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Held and Beloved 4

A Brief Look Inside the Book

Held and Beloved Day 4

It was a long, hard road that brought us to an unexpected future. We both knew what it was like to be alone, suddenly single again—and worse.  We had lived the harsh reality of being rejected, cast aside, abandoned while our previous spouses pursued other relationships, and left to wonder if it was too late or too impossible to know the joy of a God-honoring marriage. 

But God. How gracious is He? It is still staggering to realize He had other plans, set in motion long before I had the heart to receive them . . .

We were both seniors in high school, living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I attended a big public high school northwest of the city. He attended a small private Christian school on the southwest side. Our church picnic every June was on the grounds of that same Christian school, so I knew his campus well. One of my closest friends from church was a member of his graduating class of about fifty. I attended their senior dinner and was present at his graduation. But we never met. Not then. Not on any of those occasions.

While he went to college in Boston, I attended the University of Delaware, very close to his home in southeastern Pennsylvania. I considered visiting his church in Wilmington, Delaware, many times—but never went. His sisters came to a Bible conference at my church more than once—but he never came. There were so many times that we could have met, times that we might have considered to be perfectly orchestrated by God to bring us together. But we didn’t. Because God’s perfect timing was so different.

In the years before we met, the Lord walked each of us through experiences that touched us deeply, broke our hearts but realigned our thinking, and drew us closer to Him first. He used those years to position our hearts to truly value and treasure one another. In His divine plan, it was ten more years before He caused our paths to meet. Ten years after first thinking of visiting Brandywine Chapel, I finally stepped inside those doors. 

He would say that he knew the first day we met that he wanted to marry me. Haunted by heartache, I was the harder one to convince! But he patiently waited three more years while the Lord continued to heal my heart and open my eyes to just how attractive a heart for God can be! By the time I realized that the Lord was bringing us together with a beautiful future in mind, he was graduating from law school and we were both ready to take an exciting step forward—together.

As I slipped my arm into his on our wedding day, I remember feeling a peace and wholeness I had never known. Our gracious God reached beyond our perceived limitations and orchestrated our beautiful day. Time seemed to stand still as we basked in the tenderness of His arms around us. 

Praise to the Lord, Who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!

Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been
granted in what He ordaineth?

Words based on Psalm 103, by Joachim Neander, 1680

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