God is the Best Matchmaker: Her Story // 神是最好的媒人:她的故事

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“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
耶和華說:「我知道我向你們所懷的意念是賜平安的意念,不是降災禍的意念,要叫你們末後有指望。」耶利米書29:11

There are some girls who are always in relationships and others who are always single. I was in the latter camp. I had never been in a serious relationship ever before and even before coming to Christ, I felt that I only wanted to date “the one” I would marry. My friends called me idealistic and overly picky, they advised me to take things less seriously and be more open-minded towards relationships. But I was determined that I would be able to discern whom my future husband would be before we started a romantic relationship. I had compiled a long criteria list (over 50 qualities!) and was waiting for “the one” to show up.

I had come to know Christ in 2006, but deep down I still struggled with putting God first in terms of my future relationship. Faith was not on the top of my criteria list. I was looking for a Christian guy because I knew that’s what the Bible said, plus I thought marrying someone with the same faith would minimize disagreements during our marriage and guarantee my parents’ approval. However, given the highly skewed girl: guy ratio at our church, I started to think dating a Christian man was near impossible and resorted to a compromise that I would settle for someone who was just open to the idea of Christianity.

However, as I grew in my faith, God changed the desires of my heart. In October 2010, I experienced a spiritual breakthrough and as I was sharing this with friends who were not yet believers, I realized how many of them didn’t understand why I was so excited or what the big deal was. This led me to another important revelation. My diary entry from October 23, 2010 said it most clearly: “I want someone who can share my excitement and walk together with me in my spiritual journey. Someone whose heart is soft and caring, whose heart breaks for what breaks yours, and will strengthen and encourage me in my walk with you. Lord, I know I’ve had a million requests of what I want in a future husband but now it just comes down to one thing – does he share my passion for You and Your vision? That’s all I ask for now, that he loves You and wants to walk in Your will for the rest of his life.” And as always, God heard my prayer and answered!

In November 2010, I started going to a new bible study group and there was a guy called Ian in the group who caught my attention. I thought he was attractive, fun and interesting, but it was hard to talk in a large group. When I found out he was interested in going to a talk by Pastor Francis Chan that weekend, I offered him directions (since it was hosted at my parents’ church) and we ended up going together. Even though nothing happened afterwards, I knew there was something special about him. What made me like him even more was when I found out that he would be spending Christmas night giving out rice boxes to the homeless in Sham Shui Po and Yau Ma Tei! I had never felt this way about someone and so I prayed to God for a sign if he was really the one. However, he never asked me out one-on-one so I assumed he either had a girlfriend or just wasn’t interested.

As the months went by, I continued to see him at bible study, outreach and ministry events. I was able to learn more about his character and grew to admire his humility, compassion, righteousness and passion for God. Especially during times of outreach, such as the Mongolia mission trip in August 2011, I saw how much he loved God and cared for people around him. As one of the co-leaders of the Mongolia trip, he led the sharing session at church after we came back. Even my sister and mother noticed him then and gushed about what a strong man of God he was! They not so subtly asked me whether he was single, to which I adamantly told them he was out of my league and that they shouldn’t get their hopes up. I prayed again for confirmation and clarity, but interpreted his seeming lack of interest as God’s sign that he wasn’t the one for me and that we would just remain as friends. But as hard as I tried, I couldn’t stop thinking about him.

In December 2011, I received prophecies from 2 separate pastors from the US who had no idea of my crush on Ian. The first one was that I would start dating by March and even though the pastor didn’t tell me explicitly whom I would be dating, he asked a lot of questions about Ian and it was clear that he had taken special notice of Ian after only seeing him twice. Even though this was a prophecy that God blessed me with, I was too scared of being disappointed again and so I told myself that even if I did start dating by March, there was no way the person would be Ian. The other pastor was my cousin, who said he felt a strong sense from the Holy Spirit during the wedding banquet that my future husband was at the same banquet and that I would be starting a relationship very soon.

By two months later (February 2012), neither prophecy was even close to becoming reality and doubt was setting in. I did receive a bouquet of roses on Valentine’s Day, but they were anonymous and no one had asked me out that day so I assumed it must’ve been one of my girlfriends who was trying to comfort me for still being single. I thought to myself, did both pastors hear incorrectly? Maybe it was just their wishful thinking and not a word from God? I was disheartened but decided the best way was to ignore the prophecies altogether and leave it in God’s hands, whatever the outcome was. I prayed the words of the hymn ‘Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing’, “Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.” I prayed God would keep my heart in His hands and give it to whomever he wanted to give it to, not whom I wanted to give it to.

