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A Change of Plans

A year ago my life changed.

After spending the majority of my adult life as a single woman, working in urban ministry, I met the man of my dreams. He had it all—a great job, incredibly good looks, a heart for the Lord, a great sense of humor and athleticism.

I entered the relationship cautiously, wondering if God may actually be fulfilling the ultimate desire of my heart. That seemed too good to be true.

Within seven weeks of knowing one another, we confessed our love, and six months after that, we were engaged. Our announcement was met with delight from our families and friends. As both of us are from praying, Christian homes, our parents were assured that God had finally provided the mate they had been praying about for their child.

The wedding was planned with relative ease—tuxes were picked out, sites were found, dresses were purchased and altered, plane tickets bought, rings selected, our Honeymoon was paid for, gifts and RSVPs steadily arrived.

It was done. I’d arrived. I was ready to enter the world of marriage; my search for “the one” was finally over. We were delighted in the fact that we’d be together forever—never having to go through the pain of a breakup.

That’s when the unthinkable happened; 18 days before our wedding, I called it off. While I was determined to go through with the wedding, God had other plans. He was the only one who could see that in the midst of how perfect our relationship appeared, there was a lot under the surface that wasn’t as dreamy.

We were both performers, able to work a crowd, always the life of the party—the “fun” couple, but when we were alone, it didn’t feel as fun. It wasn’t that there was something wrong being done, it was more that something right wasn’t.

A month and a half before our wedding, I began having doubts. I started to fear that maybe he wasn’t “the one.” I talked to many advisors, mentors, parents; they all told me it was wedding jitters. I believed them. Burying my doubts, I plowed full speed ahead toward the altar. I was determined not to let such a good man get away.

Soon, a knot in the pit of my stomach began to develop. It was always there, a constant ache, anxiousness. Though I was smiling, picking out flowers and decorations on the outside, my head and stomach were churning. I began to withdraw from people who I knew would recognize that something wasn’t right with me.

I tried to spend as much time with him as possible. I hoped that if we could continue to throw ourselves into wedding planning, the dull ache would go away.

It didn’t. The ache began to prevent me from eating. As I started to lose weight, everyone commented on how I must be getting ready for the wedding, dropping a few pounds to look great in my dress. I would smile and agree with them, wishing that was the truth.

The ache and emptiness in the pit of my stomach began to engulf my soul. A month before my wedding, I was joyless and empty. I would wake up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, knowing that God was asking me to do the unthinkable, but wake up in the morning to fake it all over again.

Finally, after finding my bachelorette weekend with six of my closest friends a miserable time, I knew that these feelings were more than wedding jitters. I knew what I had to do. I called my mom, tears filling my eyes, sorrow and pain overcoming my heart, “I can’t do it, Mom.”

“That’s OK,” she replied, “you don’t have to.”

The rest is a whirlwind. I told him that I couldn’t marry him on our set date, but that I would like to postpone. After taking a day to think about it, he decided that postponement wasn’t an option for him. So, in the end, we did break up.

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I realized in hindsight that God had been speaking to me all along, I just didn’t want to hear what He was saying. A month and a half before my wedding God asked me the unthinkable: “Do you trust me enough to call this off?”

In doing so, He was asking me to face my biggest fear—not getting married, the thing that I really want most in life. For me, not getting married means that God really isn’t as good as I say He is. It means He really doesn’t fulfill the desires of our hearts, and that’s scary.

But God asks us to give Him the things that are dearest to our souls, the desires of our hearts. That’s what He did with Abraham when He asked him to sacrifice his promised son, Isaac. That doesn’t make sense, though! God promised to give Abraham a son and finally, after years of waiting, God came through, with Isaac. Why in the world would God ask Abraham to give up that gift? In my opinion, it is for the same reason He asked me to call off my wedding. God wants us to love Him more than we love His promises. The minute we get those out of order, He readjusts us.

I am readjusted.

Unlike Abraham, He didn’t stop me at the last minute on this one, He let me do it, and He’s been carrying me ever since.

I am not sure how my story will end. I know God’s got a lot of work on His hands; there is a lot of healing that must take place.

At the end of the day, however, I can say “I trust you, God,” and mean it; I haven’t meant that in regards to relationships my whole life; that’s the area I’ve kept just for me, thinking that my judgment in that area is better than His.

I am thankful for His grace that saved me from ruining my life by pursuing my dream.

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