The other night, my husband Chris and I were talking about the beginning of our relationship; well, the beginning of our second time dating... that's another story. We were reminiscing about aspects of our journey and I suddenly felt stuck as I couldn't seem to find the memory of how or when I knew that I was going to marry him! I was trying to recollect if it was an instant "I just knew" sort of situation, and I could not remember for the life of me.
Having dated him for two years, breaking up for a year because I felt the Lord leading me to focus only on Him, to then only a year later still feeling my heart tugging towards Chris, I remember that the decision whether to simply start dating him or not was a hard enough decision on its own! I knew that I did not want to start dating him again unless we had the intentions of our relationship leading to marriage, so I really sought the Lord and asked wise women in my life for wisdom on how to proceed. All too often it seemed like the cliché statement of "you'll just know" would come up. Even typing those words makes me want to roll my eyes as I remember the frustration I would feel when people would tell me that. I still get annoyed with that statement because it's not just used in reference to knowing whether you want to marry someone, it's pretty universal.
Being a person who often struggles with big decisions, that phrase is still a big part of my life. And I kind of hate it. It always makes me feel so frustrated because it seems like a cop out. When I am asking for help in making a decision, I don't want someone to tell me that I will at some point know, I want them to tell me right then what I should do- I want them to make the decision for me- to play God in a sense and tell me what is the best thing for me. I mean really, how nice would it be if God would every once in awhile just write us a little email or shoot us a text and say, "just do this." Unfortunately that's not how it works. It pains me, it frustrates me- and yet time and time again you'll just know proves to be true. God has shown me over and over again that as much as we'd like Him to speak in loud claps of thunder, lightning strikes or to pick up the phone and make the call, it really doesn't look like that. I very much believe that He could do that if He wanted to, but I think that more often than not, hearing Him speak truth into our lives, and giving us direction is much more of a gentle nudging or a feeling in my gut sort of thing. Or, if we're going to go ahead and use the annoying phrase a you'll just know sort of thing.
For the past couple weeks I have been struggling with a big life decision in deciding whether or not to take a job that my sweet, sweet dad was offering me. As you know, my struggles with whether or not being a housewife right now is enough are very real... so the prospect of the Lord leading me to a new career was very interesting and perplexing. For weeks and weeks I felt like I was getting nowhere in the decision process. I started to feel heavier and heavier as the weight of indecision seemed to cloud my mind and steal my joy. I really felt like I was never going to make the decision. I didn't feel swayed one way or another and saw no hope of being able to find the piece I needed to tip the scale one way or another. And then God spoke.
Right in the middle of a phone call with my dad and his business partner, as they were clarifying the role for me, in one single instant, I knew. I had been praying and praying for something exactly like this, that the Lord would make it so clear - and through my dad's business partner's words, that's exactly what He did. I was so shocked that my decision could seem so obvious, that in that moment I almost couldn't believe it. It was as if the blinders had been removed and I could see oh so clearly that taking the job wasn't the direction in which He was leading me. It's in moments like this where I am reminded of how awesome God is, and how strongly I can rely on His promise to guide me. I don't need a handwritten letter or a firework in the sky, I just need to trust that in His perfect timing and in His perfect way, He will lead me- and I will just know.
Coming back to where this post began... after a few gruesome moments of not being able to recollect how I knew I wanted to marry Chris, he reminded me that it was very much like the scenario I just described. After praying and praying, and seeking the Lord's guidance and wisdom for my relationship with Chris, He laid it on my heart and I just knew. Sitting on a porch swing of my good friend's house, I can now clearly remember admitting to myself (and to my small group ladies) for the first time, that I knew, like a weight in my gut and peace in my soul, that I wanted to marry this man.
I am SO thankful that we have a God who communicates with us. He doesn't just ask us to follow Him and then leave us to find the breadcrumbs; He grabs our hand asks us to dance and whether audibly or silently with a light pressure on our hand or back, He leads us to take the next step.
If you're stuck in a place of indecision where you are wholeheartedly seeking your next step, my prayer is that you might be encouraged. If your mind is clouded and you feel a sense of analysis paralysis (story of my life), don't give up. Keep seeking Him, keep praying, and trust that you'll just know because He will guide you.
--- image by Marissa Maharaj ---