Written to my future husband on February 15, 2012.
“Dear Future Husband,
Valentine’s Day has now passed. I can’t wait until the first one I spend with you. I miss you more and more each day as I wait for the moment the Lord brings you into my life. It will be so nice to have a life partner and best friend to do everything with. This past Tuesday I was driving home from volunteering with my friend. On her steering wheel she had taped an amazing verse I hadn’t remembered hearing before. It read, ‘Do not stir up or awaken love until the appropriate time.’ Song of Solomon 2:7b, 3:5b. This verse really reminded me that I should not try to “awaken” love too early by diving into pointless relationships. I need to keep holding out for you! Although this is difficult and lonely (and my loneliest days are probably to come), I must always remember that the Lord is with me every step of the way. I will continue praying for you, that you will not be lonely and will wait for me. Always remember to follow in the path God has for you, no matter how difficult. I love you.”
- Waiting is inevitable.
Sixteen-year-old Marina had barely begun to understand what it meant to be “in the waiting.” Even though I knew the greatest kind of love through salvation in Christ, I longed for earthly companionship. What I may not have realized at the time is that waiting is inevitable. It’s simply a part of life that cannot be avoided. If you think about it, society has been trying to avoid “waiting” with every invention and every decade that passes. But even technology can make waiting disappear. The question, then, is not IF we will wait on certain things in our lifetime, but rather HOW we will spend our time in waiting.
Written to my future husband on February 14, 2018.
“Dear Future Husband,
This Valentine’s Day is different. Not in the sense that I am more content now than I used to be, but that I see the Lord’s promises being fulfilled all around me. God continues to scrape away the fear and self-centeredness and price and productivity from my heart and replace it with peace. Yes, I dread the thought of sickness or conflict separating us, but I will forever be grateful for the Lord’s anointing and unifying power. The Lord is growing you in patience, character, and godliness as I write, I am sure of it. There are aspects about you I’ve long for for so long, and yet I never want to forget that in my relationship with you. God has perfectly crafted you for me, flaws and all. Although neither of us is perfectly compatible because of our sin, God has shown us grace. I rest in that.”
- Waiting solidifies our contentment in God alone.
I wrote that entry four months before I got married. You see, finding my earthly love had not increased my contentment. I already had that in Christ. In fact, if a relationship makes you more “content” than you were with Christ alone, there may be more spiritual growth that needs to happen first. But at that specific time, I was experiencing God’s movement in many ways—not just in revealing to me who my spouse would be, but also in calling us into the ministry and placing me with the perfect job for our first year of marriage. These had all been things many years in the making. Was I glad they happened? Of course. But my contentment was steady throughout the journey knowing that the same God is present whether things are “going my way” or not.
Although I didn’t write an entry for Valentine’s Day 2020, it probably would have gone something like this:
The last place I wanted to be with you this special day is the hospital, yet that is where we are. I can hardly stand to see you in such pain. I was foolish if I ever thought waiting would end in marriage. Rather, it’s the beginning of a whole other set of ‘waitings.’ But I’m thankful still. It is in these painful health problems we’ve faced that I see God’s instructing and molding hand evermore clearly. It is the sting of the waiting that drives me back to Him. Thank you for loving me through my imperfections and failings these past years. Thank you for coming alongside me faithfully in our waiting—big and small. The Lord has been so faithful to us, I can hardly contain my joy! So I will commit to Him my patience and supplicate for a teachable heart. I’m so glad I have you along in the journey.”
- Waiting grows our character.
I’m not going to pretend that I know what you are waiting on today. I don’t. But whatever it is, it is real, it inflicts sharp pain, and it seems to be never-ending. No matter how “petty” or serious our concerns, God knows them and cares about them. But He also uses them to shape our character to look more like Him. There will probably never be a time in our life we aren’t “waiting” for something, but that is precisely where we can grow and where the faithfulness of God is most visibly and poignantly seen—in the waiting.