Everyone has something to say about being married or single. Not a day goes by that I don't see something on social media in regards to relationships. People give advice; share do's and don'ts; divulge way too much for my comfort; complain and lament. I lived the single life for a solid 32-years. There were plenty of moments when I thought I'd never find "the one." I had good dates, bad dates and blind dates. I had boyfriends (who never lasted more than 3-months), close guy friends, plus the typical 3rd wheel experiences. I've been left out for lack of a boyfriend and battled with feelings of loneliness. I certainly had my fair share of tears, plus my fair share of thrills and adventure.
Thru the years, I heard these 3 things over and over: I am too picky; too dominant for a guy to handle; and too busy for a serious relationship. But one thing I’ll never forget hearing was this from my dad: just be about my Heavenly Father’s business; the rest will fall into place.
And that's exactly what I did.
My husband came into my life at a time when I least expected it. I was the busiest I had ever been. I was coaching, youth pastoring, plus covering for my senior pastor for an extended amount of time. There wasn't much time to sleep, let alone date. Looking back, I just shake my head in amazement at the timing and working of my Heavenly Father.
On our one-year anniversary, Jimmy proposed. For me, it was story book. The proposal took me by surprise, leaving me in shock and tears. In fact, Jimmy had to get up off his knee to ask me if I was going to respond. I stood there with a lump in my throat and tears clouding my vision as I just stared at the ring, wondering if it was real. I just couldn't grasp that this was actually happening. But it was. I was getting married!
Here's what I wrote a few days after my engagement:
It has been worth the wait.
I have been told this so many times...it will be worth it. And guess what?!?!?! It is! How do I explain it??? I don’t know. It’s the old analogy of the farmer, working and sowing, then enjoying the fruits of his labor. It’s like my sports teams, working hard, seemingly beyond their capabilities and limits in practice, but it pays off in the game. The same is true for us. I mean, have you seen the rock on my finger?!?!?! Have you met Jimmy?!?!?! The wait is dull in comparison to what I am now reaping! And lets just add in that we both have chosen to save ourselves for marriage. Now that is priceless and the best gift I can ever give my husband on our wedding night. He has been worth the wait.
I’m so thankful I never compromised or settled.
Plenty of men have come and gone in my life, but I knew they weren’t for me. I’ve had my struggles, doubts, and dating mistakes, but always knew I could never be unequally yoked. And for me that doesn’t just mean being with a non-Christian. For me that means being with someone who is equal or beyond me in terms of their devotion to Christ. I need a guy I can look up to spiritually. So if that meant waiting a little bit longer, then waiting I would do! There’s no way I’d fall for any old schmuck who tried to sweet talk me, nor would I make the same mistakes as some of my friends who have settled. No way! Maybe they got tired of waiting, or didn’t believe they were worthy of God’s best; or maybe they thought He had forgotten them so they felt the need to take matters into their own hands. Not me. I didn’t want to be miserable and full of regrets. Did God not provide a ram for Abraham to sacrifice in place of Isaac??? God provides! But we have to trust Him...in EVERYTHING, like Abraham did, even when it meant his very son. I see how God’s hand has been on my life and spared me from settling as I’ve kept my eyes on Him, “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of my faith,” (Hebrews 12:2). And as unheard of as this is in today’s world, I AM A VIRGIN and am so thankful I didn’t give that up under peer pressure or to experience a moment of pleasure. I have a lifetime of that ahead with my husband, and God’s stamp of approval will be on it!
God knows best.
He knows me better than I know myself. He cares about the things that concern me. He has a plan for my life. He knows what I need, and don’t need, and when I need it! I trust Him. He’s in control of my life; He’s charting my course. Jimmy is perfect for me. He balances me; supports and encourages me in the various activities I’m involved in; gets along with my family and friends; is not intimidated by me; knows when to put his foot down with me; loves and values me for who I am; is passionate about Jesus; and is a Bill’s fan! The list goes on and on. God knew best when He brought us together. We are talking about the Creator of the world giving me the hook up! I’m so glad He’s in control of my life!
I have greatly enjoyed my life up until this point.
Being single is no curse. Get out and enjoy life. Travel. Take a class or 2 or 10. Get involved in something. Volunteer. There’s nothing restricting you but you. The devil makes us think we are something less because we aren’t dating or married. LIES! My fulfillment comes from Christ and Christ alone. If I can’t find happiness in God and God alone then I’ll never find it in another person. Every experience in my life has brought me to this place, fashioning and molding me into who I am today. I can also honestly say I am glad I didn’t get married when I was young. I’ve been out of the country several times; traveled all over the country visiting friends; gone sky diving and bungee jumping; been to all sorts of sporting events...the list goes on and on. Being single has allowed me great freedom that my married friends, or those with kids, don’t have. They should be envious of me, not me of them!
God’s ways and thoughts and plans are higher than mine.
My dear Aunt Carol told me a couple years ago that I was going to get the best spouse out of all my siblings. She told me God was saving the best for last. Now I knew God would take care of me, but the best??? I had my thoughts of what I wanted in my man. Jimmy exceeds all of them. But beyond him, there is the matter of timing. I’m so grateful for the years I’ve been able to pour into youth ministry and coaching. Now I’m excited for how God will use us among this generation as a couple. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him,” 1 Corinthians 2:9.
Jimmy and I will be married 3 years this fall. I love him and love living life with him by my side. But I'd never trade my pre-Jimmy years for anything. They were valuable and formative. My hope is God can use my story to encourage others as their story unfolds. No matter where we are in our stories, God fulfills His every promise in our lives. Married or single, that truth doesn't change.
Laurie serves as the co-pastor of New Testament Christian Church in Rochester, NY and has over a decade of full time youth ministry experience under her belt. She juggles a variety of tasks that extend beyond the local church. Laurie is a director for Camp Shiloh’s summer youth camps; serves on 2 national youth ministry boards; helped start a mentoring program in a local public high school; has taught abstinence courses in several local public schools; coached 3 different sports on the high school level for 10 years; and is called upon regularly to preach at both adult and youth gatherings.
In all she does, Laurie’s life is marked by energy, passion and commitment to the cause of Christ. Her desire is to simply “love people and lead them to Jesus.” Laurie is an EBI grad and ordained minister with EF. She lives in Rochester with her husband James, where they manage to survive despite her lack of cooking skills.