“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” G.K. Chesterton
Last week, I attended my dear friend Carol’s wedding. She was just a twenty-something when her husband left her with a baby boy and a little girl — and a house and heart empty, with only tears as her prayer.
She walked through the darkest season of her life by hanging onto a God she believed saw her pain and would never leave her. She grew into a woman of encouragement — a shepherding pastor, coming alongside others on their journeys of faith. Privately, she tucked a dream of hers away: Is there someone she can grow old together with, side by side in rocking chairs?
Nearly three decades later, I witnessed her radiant with joy, exchange wedding vows with a husband that lives on a ranch in Montana, where my dear California-girl-of-a-mentor now calls newlywed-home.
As I sat there in the pew with tears of joy, I thought back to my own story — how in my thirties, I believed I had the gift of singleness. Not because I didn’t want romance or a husband. But, out of sheer logic. I just hadn’t met anyone who had been “The One”.
Today, I’d like to share a post to encourage those who have the gift of encouragement, who may be wondering if God can bring love back in your life.
You’ve encouraged so many around you.
Just like Ruth never expected she would find a Boaz while gathering leftover in the fields for Naomi, you are not forgotten. Your needs are not overlooked. The dream you dare to whisper in private — God hears.
Like Ruth, you are focusing on the gathering — the work that’s right in front of you. You get up and lie down, faithful to encourage those around you, being thankful for the spiritual provision you find everyday.
Among my purpose-filled days as a single, there were sometimes deep, long nights, when the ache in my heart tore down into my gut. In those moments, I wondered if I would run into someone, the way Ruth stumbled onto Boaz’ fields….
Never Been Kissed
I don’t know if dogs and cats dream of getting their first kisses, but one thing’s for sure, humans are different.
I remember wanting my first kiss so badly, I thought I was going to die waiting. I did not want to get to college and be the only girl on campus whose only kiss was her bathroom mirror.
Luckily, despite my mother’s best efforts and my propensity to like books and play in the orchestra (the cool kids were in band and track-and-field), I did get my first kiss before donning cap and gown.
The kiss was just as magical and dizzying as it appears in the movies.
But, it wasn’t true love.
Not for him, anyways.
It was a bummer. The box for My First Kiss was checked off the same year as Dumped For The First Time.
Missing The Boat
Some people talk about not kissing anyone until they’re engaged, to end up marrying the first person they kissed. Real fairy-tale like.
Too bad, I always thought.
Why didn’t God have the first guy I fall in love with be my husband?
It was the first of many why-questions I’d start filing secretly away.
Many years passed. I could never find the magic of that first kiss again.
After some time, I grew up and got smart. I stopped believing there was “The One”.
If I missed the boat with “The One”, then I’d rather just be by myself and God.
It’s just you and me, God.
I liked it just fine.
There was enough to keep me kingdom forward and connected with people. Eight years fly by when you can serve with abandon, lots of friends to make and enjoy.
Then, one day, I met him.
He Was Different
Unlike other Christians guys who always stayed behind the lines of just being “friends”, he was different.
He wrote me digital letters every day for a month. Then, he asked me out on a date. Not to grab a bite to eat. A date.
In line for a flick, we found out our #1 favorite food was pizza and we both loved coffee. We couldn’t stop talking and we were laughing even though there were no jokes being told.
I decided to put out the “No Kissing” edict. My last kiss was many annual moons ago. I didn’t want to kiss any more frogs.
That’s how long we’d have to date exclusively before we could kiss.
He was smart. He smiled and nodded.
I didn’t make it past six weeks.
The kiss I received that day under a willow tree was the best kiss ever. It felt like my first kiss.
It didn’t bring me back to my kiss at seventeen.
It felt as if I had never been kissed.
… Until that moment with him.
Turn Back Time
If you’ve ever stopped believing that anything could be new again, God’s perfect timing can turn everything back to the first time.
The impossible happened that day we first kissed.
God became a lot more powerful than I imagined.
~ He works in mysterious ways we can’t explain.
~ He stirs and rearranges our hearts, when we’re not looking. When we don’t think anyone else is home, except us, He makes a space for love.
~ He is more capable than cupid, more magical than the most beautiful of fairy tales.
A Kiss To Your Soul
I’m old enough to understand that nothing lasts forever.
But, there are some things that happen only once, that remind us that there is eternity in our hearts.
The one I call my husband was him. He was brought into my life, even though I gave up looking for love.
God knows what you may have given up on.
