Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I never liked being single.

I had always planned on marrying young, having a couple of kids, and happily living out the perfect little life I planned for myself and my family. Yet all through high school, my friends paired off while I sat on the sidelines wondering when my turn would come. I prayed and prayed for a boyfriend, but boys never seemed to notice me. When my turn finally came, I was in college, and I married the first long-term boyfriend I’d ever had.

Within a year, our marriage was on the rocks. Our problems were many, but they boiled down to one core issue. We were unequally yoked. My husband had professed faith in Christ before our wedding, but within a year after our ceremony, he easily walked away from his belief in God. I hung on, pleading with the Lord to restore our marriage and put my life plans back on track. After four difficult years, we separated. Then came the plot twist I never saw coming.

I was pregnant.

Now like I said, I had wanted a child…had prayed for one before our marriage went sour. But I was hardly expecting God to answer those prayers now. His sense of humor wasn’t amusing. I had never planned on going from married with no kids to single with one on the way.

From the earliest moments of this new season, I felt God’s presence. He was there with me, holding me close and whispering to my heart, “It will all be okay.” I took those words to mean that my marriage would be restored. My plans for my life would get back on track. Day after day, I prayed toward that end. And when my husband moved back in days before our son was born, I thought for sure that it was happening. No. Our marriage was still in shambles, and we ultimately divorced. Still, I prayed for reconciliation. If God would just move in my ex-husband’s heart, we could be remarried and provide our son a proper home.

Didn’t happen.

My ex-husband married another woman, and I was left to raise my son alone. This was not how I’d planned my life. I began praying for God to provide me a new husband and a step-father for my boy. I read my Bible diligently. I tried to seek His will for my life, but I was desperate. I didn’t feel complete without a mate, and I felt intense guilt over my son being born into a broken home. My whole existence became focused on finding a man to fill the empty spots in our lives.

Just one problem. I was once again invisible. No matter where I turned, men seemed oblivious to me. Aside from desperate, I grew angry. The longer God delayed, the angrier I became. Didn’t He know I had plans for my life?

He knew. And I think He laughed.

At some point after the divorce was done, a verse smacked me between the eyes. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11).  I’d been fighting for my plans, and all the while, God blocked all them because He had plans. Good plans. Plans to prosper me and to give me hope and a future.

Little by little, I learned to relinquish control of the life I thought I’d wanted. It wasn’t easy. I had such a death grip on everything that God had to pry back each of my fingers multiple times before I truly let go. But all the while, He loved on me, coaxed me, promised me things beyond my wildest dreams. And as I surrendered each piece, I realized the love and security I’d so desperately wanted was right in front of me.

The Man of my dreams had been there all along. His name was Jesus.

He’d cried with me in my heartbreak. He’d whispered to me in my loneliness. He’d strengthened me in my weakness. He was what I needed in every situation. I was finally able to honestly pray, “Lord, if you never choose to bring me a husband, I will be content in You alone.”

And within months after that prayer, God introduced me to a wonderful man who, two years later,
became my husband.

Award-winning author, Jennifer Uhlarik, discovered her love of writing as a pre-teen. She majored in writing at the University of Tampa and now lives outside of Tampa with her husband, teenaged son, and four fur children. Her first traditionally published work, Sioux Summer, is one of nine novellas included in The Oregon Trail Romance Collection, available from Amazon.  Her second work, Wedded to Honor, featured in The Convenient Bride Collection, is available for preorder now. Connect with Jennifer at www.facebook.com/JenniferUhlarikAuthor.


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