Welcome to Day #4 in the Love & Marriage mini-series!
Deb is a wife and mother of two. She is like a second mom to my husband and has warmly welcomed me into her life as well. She is a great resource on adoption and loves her family dearly. Her commitment to the Lord and to her family is a wonderful example to many. I was so blessed that Deb jumped at the opportunity to share her testimony with us on the topic of love and marriage.
Soon after I was married, I promised the Lord that I would share this testimony of His faithfulness, any time I had opportunity. I am still awed by God’s goodness and faithfulness toward me, even though it took over 20 years to see the answer to my deepest, most heartfelt prayer.
I became a born-again Christian when I was a freshman in college. I was 19 years old and, upon meeting the Lord, experienced a peace and joy unlike anything that I had ever felt before. I joined a small Bible study in one of the dorms, and that group of people soon became my closest friends. They loved and nurtured me in the faith and helped me understand the Truth of God’s Word. That Bible study group continued to grow in numbers and before we knew it, we were a campus ministry, and then, eventually, we became a church.
We were always a close-knit group, with singles often living with families. I was invited to live with one of the leaders families, who had 2 young boys, with another on the way. The oldest of those boys is none other than Katie’s husband!
With most of us being college-age, I watched many of my friends pair up and get married. With each announcement of an engagement, while happy for the couple, I would feel a stab-like pain in my heart. When would it be my turn? You see, my heart’s desire was only to be a wife and mother, above all else. Living with this family, with all their kids (5 in total), filled my need to be “mother-like”, yet created an even greater desire and need to be an actual mother to my own children. Lord when will it be my turn?
Eventually, pretty much all of my friends were married, and I felt lost and alone and uncertain of my future. After living with this family for four years, and being 32 years old by that time, I moved out of state, eventually settling in the Washington DC area, where I worked in a Christian ministry. I then moved on to another career, where I worked in both DC and New York City, living a career gal’s dream. I was also part of a great church, again with people I loved and trusted. But now being in my mid 30’s, it seemed that absolutely everyone my age was married, with kids. Even with a great career and friends I loved, I just didn’t fit, and I still felt lost and lonely. I wanted to be married – when will it be my turn Lord?
I dated some during my DC days, and even became engaged when I was 39. He was a Christian man, part of our church and a nice guy. But I knew, deep in my heart, he was not the one God had chosen for me. But he wanted to marry me!!! So I accepted and we began to plan our wedding. As the planning progressed, I had less and less peace, and I cried out to God, “What if this is my one and only chance to get married?” But I couldn’t stand not having God’s peace and so 10 weeks before the wedding, I broke our engagement.
So now I’m 40 years old, no husband in sight, and my biological clock is so loud I can hear it ticking in my head! I was sad, depressed and angry at God. After months of crying and fighting it out with the Lord, I finally got on my knees and told Him that I knew He was more than able to bring me a husband and children of my own, but if He never did – I still choose HIM! I choose HIM above all else, even if my dreams never come true.
That was a turning point for me in so many ways. I finally understood the word my Pastor had always encouraged me with – relinquishment. I was finally able to relinquish my desire to get married and be a mother. Please know, I still desperately wanted to be married and to be a Mom, but I gave up the right to having it happen. God was big enough to do it, but if He didn’t, then I was still going to choose Him and serve Him.
At 41, I moved back to Michigan to help my aging parents. I, of course, still wanted marriage, but I no longer felt compelled to make something happen. I dated some, but with each date came the realization that guy after guy wasn’t God’s best choice for me. I started looking for a church and began with the “A’s” in the phone book (the way we used to look up phone numbers and locations). The first church I came to was right down the road, and so I went that Sunday, all by myself, and never had to look any further. I knew I had found my church home!
