God is the Best Matchmaker: Her Story // 神是最好的媒人：她的故事
“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
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!
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。
Image credit: flickr.com/from_linda_yvonne