The One who knows you can bring a kiss to your soul, like the one you’ve always longed for and forgotten about.
Mine came through a person, but remember, God is not limited by our ways.
Why didn’t God have the first guy I fall in love with be my husband?
… So that I could believe in miracles again.
“And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.”~ Isaiah 62:5
Do you need to believe in miracles again?
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This month’s series is “Shots of Encouragement”. Yes, I’m thinking of you — the ones always lifting others and keeping others in mind. Let’s encourage each other as we fill each other’s cup.
*** NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN — FAITH BARISTA JAM! ***
Faith Barista Jam Thursdays — I serve up a topic of faith, you write the post. Let’s encourage each other. Add your voice. Swap our stories.
Today’s Topic 6/9:
It’s the month of classic June weddings. A reader who is single asked me how I met my husband. She said it always encourages her to hear the different ways God leads people to find true love.
In the spirit of encouragement, I’d love to hear from our community. Write on the topic: Finding “The One”.
Share your post by clicking on the blue button below “Add Your Link” or just comment directly.
Next Thursday’s Topic 6/16 :
Share your thoughts on Father’s Day.
Approach it any way you feel inspired! Only required ingredient: keep it real. Thanks for serving your personal brews!
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I love that he asked you on a date – not to grab a bite to eat. That in and of itself speaks volumes. 🙂
Isn’t that interesting. Something so small, yet it never happened before! Christian guys – be bold! 🙂
What a beautiful description! Thank you.
I love this, Bonnie! Like you, I was in my thirties when I met “The One.” And even though he wasn’t the one with whom I’d shared my first kiss, our first kiss was like something out of a fairy tale. I was not walking with the Lord at the time, but when I look back, I can see His hand in our story.
Oh, can’t read your post, Melissa!
i’ve always loved that part of your story =)
*hugs* Katy! 🙂 I love having you here!
Quite the journey Bonnie! When I see how God works, I can say that I’d never choose the process, but I’m always pleased with the results.
Not surprisingly, I took a bit more theological approach to all of this, but the main connection between our stories seems to be the ways God makes himself more real and powerful in our lives throughout the process of seeking a mate. We can over-think the romance and love. We can over-think the theology behind finding THE ONE (which I think is an unhelpful term). However, the entire process of waiting, seeking, and finding is all an opportunity to draw near to God and to depend on him in ways we may have never imagined before.
Oh, yeah! You know “the One” was a teaser, right? 🙂 Not surprisingly at all. It’s your signature brew – seeing God in everyday conversations. Coffeehouse theology… hmm…
[…] week’s Faith Jam is on the topic: “Finding the One,” and our theology always creeps into how we pursue our […]
I still have not had my first kiss nor met “The One”. I always prayed that I would meet the right person before I turned 30. I’ll be 30 in a few months and have given up hope on the prayer being answered. Over the last few months, I’ve actually thought and tried to reconcile myself to the fact that maybe I will be single forever. Reading your post actually made me cry. I do not know the future, but your post has helped me to remember again that my Heavenly Father really loves me very much.
Thank you for being such an encouragement to me.
Dear Eunice, thanks so much for sharing your heart! Our Heavenly Father does love us very much. I lived my singleness from a place of strength. Even though I’m married now, I still believe singleness is equally as fulfilling as marriage. But, I also believe God’s ways are mysterious. We can give ourselves over to passion-filled living because God has our back! God bless you!
What a lovely post, especially for this still single girl! While I didn’t write about my own journey (I think I bared that all back in February with the Valentine’s prompt), I did share a little snip about a wedding recently attended, my mum’s! It was one of those surprises she hadn’t expected, like Ruth, but she found God had more for her than just laboring through the second half of life alone. I was overjoyed to watch the romance grow and even more thrilled to witness the commitment before God. And yes, it gave me a little extra shot of faith in the meantime.
Dunlizzie! That is an INCREDIBLE story! How thrilling that is to see front-row and center a budding love story – in life’s second half! Love it! Thanks for sharing it… and can’t wait to read your post!
Nice story. I’m glad God worked it out for you. As for me, Prince Charming is an idol that I had to give up. It is a powerful illusion generated by the enemy who knows very well we can never be ultimately satisfied in another human being. From an early age, girls are bombarded with the message that they are nothing without a man. I remember my own mother telling me, “Someday you’ll meet him.” I’ll be 49 in a couple of weeks and I haven’t met him yet. I was married for 7 years – a huge mistake and all my fault. I never want to see that look of disappointment on someone’s face again nor do I want to feel disappointed in him. The truth is, our end-all and be-all was never meant to be found in another human being. Jesus is our only Savior.
