I'm going to retell a story from a good friend of mine who has the kind of faith to move mountains. This is for the romantics out there. This one is pretty crazy...
Angela came from a strong Christian family, her father being a pastor in the midwest. Her and Matt met through mutual friends. She was 23 and he was a few months older. She had never dated much because she knew the relationships weren't right, but when she met Matt he was exactly what she wanted. They hung out all the time and because she knew she was falling for him she began to pull away out of fear of being hurt, using the excuse that she was about to take a new job at a church and shouldn't let herself be distracted. She assured herself she was just being obedient to God and figured He would work things out in the right time. Well, a month later Matt began dating another girl. Angela was devastated. She cried out to God in frustrated, "I'm trying as best I know how to be obedient, I don't throw myself at guys, I pray to you about everything. THIS is what happens?" She was crushed to say the least. As time went by, she thought maybe they would break up and he would come back. Not exactly. They dated for two years and Angela gave up the hope of anything happening. She began talking to Chris, an attractive guy who was known for begin manipulative and a player. She knew she shouldn't date him but there were no other prospects and she convinced herself he wasn't that bad. For two years she let herself be strung along by emotional manipulation and in the meantime her friendship with Matt had completely dissolved because of his serious relationship.
A few months later, Matt's girlfriend was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. His life became a rollercoaster for 6 months. All his time was spent at hospitals and healing conferences, desperate to see his girlfriend overcome this disease. Angela was heartbroken for them both and as she describes it - 'it was a psycho crazy season for me because I cared about Matt so much and didn't want to see him hurt. I felt so conflicted because I would pray for his fiance (he proposed during this time) and wanted so badly for her to heal from this, but at the same time I would struggle to control my thoughts about wanting to be with him. I felt guilty a lot. It was a crazy time for me".
Shortly after, Matt's fiance passed away. "I remember sitting in her funeral, listening to him talk about how amazing she was and hearing God's voice so strongly within me that I was going to marry Matt. That was crazy, I thought I was going crazy". Matt went through a time of depression and though they began to hang out as friends, Angela knew she had to be careful because she wanted to guard her heart from getting hurt like she did last time. He hadn't worked through a lot of things. They picked back up right where their friendship had left off and everything seemed to be hopeful again. Angela put up a thick wall so as not to let herself be too vulnerable, in case things didn't work out. After a few months of hanging out, there was a mutual unspoken agreement that they both needed space. Matt stopped calling and Angela stopped going out of her way to talk to him. She felt like it was obedience to God and that she was just doing what she knew God had told her to do. Surely God would 'fix' Matt and they would start dating in a few months and everything would be perfect.
Angela's world came crashing down yet again when Matt began dating another girl, Kelly. After two months of them hanging out, he and Kelly became official. Angela was furious at God. "Are you freaking kidding me?!!" She cried out. "This is what I get for obedience?!" She felt robbed. She knew Kelly was just a rebound so she thought God was stupid and she thought Matt was really stupid. She was done with guys. She felt she couldn't trust God with her love life and she most definitely couldn't trust Matt because he was an emotional idiot (her words).
One night she was vacuuming and talking to God about life, mumbling really. She started thinking about things and how ridiculous Kelly and Matt were. "Stupid. Stupid idiots," she thought. She made one last plea to God. "God, I really believe the desire is in my heart to be with Matt and I really believe this is from you. If you give me one more chance to hang out with him, I will take it. If he asks me to hang out I will say yes and not over analyze. I won't walk in fear, I won't put up a deep wall of self-preservation. I will say yes and never look back." Nothing happened for over a month and Angela swore off guys, truly content with being single for the rest of her life. She didn't want the drama and convinced herself it wasn't worth it. About another month or two later, she was at her house and Matt had left something in her car from church. He needed to pick it up so he stopped by her house. He came in and just started rambling. "Omg you emotional idiot. Leave me alone and go talk to your girlfriend" she thought to herself. She wouldn't even make eye contact. Before he left he asked if she wanted to play cards sometime. All she could think about was her promise to God. Her heart was torn. She sincerely had no desire to hang out with him anymore but because she had made a promise to God, she decided she would but only if there were friends there. Thats how it was for the next month. Anytime they were together she made sure that she had at least one friend with her. She had such a deep love for him but she was determined to protect her heart. Her walls began to breakdown and she noticed herself being more open with Matt, letting him in.
About two months later, after much time and hanging out, he told her he liked her. They took things super slow and had many conversations with mentors, friends, pastors before finally dating each other. Angela had a lot to work through because with her counseling degree, she analyzed everything. Matt would still wear his ex-fiance's ring around his neck and had pictures of her. She had reservations but made the decision to let go of her fears and allow God to do what he wanted to do in her. They began dating and communicated honestly about everything. They worked through a lot of stuff, including the ring, and although there were times of confusion and imperfection, it was different. They were in it together, navigating through the difficulties. They dated three years before they were married. From the initial friendship it was 6 years. 6 years of wondering what God was doing, 6 years of questioning herself and His faithfulness, if she actually did hear God. She will tell you that the verse that ultimately got her through was "those who hope in the Lord will never be disappointed." When she finally realized that she needed to put her hope in God, not marriage, not Matt, not if he was ever going to break up with these different girls, not in their friendship...not in anything but God, that's when she felt peace. Then, and only then, would she not be disappointed and hurt.
From Angela: "Even throughout our dating life (almost 3 years) there were most definitely tough times of wondering if I was really supposed to be with Matt. We have our differences and we don't always see eye to eye on things. And MARRIAGE, thats another one. But God is most faithful and it's true, if I delight myself in the Lord (not in if things and circumstances are lining up in my favor) He will give me the desires of my heart. I would say more than anything, guard your heart. It can be tricky, but keep your guard up (not marrying a guy in your mind, setting certain emotional boundaries etc) without building walls. God is leading and guiding you. Rest and trust that He is perfecting everything that concerns you and He withholds no good thing. He has better than you could ask or imagine."
Matt and Angela are happily married with two beautiful children.
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