I am getting married this week and I can safely say that I am overwhelmed. From last-minute preparations to endless questions, it’s mind-boggling. Nevertheless, the Lord will reveal something to me in this sweet season. And that’s what I pray I never forget.
Growing up, I wasn’t the typical girl who was into boys, makeup, and fancy clothes. To be honest, I was a nerdy girl obsessed with the latest novels, writing prompts, and aesthetic activities. And to this day, I rarely wear makeup or care about such things. Life is too short to hide your face and hide your true form. But in high school, I tried to change the way I looked and acted because I wanted someone to like me. Not only did I start wearing make-up, but I cared way too much about my dress, my appearance, and my worldly means. I was still a nerd, but she was a nerd trying to be something she wasn’t.
I have been fighting this demon for years, the demon of pretending to be someone you are not. I didn’t understand why people who like me don’t like me. And no matter how hard I tried, everything I did was in vain. I was single and spouseless and was like all the soles of my shoes that were discarded or lost in the laundry room. I now know that the Lord was teaching me lessons that I could not understand until many years later.
After entering college, I decided to stop wearing make-up and clothes that other people liked and just be myself. When I turned 21 and had never been on a date, I started going back to my old ways. Every time I fell in love with a man, I tried to pursue him. I offered to bake them cookies, write them kind notes, and help them with their homework. I was in the friend zone many times, even though I was doing it wholeheartedly.
I hit a breaking point near the end of my senior year of college. All my friends had graduated, but I had just finished my degree, so I had to take an extra year of classes. Not only did I feel alone and scared, but I honestly began to wonder what was wrong with me. On the outside, I was thriving. I started a dance ministry in college, volunteered in numerous ministries, hosted Bible studies, led a small group, and joined a large group of friends. But underneath that was a girl who constantly wondered if she was good enough for someone else. Who.
At 222, I looked my closest friends in the eyes and told them how I felt. She asked me if she had surrendered that longing to her Lord. Of course, I murmured: I was a Christian, so I certainly did. But the more I looked at her, the more I realized the depth of her words.
That day, I surrendered my desires to God. And after years of crying and praying on my bedroom floor, I felt at peace that day. Not because I thought God would put me in a relationship, but because I trusted Him even if He didn’t. I knew that whether I was single or not, God had and would continue to fulfill his promises to me. Regardless of my relationship status, he never hurt me or left me feeling lost. Less than a week later, I met my soon-to-be husband. That said, I certainly wasn’t interested at the time.
After offering God my desire to be in a relationship, I focused on participating in the missionary journey that God called me to do. No matter what, I vowed to stay focused in this adventure, pursue the Lord’s call, and serve Him. I was stunned when I was informed that all the female slots for this trip were full and that I needed a male companion. I was friends with a lot of people, but it seemed a little outlandish to talk to and persuade a man to go on a mission trip with me for reasons other than serving God. Yet I prayed and prayed and prayed more.
Less than a month into my trip, God brought Ben into my life. My dance partner is also a man and he had already promised to go on a trip with me, but I wanted them both to feel at ease. If you plan to travel around the world, you should have ammo! Ben and I were polar opposites. He was the number one IT nerd in school and I was the dance captain. He was introverted and awkward. I was extroverted and confident. He found his spare time in sports, video games and nature. I despised him two of his three. But as we prepared for our trip, Ben and I found a connection with the Lord. I was impressed with his devotion to God and he was amazed at how genuine my faith was. If you go to a Christian college, you’ll think everyone you meet is real. Unfortunately, most were not.
By the time the trip started, I thought Ben was interested in me, but I was denied. Many times I have said to God: “I don’t care if he likes me. I’m focused on you and this trip. I won’t be distracted by the boys.” I hated the old adage, “Love comes when you’re not looking for it.” I also rolled my eyes every time it was suggested. But that’s exactly what happened.
When you question your plans
Shortly after returning from a mission trip, Ben invited me to join him. He was my first date, my first boyfriend, and the first man to show interest in me and pursue me seriously. I didn’t have to chase him. He didn’t have to prove his worth. And I didn’t have to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. But after just a few months, our spark was extinguished. Our Fourth of July love affair was a fluke, I prayed to God to date and marry one person, and I was devastated to break up with him. I told God I was stupid and sorry. I must have been all wrong. Maybe I wasn’t ready after all.
Over the next month, Ben and I remained friends but distanced ourselves. I knew he still loved me, but every time we spent time together, he got me a different version of Ben than he thought I wanted. . Remember when I mentioned the cynicism of my high school impressions of him?He was a sweet, kind and loyal man, but I didn’t really know him. I knew he needed space. From November to December of that year, the change of season brought a change to me as well. I never imagined Ben and I would be together again, and yet we are here. Because once he was myself, I fell in love. So did he. Not for loving perfection, but for love where two imperfect people learn to be themselves and to love each other in the Lord.
July 2023 will be over five years since we first met. Our wedding is the complete fulfillment of a promise I have been praying for over 13 years. For years I wondered if God would hear and answer my prayers. You can imagine my face when Ben and I took the plunge. Still, here I am, about to marry the only man I’ve ever dated. Because that’s what I prayed for.
Even though the last minute preparations for my wedding are still overwhelming, I am writing this post to praise God for the overwhelming goodness in my life. And while I am excited about this marriage journey, I also know that this is just the beginning of God’s wonderful plan for me. My love story is one I never could have imagined. It wasn’t what I expected. That’s not what I was thinking. But that’s not all. It’s all God knew I needed. And even more. It is more than I could ask, think, pray, or imagine, and I am grateful.
I have a lot of work to do, but I want to never forget the goodness of God that has been inscribed in my life since day one. This marriage and covenant we are about to enter into is just one of God’s many promises to be fulfilled. Marriage is often put on a pedestal. I think that’s why we recognize God’s faithfulness in what is being broadcast to large segments of society. But I want to be able to recognize God’s goodness in all areas of my life, married or not. Especially the small, mundane things we miss every day.
- A kiss from my dog, Lucky, who welcomes me after a long and hard day.
- A gentle breeze blowing in the strong sunshine.
- Chatting with an allergist who gives me weekly injections.
- The pain I endure reminds me that this is not my home.
Each one of those things reflects God’s goodness as much as my future marriage. Because they are nothing special, because they are good in all that God does. And while marriage is a big deal that symbolizes Christ and the Church, a sacred covenant, it is not the whole story. God is good in all things. He is loyal in everything. And marriage is just one of God’s many blessings.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/bfk92
Amber Ginter She is a young adult author currently working as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love of writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and service. I have. Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the gospel through her writing, her aesthetic worship arts, and her volunteer work. She is enrolled in the YWW Author Conservatory to become a full-time author and is also a featured author on Crosswalk.