Finally the Bride
Have you ever been startled with the realization that God’s answer to your prayer came in a package completely different from what you were expecting? And, that His answer is so much more amazing than anything you could’ve dreamed up for yourself?
During the summer of 2010, I read a book that changes everything. In “A Praying Life,” Paul Miller challenges me with this idea: maybe the answers to my prayers are right in front of me, but God’s wrapped them in different packaging than I’m expecting. So they’re there. I just haven’t recognized them. Funny … because I think I know so much, when I really have so much to learn.
This gets me thinking about the type of man I’ve always wanted to marry. I scrap the list of “must have’s” I’ve compiled over decades. I release the fantasies about how I would “complete” this kind of man or help this sort succeed in some great and noble mission. And, I realize that I already know two men with the kind of character I’ve come to value above all else: humility, kindness, faithfulness, dependability, prayerful. Without qualities like these, the richest prince is just a jerk with a big house and expensive toys. No wardrobe is worth living with that kind of man.
But, back to the two men! One is dating a friend of mine (so, obviously ineligible) and the other is … Phil. I’m visiting a friend in North Carolina when I realize that I’ll regret it forever if we don’t at least explore the possibility of “us.” I send him a text and tell him I miss him. Subtle, right?!
I fly home to Dallas and start what we now refer to as “The Baking Campaign.” I’m working on a music project with one of his coworkers that has me up at the church about once a week for a few weeks. I *happen* to show up with muffins or cookies each time and drop them off at his office. He’s always appreciative and glad to see me but makes no moves. (He told me YEARS later that he thought the muffins weren’t really that great … too healthy! Ha ha!)
So, finally one day, I just up and do it. I lean against all the etiquette my Southern Mama raised me with – and all that had been drilled into me in the cult about women knowing “their place” – and I asked him out.
He says yes and after dinner and a movie on a Friday night in November, God opens his eyes. My shy friend decides the risk is worth it and, after walking me to my car at the mall, he asks if I’d like to go out again. I say yes!
I won’t go into all the details because that’s a story for another time, but we are engaged in March and married in August, 2011. At last, my love has come along. He is everything I didn’t know I needed, exceedingly more than I thought to ask for, and God’s greatest gift to me apart from Jesus. My mother encourages us to receive each other as a gift from the Lord and a channel of His love for each of us. And we do. This picture was taken the night he proposed, and the other on day our “happily ever after” began.
The lesson about answers to prayer arriving packaged differently than expected is important. I’ll need to cling to it with everything in me when God gives me a business rather than babies.