Then one day in March, completely out of the blue, Ian emailed me and asked whether I was free for lunch. I thought it was odd (since we never hung out one-on-one) and had no idea why he wanted to see me, but I thought it could be related to our bible study group so I agreed to meet him for a quick lunch during a work day. At the lunch, we talked about everything, including family, work, and he started talking about how he recently learned to appreciate God’s perspective about relationships and how beautiful it was, how the commitment and choice to love was a reflection of the gospel rather than the world’s portrayal of pure romance and emotions. He asked me out for dinner the same week and I thought (with excitement!) that perhaps there was a tinge of interest and that he wanted to get to know me better before deciding whether he wanted to pursue me or not.

Little did I know how serious his intentions were! During the dinner, he told me he had liked me since we first met in 2010 but how he wasn’t ready for a relationship or marriage then. He recounted all the conversations we had and little things I had done which he had noticed and loved. He told me about all his prayers in the past year and how God had confirmed over and over again that I was a gift from God to him. The Valentine’s Day flowers were also from him. He had no idea I liked him all this time, but he boldly expressed that he just wanted to let me know how strongly he felt towards me and how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me in marriage. You can imagine how relieved he was when I responded by saying the feelings were mutual! 6 months of dating, he proposed and we will be getting married this October.

I must admit the process of waiting (including the time before I had even met Ian) and the extended period of singleness was not easy and I often struggled with trusting God fully with my relationship, but now I finally understand that God had his perfect plan all along. I am so grateful that He protected my heart and gave me the strength and conviction to wait for the right one. He placed Ian in my life at the perfect time, when I had just set my priorities straight and started praying for a man who was rooted firmly in God (though I am blessed enough to say that Ian fulfills all the other qualities I had on my original wish list as well!) He gave us opportunities to serve together, for us to discover each other’s character and be a part of the other’s spiritual growth. He gave us separate prophecies to reassure us that this relationship is from Him. Our friendship is a part of our love story, and there is no greater joy than knowing that God was our ultimate matchmaker!

Check here to read Ian’s side of the love story!

Ian and Andrea2

有些女生總是在談戀愛,而有些總是單身的。我是屬於後者。我從未有過一段認真的關係,甚至在我信主之前我已認為我只希望跟我的未來丈夫約會。我的朋友都說我太過完美主義及挑剔。他們都勸我不要太過認真,試試對感情開放一點。縱使如此,我還是相信我會在我們開始約會前便能夠認出我的未來丈夫。我有一張超過50個要求的清單;等著我的這位真命天子出現。

我在2006年開始信主,可是在心的深處,要我在感情事上將神放在第一位我還是覺得很掙扎。對方的信仰並不在我擇偶條件中的首位。我希望找到一位基督徒只是因為聖經的教訓,加上我覺得嫁給一位相同信仰的人能減少我們不和的機會,也更容易得到家人的認同。可是教會女多男少;我覺得要找到一個基督徒的機會少之又少,所以便跟自己妥協,決定只要能找到一位不拒絕基督教的男生就可以了。

可是當我在這信仰中成長的過程,神改變了我的意願。在2010年的10月,我經歷了屬靈上的突破。我跟未信主的朋友分享時,發現他們根本不了解我為什麼這樣興奮,也不明白這事的重要性。結果這件事給了我一個很重要的啓示;我在2010年10月23日的日記裡說得很清楚:「我希望找到一位能夠分享我的興奮、以及在我的屬靈路上同行的人;一位溫柔細心、與祢的意念相同、又能夠在我跟祢的路上鼓勵和支持我的人。主,我知道我在過去有千萬個對於未來丈夫的要求,不過現在重點只有一個:他能夠分享我對祢的熱情和祢的意願嗎?我現在只有一個要求,就是希望他愛祢和願意這輩子都與祢同行。」一如以往,神聽見我的禱告並允許了!

