(I have started this post three times now, intending to post it since Saturday! Sorry for the delay:D)
Thank you all so much for your sweet comments! Between blog comments, e-mails, facebook comments, and phone calls, my week has been rather umm, busy, responding to people:). I have been so amazed by the way the Lord put Nat and I together, and then I was overwhelmed by everyone offering congratulations! Quite literally, people across the country have joined in with us in celebrating. Of course, many of those people added the little "I knew it!" or "I was praying for you two to get together!" phrases:).
Before I get to our story though, I want to give a little background in getting to this point. In fact, our story won't even make it into today's post! I guess this is just a teaser to have y'all tune in next time;0).
It is always a choice to follow the Lord when He leads. After being in a very unsatisfying dating relationship at age 15, I determined before the Lord that I would not date around to find the right guy for me. It just wasn't worth it and the Lord showed me from His Word that it was my choice ~in fact, my responsibility ~ to keep my heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). Easy to say, hard to do!
With good intentions firmly tucked in my mind, I embarked on this journey of keeping my heart. Isn't it true that when you determine to do good, the carrot is dangled in front of you to do something that seems to be good, but in reality is second-best? I had that happen to me - quite unintentionally, I assure you! One of the girls at church got engaged at 18 and suddenly the rest of us girls between 14-17 all thought that was going to happen to us:). Girls are funny creatures and once an idea gets established in their minds, there is no shaking them out of it!
My expectation at 18 was to "flip the tassel and say I do." My graduation from high school came and went, as did my 19th and 20th years. Somewhere between my 20th and 21st year, it dawned on me that I was not fulfilling God's purpose in my life by just sitting around and waiting for Prince Charming to come sweeping in on a white horse and carry me off into the sunset. (Where do these ideas get churned up anyway?!?)
It was at that point that I took the advice a dear friend had given to me two years previously on my graduation day: use my season of singleness to serve the Lord and not waste it. I look back with much regret on my first two years out of high school, for I feel I squandered so much time that could have been wisely spent in deeper service to my King.
As a side note, if there is any advice I could pass on to girls just graduating from high school it would be the same advice my friend gave me: use your season of singleness for the Lord; you won't regret it!
I must say that advice was very liberating for me as I begun to apply it to my life. This advice was in keeping with the truth found in 1 Corinthians 7:34 ~ "The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord..." From that point on, I made it my priority to serve those around me and in doing so, I was able to experience so many new and wonderful things.
I was also able to take several short-term missions trips and this would be something I highly recommend to single gals. Do it while you can! If God gives you the burden to go, He will provide the rest. As a friend of mine likes to say, "God's not broke!" It's so much fun to step out and watch the Lord pull all the details together for whatever it is the Lord has given you the desire to do.
There is so much more I could write, but I won't:). Hopefully within the next few days (hmm, maybe I better say within the next week:D) I'll be able to post the rest of the story!