When I was 13, I wrote the first letter to my future husband.
I had no idea who he was or when I would meet him, but I had the desire to write to him anyway. Even without a name, only addressed to “Dear Future Husband,” on double-spaced lined school paper, I wrote.
Right before my 15th birthday, I wrote the second letter to him.
I promised in that letter that I would wait for him. I wrote that I had made a promise to God and myself that I would keep my mind, body, and soul pure for him.
In my 16th year, I wrote six letters.
As my peers around me jumped into the dating realm, I penned my longings, my frustrations, my hopes and dreams to my future groom. I wrote how sometimes I felt left out of the dating circles, but was determined “not to entice feelings of love until ready” (Song of Solomon 8:4).
When I was 17, I wrote three more letters.
I expressed how much I loved him, even without knowing him. I wrote how important it was to me that we would have a “marriage built firm on the unshakeable foundation of Christ.” I wrote that I continued to guard my heart against the temptations of the world for him.
At 18, I wrote him a prayer.
I prayed for him to run towards God and His righteousness. I prayed for us both to protect our hearts and for God to keep him safe and lead him to make the decisions he needed to make in that time in his life. I prayed “Lord, I have no idea who you have planned for me; however, I pray that wherever my future husband is, you’ll let him know that I am somewhere in the world praying for him.”
I wrote the 13th letter when I was 19.
I recorded my struggles, my loneliness, my desire for him. I penned how God was working in my life. How I was determined to enjoy and be content with where I was in life. How the Lord was teaching me in my single years to be fully devoted to Him first and foremost and not to wish my life away looking for my future groom.
Around my 21st birthday I had a decision to make.
The start of my 21st birthday found me in a situation where I could trust God’s sovereign character or I could give up hope in a circumstance where it appeared like He dangled a carrot in front of me and pulled it back, leaving me wounded emotionally and wary to trust.
That season of life was an intense battle of spiritual warfare that challenged my view and faith in God.
Through the years, I subconsciously placed expectations on God. I believed that if I stayed faithful – He would bring me the right guy for me at the right time – yet between years 20-21, I began to doubt Him. Satan cunningly used a situation in my life to distract me and bring those feelings, those unspoken expectations I had on God to the surface.
It was a spiritual battle. It was a battle between the demons and the angels in the heavenly realm. Would I still love God even if He didn’t come through for me? Would I still follow Him and believe Him if He never answered my prayers the way I desired? If He never fulfilled my heart’s deepest desire and dream?
It was a make it or break it faith moment for me and the fog of the intense spiritual warfare in those months was thick. There was a battle going on which left me confused, depressed, and doubting.
Only those closest to me at that time in my life saw a glimpse of it – and only my journal and my mom saw extent of that dark season of depression that fell on my life.
The battle raged and it took a while for me to heal from the battle scars that year – but with tears streaming down my face in the darkness of depression, I sang in a broken voice, “I need you, Lord. Oh, how I need you.”
I had to determine in my heart that God was good no matter what. I had to purpose in the marrow of my bones that even if God didn’t come through for me, He was still good and I would still love Him. But the thing is, God will always come through for us. His name is Faithful. He may just not always come through for us in the way we expect or desire – but He is God. And He is Good.
And perhaps, during intense spiritual battles, we finally come to the point of surrender. Where we release the heart’s earthly deepest desire in need of Him to survive. In need of Him to reign in our lives. Perhaps, in those seasons, in our deep, deep need – He actually becomes the deepest desire of our heart.
Because as dark as those nights were, joy does come in the morning. Healing does come. Restoration does come.
Four months after the darkness and in God’s tender mercy, I met Hawk.
Four months after that, Hawk and I became really good friends.
And four months after that, Hawk and I started a relationship.
In hindsight, I thank God for that season where I had to give up my expectations of Him – for Him – because He so abundantly exceeded those 13 year old dreams.
I thank Him for protecting me from Satan’s schemes and distractions – only God truly knows all the areas He protected me from in His great mercy, even when I doubted and hurt and railed against Him for not giving me a dream fulfilled on my timetable. Because, He is good.
Even though it was one of the most difficult seasons of my life, that wrestling prepared me for another really hard season of life (Hawk’s deployment). But, He is Faithful.
He wants us to pick Him even over our dreams, because in the end we still win – even if that initial dream is never fulfilled, because we get the greatest gift of all – Him.
It’s a continual process learning not to discount God’s plan and His timetable. We know a deeply personal God who longs to show Himself faithful and worthy and true and powerful even in the darkest of circumstances.
10 years after I wrote that first love letter, I wrote my last “Dear Future Husband” letter. This time it was addressed by name – it was addressed to Hawk. All those letters now had an owner. They belonged to someone.
But really, they belonged to Hawk all along. Hawk was my one and only boyfriend, my first kiss. Even on those lonely nights, through that season of doubt, God knew exactly who those letters would belong to – He was saving my heart, protecting my heart, for my Groom.
It isn’t easy waiting on God. It isn’t easy being faithful to Him in an unfaithful world – but I promise you this – He is so worth it – and His purpose and plan for your life and His glory is so worth it. Don’t let the enemy try to tell you otherwise. The enemy’s name is Liar.
But God – God’s name is Faithful.
Oh, So Faithful.