Friday, February 13, 2009

How God brought Chad and me together ...

I frequent a blog called "The Barefoot Mama" and Kelly (awesome writer of the blog) is sponsoring a "Feminine Friday" in which you write about how God has brought you and your husband together, in honor of Valentine's Day. I have been wanting to write down our story for quite awhile ... mostly so that I can remember God's grace in blessing me with my husband Chad. I think it's important to document these important spiritual milestones in life ... so here goes. Hold on and grab a cup of coffee, because this may take awhile ...

So, this is the long story of how I met Chad and how we ended up Mr. & Mrs. Smith (no similarity to the Mr. & Mrs. Smith of the movie obviously!) The short story is that I met Chad at our church, we started dating a few months later, got engaged a year after that, and married in January of 2001. Kind of boring, huh? But the longer story is much more important to me ... for me it is a story of God's goodness and how I learned to trust in Him more deeply.

As a teen, I always dreamed of getting married some day and raising a family with my own special someone. (I refuse to say Prince Charming because ... we're marrying human beings after all, not fairy tale figures!) Really, it was my biggest desire ... although I hoped to go to college, and have a career as well. But being a wife and mother was always most important to me. I kind of figured that I would go to college and meet my husband-to-be and get married shortly thereafter. I even sorta planned to have a baby in the year 2000, when I would be 28 years old. I thought that seemed perfect. But God had other plans for me. I did date someone during college - a nice, Christian guy - but as time went on, and we both decided on graduate schools, our paths began to diverge. And I seemed to sense deep down that he was really not the one for me anyway. Something was just missing. Shortly after we graduated, we broke up, and although I was heartbroken at the time, I still felt that I had my whole life ahead of me. Meanwhile, I also had a busy life in a new town, at a new school, and I threw myself into adjusting to life as a hard-working graduate student and got busy making friends in my new home of Wheaton, Illinois. I ended up dating someone towards the end of my time in grad school, but again, this relationship was short-lived and again, I was busy -- finding a job, an apartment, and settling my life into a new "normal." So I moved on and figured that my someone special would come along shortly. I was just 23 years old when I finished my master's degree, and felt like time was on my side. However, as I began working and settling into life "post-college," I realized that having a social life and/or dating was not as simple as it had been before. I had new responsibilities, and much of my time was taken up with work. I began to feel a little lonely, as most of my former grad school friends were in the same boat, all of us working varied hours and not having the freedom to just drop in on each other, or meet up for lunch, or spend late hours talking at a coffee shop. Fortunately, I had a fun roommate, and I attended a church with a great group of single young adults that soon became some of my closest friends. We had a great time together and I spent a good bit of my 20's staying up too late, going on great trips, and embarking on all sorts of crazy, fun adventures that I would not have been able to do, had I been married at the time. However, deep down, despite all the positive aspects of being single, I still truly longed to find and marry my own someone special. Meanwhile, "it" began happening. My friends, one by one, began getting married. I attended countless bridal showers and weddings throughout this time. While I was happy for my friends, each event highlighted for me what I lacked and yet deeply longed for. Now as for me, I wasn't lacking in dates or even boyfriends. Throughout this time, I did a lot of dating, and even had a number of important relationships. In fact, before I met Chad, I had been dating a great guy, but again, this relationship did not work out. I began feeling hopeless about meeting the right man to marry. I was facing my late 20's now. Time did not seem to be on my side anymore (although even writing that makes me laugh now... I was only 26!) But at the time, it seemed as if I would never get married. I asked God what was wrong with me. I promised him that I was not one of those who had the "gift of singleness"(whatever that is!). I prayed and asked him to show me what I was doing wrong. And ... He answered that prayer. He showed me what I was doing wrong ... and it was this: I was not trusting Him to provide me with a husband. I was trying to control it and take matters into my own hands. Through this time of learning and growth, I actually got to the point where I said to God -- whatever You want for me, I trust that Your plan is best ... and even if that means I'll never get married, I will choose to trust You. I tell you, that was a PAINFUL thing for me to say to God. I knew that what I really wanted, again, was to get married and have a family. But even more, I knew that what I really needed was to surrender my will to God's Will. However, after I prayed this, I felt a huge amount of peace. Finding a husband was no longer up to me -- it was up to God. And meanwhile, I purposed to go on with my life and wait for what God may have for me. For a number of months, I chose not to date anyone. I just wanted to clear my head. And I wanted to make sure that when I did choose to date someone, it was someone that God had for me, and that I was dating them for good reasons. A few months later, Chad began attending our church and coming to our single young adult Sunday school class. My initial impression of him was that he was attractive and seemed to be someone with a head on his shoulders and his heart in the right place. Yet upon further observation, I thought he seemed a bit too quiet and serious for me. It didn't help that the one time I tried to initiate a conversation with him, he seemed aloof. I later learned that his initial impression of me wasn't so great either - he thought I was only interested in shopping and shoes (okay, I am interested in both of those things ... but they aren't my main or only focus in life!) Once we got to know each other better, however, we both realized that our initial impressions were totally off. Chad actually has a great sense of humor. And while he does tend to be quiet, it is mostly because he is someone who thinks through what he is going to say, rather than spew off at the mouth. I found that quite respect-worthy. I also realized that he had great spiritual depth, which also drew me to him. And over time we found that we were drawn to each other, and our relationship developed from there ... we spent many hours at local coffee shops talking about life, we took many walks together, and Chad even set me up with my first real email account. And from then on we spent quite a bit of time emailing each other. (It makes me laugh to think about how much time I would spend composing nightly emails to him...) We spent a year "dating" and one of my most treasured memories of our dating time is when we read and discussed a book together called "The Secret of Loving". The title sounds totally dorky, but the book talks about many aspects of being in a relationship - communication, conflict, etc. - and it gave us opportunity to talk about these issues in depth before we decided to spend our lives together. These discussions pretty much sealed the deal for us. When Chad asked me to marry him, I had no hesitation in saying "yes" because I KNEW that this was the man that God had in mind for me to marry. Knowing this gives me GREAT comfort to this day because even when times are tough or he drives me nuts ... I know, I know, I know, there is no question in my mind - that I made the right decision in marrying him. I never wonder "what if" I had married someone else, because I am certain that no one else was/is right for me.

