When a Ghost Convinced Me to Marry
In 2002, I prayed to God that if He wanted me to settle down, to send me someone whom I described in such detail, that I knew he could not exist. I wrote it down in my journal and forgot about it. A year later, while working as a police officer in a major American city, I had decided to never marry. I was convinced kids were something God did not plan for me. My boyfriend, Chris, and I were dating, but I had decided to be married to my job and keep him at a safe distance from my heart. One summer evening, I received a call from dispatch to "check the well-being". An elderly woman did not arrive at a church function she was sure never to miss. I found the woman on her kitchen floor, deceased. She had been 80 years old.
Made to wait
She died in the house in which she was born. According to neighbors, she had made the choice to never marry or have children. In order for technicians from the Medical Examiner's office to come out and retrieve her body, I had to find identification to prove her identity. Unfortunately, her wallet was nowhere to be found. Because of protocol, the Anatomy Board (a separate organization) was going to have to come out to pick her up, but it would be hours before they would arrive. So there I waited, in this house with this deceased woman, for several hours. This may sound odd, but in large cities, police officers come across these situations often. There is a process to the steps taken to retrieve a deceased person, even if family is present. In this case, there were no relatives.
As I waited, I thought about why she decided never to get married or have children. Was it to guard her heart? Was she hurt one too many times? Did she want to play life out on her own terms? Did she build a wall up around her heart as well? I surveyed her home and saw a piano. Whom did she play for? I saw a warm living room. Whom did she gather with on Christmas morning? I noticed her small kitchen table. Whom did she sit around the breakfast table with and say, "Did you sleep well? Have a good day at school." Her front door had an old transom at the top, like the one in the house where my grandparents lived. She never got to stand under it and kiss foreheads before sending anyone off to school or work. These thoughts hit me hard.
That is when I felt God speaking to me, "You can guard your heart like this woman. You can live life on your own terms and live a long life doing your own thing, OR You can surrender to me, drop your guard and let me show you what I have for you." I heard the message loud and clear. Even back when I was not walking with God the way I should have been, He had a plan for me and spoke to me so tenderly and full of grace. I said, "OK, Lord, I hear you."
I decided to open my heart to Chris and commit to loving him wholeheartedly, to see what God had in store for us. I cannot say it was easy for me to immediately let down my guard. I had a hard time disposing of each brick which guarded my heart but, little by little, God helped chip it away with me. Chris and I married a year later. I had to learn how to effectively communicate all over again, to be selfless and to nurture my marriage, respect my husband rather than control him. Once I let go of the control, I could receive an enormous amount of love.
Looking back on that lonely time in my life, sitting with that woman, thinking I had everything figured out, I am reminded of what God can do with our lives when we stop fighting Him, get out of our own way, and surrender all. I am so grateful to God for bringing Chris into my life. He is the most patient, loving, kind and generous person I have ever known.
A few years ago, I found my old journals and was thumbing through them. I found my prayer and became overwhelmed when I read Chris’ description written out on the page in front of me. I get to be married to someone that God picked out for me, whom I prayed for, whom surely did not exist. He has blessed us with the mission of raising two wonderful children. My life had a rough beginning and I don't know what is in store for my future, but I know He has used all the negative experiences for good and led me to a place that I could never have dreamed for myself. I will never have it all figured out, and that is OK, God does, and I know from multiple experiences that I can trust Him. You can too.
This summer, my husband and I will celebrate our 17 year wedding anniversary. I am grateful to be married to a man who consistently puts in 100%, and who loves me and the children so well. I am grateful he strives to be the man God has called him to be.
To Chris: Thank you for always listening, leading me back to Christ, leading our home like a man should, being a positive role model for our children, loving all the pets we bring home, being a good friend, son to your parents and brother to your siblings. I know all that is good within you comes from God and I am grateful to do life with you.
To the woman who allowed me to ponder in her home that evening: I do not know what your life would have been like had you allowed God to guide your steps. Maybe that is exactly what you did. I will never know. What I know is that getting a glimpse of your life allowed me to surrender mine.