The Hope Within

It is 2022. I will be 33 this year.

I’ve never been a big New Year’s girl. I make good faith effort to make plans or dream but there is rarely the necessary introspection to determine exactly where I’m headed next. 2021 was a year of deepening roots and releasing dead weight. I’m still waiting, 18 months in, since May 1, 2020 for the tides to finally turn. And during that waiting, I have held deeply to the cross, to the character of God. Not the Anglo-Saxon evangelical version but the God that has weathered the last 18 years of my life, carrying me much of that time. It was 2021 that delivered me from the worst “friendship” I have ever been in and created a path for where I want my career and calling to head next. There’s been new spiritual gifts developing and a gentleness within me being cultivated.

The last few weeks, I have been meditating on these last 18 years of life with Christ. I still remember the first prayer I prayed, at 14 years old, shortly after I gave my life to Christ. It was a prayer for my future husband, to have a husband, because at 14, the only disability I had at that time was cerebral palsy and it was one that boys scoffed at. I got specific in my prayer. I wanted him to be Native American, as I am. I wanted him to be quiet and serious but with a sense of humor. I wanted to get married in my thirties. I cried when I prayed that prayer. I figured I’d never have a husband, let alone a boyfriend. Not even a job or living independently had crossed my mind at that age.

The next time I prayed about my future husband, I asked God humbly if he could dress nice. Specifically, button downs with the sleeves rolled up. I hoped he’d have a few tattoos. I was 17 that time and still, didn’t believe I’d ever get married. At that point, I was deeply infatuated with the stick thin blonde scene boy who made me belly laugh but could not be serious about anything. Nothing ever happened with us. He went on to get married…and divorced. I saw him briefly, at our childhood church, on Christmas Eve of 2019. We never spoke again.

Between the years of 2009-2015, there was A, my deepest infatuation. An older young man, Chinese with tattoos on his arms. I fell in love, unrequited of course. It was during the heartbreaking rejection that I prayed again for my future husband. I wanted him to have a heart for advocacy and service to vulnerable people. It was during that time that a coworker told me that he believed I would marry a man in his mid-to-late 30’s who was also a single father because quote “an older, single father would be able to handle how high maintenance I was.” I was offended of course by the comment but mostly, at 24, all I felt was how selfish and toxic my world had become.

It was also during this time that I first did centering prayer and asked God a simple question: Is marriage in my future? And He responded through His spirit, Do you not see what I am trying to do? I am making you right for each other. The statement was repeated a few times before I finally fell asleep.

Between 2016-2019, I dated casually. Ran into quite a few jerks. Became disenchanted to romance, I spent cumulatively weeks of my life crying over my singleness and road tracks over my heart. It was during this time that a sweet friend told me that not only would I get married but that, while she had no idea how it would come together, she was sure “he would be strong but gentle.” And boy, did I pray for that. I wanted him to be a patient man and that he would delight in the spitfire I can be instead of trying to suppress or shame me, as many men I had dated had. Another friend, shortly after me starting the job I currently have now, said he saw a vision of the man I would marry. Big, brown, strong but gentle and fiercely protective. He said he knew it was coming.

And that was 2 years ago. I prayed another prayer for my future husband. I asked God if my future husband would sacrifice something of great value in order to be with me. I asked that he would not only pursue me as a wife but also be direct in his intentions with me. I have spent years of my life being toyed around with by men, like a kitten with a feather. I didn’t want to question the intentions of my future husband.

It is 2022. I have hope this year may be a turning point. My heart is full.

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