So there you have it. The whole long story. Looking back, I feel so thankful - one, for finding such a great and loving husband in Chad, and two - for the lesson God taught me in letting Him be in control of my life, and trusting His plan for my life. I've learned you can never go wrong in letting go and letting God.

8 comments:

Chris Ann Schultz said...

Thanks for sharing your story. And Amy, now I will have the coffee. :-) Haha!

The Raudenbush Family said...

Neat idea to put this story into words here. I enjoyed reading it and learning more about you. :)

Anonymous said...

Aww. I know I was there, but it sure was good to read about it and ponder the whole wonderful process again! Thanks for sharing~
Allison

nateandkatesmom said...

You wrote that beautifully! You two are an awesome couple and we are lucky to have you as friends!

Kelly @ The Barefoot Mama said...

Amy,

What a wonderful story! I really admire and am inspired by how finding Chad wasn't just an experience of love but of learning in God. That is REALLY awesome! One of my best friends is in that process right now and she and I have talked time and time again about letting God do the work for you, letting Him bring a couple together for His glory not for anything that we desire before that.

I pray that you and your family enjoyed a terrific Valentine's Day, Amy! (And my in-laws from West Chester are over today...makes me think of P-ville, LOL!)

Eric said...

Aw, very sweet! It's similar to my story in so many ways--as you know. I totally agree--it was well worth it to wait for God's choice! Looking back, those years of singleness and wondering if I would ever get married seem so short. Matthew 6:33.

Eric said...

Sorry that was me, Erin!

Chad said...

Great story... er.. what?.. I drive you nuts? Never! ;)