Jun

03

2013

M. Connor|12:01 AM CT

Today IS My Wedding Day!

God's timing could not be more perfect. His grace saved me from making the biggest mistake of my life. Although I was living with the man I thought I would marry and our wedding was basically planned, I began to see that God promised much more for a relationship than I was setting myself up for in marrying a non-believer. At the point I called off our wedding, I had no idea if I would ever actually get married, but I was truly content being loved by the Lord.

Then, on the very day that I was supposed to marry someone else, the next chapter of my life began to unfold. While I was out of town visiting my best friend and trying to take my mind off things, I ran into a guy I had met at a church function a couple of months earlier. Through our initial communication, I was able to get a few important questions answered: he had a heart for God, he was around my age, and he was single.

The courting took off from there, and as our connection began to deepen through many lengthy conversations, I realized that he truly understood the Lord's call to be a spiritual leader. Months went by as we continued to visit, meet one another's families, and get to know each other on a deeper level. From our obsession with neatness to our feisty personalities (two areas where we constantly seek God's grace), we were as compatible as any two people could be. Eventually he told me he loved me, and we knew we had to figure out a way to interweave our lives.

Then came a major roadblock. Although we had agreed to be celibate before marriage, my colored past of sexual sin had to be confronted. When he finally got up the courage to ask about it, I laid it all out there. Before I had a relationship with Jesus, I believed one of the world's unfortunate lies: that I had to have sex with a guy if I was ever going to find someone to marry me. What I hadn't planned for was the soul-tearing damage of layered sexual experiences that yielded a slew of disappointments. Over time, I became a severely damaged and broken soul.

Reading Sex and the Soul of a Woman by Paula Rinehart gave me hope to believe that God would follow through on his promises. "The freedom that comes from [the awareness of Jesus' love] makes real love at the right time with the right man such a beautiful possibility," she writes. "When the soil of your heart is primed to receive love, the courting dance is a clean and beautiful thing."

And for me, it truly was. Through the healing redemption of the cross, I was set free and forgiven for my transgressions. Now this man who was trying to love me had to do the same. And since he had made the personal commitment to wait until marriage, it was an even tougher pill to swallow. But it was a perfect stage for God to reveal his grace. And he did.

Greater Meaning

When I think back to how our relationship began, I can see how the Lord was guarding my heart. His hand was at work—not only in the miraculous way he healed my heart, but also in how he brought true love into my life. Through this experience, I truly realized the depth of his love and began to trust in his ultimate plan for my life rather than my own. And through this suffering I was able to see things in new and different ways, learning to rely on him all the more.

During the time I was single, I got more involved in my church by joining the women's ministry team, volunteering at Sunday service, and hosting a book club at my house, which afforded many opportunities to share my story. The more I shared, the more opportunities there were to help others struggling emotionally and relationally. In short, my story opened the door to meaningful conversations with people who had lost hope: single women who couldn't seem to find love, people who were married to unbelievers, and those who were struggling to make their relationships work. At that point, it became clear that my suffering had much greater meaning. Through these interactions, others saw the possibility of another road—that healing and restoration were available to them through the grace of God and obedience to Christ.

Clothed with Joy

Today, by the grace of God, we join together as man and wife. Although I couldn't see it at the time, and I wasn't sure if I ever would, I never doubted that the Lord had a greater purpose and was at work through it all. We still have no idea what's coming next (literally, we're not even sure where we're going to live), but we trust that God has a plan for us. And as we pick up our crosses and follow him, it will surely be revealed.

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

Psalm 30:11-12

M. Connor can be reached via email at mconnor0526@gmail.com. Her previous article, Today Was Supposed to Be My Wedding Day, was published on May 26, 2012.

Categories: Christian Living
  • H

    Wow. Praise God. I read your last article multiple times..because I was in a similar situation but we were not living together. (I even emailed you!!)
    I just sat down and logged onto TGC after crying in my Mum's lap about my future prospects of marriage and whether I made the right choice to leave my unbelieving boyfriend whom I loved very much, even though there was so much sexual sin.

    Thank you. You don't know how much this means to me!

  • M

    To God be the glory. I have a friend who posted this story to share. I randomly clicked on it as his comment was, "This is the counterculture I wish everyone would want to belong to." I now feel I do. I too had a rocky past story, I too have found a man of God to forgive me, to love me and to help me honor God more fully every single day. I am so blessed to know a loving God who would bless me in this way.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I pray this is the next wave of "cool" that we see. There's too much heartbreak in the world because of lust and instant gratification and satisfaction. I hurt for my girlfriends who tell me their stories of dating. The world and the sin within it is a cruel cruel thing.

    God and pure love is truly the answer, I'm so glad God gave me the grace and time to find that out.

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  • http://alearningwife.wordpress.com Jenn

    YAY! Congratulations :-) I don't know you, yet I rejoice with you! May the Lord bless your covenant with your husband to be! :-)

  • Hannah

    Thank you for sharing. I loved being able to read your article that was published in 2012 as well as today's. Your testimony brings encouragement. May God bless you for your obedience to Him and His Word! Thank you for encouraging us single ladies to do the same.

  • Thomas

    Does anyone know any resources for people seeking to love someone they are in a relationship with and work through dealing with the sexual past of that person they are seeking to love? I have looked around briefly but haven't found much. I believe in God's restoration and redemption but it still hurts a lot sometimes. Thanks so much.

    • Amy

      Thomas - there are a couple resources I would recommend. First, the Bible. I know this is a kind of "well, duh" thing, but that's always the first resource I try to turn to. If you haven't read the book of Hosea, I would definitely encourage you to! I'm not sure how familiar you are with it, so the synopsis is that God commands the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute. God puts a love for this woman in Hosea's heart, but she is continually unfaithful to him. It is a shadow of God's relationship with His people and their continual idolatry and unfaithfulness.

      Second, this is an issue that is addressed in a number of premarital counseling books. "Marriage on the Rock" by Jimmy Evans and "The Meaning of Marriage" by Tim and Kathy Keller touch on this issue, among others.

      Third, and this might be surprising, I would check out "Counterfeit Gods" by Tim Keller. This helped me a lot when I was wrestling with (long ago) my husband's addiction to pornography. I couldn't believe that he would sin against me that way. "Counterfeit Gods" ripped apart my self-righteousness and reminded me that sexual sin, like all sin, is ultimately idolatry. It is putting the desires of the flesh higher than the desire for holiness. And how often do I do that? Daily. It just manifests itself differently. My husband sought my forgiveness, but I also had to seek his, as I had been unwilling to forgive him when God - who ultimately was the one sinned against most greatly - had already wiped out that sin and saw my husband as pure and holy. It's a great read! I read it regularly just for the reminders.

  • http://donotletthisuniverseforgetyou.blogspot.com Heather Carrillo

    Congratulations! What a wonderful follow up to your story.

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  • Michael

    I am so happy that everything has worked out for you. I read your earlier post multiple times as I struggled through a relationship. I was terrified that your story wouldn't have a happy ending. How great that God provided!

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