Even though I’d never met my future wife and she lived 8,500 miles away.
A year ago today, I got a friend request from a girl I’d never heard of.
Now we’ve been married for four months.
Pretty much everything about our love story is different from what I had imagined, and I’m so thankful for that.
The verse, “A man’s heart devises his way, but the Lord directs his steps,” is so true. (Proverbs 16:9)
The wife God had for me is so much more wonderful than I could have ever hoped for.
My plans don’t match God’s plans
I have hardly ever added someone on Facebook that I haven’t met, and never added anyone that I hadn’t been introduced to.
So on this day a year ago when a friend request popped up, I ignored it. A couple of hours later a message came through. Rachel was saying she lived way over in Virginia, talked about our mutual friends and connections and said she’d like to friend me. Her picture was pretty cute too.
I thought, why not add her back, it’s not really going to hurt me. And then I ignored her for two more days while I thought about it.
Then I did add her. We started swapping messages each day. We were like-minded on a lot of things. Like really.
After chatting for a couple of weeks, I told her I wanted to call her. A week later, I called her again with video.
At that point I knew it was time to get serious. I prayed a lot and talked to my counselors (and friends who knew her), then I called her again and told her I wanted to come and meet her and pursue a relationship with her to see if we should marry. After talking to her dad we were in a relationship.
Our love story is so fragile
Looking back, it overwhelms me how fragile our story is.
If any number of things had gone differently we would never have met, and I would have missed out on marrying my wife.
Except of course I wouldn’t have! God is in control.
All those years Rachel and I were wondering who God had for us and how He was going to get us together, we needn’t have worried. God brought as together in His perfect timing.
All the circumstances seem so fragile. Like if you touched any one of a hundred small details in our past, our story would have been broken and we would have never ended up together.
We would never have heard of each other, if we didn’t have mutual friends who moved to New Zealand, met me and got to know me, and then moved back to the States.
We still would have never crossed paths if I hadn’t, on a whim, decided to set my Facebook privacy so that friends of friends could see my updates (seeing as they were mostly Bible verses). And then Rachel’s mom saw those updates and asked a friend about me.
Our story is completely impossible to plan, it gives us no hope of orchestrating it ourselves.
It reminds me of salvation. The standard of righteousness required is so far beyond us, it’s an insult to God to try and earn or work our way to it. We have to fully rely on Him for our salvation.
I feel it’s the same way in our lives. The plans God brings together are so far out of our hands, so completely out of our control, that we just have to give it all over to the Lord and trust Him with it.
I’m not saying don’t be proactive. Rachel and I both took a lot of action, and we were both very decisive. But in the end, the ‘chances’ our story required were well outside of our control.
Courtship (or whatever word you want)
It was three months before I would be able to make the trip to meet her. They were a long three months of wondering what it would be like when we met in person. But they were also very valuable.
I believe it’s so important to know what your intended thinks and believes. Being only able to call each other meant we had a lot of focused time to discuss every issue we could think of and do Bible studies together.
I wondered if it was possible to be really in love with someone you hadn’t met. But we both tried hard to not express too much of what we were feeling.
We finally met in the middle of a freezing night at the airport in Washington DC. She was the most captivating person I’d ever known. Within two days I knew I would marry her.
Before we met, I had told Rachel that if things went well she should come to New Zealand so she could see the place before we made any big decisions.
After a week I knew I couldn’t live without her. And I couldn’t go home without being engaged and telling her how much I loved her.
I asked her parents for permission to marry her. They gave their blessing and we raced off so her mom could help me find a ring before Rachel got home from work.
The next day I proposed. She was shocked. I will always remember that moment as one of the most precious in my life. She gasped with both hands over her mouth and was shaking for minutes after she had said yes.
I came home to New Zealand for the ten longest weeks of my life.
We ran together when she met me at the airport for the second time. I still couldn’t believe that I got to hold onto her for the rest of our lives.
And we lived happier than I could have ever imagined.
The desires of our hearts
Rachel and I have prayed for each other for a long time, without knowing who the other one was.
The Bible says “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
Rachel is so much more than my desires. She is a treasure more precious than my heart could have dared to hope for.
I guess there were a lot of obstacles to us getting together and we had to make some bold decisions along the way. But it all seemed easy. The decisions might have been big, but they were obvious.
I believe it’s because God was directing our story. It was His will.
God’s plan for me is better than my plan for me
The fact that we never could have controlled our meeting or made it happen would be scary if we didn’t have faith in God.
Our faith isn’t that we’d get the future we wanted, or even get a spouse at all. But there’s nothing scary about our story being out of our control.
It’s in the control of a God who loves us more than we love us. He wants better things for us than we want for ourselves. And He also has the power to carry out what He wants for us.
He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)
Lord, I’m so thankful for the amazing gift my wife is. After salvation I can’t think of anything better you could have given me than this daughter of yours.
Rachel, I love you with all my heart. You are the best of my life.