Friday, February 3, 2012

the time he didn't propose

Below is another article I wrote for Radiant Magazine (the discontinued sister mag to Relevant Magazine).

It's written about an extremely painful time in my life.  When my boyfriend (now husband) decided NOT to propose.  In light of Valentine's Day coming up, I thought I'd sit on the side of the single ladies and share this article.  No, not every Valentine's Day was spent in joyful bliss.  Sometimes it was just painful. 

It hurts, but God wants to teach us in our pain.

Here we go...

{via Summer 2006}

For the first time in my life, I have no idea what I’m doing.  I have no idea what my life looks like after my internship is up on August 1st.  No idea what state I’ll be living in, where I will be worshiping on Sundays, how I’ll be financing my unidentified apartment or who my unknown best friends will be.

To make matters worse, everyone keeps asking me what I’m going to do come August.  After explaining my oh-so-ambiguous plans, they look at me with big eyes, an enormous smile and positively exclaim,

“That’s SO exciting!  Not knowing what you’re doing.  It’s like a big adventure with God!”

I nod quickly, thankful for their encouragement, and then exit the conversation and perimeter as fast as I can before the tears inevitably start to fall.

The plans of my life weren’t always so unclear.  In fact, three weeks ago I was helping my boyfriend pick out my engagement ring and hearing him describe his plans of asking my dad for my hand in marriage and proposing to me on a family vacation that ended last week.

Most people would be appalled that I knew when my proposal was going to happen, but I’ve never been very good at surprises.  I always knew what I was getting at Christmas way before the morning of.  Not knowing all the details of something big that is coming drives me crazy.  It’s a control issue God is currently breaking me of, but being aware of everything that is going to happen gives me satisfaction that my life is on track.  Or maybe just the assurance that it’s on a track at all.

According to my plans and the expectations I had been given, I should be writing this article with a diamond ring sparkling on my left finger.  Each tap of the “S” key should be resulting in some bling from a .75 carat Princess cut solitaire. 

But, things didn’t quite go as I had expected them to.  Two days before my boyfriend was to fly with our engagement ring to southern California for a beach vacation with my family, he pulled some surprising news.

He said that while he still wanted to marry me and loved me whole-heartedly, he felt convicted that he hadn’t given God enough say in whether this was the right time to propose to me.  My life seemed to crash around me as I listened to him describe his desire to have God control the timing of his life and our relationship.  I should’ve been thrilled that my boyfriend was seeking God in one of the most important decisions of our lives, but instead the only thoughts surfacing were those of disappointment and confusion.  I was suddenly out of control… things were not going as planned.

God has shown me through all this that I have no right to have any expectations for my life.  Who am I to tell Him where I want to be next year?  Who am I to tell Him how my life should turn out?  I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have the whole picture.  I can’t see my life’s future like God can.  I can’t see which plan of mine will succeed the best.  And I definitely can’t have expectations for what my life will look like in two years when I don’t have any control over the days in between.

There is something I CAN do, though.  I can surrender my expectations and control of my life over to the One who is truly in control - to the One who sees the future and designed my life with His perfect plan.  I can count on Him to surprise me and take me places I never thought I could go while teaching me more about His unfailing and undying love for me.

For some reason, God is not allowing me to know my future right now.  And after a period of rebellion and frustration, I am finally coming to terms with that.  This is a good place to be.  It forces me to completely trust in the Jesus I confess to have faith in. 

Sadly, I think my life so far has made God closterphobic.  I have been so committed to seeing my plans succeed and banking on the expectations I had coming true, God has had no room to move.  He’s been walled in by my expectation to be engaged last week.  He’s been caged in with my plan to be married by next summer.  And He’s been tied up because of my desire to orchestrate the details of my life.

My heart is screaming to break Him free, and I must listen and obey it.  I must untie him and give him the space to run and dance and move in my life – no matter what that looks like for “my plans”.

Proverbs 19:21 makes it clear that trading in my plans for God’s has to be the best plan I’ve yet to make; “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”.  The Lord’s purpose will prevail in spite of my plans, but how much better to surrender those plans upfront to the Lord to do with what He will. 

It’s scary.  It’s uncertain.  It’s exciting.

Tonight, my boyfriend and I decided on a mission statement for our new lives of surrender to God’s plans.  We want to recklessly abandon our lives for the cause of Christ.  That means not having any idea of what a future looks like, but knowing that God is going to take us on a real adventure with Him and He’ll really be able to use us because we’re available, willing, and have no previous plans. 

The first step is to free up my life planner.  Good thing I wrote in pencil.

Interested in reading more? Read one I've already shared here. And another one here.

Linking to 504 Main, Casey Leigh, and Serenity Now today.


  1. awesome article!!!! great post!

  2. Great post. It isn't easy giving up control, and planning everything out, but many times we have to. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Great post! I can truly relate. I'm glad that you let God be in Control. Sounds like things worked out well.

  4. Great article, something similar happened with my (now) husband. He kept the ring in the package for a month, it was torture!

  5. We love that verse, Rebecca. We had it painted above the entry from the kitchen to the back door of our old house. We read it every day!
    Thank you for the reminder.

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I know a lot of single girls who are so discouraged by things not going the way they had hoped in life. It's nice to see that even in the midst of a disappointment there is always God's hand working through things bringing things to what He wants them to be! Would love for you to consider linking to my Love Story link party on February 10!


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