How to Wait for “The One” With Grace

{Note: this is Week 3 of a series. You may read Week 1 here and Week 2 here, then continue on below!}

grace: ɡrās/ noun 1. simple elegance or refinement of movement.

I’m going to be honest with you. I didn’t always wait for “the one” with grace.

Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamt of falling in love, getting married and living “happily ever after.” But all too soon after this fairy tale dreaming began the real life waiting.

  • I waited when I was younger. The boys I liked never seemed to like me back. And all the ones who did I somehow wasn’t interested in.
  • I waited as I got older. I watched my friends enter into serious relationships, get engaged, get married, and ever begin to have children of their own. And yet I remained single.
  • I waited, I waited, and I waited some more. And as I waited I began to wonder, What about me? Would I ever get to live out a love story of my own?

As time passed so did my ability to wait for “the one” with grace.

Some days were better than others. Some days it was easier to believe God’s promises and cling tightly to His Truth. Some days I struggled to suppress frustrated cries of confusion.

When Clay and I finally began dating–after 29 long years of waiting–I looked back and realized that God never left me, forgot about me, or stopped caring about this desire of my heart, but rather He had been working behind the scenes all along to write a great love story for my life.

As I look back I wouldn’t change one thing about our story. I wouldn’t trade one moment of heartache, not one long day, and not one lonely night because Clay was more than worth that wait. God really did have the most wonderful gift at the end of that really long road. But even more than this? I wouldn’t change one day of that wait because it was in that very season of waiting in singleness that I experience a deeper and more tangible relationship with Christ than I ever had before.

If I could sum up this post in just four words it would be–as Bethel Music sings in their song “Take Courage”–

He’s in the waiting.

Waiting isn’t easy. Waiting is never fun. And yet there is treasure to be found in the trial. None of us will wait perfectly. {I sure didn’t.} And yet it’s through the very “grace after grace” that we have received through Christ {1 John 1:16-17} that we are offered unending new beginnings as we strive to learn how to wait for “the one” with a little more grace.


Ponder in Prayer

Maybe you’re waiting for your first relationship. Maybe you’re waiting after the ending of one. Maybe you’re in the midst of all the waiting that comes even with dating.

Check in with God about where you’re at. Maybe you’ve been waiting well. Maybe you’re in a season of struggle. Maybe you’ve been clinging tightly to His promises; maybe, like me, you have found yourself more often crying out in confusion.

Ask God to reveal to you any posture of your heart that is not in line with His Truth. Ask Him to point out any areas in which you’ve begun to doubt Him. And ask Him to open your heart to receive His Word today with fresh perspective.


Knowledge of Truth

1. Waiting is good. I know what you’re thinking. What?! Stick with me: In Genesis, back in the Garden of Eden, Adam waited for a spouse. This is back when the world was perfect, when there was no sin, when there was only good and no evil. If you go back and read Genesis 2:18-23, you’ll see that:

  • God recognized that it was “not good” for Adam to be alone,
  • God then made a promise to make a “suitable helper” for him,
  • Adam then waited and worked, tending the Garden and naming the animals,
  • and finally God delivered to him Eve.

We don’t know how much time passed in between God’s promise and the delivery of His promise, but we do know there was some amount of it. And if there was only good on the earth and there was waiting, then we can deduce that waiting is good–and for a spouse no less!

2. God calls us to wait. Over and over in Scripture God calls His people to wait for the very promises He makes.

  • God called Abraham + Sarah to wait for the child He had promised.
  • God called Moses + the Israelites to wait for their deliverance from slavery and to the Promised Land.
  • Similarly, God calls us to wait for–including but not limited to–the delivery of His promise that lies in His good design of marriage. Scripture tells us that we are to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” {Psalm 27:14}, that we are to “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” {Psalm 27:7}, and James 5:7-8 calls us to wait as a farmer who waits for his crops–“You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.”

3. God’s call comes with a promise. In the call to wait for God’s promises, God makes additional promises to us–namely, that in the waiting, He is working. Our God never sleeps. He never closes His eyes to us, never stops writing our story, and never abandons us on our journey. Even when it feels like He’s left or forsaken us, Scripture reminds us that He hasn’t. Not once. And not ever.

