On this day, five years ago, my husband and I walked into a Household Registration Office in Taichung, Taiwan and we filled out an application for our marriage license. Just shy of 8 months after we had met.
There was no fanfare. There were no flowers. We were wearing t-shirts and shorts. It was simply a necessary step towards making official what we had already known in our hearts. That God had always intended for us to be together. The beautiful white wedding would come in a little mountain church three days later, but on this day we signed our names over to one another and said, “I’m committed to you forever. You are my husband. You are my wife.”
If only we had known many years earlier what joy this day would bring, we would have saved ourselves a decade of heartache and shame and struggle. If only we had known how perfectly God’s plan would work out, despite us. And how worth the wait it was to walk hand in hand out the doors of that office… to begin the rest of our lives together.
If I told that ambitious, frightened, striving young girl what God had in store for her future, this is what I would say:
Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him
– Isaiah 64:4
You are worried and distressed about so many things. If only I could show you reality. If only I could show you the incredible adventures God has waiting for you, perhaps you wouldn’t care so much about things that are so unimportant.
You worry about what your friends think of you. You worry about how successful you are at everything you put your hand to. You worry about having someone beside you to call your own and who “loves” you.
Don’t you know that God could not think more highly of you if he tried? Don’t you know that your success is defined by the Creator of the universe, not a judge at some art show or the medal you wear around your neck? Don’t you know that there is only One who stands beside you and calls you His own? Only One who Loves you and will satisfy the longing in your heart?
Stop. Just stop. Stop always trying to find “the one”. Stop always trying to fill a role that only God can fill in His way and in His time. Because you do know He already has a plan, don’t you? And it’s a better plan than any you could manipulate or orchestrate on your own. If I told you the incredible story that lies before you, you wouldn’t believe me. So trust the One who made you. Trust the One you gave your life to. Cease striving and know that He’s got this.
You, on the other hand? You do NOT got this. You are NOT in control. Yet every choice you make is either going to direct or damage your tomorrow. God can redeem it, but wouldn’t you rather Him not have to? Wouldn’t you rather lean into Him fully and walk in unhindered obedience? You KNOW HIs ways are higher than your ways. Why don’t you live that?
As for you, you need to forget about boys right now. Forget about pleasing people. Forget about being successful and praised. Instead, you need to be the girl God is molding you into. You need to be the friend that others need. You need to live love. And enjoy life. And fully enjoy every experience you’re given. You don’t need a boyfriend to be able to do that. You don’t need to be liked or popular. You don’t need to be perfect. You just need to be you. The real you. You are not defined by these things, you are defined by God.
In twelve years when you meet your husband, do you know what you both will say to each other? You will say, “I wish I had never given my heart to anyone else.” You will say, “I wish I had met you at eighteen and spent the last ten years loving you and you alone instead of wasting my time with anyone else.” You will say, “I wish I had enjoyed my friends and my experiences fully instead of constantly seeking a mate… because you were the only one all along.”
Sweet young lady, today is important. Yes. What you learn and live today will impact your tomorrow. But your perspective is limited. It always will be in every season. And while I can’t show you the future, I can assure you of this. God has big plans for you. Bigger than you could ever fathom. So don’t rush it.
Wait patiently for Him. Wait patiently to grow up. Wait patiently to see who you really are. But keep your eyes open. Ask God to show you what’s really important. And I promise you, it’s not what you think. It’s probably not what your friends are telling you. And it’s definitely not what the world is screaming in your ear.
Dig deep. Stand firm in your faith. Open your eyes. Learn to listen to the Spirit within you. Don’t waste your time with temporary fixes, unfulfilling choices, and hurtful relationships. Instead, be the friend the world needs. Be the woman God is creating you to be. You don’t need to be a track star or a prom queen or someone’s girl. Right now you just need to be You.
Because in twelve years, YOU are who your husband is going to fall head over heels in love with.
Jenny (Beloved, whole, healed, wife, mommy… You)