When God answers prayer He doesn’t hold back. In fact, I believe there are some prayers He answers where He tends to ‘show off’ just a bit. At the end of last year, I had mentioned in one of my articles about a singles group that I felt God wanted me to form. To have something in Chattanooga that was not about single people hooking up or hoping to find their ‘someone special’, but a group that would help singles overcome issues, learn from failures and accept single-hood and its purpose.
While I have prayed about this ministry for a few years, I knew the year 2013 was when God was going to call it into action. I just didn’t know the ‘how’ or the ‘who’ part. I had enlisted the help of a pastor who was single to lead the group. We had a meeting and a few conversations, but it became a ‘back-burner’ idea while his future was uncertain.
After many years of trusting that God would hear my own prayer to bring ‘the one’ into my own life, I knew to thoughtfully take in everything from my journey until that day came. I prayed for God’s wisdom and I spoke with several singles and gathered much information from their circumstances and feelings, as well as speaking to professionals and reading books that would give me a wealth of knowledge in ‘singles life’.
Being human, I would still have my own disappointments and times of impatience. This came again recently when I felt that I had jumped through all the hoops that God had wanted me to jump through. I had made the mistakes He would use to teach me… I was at a place where I didn’t know what more He wanted me to learn or experience before bringing that special man into my life.
When God brings something together, He leaves fingerprints and sometimes you don’t see them until after the fact. I had interviews for stories to do with two gentlemen the same week that I was really feeling down. During their interview, I had asked these men how they met their wife/fiancé. The first guy told me that he was in a place of despair and he cried out to God telling Him that he was just “done”. That was exactly how I was feeling! The next guy met his girlfriend in high school and had been with her ever since. He said, “When you know… you just know”.
I had heard that before and knew that it would be true for me too. Each date I tried, I would always pray “Lord IF this is who you have for me…” but deep down, each time I knew that it really wasn’t. I had hope and I looked for what God may be doing, but I never had that ‘knowing’. It was always “If only I could…” or “If they only…” because that person was not God’s complete answer for my life no matter what I did.
Feeling so discouraged knowing the latest dating attempts were not God’s answer – and knowing I was not in it to ‘date for fun’, I felt I was wasting my time. I didn’t want to go backward and cave again and not date, but I just wanted my love to walk into my life. I remembered what my friend Kevin said about being “done”. I cried out to God in that same way. I told him that if He didn’t have someone out there for me now, that I was done. Was I giving God an ultimatum? Was I manipulating? No… you can’t manipulate God! I know that. I was tired. I was emotionally drained of trying, and God understood. I still trusted Him and knew He would eventually answer, but I was tired of putting forth any efforts of my own.
When I told God that I was done, He said… “Finally!” The key word was that “I” was done. “I” was through trying to make something happen. I relinquished any control that I didn’t realize I was holding onto and I handed everything to God in that moment - even the singles ministry. I said, “God, maybe you didn’t want me to start a group after all… maybe you wanted me to just write a book about it.”
My hope and trust in God bringing a man in my life or bringing about this ministry was not failing, but I ‘rested it’ briefly while I had gotten so very discouraged. The next interview I lined up was a random person I didn’t know. As she and I corresponded in emails about our meeting, her friendliness was evident and we shared a little bit with each other as new friends. She was single as well and we mentioned the hardships of people in our age bracket meeting and dating people.
After having cried out to God, I didn’t want to meet anyone anymore. I meant it when I said I was done. But Janis told me that she ‘had a friend’ who was moving to Chattanooga who I should meet. I laughed, “Janis no! I just recently swore off men!” Janis didn’t push, but later when I went to interview her, she told me that she just really felt that God wanted her to introduce us. That perked up my ears because I knew Janis was a very faithful Christian woman and an awesome prayer warrior.
She began telling me about her friend Brian and what he was like. The moment she told me that he had been in ministry before his divorce and that now coming back to Chattanooga, he hoped to start a single’s ministry; I knew God wanted me to meet this man. If for nothing else, I knew he would be the leader of the group that God had put on my heart. God would, in fact, bring this group about as He promised.
As a Christian, I know it is important to back up any feelings we have with God’s word and confirmation from several sources, but at the same time, it is just like my friend Brock said, “When you know… you just know.” And I had a peaceful ‘knowing’ in my spirit that was different than ‘hopeful wanting’ or an ‘unclear urging’. This was tangible - I could hold onto this. I knew it was God-led.
Now, I still wasn’t jumping the gun about a romance with Brian, but I was okay with meeting him just because I was so excited about the ministry. Janis told me I should snoop over to Brian’s Facebook page and ‘just see’. As soon as I saw him, I knew.