在2010年的11月,我開始出席一個新的查經班。班裡有一位叫Ian的男生得到我的注意。我覺得他很有吸引力、好玩又有趣,不過在一群人之中要單獨對話卻不容易。當我知道他對Francis Chan牧師的講道活動有興趣時,我便給他到場地的指示(因為活動是在我父母的教會舉行的),結果我們更一齊去。縱使沒甚麼發生,我也感到這個人是有點特別的。我發現他聖誕夜打算到深水埗和油麻地派飯盒給露宿者時,我更喜歡這人!我從來都未試過對任何人有這種感覺,所以我便禱告求神給我啓示這人到底是否就是我的真命天子。可是他從來沒有邀請我單獨見面,所以我便以為他已有女朋友或者對我根本沒有興趣。

在之後幾個月期間,我一直在查經班和不同的外展/事工活動見到他。我能夠加深了解他的個性,也欣賞他的謙卑、愛心、正義感、和對神的熱情。在外展的期間-尤其是在2011年8月到蒙古的宣教之旅-我親眼看見他有多愛神和如何照顧身邊的人。回到香港,他以其中一位短宣領導者的身份在教會分享這旅程的感受;就連我的姐姐和媽媽都因為他對神的熱情而感到雀躍。她們直接地問我他是不是單身,我便告訴她們不要有任何期望,因為我根本配不上他。我繼續為這件事祈禱,不過他看似沒有意思,我便當作是神的啓示,告訴我他不是我要找的那位,並該當朋友而已。可是無論我多努力嘗試,我都不斷地想起他。

2011年12月,兩位從美國來而又不知道我對Ian有意思的牧師給我預言。第一個是說我在3月會開始約會。雖然這位牧師沒有明確地告訴我這人是誰,他卻問了很多關於Ian的問題。很明顯,雖然他只見過Ian兩次,他已經留意到這個人。雖然這是一個神賜給我的預言,我還是很怕會失望,所以我告訴自己,就算我3月真的會開始約會,這人都一定不會是Ian。另一位牧師是我的表哥,他說聖靈給了他強烈的感動,覺得我未來的丈夫在我們當時身處的婚宴,而我也很快會開始一段感情。

2012年2月,也就是兩個月後,兩個預言都不似會即將實現,而我也開始動搖。在情人節當日我收到一束玫瑰花,可是沒有表明是誰送來,當日又沒有人約我,我便以為是我的朋友們送來安慰我的。我問自己,是不是兩位牧師都搞錯了?可能是他們自己的希望,而不是從神而來的話語吧。我雖然有點灰心,但都覺得還是不要理會這些預言,將結果交給主。我以聖詩 “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”的歌詞作為我的禱告:「主,這是我的心,拿去並於祢的花園鎖起 。」我祈求神會保守我的心,將它交托於祂喜悅,不是我喜悅的人。

在3月的某一天,我突然收到Ian的一封電郵,問我有沒有時間跟他吃午飯。由於我們從來未試過單獨見面,我覺得這個邀請很奇怪,不過我心想一定是關於我們的查經班,所以便答應找天午飯時間見個面。見面的時候我們無所不談:家庭、工作…然後他講起最近他開始懂得欣賞神對於感情的用意有多美麗。他說承諾與愛的選擇都反映著耶穌的福音,而不是世間所描寫那種單單的浪漫和情感。他約我在同一個星期裡吃晚飯,我便開始興奮地想或者他對我真的有點意思,可能現在就是希望認識我更多才開始追求我。

我真想不到他原來有多認真!晚飯的時候,他告訴我他由2010年我們初次見面時已經喜歡我,不過當時他覺得自己未夠成熟去應付一段感情或婚姻。他又告訴我他記得也很喜歡那些我們之間的對話和我所做過的一些小事、小動作。他又告訴我他在過去一年間的禱告,神如何一次又一次地確認我是神給他的一份恩賜。原來情人節的花是他送來的。他一直都不知道我喜歡他,不過他卻勇敢地向我表達他對我的感覺有多強烈,和他希望這輩子都跟我在婚姻之中渡過。你可想像我告訴他我也有同感時他有多安慰嗎?我們約會了6個月後他便求婚,我們今年10月要結婚了!

我不得不承認,等待的過程(包括我認識Ian前的時間)以及那段長時間單身的階段的確不容易。我對於完全在感情方面信賴神經常感到掙扎,不過我現在終於明白神完美的計劃!我真的很感激祂一直保守著我的心,又給我力量和信念去等待最適合我的一位。神的時間安排很完美,祂在我搞清楚甚麼才是最重要、並開始禱告求神為我帶來一個跟神的關係根深蒂固的男人後,才把Ian帶進我的生命裡(不過我很感恩,Ian完完全全地滿足我自己原有的擇偶要求!)。祂給我們一齊侍奉的機會,讓我們更加認識對方之外更能夠互相成為大家屬靈成長的一部份。祂分別地給了我們預言,向我們確認這是祂賜的姻緣。我們的友情是我們愛情故事的一部份,而知道神是我們的媒人必定是最大的喜悅!

這裡看看Ian的故事吧!

Image credit: flickr.com/from_linda_yvonne

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