  • Not once did God forget His promise to Abraham and Sarah in their 25 years of waiting.
  • Not once did God abandon the Israelites in their 40 years of waiting in the desert.
  • And not once does God leave us, forget us or stop caring about us–all the longings of our heart and all the promises He has made. His very Word spoken to us reveals that “the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” {Psalm 121:8}, that He knows when we sit and when we rise and that He perceives out thoughts from afar {Psalm 139:2}, and Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

All things–all waiting and all the pain, heartache and loneliness that comes with it–work together for good in the hands of God who loves us. When we surrender the pen of our love story to Him, we can be certain He is working on it–behind the scenes, beyond our scope of vision, and beyond our wildest dreams.


Walking in Wisdom

1. Invite others into your story. When we invite others into our journey of waiting, they get to see evidence of God’s faithfulness when His promises are delivered. Invite your friends and family members to pray for you in your time of waiting in singleness as well as for the waiting that comes with dating. And speaking of prayer–

2. Pray specific prayers. When we pray specific prayers, God gets glory. In his book The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson explains that when we pray vague prayers, when they are answered we can simply chalk them up to “coincidence.” However, when we pray very specific prayers, when they are answered there’s no other explanation than that it was God who did it.

A little story about this….

prayer rocks.

Whenever my mom would pray while outside on a walk, she’d mysteriously find just one grey-ish blue rock on her path. There were no others like it around. It became such an odd pattern she was certain it was God telling her He was listening.

She began picking them up, bringing them home, and writing on each the date and what she was praying for. As she began to watch some of the prayers get answered, she shared this whole “prayer rock” thing with our family.

In January 2015 she decided to make it her new year’s resolution to pray for my future husband. She prayed five very specific things for who he would be. Not three weeks later I called her to tell her about “a boy named Clay.”

As she prayed for what might become of our relationship, she encountered not only a prayer rock but a heart-shaped prayer rock. When Clay and I began dating, she learned he embodied every single one of the five things for which she prayed. And when Clay and I got married, she stood up on our wedding day and told this story to all our guests who sat at prayer-rock-covered tables.

And God got so much glory that day.

3. Strengthen your foundation. Use this time of waiting to fall more deeply in love with Jesus–to write His Word and promises on your heart. Memorize Scripture. Spend time in prayer. Discover a more tangible relationship with Christ than you have ever known before.

Return to your “first love” {Revelation 2:4} in Christ–the only One who will ever love you perfectly and truly fulfill the deepest desires of your heart and greatest longings of your soul. He is the true, strong and lasting foundation on which you build your life and your marriage to come.

Just think: By strengthening your foundation in Christ now–in singleness, in the waiting–you are actually preparing a blessing for your future spouse when one day your foundations will become one.

grace: ɡrās/ noun 2. (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

The journey of waiting for “the one” can be marked by quite the feeling that the waters are rising more quickly than you can keep afloat. It’s a difficult journey, no matter how long. When I was single, I often looked to my wedding day as an ending to that struggle of waiting. I didn’t think all that much past it; I viewed it as a finish line. And yet as I look at this photo of Clay and I passing over these rocks in the ocean, I’m reminded of all the waiting that has marked my life even in marriage.

The truth is: marriage is not an ending; marriage is merely a stepping stone en route to the true happy ending that awaits us in eternity.

The entirety of our lives are really a mere “in between” in which we wait. In between salvation and eternity lies a long road of sanctification. And it’s in the very work of seasons of waiting that God sanctifies our hearts and draws us exponentially closer to Him–over and over again.

In marriage, I continue to cling tightly to the very promise God spoke to me of His words in Isaiah 43:2 during singleness:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
Would this and every other promise from God act as stepping-stone-sized prayer rocks that carry you safely across the rising waters as you wait for “the one” with grace, all the while reminding you of The One for whom you wait.

Week 4. The Great Fairy Tale Hoax: on “choosing love” over “falling in love”

Week 5. Striving for Purity in a World Where Sex Sells

Week 6. On Finding “The One”: Where to Start, Where to Look

Week 7. A Dim Reflection: Why Marriage isn’t the Happy Ending.

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