Love is in need of Love.
This famous lyric was first sung by Stevie Wonder and then remixed by Fred Hammond and Musiq Soulchild. In the world we live in today, I believe this phrase is true and timely.
Similar to the plants needing sun and water to grow, a car needing gas to drive, the earth and all its inhabitants need love today. Love is the most powerful force in existence. It is the healing power that transforms beings into new creations.
Someone who knows a lot about this is the founder of BeVirtue.com, Chantal. Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to your beautiful platform. Chantal and I met at Church. Last summer Chantal served as the principal intern of my non-profit organization, The King’s Daughters, Inc. She did a fantastic job! Chantal helped to advance the organization and execute our first public gala. She is doing awesome things in college and I am proud to know her!
I will get to the reason I am here. It’s the topic that never gets old, but can sometimes be painful. The discussion that we obsess about and in my opinion try too hard to keep in our comfortable safe box: relationships. Specifically male/female relationships. Mine is an interesting story as most women I meet. For starters, I do not count myself as a relationship expert. No, I am simply a Kristen expert. I am self-aware of my own life and the mantle God has given me and I willing to share “my light” with others if prompted.
Recently, the Holy Spirit took me back to a time of great pruning in my life. September 2007. This was when God told me to dedicate the next 365 days to him. Specifically, the Lord took me into a wilderness, a quiet space for He and I. During this season, I learned to be chastened to God, date him and get to know myself in the quiet and stillness of His presence. Once the 365 days was up, I knew that my wilderness was not quite over. From there I entered a season of preparation and I still had a year to go. I was a little disappointed, but I trusted God. He had held me so close in the first year, and I knew my purpose in singleness was not in vain and it was still being revealed in its fullness. My prayers during this time were very focused, specific and intentional. More importantly, my listening was very keen. I heard the voice of the Lord without much interference and my footsteps were truly ordered by Him.
During the second year of my single journey, I began to pray for my future husband. Since the Lord had me all to himself, I asked if He would keep away anyone who was not called to be my husband. He honored that prayer to the fullest! The phone stopped ringing. Going out on dates stopped. Everything stopped. The distractions from the opposite sex were put on hold for the most part. It was a good place to be in for the Lord’s will to be done in my life at that time. In July 2009, I was shopping with friends, around the 4th of July holiday and I said outloud, “I’m ready for covenant.” In my heart of hearts, I knew that I was ready, not to enter into a sexual relationship (at this point I had been abstinent for two years), but to experience the fullness of partnership, friendship, love and then hopefully marriage. I knew I was ready for the one.
Later that same day, I received a call from a mutual friend of my family’s son, inviting me to his Independence Day cookout. I had to decline as I was going out of town for a week. Upon my return the “son” and I spoke on the phone and had a great conversation. We spoke again a couple days later and made plans to meet one another in person over the weekend. On Saturday, July 18 I met Richard Albert Pope III in person. He accompanied me to church. It was a great first place to meet. The following day, I travelled to Connecticut (which would become my weekend get-a-way and 2011 home) and spent the day on the beach, playing video games and having dinner. From there he took me home and I had the night to reflect on the past two days.
What was happening? God, you have had me all to yourself for the past two years. I asked you not to allow anyone in my private space if he was not the one.
I had a moment of honesty and gravity.
The day Richard and I met, the Lord spoke to me LOUD AND CLEAR with three directives that I have let govern me to this day: Treat Him like a King; See him the way I see him; and don’t make him uncomfortable. The Lord had never said things like this to me about a man. Truth be told, I knew RP3 (as I call him) was “the one” the day we met.
On July 22, 2009, Richard and I had a very intentional conversation. I let him know where I was in my life and asked him to describe his intentions. Without stutter or hesitation, Richard let me know that he wanted to prayerfully consider courting me and from there, God’s will for marriage. We were clear. There was no foggy air between us. We understood each other and with that information, we could make informed decisions. The thought of “playing it by ear,” or “stringing each other along” until we figured it out had been kicked out the door. We knew where this would eventually lead.
February 1, 2010, Richard surprised me at my job with a planned proposal. I did say yes and in January 2011 we will say “I Do” to one another in a fairytale ceremony before our family and friends.
The greatest lessons I have learned thus far have been to be intentional about your decisions in life. God was intentional when he created me, and I have purpose here. Due to the way Richard and I have structured our relationship, it has forced me to assess every other area of my life where I fall short at being intentional. I have learned that God has a purpose for us in each season of our life, whether it be in a relationship or single. I have learned the importance of removing the noise, the chaos and the distractions. These things only get in the way of hearing God clearly. It’s not always easy when you are single, and it becomes more difficult in a relationship, so the time spent alone with God has to have boundaries and priority.
Lastly, there is no magic formula for finding a husband or making a relationship work. Richard and I are in what we call, “a modern day arranged marriage.” Our parents tried introducing him and me to each other for four years. We certainly had some divine intervention. I may have been spiritually ready, but God is sovereign and He can use anyone at any time to bring together what is divinely a part of His plan and purpose.
Relationships require work, hard work. What I have found is that people really do want the glory without working hard at their own story. Richard and I work hard at building a solid foundation so that we can enjoy the fruits later. The only short cuts are biblical wisdom and the wisdom that comes from other marriages that have weathered the storms and are still standing.
Again, I am not an expert on relationships and certainly not marriage (yet). All I can share is what I have experienced personally and it has been that of a glorious journey. Obedience, faith and trust are key, but even when you fall short, He doesn’t. God can redeem anything and anybody. He did it for me!