Sweet Diane, thank you for sharing such a painful journey. Jesus is the end-all and be-all… and He’ll never leave or forsake us. Along the broken road of life, Jesus can still remake beautiful. So blessed you’re here!
Bonnie, your story is beautiful! I’m so grateful He makes all things new… I thought all along I had been waiting “patiently”, but I’ve recently realized I was waiting “restlessly”- that’s not exactly the way God has intended for us to use this time. Singleness is so full of purpose. I’m grateful that God has made my attitude “new”. Thanks, Bonnie for sharing your story. It’s very encouraging for us single gals. 🙂
Your heart is always amazing me, Jennifer! It’s an honor to share an unfolding together — I’m so blessed to meet you along the way! You’re honesty and love for God on this life adventure is so encouraging!
Bonnie, you are so sweet! I love “doing” life with you! I love being a part of this little space in the blogging world! Thanks for all your encouragement along this journey! 🙂
[…] am linking up with Bonnie, at the Faith Barista, this morning. Her blog focuses on offering encouragement for our hearts. Come on […]
My hubby & I met through christiancafe.com our first date was at a coffee shop, bookstore and then to another coffee shop,…we just couldn’t stop talking with each other. God answered my prayer in my hubby. For my birthday that year i had asked the Lord if He could give me a husband. a month later I met him. My hubby is the first guy I ever kissed, not because I was saving my first kiss for my husband but because there was no other guy who ever moved me the way he did and still does ;O)
God is good, great and Almighty. the 2nd part of my birthday prayer was answered just last year (after 3 yrs of marriage) we welcomed our son, Theo James, into the world. God does answer prayer. SWEET HALLELUJAH!
My pastor friend met her husband through e-Harmony! 🙂 Thanks for taking time to share your love story, Joyce! It spotlights God’s amazing ways! Congrats on a God-surprising and wonderful hubby and baby!
All I can say right now is thank you. God has been listening to me and he used this to remind me……..
Thanks for sharing your wonderfully romantic experience!!
A reminder for girls/women that went way past that first kiss…”secondary virginity” is a beautiful thing. As a wild child of the 60’s in southern CA, I grew up in the sex, drugs, rock and roll of the 70’s. I didn’t meet Jesus and fall in love with Him until I was in my 20’s – but took that claim to wait for my husband…
When God brought Mark into my life, it was love at first sight for Mark, and a feeling as if “I could be best friends with this man for a LONG time”. We started pre-marital counseling with our pastor, and were married 6 months and a day after we met, but we went weeks without holding hands even…the attraction for each other grew with our love and commitment. It was one of the ways I knew he was “the ONE” as he was willing to wait, and it was important to him to be pure together on our wedding day, as well as to be able to tell our kids that we waited for sex till our wedding day… and we did…together. (they also know that we had made the mistakes before knowing who God was, or what He desired for our lives in obedience to walking with Him).
So, waiting is ok.
And…letting our kids make their own plans (they’re all adults now) – one waited to kiss until she was engaged, one had her first kiss on her wedding day, one has kissed more – but has become a waiter after not meeting THE ONE yet…i’m praying for his wife, whomever she may be…
God is speaking to me so loudly right now! I’ve just re-connected with an old friend/boyfriend from ~ 17 yrs ago! I’ve been divorced a while now. I was wild before my marriage and after, well, frankly I’m scared of meeting someone for fear I won’t have enough self control! Let me tell you, I have been struggling the past 2 days with feelings that have come out of hiding. Feelings of attraction towards a man that I didn’t even have for my husband for years. I’m afraid of them. I made the decision a while ago that I want to teach my children by example, esp. my daughter who is 12! I did all the wrong things before marriage. I have been having constant conversations with God about these feelings about this friend I’ve reconnected with and God has had a way of keeping us apart for various reasons the past week! Something always comes up in the afternoon to keep us from seeing one another but we still speak on the phone and continue to learn little bits at a time about each other.
Thank you for your story that spoke so clearly to me that it is in fact possible to wait and have that 2nd virginity! When God brings the right man into my life I know I will know and just like you said, he will wait with me if he is the one!
Love your post! I cry while reading it.
I´m still waiting… I´m almost 35 and sometimes I think I should just stop waiting, cause I don´t see my prince anywhere near…
The waiting has been painful and difficult… There had been a couple of times were I though “the one” was coming… but it just end up in dissapointment.