After a few months of attending, I called the Pastor to see if I could get together with him and his wife. I was planning to join the church, but wanted to get to know the pastor and his wife on a more personal level first. We went out to dinner a few days later, and had a wonderful time together. I was so blessed to have found this church! At the end of our meal, Pastor asked if he could ask me a personal question – “Deb, why aren’t you married?” I laughed and told them a little of my story. He looked at his wife, and she nodded. And then with words that changed my life and the direction of my future, he said,
“There’s this man in our church, never married, just elected as an elder in our church… and his character is sterling.”
He asked me if he could tell this man about me and see if he would be interested in meeting me. I said sure, but inside I told myself not to get too excited, as I had been disappointed so many times before. Pastor later told me that he had never, ever tried to set up a couple before, but that he felt such a strong sense from God that night that he should do so. Yea God!
Pat and I met on Valentine’s night at a church dinner. We had our first date on St. Patrick’s Day (we’re both Irish), we got engaged over Memorial Day weekend, and got married over Thanksgiving weekend. I met, dated, became engaged to and married the love of my life in a matter of 9 months. It all was so easy and so peaceful. I never once, then or now, wondered if I was doing the right thing because I recognized Pat immediately as God’s best choice for me. I married Pat the day before my 43rd birthday. Pastor married us, dear friends wrote and sang songs for us, Pat and I vowed to honor our covenant together, and we proclaimed through it all “It was worth the wait”. Six weeks after our wedding (and a stupendous honeymoon), we began the journey to adopt our daughters from China. Megan came home in 1998 and Katie in 2000.
The “wait” for marriage and family seemed to go on forever, and I can still feel the sadness and loneliness I experienced during those 20 plus years of waiting. My heart understands and joins with each and every single woman, who longs for her husband and children. My regret is that I wasted so much time longing for, and seeking after marriage, that I wasted precious time during my single days. I wish I knew then what I know now – that God is in control, and indeed has a plan for our lives. We can either cooperate with Him or try to do life on our own. I too often tried to make things happen that were not God’s best for me. I wish now that I had enjoyed my single years, serving God in ways that are more difficult to do now that I have a husband and children. But I also wish I had just had more fun too, like traveling, and trying new things.
Photo Credit: Rachel Liu Photography
My daughters are teenagers now – gorgeous and delightful, strong and smart. They like boys! Pat and I have taken each of our girls on a weekend trip to discuss all things related to growing up in today’s culture. When we got to the “sex talk” for each of them, I told them that today’s culture will tell you to ‘sleep with lots of guys’, ‘how will you know what you like if you don’t try it’, ‘there must be something really wrong with you if you aren’t having sex’. I looked deep into their eyes and told them that those statements and beliefs are false, untrue and quite frankly, SIN. Truth is you can wait to have sex. I was only hours away from turning 43 when I had sex for the very first time in my life. I didn’t shrivel up and die from not having sex. I had a full and satisfying life before I ever had sex, and they will too. There is beauty in waiting and offering yourself pure and undefiled to your husband. Sex is worth waiting for!
The testimony of my heart to my own daughters, as well as any others that will listen, is that God’s promises are true and He is faithful. Waiting, whether for a husband, a baby, for sex, or whatever, is hard and uncomfortable and downright painful. But, oh the joy of that answered prayer, even after 20 years of waiting. “Yes Lord, it was worth the wait!”
1. I rejoice in testimonies like Deb’s and praise God that there are living, breathing examples of women who entered marriage in purity. I am so glad that I know ladies that I can use as examples for Darling Daughter to emulate. However, I realize that there are many of us who have regrets or who didn’t enter into marriage this way. Take some time to talk to the Lord about this. If you confess, or have confessed, your sin to God (and any others that He has asked you to) and have repented (turned from your sin) than you are forgiven! What a gift. Sin is serious, but, I pray that God will help us to forgive ourselves and that we won’t be hung up on the past but use it as a springboard for the future.
2. Are you waiting on God for something big? Do you have others in your life who can support you in prayer and who you can talk to about this desire? If not, ask God to bring some godly people in your life, to uphold you and lift you up in prayer.
3. Check out these life-giving verses about waiting on God.