Trusting God to Find my Man

In March 2005 I came to Marshall, Texas from Cape Town South Africa. I had been invited to the Church to participate in their discipleship training course and worked hard at becoming integrated into the church life. I worked in the church office for a while, doing administrative work and learning the ways of the house. One day a young man introduced himself to me as I was making photocopies. I recognized him as Christopher, the Praise and Worship Leader and my heart did a little flip flop in my chest when he shook my hand but I shrugged it off as nerves. I had sworn off all thoughts of relationships because I knew my heart could not be trusted. It had gotten me into plenty of trouble in my twenties and I had decided that if God wanted to give me a husband that would be fine, but if not, it was definitely safer to live life single. Besides, this was the golden boy of the fellowship, handsome, talented and a true servant heart. Some perfect specimen of woman must surely be on God’s agenda for him. I did not fit that description. End of story.

A few nights later I had a dream in which I was walking down the aisle in a wedding gown, only I couldn’t see the groom, the light was blinding. As I reached the end of the aisle there he was, Christopher. The Lord Jesus was presiding over our union and I asked him how I could marry someone I didn’t even know?  He said if I would do this for Him it would please Him. I said, okay, but I still thought there was no way Christopher would agree to this. The Lord answered my thoughts by saying he would take care of his son, as long as I was willing and obedient.

I pondered this the next day, and decided I must be delusional. I asked for a meeting with one of the elders thinking he would quickly point out what an unlikely match this was. Instead he was concerned that I was crying at such happy news. He reminded me that God chooses us from before the womb with purpose and if this was His plan He would bring it to pass. I could rest in that and not weary myself in matters too high for my understanding. He cautioned me not to speak of this dream to anyone, but like Mary, to hide it in my heart and let the Lord finish what He began. This was the first of many meetings, each one with more wisdom to strengthen me in my wait. One time he reminded me of Esther and how it took a year to purify her from the scent of the world before she could appear before the King. Another time he showed me in Genesis that God put Adam to sleep and then made Eve. Presumably, she woke first and then God woke Adam and presented her to him, so sometimes men are not awakened as long as the bride is. Long months passed.

I started working at a local business owned by one of the other elders of the church and then they hired Christopher! Daily torture ensued. I got to see the regular side of the golden boy, and found out he could be really annoying! Finally one day the Lord said to tell him what I told you. I did not obey. Humiliation is not my preferred work environment and I would just as soon crawl under a rock than give him the chance to reject me. But the Lord stayed on me and finding no peace I wrote Christopher a letter stating the facts and asking him to please release me from the promise that I had made to Jesus. I was due to leave the US in less than a month and I wanted to return home with a clean conscience. To my surprise he wrote me a note back, stating we needed to meet.

Following the longest 24 hours of my life, we met around a boardroom table and he quietly told me that he believed God had sent me to be his wife and asked me to marry him. We had not even held hands!

Our courtship was wonderful and awe-inspiring. God knit our hearts together and gave us real love for each other, not the soppy romance kind but the lay down your life kind. We were able to get my visa extended for three more months. Then a month later our lives were turned upside down by a rumor that started. It was a hard lesson in avoiding even the appearance of evil. We decided to lay down the relationship, put it on the altar and let the Lord raise it up if it was His will. We didn’t speak or see each other except in public. That was the testing of our faith that it may come forth as gold.

I prepared to return to Cape Town. A few days before my flight, Christopher met with the elder of the church and asked him if he would marry us. He said that he would. The cloud of doubt over our relationship was dispersed and we rejoiced like little children! On Thursday, Christopher and I went to get the marriage certificate. In the state of Texas there is a 72 hour cooling off period before you can be married. We planned a small informal gathering on Sunday at the elders’ house to exchange vows.  Monday I would be on a plane back to Cape Town, to complete immigration paperwork and return some months later when it was all finalized. That Friday his mother talked to someone in the senators’ office who said if we got married I didn’t have to return to South Africa even if my visa was expired! How we praised God for his mercy on us.

In 48 hours, with the help of the whole church body, we planned a true wedding celebration, with all the trimmings. A friend found me a wedding dress on the clearance rack and bought it. It fit like it was made for me. That Saturday we found four matching dresses for my bridesmaids also! The ceremony was all that I had hoped for and the blessing of the presence of God simply overwhelmed me. Just as I had seen in my dream He was there Himself bearing witness of His plan and purpose which will stand and His word which does not return to Him void but accomplishes that for which it was sent.

ABIGAIL McBRIDE
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