I happened to run across our courtship story on tape while I was cleaning and decided to pop it in the player and see what I remembered. I had to smile to myself when I listened to the details that surrounded my side of our story and how previously to Toby entering my life, I was completely content to be single.
Me? Single?? No way. Not now.
I used to honestly think that I was the kind of girl that would never marry. Not that I didn't want to get married; its just that some women are meant to marry, other's aren't. I figured I wasn't. I was happy to be single too and loved knowing the Lord as my Lover and Friend.
Then I met Toby and a whole new realm of thinking opened up to me. Those quiet, undisturbed and previously surrendered-to-God-areas-of-my-heart were being threatened. It was miserable. I so wanted to feel like a happy single again.
I knew better too, that was the worse part of it. I had read every book on courtship and keeping your heart, listened to every message, seen account after account of those that kept their heart for "the one" and knew full well the fact that I needed to guard my heart against fleeting feelings towards any young man. I even knew how to keep my heart.
I had done so good for so long. I was above temptation and the risk of falling. I treated every young man the same and never looked at single guys as prospects or dream-come-trues. I was so strong. I knew what was right and always made the right choice when it came to crushes and romances. I had it all together.
Then along came Toby.
Everytime he'd come to mind, I had to make the effort to want to be single and not just be single but want it too.. But then he'd pop in my head and I'd start to wonder again if I was supposed to be single.
I remember constantly giving Toby to God and asking the Lord to make me stop thinking about him. If he was the one, fine. But don't let me think about him again until he is the one for sure!
I'll never forget the Wednesday night that I finally felt like I made it clear to God about Toby: He had to make me forget about that guy. I was desperate. I don't think it was any special prayer I prayed or commitment I made but rather the fact that for several days, I was constantly asking God for strength to keep my heart pure. I don't just mean often either, I mean constantly.
Perhaps God didn't want to take Toby out of my mind because He knew once He did, I wouldn't be praying so ceaselessly anymore. It's funny how constantly a desperate heart prays.
Finally, on the 6th day in November, on a Wednesday night, God showed me His heart. I remember asking God to show me if Toby was the one I would court. If he was fine, I'll rest in that and be content to keep him in my thoughts. If he wasn't though, make it clear and help me let him go.
I laid in bed that night wishing my thoughts were consumed with something else besides this Toby guy while I prayed.
Suddenly, God impressed on me that for right now, today, this very minute, courtship is not for me. If it was, then I'd be courting. But since it's not for me, I'm obviously not courting...
"When courtship is for you, I'll make it clear to you." And with that, Toby left my mind and I went on with my life so glad I was again obeying my courtship books.
The following Saturday evening, my parents told me about a letter they received from a young man. They had been praying for this particular young man to show interest if he was indeed interested so his letter wasn't a shock to them. God had laid on their hearts the hope that this guy would marry me.
When I read the letter, it was dated Wednesday, November 6th. Not only that, but it was signed by Toby.
All those pent up feelings I had of trying to forget about him came back. Only, this time they weren't disturbing my spirit; they were pure, holy and right. Not only that, but I'll never forget the peace that God gave me in my relationship with Toby. I knew without a doubt that he was the one and no matter how hard I tried to conjure up some good reason why I should say no, I couldn't. It seemed like there was always a go, go, go.
God kept His promise to me... "When courtship is for you, I'll make it clear..." I'll always remember the strong sense of peace that seemed to thrust me forward in closening my heart with Toby as our love grew deeper.
I have to smile because that same peace continues to drive me on through the valleys and mountains of our life together. When Toby makes a choice to follow the leading of God for us as a couple, that peace drives me to follow right behind him.
Sometime I don't know where or how the Lord is leading but that doesn't matter when I'm at peace and living in love. (which isn't hard to do when you married the one you love and love the one you married.)