“All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” Psalm 25:10
I’ve been up to my ears with guest lists, decorations, flowers, dresses, hairstyles, registries, and “wedding websites” because that’s apparently what brides are supposed to do. These things are threatening to take over my life if I’m not careful… I have to keep reminding myself that the only way I’m going to enjoy this season and not be overwhelmed is to keep this wedding extremely simple so that I can focus on the more important things…like preparing my heart for marriage.
Owen swept in to my life seemingly out of nowhere and I was just getting used to him actually existing when he proposed! So our wonderful engagement has taken some time for me to get used to. I finally feel like I’m starting to get my bearings. I can only imagine what it must be like for my friends that didn’t even know that Owen and I were communicating with each other. On the website that I created for our family and friends, the story of our engagement that I gave was: We messaged, we met, we fell in love, Owen proposed, Carrie said yes, and now we’re getting married! And it was literally just about that quick.
We started messaging after a friend introduced us on facebook at the end of March. Our messages became more consistent, lengthy and personal in May and then we met face to face the first of July. Deep in my heart I had hoped that he liked me but I didn’t allow myself to go down that road (I had had too many false starts before). For him, when we met for coffee that first weekend, it sealed the deal. We also met the second weekend in July and my heart and hope began to stir because of his sweet attentions. That Sunday after church, he hugged me goodbye as I got in my car to drive back home…I lived on that hug for at least three days after.
We still lived in different States, so when I returned home our phone and internet communication quickly increased. The next time we saw each other was in mid-August. Within the span of a weekend, we went from awkwardly holding hands on Friday evening to a marriage proposal on Sunday afternoon. Things just fell into place and were right. (By the way, I wouldn’t recommend this pace to anyone unless they’re both committed, seasoned Christians, have mutual friends that can vouch for both, and are convinced of the Lord’s leading.)
I had come to a place in my life where I had my doubts that I would ever marry. I would go through seasons of intense loneliness but also times when I was content, even happy, to be single. But I still wanted to be married, to share my life with someone and spend my days serving the Lord with my husband. I knew that God answered prayer but wasn’t sure if I was just throwing rocks at a barred window with no chance of receiving an agreeable answer. One book that really helped me to persevere in this long-suffering prayer was A Praying Life by Paul Miller. His writing about God’s fatherly love, tender kindness and bountiful generosity was just what my heart needed to keep knocking.
I don’t believe that there are any biblical grounds for magic spells or fancy rituals that you have to do in order for God to answer your prayer the way you want (though I’ve heard advice similar to that from well-meaning people—like if you just stop looking for a spouse or if you just lose a few more pounds and learn to dress better or if you just go on the mission field, then one will just pop up from the dust or you’ll wake up with one less rib). No, the Bible says that the Lord is the Gift Giver, and it’s completely in His Hands and Wisdom as to the timing and rightness of the gift.
Owen and I can see the Lord’s hand in so many of the circumstances that we have found ourselves in over the years—mutual friends, decisions about school and life direction, and God’s work in both of our lives to make us so like-minded (though we had never met and have extremely different backgrounds). We see the Lord’s work in bringing us together. And neither of us would exchange all that we learned during our years of singleness to have met earlier. We are grateful for those years. They made us who we are and who our soon-to-be spouse has come to love. The Lord’s wisdom and faithfulness know no end. His providence and sovereignty over our lives is beautiful and fills our hearts with gratitude. He answers prayer at the perfect time in the perfect way.
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” Psalm 31:24