Gretchen's Story, Part 1
Every girl dreams of a love story and of her knight in shining armor. The desire to be a princess and to be loved is engrained in us. When I was a little girl, I wrote a paper on what I wanted to be when I grew up. The list ranked: 1. Wife 2. Mom 3. Missionary. Very little has changed since then! The Lord has expanded that list and furthered desires & giftings, but He knew all along the beautiful story that He was writing.
The pen of His hand began the script before I was born. The prelude of my story begins with a godly heritage which I thank God for daily! I come from a lineage of God-written love stories, and more importantly, God-honoring grandparents and parents.
The Beginning of the Beginning: My story began in El Paso, Texas where I was born. It was in El Paso that the most significant event of my life happened: I gave my life to Jesus. This story wouldn’t be a very good one if this hadn’t happened. But, praise God, I am His child and have known Him for 16 years now as my Father! He is my Best Friend, my Abba, my Savior, my Creator, and my First Love.
Life-Changing Surrender: My family moved to Lawrenceville, GA when I was in the 3rd grade. During my teen years my sister was my role model and I wanted to be just like her. I’ll never forget her telling me that I should wait to date the right guy God had for me and to not waste my time on the wrong guys. And as simple as that, I decided that I would wait for God to bring me my Prince Charming, who I’d been waiting on since I was a little girl.
This began a pattern of year after year of singleness. I’d find someone I liked, then realize they weren’t who I was to date. I made a “Perfect Guy” list in the 7th grade (which is hilarious and changed throughout the years), and I’d go through and check each guys traits off by my list and would quickly realize he didn’t fit them. The Lord began to stir in me a holy longing to live life how He’d called me to: as a godly woman after His heart. Through loneliness, I learned Jesus was enough. Through an aching heart for my future husband, I learned Jesus could soothe it like none other. Through fear, I learned the stronghold of faith. And most importantly, through discontentment, I learned that I need nothing from this earth other than to be recklessly abandonded to Jesus.
Unopened Letters: I began writing letters to my future husband in middle school. Most of the letters were written out of a longing to know him, and that someday he’d know me better by reading my writing. The letters later developed into prayers for the man I’d someday marry, acknowledgments of what the Lord was teaching me, and dreaming of what we would someday do for the Kingdom of God.
I dreamed of the future all. the. time. So much so, that I would lose sight of that present day. I remember going on a walk in college and the Lord asking me these specific words: Would you rather have Jesus, or would you rather have a husband? Wow. I was struck with a humility and harsh reality I’d never faced before, I had longed for a husband more than my very Savior. At that point my perspective changed! There were still many moments of aching for the man I’d marry, yet I had a deeper stability & faith in my spirit that God would provide and knowledge Jesus was more than enough!
If you are a teenage girl reading this, or a single girl still waiting on the man God’s fashioning for you, here’s some of the treasures He has taught me in the waiting:
- Like Esther, learn what “pleases the King.” (Esther 8:5) We are often so consumed with pleasing others and earning their approval, that we often forget there’s nothing better & sweeter than to know what pleases the Lord! Strive to do *all* the things that He says honor Him: sit before Him in stillness, pray to Him constantly, trust Him with every fiber of your being & with the vulnerabilities of your heart, give beyond your capacity, work diligently, praise Him, go anywhere He calls you to, and most importantly learn that He is more than enough. He is true to His Word. His love never fails. He’s coming back for you one day! Dear sister, take heart and fall in love with your Savior all over again day by day!
- Like Ruth, go where He says with a willingness to do *whatever* He calls you to. Serve others with joy & gladness. If you live with roommates, don’t get irritated when they leave dishes in the sink (someday your husband will do that as well! Might as well practice serving with a calm heart) Don’t allow this culture to dictate how your love story should be. Read the love stories of Scripture! Read how God’s hands wove them together, held them together, and guided them to abundant life. Give up your life for the sake of Jesus. That’s *all* that matters!
- Like Sarah, trust God to fulfill the desires of your heart. If He’s placed the desires there, you *must* trust His perfect timing! Don’t allow Satan to rob you of this precious time of singleness! Resolve to wait on God’s timing and to not waste a moment in self-pity. (I wasted too many of these, yet claimed many, too, by the grace of God) In His perfect timing He will bring that man if that’s His design for you! In the meantime, delight yourself in Him! To “delight” means to be soft, delicate, happy about and be merry over! Allow Him to have your desires He created and do with them as He pleases. Because we know that His ways are best!
- Like Rebekah, simply live your life 100% for the Kingdom of God, and He’ll make all work according to His plan. Like a massive puzzle, He’s working to place every piece into the perfect fit! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you aren’t good enough to have a husband, or you haven’t surrendered enough. There’s nothing we can do to earn God’s grace (that’s why its a *free* gift), therefore, there’s nothing we can do to earn a husband. However, we can live life with the aim of knowing Jesus, enjoying Him, and making Him known. That is what this life is all about!
The Beauty of Pursual: It took me graduating from college (a semester early), moving to Tennessee (where I didn’t know a soul), and taking a leap of faith that I’d find a job (after interning at the church), to meet the man I’d marry. And now I sit here, an engaged woman to the most incredible man of God, writing out the love story God’s written for me. I’m overwhelmed! I titled this chapter “The Beauty of Pursual” because I realized that all along, the Lord was pursuing me. Psalm 23:6 says, “Your beauty and love chase after me all the days of my life.“ (MSG) What a treasure it is to trust in Jesus, because, my sister in Christ, He will do beyond what we could ask or imagine for the glory of His name!
Praise God for His incredible graces He’s lavished on us and for His faithfulness!
Above photo taken by Nancy Ray Photography.