I know God has perfect plan for me. And that He es going to give me what I need to receive what ever He has in store for me!!!!
Yes, He makes all things new — I waited 43 years to find “the one” and it never could have happened until I found “the ONE”
OH. WOW. i am sending this to my son because he is where you were and this will encourage him. THANK YOU so much for sharing this!!!
ahhh…I remember our first date as if it was yesterday and it’s been almost 20 years now. I love our story and hope it offers hope to all those who have given up on love. Fondly, Roberta
My first kiss was an awful mess. It happened on the school bus, right before my stop. It was so squishy and soft that I held it in until I got off the bus and then I spit it right out on the side of the road! I broke up with the boy the next day. I just wasn’t ready for that stuff, I guess. God’s timing is always perfect. I dont’ know why I always try to rush things or convince Him otherwise. Thanks for sharing your beautiful love story, Bonnie. Score one more for Him :).
Thanks for posting this Bonnie. It did hit at my heart strings and got a shot of faith 🙂
In some corner of my heart, I’ve always treasured the hope of finding that special one someday and keep on waiting. But as time goes by, sometimes you find yourself flung deep down when you see noone’s coming. Thanks for the reminder. I believe and hope in the One my heart adores and I trust that someday He shall send my better half. I know that for the moment He is definitely enough for me. 🙂
I just posted my comment on your FB post… but I wanted to see if my picture shows here now that I uploaded it to Gravatar. 🙂
Reminds of that saying (was it Paul McCartney) that life happens when we’re making other plans.
Except in this case, it’s a beautiful story of how our letting go makes room for God to give.
[…] will inspire you to live your life with purpose as they have done for me.Inspiring Links of the WeekFaith Barista: Never Been Kissed – Faith Barista, Bonnie Gray, shares her story of finding her husband. It is a wonderful […]
Wow! Your story is so beautiful! I didn’t share my story because it had some “not-so-beautiful” moments in it. Someday I may share it. It fits quite well with my blog – messymarriage! ha! But thanks for giving us a peek into your lovely and inspiring meeting with “the one.”
What a wonderful story of your friend and her wedding. I am so happy for those who have found love, even late or for a second (or third) time. God is love and He does love a lover!
When my friend Diana said she had submitted her story on your faith Jam, it inspired me to write mine and enter it here. Also I was inspired by Ann Voskamp’s beautiful story and mentioned it on my post.
I am so very glad you shared your story. It is truly wonderful. I too am waiting. I have been through 2 divorces, neither of them Christians but I have 4 wonderful children, grandchildren and great grandchildren whom I love very much. I was all set to be married last Sept. but the night before the wedding his TRUE self came to light just in the nick of time or in God’s time. I wasn’t listening to the early signs because I thought I had found the ONE but he wasn’t it. He professed to believe and even went to church with me a couple of times. My children and their families mean the world to me and when he came down hard on them the night before and called them all sorts of name just because they were playing a tossing game at 10:30 at night. They don’t get together often so it was a special time for them, being there and celebrating their Mom’s wedding. I can only praise God for showing me the truth about him before we were married. I am doing great now and just waiting for the right man at the right time. God bless Faith. Love you
this was beautiful, friend. it’s weird for me to know my last kiss was my last. that there is no potential for love to enter my life again… not this life i lead. but i’ve learned that the things i will never experience were never meant for me, rather than things taken from me…
[…] unexpected first kiss became my forever […]
I’m glad to have came across your post “what season of faith are you working through” that linked me to this post. It’s beautiful, heartwarming and extremely encouraging! I would like to think that God has spoke to me through you, because just 1 hour ago, I told a girlfriend – “I cannot imagine my life with someone at this point in time… I am not too sure if I can have the capacity to have that romantic love with someone…”
I have never been kissed and am looking forward to that day where this wonderful man of God would do as what yours did for you – sweep me off my feet and kiss my soul. Until then, let my focus be on what God has planned for me – to shape me into His woman of faith, to be prepared to serve that special man He has planned for me.
Thank you for your posts, for your sincere and beautiful writing.
[…] because I couldn’t find “The One”, even as I blew out thirty candles, I was confident with my choice to be […]
[…] 30-something single girl who could not fall in […]
This is probably one of the most encouraging, thoughtful articles ever written on being single. I was at work while reading this (I know, I know) and had to stop reading it so I could compose myself and not choke on the tears that were coming. While in the privacy of my own home, I can grasp these truths and yes, cry a little over this sweet sweet story. Thank you for sharing this.