Almost a month ago, I celebrated my last birthday as a single woman. Four months from now, I would be saying "I do" to my fiance whom God brought into my life. Until now, I am still amazed how God brought us together.
I thought that being a Christian is just about being saved from the furnace of hell and going to heaven and be with God. But when I started to attend Dgroups (discipleship group/small groups) in CCF Cebu, I know that my finite mind cannot comprehend and grasp the power and magnificence of God and His unconditional love. As I continue to attend, my life has been changed from the inside out. It's not an easy journey but God has always been protecting me and guiding me to go back to Him every time I turn my back on Him. I'm so eternally grateful that God never gave up on me.
My Saturday Dgroup - Almost complete
My Dgroup leader encourage me to attend Global Leadership Center Level 1 to help establish my Christian faith. Soon enough, I enrolled on Level 2 to help me grow as a Christian, and to build and develop me on how to be an ambassador for Christ. One of the courses in level 2 is about Family Life. For the month of August, we talked about God's design for the family, the role of the husband and the wife and the legacy that you can leave on your family. It is during this course that God spoke to me about praying for my God's best again. It was unusual because a few months before that, I told God that I would endure single blessedness for as long as He will give me the grace to embrace it. I did surrender my singleness to Him knowing that He would do so much more in my life than I could do for myself.
So, I listened to God. This time I know it's Him but I wonder why He would asked me to pray for my God's best when I already surrendered only a few months ago. But I obeyed anyway not knowing what's going to happen. So, I searched online about what do single women usually pray if they finally want to meet their future husband. Because I know that swhenever I pray for my God's best before, I don't feel excited about it. I know there was something wrong with my prayer. When I found an article about praying for your future husband, I realized how shallow and selfish my prayers were. And as I started to pray, my heart became at peace and there's anticipation and expectation that I would finally meet him because I know that my prayers for my future husband are God-centered.
His birthday last November 2012 - with his family and close relatives (we'll make the family complete next time)
God really works in mysterious ways because He used a few people to lead me to him. I was actually introduced to John almost 2 years ago through a friend who knows my sister. But it was only last June 2012 that I had the chance to talk to him. The culinary school that I'm working for is in need of a photographer to take the class pictures of the 2nd year graduating students. I called my Dgroup leadger if she could recommend someone. She referred me to John. At first I was hesitant because I don't really know him. I didn't have any choice so I called him and told him the details. I also sent him a text message if he could show me a sample of his work. He visited the school and showed the school of the pictures he took before. I believe that was start of our conversation. (But he didn't take the pictures for the school) John is also leading his own Dgroup together with another female leader which is composed of predominantly Filipino-Chinese but a mix of male and female members. I was invited and encouraged by a few people to try the Dgroup because of the ethnicity. But I wasn't interested to attend. I'm already comfortable and at home with my Saturday group. There was a also a time that my dgroup leader called me because the pastor is looking for someone to substitute the female leader while she's away for two weeks. But because of my other appointments in school, I wasn't able to lead. When she came back, she also encouraged me to attend and was able to find someone to drive me back to my place. With no excuse I finally attended their group sometime in July.
I think John and I became closer through dinners, movies and outings with other fellow CCF members.It was in mid-August that God has been reminding me of John every time I pray for my future husband. Whenever I ride with John to the Dgroup place, God revealed to me John's heart towards Him as he told me stories about his spiritual growth. And God only allowed me to see His heart and nothing else.
