Updated: Jul 19, 2021
Have you ever felt angry, sad or upset that something in life didn’t go the way you wanted it to? Even something that you felt in your heart was good and would glorify God? And yet still, it didn’t happen?
My friend, I’ve been there. Many, many times. In fact, let’s step into one of my stories together.
“Are you actually good? Or are you just saying that to be strong?” Whoa. Talk about a casual conversation turning serious real fast. But that’s my good friend, Colin, for you.
“I think I’m good. Well actually I’m not so sure anymore.” I remember saying back to him.
Colin was asking that question in relation to how my relationship was going with my boyfriend, Matthew, of 6 years!
Truth is, when I really thought about how things were with Matthew, I was heartbroken. I’d spent sleepless nights praying to God, asking why aren't we engaged? Does Matthew even still love me anymore? Why isn’t God making this relationship progress into marriage?
You see, Matthew was my first boyfriend. He was kind, easygoing, passive and comfortable. Exactly what God knew I needed after the roller coaster that was growing up in a family where there was divorce, infidelity, mental illness and a whole host of broken relationships.
So in my mind, Matthew was my forever. We could have a stable, loving relationship that could be an example to the world of how God intends marriage and family to be. Redeeming the brokenness of what I experienced growing up.
My intentions were so good for this relationship, so why God? Why isn’t this happening? I remember asking night after night as Matthew’s younger brother got engaged, friends who had dated for even less time than we had got engaged, etc.
Matthew 7:7-8 reads, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
I was confused “For everyone who asks receives”. I was over here praying and asking in faith for a Godly marriage and a forever partner who would glorify God through our relationship, but it still wasn’t happening.
However, we can’t just stop with verse 8, it’s what follows that’s equally as important.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
And that was just it. God was withholding what I was asking for because He knows He has something even better for me that would ultimately even further glorify Him too. God knew that what I was really asking for “a Godly, alive marriage” wasn’t going to be fulfilled through Matthew - He wasn’t going to give me a stone when I was asking for bread. Not that there was anything wrong with Matthew, we just weren’t each other’s forever, complementing the gifts God had given each of us to truly eternally make an impact.
In Acts 1:7, Jesus says “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.”
Matthew was a season that God designed in his great plan for my life. Through that season, He was further preparing me and growing me for what He has prepared for me.
Oftentimes, our emotions get in the way of us fully accepting when things don’t go our way. But in those moments we have to remember, God knows so much more than we’re able to see and all he asks is for our obedience to where he calls us. I’ve learned through rejection of all kinds that God isn’t absent, it’s actually his divine protection and provision over me, seeing beyond what I can see. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Radical obedience, even when it’s hard. Even when we don’t understand. Unlocks the blessings that God has for us. And we are never in it alone. We’re in it with God who rescues us, comforts us, provides for us, cares for us, loves us and so much more.
In God’s divine timing, I found the courage through God’s strength to break up with Matthew on Martin Luther King Day of 2017. Poetic in the sense that my favorite MLK quote is “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
I had no idea what came after 6 years with Matthew. At 26 years old, I had my life’s plan charted thinking it would involve creating a family with him, but I knew God was calling me to take a step of faith putting a now unknown future into the hands of a very known, good and loving God.
And in only the way God can, the 4 years since I surrendered one chapter of my life and stepped into another, God has done works in my life beyond anything I ever could’ve imagined. In fact, hindsight of course, I can look back with such clarity and see Matthew wasn’t the person for me, we served the purpose we were supposed to in each other’s lives for the season we were in. And God knew that all along. “Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but the purpose of the Lord will stand” as Proverbs 19:21 so simply states.
Though still very much a desire of my heart, I still can’t say I know where He’s guiding me from a marriage and family perspective (it’s certainly different than I ever thought it’d be sitting single at 30), but that’s okay. Because I trust that God is going to withhold no good thing from me and work beyond my wildest dreams. Because that’s just the kind of God He is. And it’s a joy to say yes to God and see all the ways he continually surprises me with his goodness.
As Isaiah 60:22 reminds us “The smallest one will become a thousand, And the least one a mighty nation. I, the LORD, will bring it about quickly in its time.” When the time is right, God will make it happen. Whether it is a marriage / family or many of the other dreams on my heart - I surrender them all to God and His will for my life.
So join me now as we pray together,
God, thank you so incredibly much for your presence in me every moment of every day. You know me and my heart even better than I know myself because you created me for a purpose. I humble myself and ask you for the courage to surrender my own plans for the plans you have for me. Plans to prosper me, not to harm me. Plans to give me a hope and a future. Glorifying you through the adventure we’re on together. I thank you for your divine protection over things I cannot see. And I thank you for loving me unconditionally, growing me daily for what you have prepared for me. Comforting me in times of sorrow. Turning tears into dancing. In your name, we forever praise. Amen.
God has always spoken to my heart through music, so I also want to leave you with some encouraging songs that relate to this message :)
My Way by Jeremy Greene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lwZfa2Kl8U
Trust in You by Lauren Daigle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv-SXz_exKE