“He is exactly my type!” I whispered to God. I was amazed to find out many similarities. Some necessary – our faith and our direction in life, but then I saw things that were just cute. He had three boys and so did I, his birthday was in August and so was mine, he liked Glenn Miller and so do I… this went on the more I snooped!
With Janis being the catalyst that she knew she was supposed to be, she received good vibes from us both as we opened up to the idea of meeting. Brian had shared with her how he had recently cried out to God and asked Him to bring ‘the one’ in his life. Janis already knew that I had done this same thing. There was a strong connection of spirits as God was moving in this.
On Facebook, I had clicked ‘like’ on a photo of Brian’s, knowing he had been talking to Janis about me and that we both had agreed to meet. But I didn’t ‘friend request’ him. The next day, he sent a friend request to me. When I accepted it, we both ‘liked’ a few of each other’s things and I went ahead and sent him an icebreaker-email. From there it was non-stop talking. Phone calls, text-messages, Facebook messages and emails. And I mean non-stop. We were … yes - twitter-pated! There was no need to do the usual ‘dating resume’ with other. We barely even discussed our likes and dislikes until days later. The first thing we talked about was our faith, the ministry and how wonderful God is.
I have heard others describe that ‘knowing feeling’ and I anticipated it when God would put that person in my life, but what I could not have known was the feeling of not even saying “if”. There was an absolute certainty and Brian and I both knew it! It was confirmed by scripture, by the sermon that next Sunday and people in our lives. All we had to do was meet in person! This seemed so crazy to have this assurance before even seeing each other. Having had “good feelings” or “excitement” when I was on Christian Mingle and about to meet a potential someone, there would also be that still small voice in the back of my mind telling me that they were not ‘the one’ and not to proceed. Remember my article “50 First Dates”? I now know why I could never get past the first date. God always said ‘no’.
I have done well in my anticipation and hoping, not to jump into something and thankfully I have heeded all warning signs - or God simply telling me to back off because it wasn’t what He had for me.
There is no “making people fit” into who God has for you. There is no “hurrying God up”. But when God comes rushing in with the answer to our prayers He does everything RIGHT. No guessing, no doubts – just His hand, His breath, His blessings all over it! If you can imagine standing at the vast ocean watching the rushing waves coming to shore and a strong breeze barreling in nearly taking your breath… and now imagine that feeling with knowing it is all God - God’s love showering you with His blessings. There was no “if” – there was an assurance of Him answering my long awaited prayers.
Brian had prayed to. He prayed for the Proverbs 31 woman. When I was younger I never thought I could ever be that woman, but Brian sees me in that light. Any other man who was in my path, God had put blinders on because it was only meant for my Brian to fall in love with me. When I had prayed years ago for my soul mate, I told God that I didn’t want to make another mistake or go before Him. I didn’t want to take one wrong step. I wanted a pure love and, I could not settle for less than a man following the heart of God.
When Brian moved back to Chattanooga we couldn’t wait another day. After packing, moving and driving from Alabama that day, he had to come see me! When he pulled up into my driveway, we locked into a beautiful hug and our bodies fit perfectly. It was the feeling of “home”. They say “home is where the heart is” and I have often said, that most of my life I never felt I really belonged and that whenever I would get upset, I would hear my thoughts cry out, “I just want to go home”. I knew I didn’t mean Heaven – it wasn’t a death wish… but it was a plea for that comfortable feeling of a place to belong. Being in Brian’s arms that day, I was finally home.
My sister from Kentucky was here because Mama was going to have rotator cuff surgery, so all my sisters got to meet Brian. After much fun gabbing, and watching him fit right in with my family, we took off for a late bite to eat and more talking and being together and saying “I love you” for the first time.
Yes, this came in like a rushing wind and I have often called God an “in the nick of time” God, but Brian and I will not be picking out china tomorrow. Just because we know God’s answer and His gift has been given, there is still work to do and steps to take - the time for developing and cultivating of our relationship. There are things needing to take place before we move where God has destined us to be.
The good news is - we get to do it together. There will be time, counsel and praying us through our new journey. For readers that have been reading my journey for a few years now, thank you when you send emails, good thoughts and for your support and rooting for me. I was off last week yet wrote my last article a few weeks ago before submitting it, so there has been time in between them. Brian and I have been enjoying our new-found love and anticipating the ministry ahead for us.
Currently, Brian is seeking employment. He was a music minister for over two decades and he recently achieved his MA in History. If anyone knows of something, please email me.
My sister from Kentucky had sent me an email before she came down here (and before I told her about Brian). She was just sharing something with me that she had heard in church, but it fit so well with what has happened for me and Brian. She said, "Claim the Victory first, then walk through the journey,” and we have claimed it and we look forward to this journey …together.