I’m getting married this week, and to say I’m overwhelmed is an understatement. From last-minute preparations to never-ending questions, I think my head might pop off. Nevertheless, the Lord is revealing something to me in this sweet season. And it’s something that I pray I never forget.
Growing up, I wasn’t the typical girl fascinated with boys, makeup, and showy clothes. Honestly, I was the nerdy girl, obsessed with the latest novels, writing prompts, and aesthetic activities. And to this day, I rarely wear makeup or concern myself with such affairs. Life is too short to cover up your face, disguising what you truly look like. But in High School, I tried to change how I looked and acted because I wanted someone to like me. Not only did I start wearing makeup, but I cared entirely too much about my clothes, appearance, and worldly means. I was still a nerd, but I was a nerd trying to be someone and something she wasn’t.
For years I battled this demon—the demon of pretending to be someone you’re not. I couldn’t understand why the guy I liked didn’t like me back. And no matter how hard I tried or what I did, it was no use. I was single and mateless, just like all the discarded and lost soles in your laundry room. I understand now that the Lord was teaching me a lesson I wouldn’t understand until many years later.
The Height of Longings
When I entered college, I stopped wearing makeup and clothes I thought others would like and tried being myself. When I reached 21 and had never been on a date, I started to fall back into my old ways. Every time I liked a guy, I attempted to pursue them. I’d bake them cookies, write kind notes, or offer to help them with homework. I genuinely meant the actions, but time and time again, I was friend-zoned.
I reached my breaking point near the end of my fourth year of college. All my friends were graduating, but because my degree was new to the school, I was forced to take an extra year of classes. Not only did I feel alone and fearful, but I honestly started to wonder what was wrong with me. On the outside, I was thriving. I’d started a dance ministry at the college, volunteered in numerous ministries, hosted Bible studies, was a small group leader, and was involved with a large friend group. But underneath that was a girl constantly wondering if she’d ever be enough for someone. Anyone.
The Grace of Waiting
At twenty-twenty-two years old, I looked a dear friend in the eyes and told her how I felt. She asked me if I’d ever surrendered those longings to the Lord. Of course, I muttered. I was a Christian, so I’d certainly done that. But the longer I stared at her, the more I realized the depth of her words.
That day, I surrendered my desires to God. And despite the years I’d spent crying and praying on my bedroom floor, I felt peace that day. Not because I thought God would put me in a relationship but because I trusted Him even if He didn’t. I knew that single or not, God had and would fulfill His promises to me. He would not leave me broken and void of feeling, regardless of my relationship status. Not even one week later, I met my soon-to-be husband. Though at the time, I was certainly not interested.
After giving God my desire to be in a relationship, I was focused on attending a mission trip He’d called me to go on. No matter what, I vowed to stay focused, pursue the Lord’s call, and serve Him on this adventure. When I was notified that all the female slots on the trip were full and that I’d need a male to travel with me, I was dumbfounded. I was friends with a lot of people, but talking to and convincing a guy to attend a mission trip with me for no other reason than serving God seemed a bit far-fetched. Nevertheless, I prayed, prayed, and prayed some more.
A Promise Fulfilled
In less than one month until the trip, God brought Ben into my life. My dance partner, also a male, had already committed to going on the trip with me, but I wanted two to feel safe. If I was going to travel across the globe, I was going to have ammo! Ben and I were polar opposites. He was the IT nerd of the school, and I was the dance captain. He was introverted and awkward. I was extraverted and confident. He found leisure in sports, video games, and nature. I despised two of those three things. But as we prepared for the trip, Ben and I found a connection with the Lord. I was impressed with his commitment to God, and He was surprised my faith was so genuine. Attending a Christian college, you’d assume everyone you meet is authentic. Unfortunately, that often wasn’t the case.
By the time the trip rolled around, I thought Ben was interested in me but was in denial. I told God countless times, “I don’t care if he likes me; I am focusing on you and this trip. I will not get distracted by a boy.” I hated the old adage, “When you’re not looking for it, that’s when love will hit you.” I equally rolled my eyes every time it was suggested to me. Yet that’s exactly what happened.
When You Question the Plan
Shortly after returning from our mission trip, Ben asked me out. He was my first date, my first boyfriend, and the first guy to express interest in and genuinely pursue me. I didn’t need to chase him. I didn’t need to prove my worth. And I didn’t need to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. After just a few months, however, our sparks fizzled out. Our Fourth of July love seemed to be a fluke, and I was crushed that I’d prayed to God to date and marry one person yet was now breaking up with them. I told God I was stupid and sorry. I must’ve had it all wrong. Maybe I wasn’t ready for this after all.
Over the next month, Ben and I remained friends but kept our distance. I knew he was still in love with me, but every time we hung out, I was greeted by a different version of Ben than he thought I’d like. Remember when I mentioned the irony of my High School impression age? He was cute, kind, and faithful to God, but I didn’t know the real him. I knew we needed space. As November of that year morphed into December, the change of seasons also brought a change in me. I never imagined Ben and I would get back together, yet here we are. Because once he was himself, I fell in love. And so did he. Not for the love of perfection but for the love of two imperfect people being themselves, learning to love one another in the Lord.
July 2023 marks a little over five years since we first met. Our wedding is utterly the fulfillment of a promise that I prayed for over thirteen years to come true. Over the years, I doubted God would hear my prayer and answer me. You can imagine my face when Ben and I made the leap to get back together. And yet, here I am, about to marry the only man I’ve ever dated, because that was what I prayed for.
The Goodness of God
While last-minute wedding preparations still threaten to overwhelm my mind, I write this post to praise God for His overwhelming goodness in my life. And as excited as I am for this journey of marriage, I know that it’s just the beginning of His marvelous plans for me. My love story is one that I never could’ve conjured up. It’s not what I expected. It’s not what I had in mind. But it’s so much more. It’s everything He knew I needed. And then more. It’s more than I could ask, think, pray, or imagine, and I’m grateful.
As the to-do’s pile up, I want to never forget the goodness of God that has been written in my life since day one. This marriage and covenant we’re about to enter is just one of His many promises being fulfilled. Marriage is often placed on a pedestal. I suppose that’s why one would recognize the faithfulness of God in something majorly broadcasted to the bulk of society. But marriage or not, I want to learn to recognize the goodness of God in every area of life. Especially the small and mundane ones we miss every single day.
- The kisses my dog Lucky greets me with after a long and hard day.
- The gentle breeze of air amid the harsh and striking sun.
- The small talk I share with the allergists who give me my weekly shots.
- The pain I endure reminds me that this is not my home.
Each of those things reflects the goodness of God just as much as my upcoming marriage. They are not special but because God is good in all He does. And while marriage is a big deal that symbolizes Christ and the Church, a sacred and holy covenant, it’s not everything. God is good in all. Faithful in all. And marriage is just one of His many blessings.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/bfk92
Amber Ginter is a young adult writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic worship arts, and volunteer roles. She is enrolled in the YWW Author Conservatory to become a full-time author and is a featured writer for Crosswalk,