Ps 103:2 ”Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
All my life you have been faithful…
And all my life you have been so, so good…
With every breath that I am able, oh I will sing of the goodness of God.
July 13, 2019 around 7am
The song was playing in the background as we had breakfast. My sister could not have chosen a better song for the occasion. It suddenly hit me that indeed, all my life,
up until that day, the Lord had been faithful and good to me. You see, it may have been an ordinary Saturday to many people, but to me, it was no ordinary day. It was my wedding day!
The wedding morning scenario had played out four times in our house when I was a bridesmaid at my sisters’ weddings. Wake up early, eat a hearty breakfast that always included meat and then get ready. Around 9am or 10am the cars would be honking outside the gate. The women would dance, the beautiful bride would come out, we would pray and then proceed to church. I would enjoy the wedding day and then I would go home – alone and single. I had also been a bridesmaid in more weddings than I cared to count. At 39 (I had celebrated my birthday the weekend before), almost all my peers and close girlfriends were married. I had rejoiced from my heart at their weddings. I had danced and made merry and then gone back home alone, to my quiet, single life. I didn’t know if or when it would ever be my turn to be the bride.
Something interesting happens as you get older and you are not married. You worry that you will never get married. You worry that the odds are against you. That you are growing old. You feel like your window for getting married has passed. It’s a very frustrating emotion because you still want to get married! For me, it was especially hard each time my birthday would come around. It was a reminder that I was getting older and I was not married. I was not dating anyone – if anything, any relationship I started seemed to die almost as fast as it started.
God had blessed me so much in every other area though. I had a family that loved me – and a small team of nieces and nephews who brought me so much joy; they still do! My career was also growing. I had a job I loved and enjoyed. I was also very active in church, teaching Sunday school every Sunday. I was surrounded by many loving friends. I mostly enjoyed my time alone, I read a lot, I exercised, I made healthy meals, I prayed, but somehow, all these did not take away the desire for marriage.
The Turn Around
As I turned 37, God revealed to me that I had idolized marriage. You can read about that here. As the Lord brought me to repentance, the hardest part for me was trusting that if I did not get married, He still had a plan for my life. I purposed to trust God no matter what happened and to pursue His plans for my life. I discovered that getting married is not the main thing in life. It is good, but it is not our main purpose. We were created to know the Lord, be in a relationship with Him and discover our purposes in Him.
Jesus said that “Eternal life is to know God, and Jesus whom you have sent,” John 17:3.
And so at 37, for the first time in many years, my heart was free, I was enjoying life and I was actually proud of my age. I was no longer ashamed to be 37. I still longed to get married, but I was not in bondage to the desire. I was not going back to the bondage of idolatry. Also, I was no longer desperate. As I had come to discover, desperation in either a man or woman is extremely unattractive. It’s not that I was not interested in men, but I was not clinging to anyone just because they liked me. I only wanted God’s will. For a husband, I mostly wanted a man who also lived for God’s purpose, not merely for marriage. Sometimes I was concerned that my standard was too high, but knowing what I knew, I could not lower the standard. In fact, I preferred to remain single than get married merely for the title Mrs.
One thing some single women obsess about is when you meet a guy you like and seem to click. You worry if he will call you. You go over and over the connection you felt and wonder if he felt it too. You pray prayers that start with – “God, if he is the one, let……”
You had a life before you met this guy. Keep it simple. This is what I learned after God delivered me from idolatry. If I met a guy I felt I connected with, I thanked God for the connection, blessed the guy and asked God to order his steps and his life and as much as possible, I tried not to dwell on the connection.
I knew one thing – if a man wants you, he will come after you.
So the onus was not really on me. I had chosen to believe that God will give me favor in the eyes of the right man, and he would be the one to come after me.
Now that my heart was free, it became a very purposeful season for me. It’s like life made sense because I was not looking at life from the aspect that “marriage is meant to fulfil me”.
I learned that Jesus is the ultimate gift and He was well able to fulfill me. I also learned that there was purpose in my life apart from a husband. There was purpose in my job. In me being a daughter, a sister, an auntie, a Sunday school teacher, a friend, but most of all, a child of God. In fact, that remains my primary identity even as a wife.
The year 2018 began like any other for me.
I went for the kesha at our church. I wanted to pray for a husband as I did every beginning of the year. But it was no longer a desperate pressing need unlike in previous years. In January 2018, our church was doing a 21-day fast. This was the first time in years I was participating in the corporate fast. I always had excuses as to why I could not join in the fast – I was working, I had no time to pray…. But then a friend challenged me to fast even if it was just one meal. Think about it – you are probably not working between 6am and 8am, or after 5pm.
During the fast, I prayed (again) that if it was God’s will, that He would bring my spouse, but I also prayed that I would walk in His purposes. Fasting is powerful because it makes us more sensitive in the Spirit. Jesus fasted before He officially launched His ministry. Ezra fasted before he and the group of Israelites went back to Jerusalem. Esther fasted before she approached the king about the destiny of the Israelites.
Soon after the fast, the church I was attending was launching a ministry for singles over 30. I was very very excited about it because when you are older and unmarried, somehow you don’t fit in the typical youth group. I was looking forward to meeting people who were also in my season. So I dived right in. I started to organize meetings, I spread the word about the ministry, prayed and served in every way I could in that ministry. This also gave me a chance to be with other singles, to hear their stories and share mine. We would hold monthly meetings – picnics, seminars, etc.
This was the most fulfilling season of my single life as I met brothers and sisters who understood the joys and challenges of being single and over 30. We laughed. We prayed for one another. We encouraged one another. We made friends.
On Saturday August 11, I rose up early to make pilau for the team. We were having a picnic at Arboretum and I was looking forward. I didn’t know that my life was about to change forever. The Psalmist talks about the time to favor Zion. “Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion, for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.” Psalm 102:13.
Sometimes we can pray for so long about something, until we get used so to praying and waiting.
However, the Bible says that the needy will not always be forgotten (Psalm 9:18). The time to favour me in the area of my marital destiny had come and when God’s timing comes, nothing can stop it.
Click here to read Part II