What I absolutely love about dating and being engaged to RJ is seeing how God meets with each of us so uniquely and individually, and in a way that speaks the same thing to our hearts. I love that God is so personal with us.
When RJ and I first started dating, I had a hard time reconciling being content with God being my Husband and at the same time wanting to date RJ. I was afraid that I was betraying God in some way.
Early on, God addressed this and reassured me it was no betrayal to Him. He addressed it through 1 Samuel 12 in Samuel’s farewell address to Israel. Samuel begins by addressing the Lord’s desire to be Israel’s king, but Israel’s desire to have a physical king. And he says that though God wanted to be their King, He also heard their cry for a physical king and graciously provided one for them.
God told me in verse 14 the only way this relationship could work: “If you will fear the Lord and serve Him and obey His voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king (in my case, boyfriend/future husband) who reigns over you will follow the Lord Your God, it will be well.”
He is first, ALWAYS, for both RJ and I. His Word, His commands, His voice, His work. That is the only way it can work out.
As I shared with RJ my long, detailed explanation of how God reconciled in my heart that dating him was okay, he was excited for me. But in the coming months, when I would reference “our verse,” RJ would be quick to forget. I wondered, “Man, why isn’t he just as excited about this as I am??”
About a month later, RJ shared with me a verse God had given to him about us in Psalm 119:32: “I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” This verse was exciting for RJ because he felt the Lord say to him that as long as we both follow the commands of the Lord, He sets us free to love one another.
As we discussed it more, we realized that God was saying the same thing to us about each other, but in different passages of Scripture and in different ways. I am more of a detailed and search-for-meaning-in-stories kind of person. RJ is a concise and straightforward person. And it is reflected in the Scripture that spoke to our hearts how God knows us personally, and what would resonate within us, what we would cling to and remember. We could not help but marvel at how personal God is!
RJ and I had talked about marriage and timelines back around Thanksgiving. I had a shorter timeline to get married, he had a timeline that was about a year longer. We decided to pray about it and seek God together.
Some of RJ’s fears in getting married too early included transitioning to California from Oregon, transitioning from being a student to full time staff in campus ministry, as well as whether or not he would be able to raise full support as a missionary. It was overwhelming for him to throw in a transition from singleness to married life.
On January 3rd, God spoke to RJ through Joshua 3, right before the Israelites were about to cross the river to claim the Promised Land. He asked RJ to imagine that he was a Levite, asked to carry the Ark of the Covenant across the river before the people of Israel. He asked RJ to imagine that fear of being the first to step into the water with such great responsibility, a deep and wide river with waters flowing so rapidly it was almost certain one would be consumed and swept away. But then He asked RJ to imagine he was the Levite carrying the Ark of the Covenant as he stepped INTO the waters and experienced the waters recede and become dry land.
God told RJ that no matter what, no matter when, it would always seem hard, it would be scary, it would seem daunting. But He also told RJ that he wouldn’t know and experience God’s sustaining power and protection UNTIL he stepped into the waters with faith and watched them recede.
That day, RJ decided he would ask me to be his wife, and to marry me in August.
When he told me his intentions, it honestly freaked me out. It was such a quick change in heart, and he spoke with such an overwhelming confidence, assurance, and security that I was caught off guard and wondered if it was too soon, if we weren’t being careful enough, if we were being reckless.
Coincidentally, earlier that day I had read through Isaiah 43, and the one verse that had resonated in my heart was 2-3b: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
The next few days, as I mulled over what God spoke to RJ in Joshua 3 and what He said to me in Isaiah 43:2-3b, it became undeniable that what He shared with us was no coincidence at all, but God was saying He was with us, that we wouldn’t be consumed or swept away, and that we would experience His sustaining power and protection as we stepped in faith into the overwhelming waters of uncertainty and transition
Isn’t that amazing?? Being with RJ absolutely makes me love God more, and marvel at how personal He is with us!