As I continue to pray, I asked God everyday to guard my heart because I know if f I allow myself to be emotionally involved with him, I know that I wouldn't be able to escape unnecessary emotional pain. And by His grace, God protected my heart and only see John as my brother in Christ. I told God that I want to do the right thing this time and if John is not the one that I will marry, I don't want our friendship to develop and asked God to redirect my path. I continue to write in my journal asking God to give me a sign if He wants to develop our friendship. I've been asking God every day for signs and answers. But God eventually develop our friendship even through text messages. But still, I don't know what John's intentions are, so I told my friend who introduced me to him, asking her if I should ask John where is our friendship going because I might be preventing him from meeting his God's best. I know in my heart that I've talked to the right person because John started in their Dgroup and she knows him quite well. Eventually, my friend told the pastor about my side of the story and she told me that the pastor will talk to me and John in a week. I just learned from my friend that John talked to the same pastor as well. That made me nervous. Is there something that John knows that I don't know. Indeed, God is at work because John has his own story
I continued to pray to God for clarity and as I did my quiet time on the last Sunday of September, God gave me His word in Psalm 32:8: "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you." I took that verse as a sign that refers to John, either he stops or he continues is the instruction and leading of the Father. The moment I read the verse, I already knew that God has a surprised for me. That night, I'm just supposed to meet him and his sister for dinner but I ended up having dinner with his family. And no, he didn't plan it. It was just one of God's providential hand.
Two days after that, the pastor talked to me and John. I was nervous but I went for it anyway not knowing what is it all about. As I listened to the pastor, it dawned on me that he's actually talking about marriage when he asked me if I could see myself being with John. I didn't hesitate to say yes. When he asked me if I'm willing to submit to John in the future as a wife because I'm older than him, I also said yes without any doubt. Bringing honor and glory to God is the heart of every Christian relationship. The pastor went straight to the point asking us to get to know each other for 1 month (without commitments) through a book that he recommended. "" is a guidebook where each chapter allows both of you to ask questions about each other. For 1 month, John and I almost met every day to do our "assignment" of getting to know each other and praying together. Ultimately, John and I have grown closer even before the end of 1 month.
When we first shared a cheesecake, he said I ate three-fourths of it.
When we met with the Pastor again on the 1st week of November, he asked us if we've grown closer and how God spoke to us about each other. We told him that God brought us closer together and after praying about it, I told him that I'm sure about John. As the pastor continues to talk, I was expecting him to say that we can commit to each other already. No, he didn't say that. He said something like we have to start doing our long-term plan; we have to get married within one year; choose the date of the wedding and make reservations with the hotel or restaurant and then we'll start scheduling your pre-marital counseling and also you can start planning for your wedding 6 months before. I was quiet, very quiet. But deep inside, I'm not sure if I heard it right. Am I really getting married? I have to remain calm. But I'm not yet ready. I'm not yet ready financially. But the truth is I won't be ready financially for the rest of my life. If I'm going to wait to be financially stable, I might as well not be in a relationship.
With my family
After the counseling, John talked to me that he already knew it beforehand. He wouldn't even dare to pursue me if he didn't have the circumstances that led him to me, God's word, and even financial support. For a week, I remained calm outside and slightly panic on the inside. Probably it's because I could never see myself getting married in my lifetime. There was fear and anxiety, instead of peace of contentment. But John reminded me of how God spoke to me through his Word. God would never lead me and guide me to John if it's not the best pathway of my love life. John experienced the same thing but when God gave Him assurance through his word in Psalm 111:7-8: "All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity". John experienced peace and even before we had the chance to know each other, he already told told me, in his mind (and later on to me), "You're my wife", and that was still in September before we had our first meeting with the pastor. And only God and God alone can write those kind of romance.
As I get to know John better, God truly wants the best for my life. God never made a mistake. And as I recall how God led me to John, and also John to me, I am still amazed how God authored and guided our love story. It's so different from the fallen world that we're used to. It might be old-fashioned for some people but God is not never outdated. People do have different reaction with our story but the best response were the ones who are speechless because they understood that only God and God alone can orchestrate everything in perfect alignment.
As I was praying for my God's best, I finally decided that no matter what, I wouldn't settle for anything less. Whom you marry really matters. And from my prayers, I asked God that I want to marry someone who is a real Christian; someone who truly has a relationship with God and a heart towards God. And because of that prayer, God honored it. During the time that I'm getting to know John, I already know that John is the person that I want to spend the rest of my life. And because of what happened between us, I could finally say that a love story written by God is the best love story ever told. I wouldn't have it any other way.