill his son.
But then, plot twist, God stops Abraham from sacrificing his son.
Phew, that was a close one!
But the thing is, Abraham never once questioned God in this, he prepared to do exactly what God asked him to do, he didn't hesitate, he didn't ask God for repayment, he didn't do anything except prepare to do exactly what God told him to do.
So, naturally, when we read this story, we expect things to turn out the same way for us. I thought if I gave up this future marriage that God would immediately "repay" (funny how we think God owes us, right?) me with the marriage. Nope. Not this time. Better luck next time. And I was left lost, broken, and confused. I had finally done the hardest thing I had ever done and I thought that right at that moment God would send Prince Charming riding in to sweep me off my feet and take me off to Honeymoon land with a new last name and a shiny little thang on my finger. Nope.
"But Gooddd..." I can hear my impatient heart whining, "why do I have to wait, AGAIN?"
Well, He is God. He doesn't have to answer to us. And He most certainly doesn't have to answer to our bad attitudes, ugly hearts, and selfish expectations. (And is it really a sacrifice or obedience if we do it grudgingly and with a heart expecting to get repaid, to get things WE want?) But He still gives us what He promises. It's not in our timing, in the way we expect it to be, but it is in such a much more beautiful way... His way.
And then we see the ultimate act of obedience in the Bible. God sacrifices His son for our sins. This time, God didn't stop the death from happening like He did in Abraham's story, instead He let His son be brutally murdered in order to save humanity. BUT He rose again, and that's why I'm here writing this blog.
"But what about Psalm 37:4?"
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act." Psalm 37:4-5
Well, yes, of course, He wants to give us the desires of our hearts and He will! But we must DELIGHT ourselves in Him first and foremost, we must commit our ways to Him and trust HIM to make it happen in HIS perfect way, THEN He will (in His perfect timing) give you the desires of your heart (which should align with His will if you are committing your ways to Him).
I am loved. I am cherished. I am pursued. God has a plan for my life as He does yours. God will fulfill His promises. God is good despite of my circumstances. He is always good. He knows the plans He has for us... plans for good and not disaster, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
So what is our relentless pursuit for? Is it for a career? A family? Acceptance into a university? Or, like me, a marriage? Whatever it is, I encourage you to lay it down at the feet of Jesus with me today. To lay down the earthly things we are pursing so relentlessly and to instead, full-heartedly, completely, unashamedly, wildly pursue God and His call on our lives. "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind" (C.S. Lewis).
Here is to the sovereign God, the One who holds us in the palm of His hand and has far greater things for our lives than we could ever imagine.
"Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can't believe that, believe what you see-- these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I'm doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I've been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of Who I am and what I am doing, I'll do it." John 14:12-14 (MSG)
"But forget all that-- it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19 (MSG)
"In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation." 1 Peter 5:10 (NLT)