Written by Yodit & Dwight
There’s a saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him YOUR plans.” That’s what I think of when I think about our story. I never thought or planned that I would marry someone I met during a work trip. Why? Because as a Christian young lady who loves God and was heavily involved in ministry, the only place you can meet a guy is at church or doing ministry work. Right? (Insert sarcasm) That sounds silly but our journey was one that showed me just how much I had created this fairy tale story line in my head of how my love story would look like, from where we met to how it would all play out.
And certainly laughed as He gently helped me realize that those expectations were more reflective of a heart that took more pride in the story than the good God who works out His good pleasures in our lives – in His time and in His way.
Dwight and I met in 2013 at an annual conference that the organization he worked with put on. I worked for a company that was a sponsor at the conference and I went for my own personal development. We noticed each other but I didn’t think much besides, “Oh, he’s tall and handsome.”
During the end of the conference’s reception, he stopped by my table for “small talk.” You know the “Where do you live? What do you do at your company?” and how are you enjoying the conference?” set of questions. I left that conference and returned to life as normal. A couple of days later, I received a LinkedIn message from him, which I didn’t check until 3 weeks later. *yikes * and responded at my leisure. We went back and forth a couple of times until we became Facebook friends. Through that outlet, we both learned that we were Believers. The following year, Dwight reached out through Facebook to see if I would be attending that year’s conference. He wrote, “If you are planning to attend the conference, I would love to sit and talk about your faith and calling.” I was NOT expecting that from him.
So in November 2014, I went and we finally connected. We experienced a moment where we tag-teamed to share the gospel with a girl at the conference. That moment suddenly made me see him differently. Then, towards the end of the conference, we sat down and talked for close to four hours. I sat there and thought, this can’t be happening. His poise. His story. His insights. His humor. His heart for seeking God—all in that conversation caused something in me to be intrigued, even though in the back of my mind I still thought, “this is work. I can’t like someone I met from work!”
This is where the imperfectly perfect journey all started
This is where God started to dismantle my idea of how I would meet “him” and what would follow, as our story would become one where surrender, obedience & patience would show God’s good work in our lives.
After that conference, we got to know each other more by consistently talking on the phone. He was in California & I lived in New Jersey. After about two months of talking almost every day, we decided to pray about moving forward in defining our relationship. After praying about it, I told him I didn’t feel God’s peace to move forward. I didn’t understand why but I had to trust that God knew what He was doing. Dwight didn’t understand either and even though it wasn’t what we both wanted to hear, we see now that God was orchestrating it all. Our feelings for each other didn’t go away and about a year later (2015), we prayed about taking the relationship forward. Once again, I came back with the same answer: no peace to move forward. Now, this really hurt Dwight because He felt ready to go forward. Although it hurt me too, I had to choose to see God’s sovereign plan. We remained friends and respected the decision.
I share these specific details of our story because it’s easy to see a couple from afar and think it just happened perfectly. That’s what I thought would happen with mine. Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. They love each other and then they are married. Simple. (I think I just heard God laugh again) It’s important to know that as genuine followers of Christ, we have imperfect journeys that require us to be obedient to God when He says no, not now, or not ever. It’s relinquishing control of our feelings and trusting God with them. It’s remembering that His plan and timing is better than ours. And it’s also remembering that just because it doesn’t happen how you thought it should happen doesn’t mean it’s not God’s plan.
Had we not listened to God both those times He said no, it wouldn’t have turned out how God designed it to be.
Little did I know that I would move back to Virginia from New Jersey in 2016 to be with my family. Surprisingly (not to God), it was during that time that God gave me the peace to move forward with Dwight (3rd time is a charm, right?). Ten months later he proposed and 6 months later we got married. Had I moved ahead of God while I was in New Jersey because of what I felt for him, I would never had the time to be with my family before entering into that season of my life (I moved to California after the wedding). God, in His loving kindness allowed those stop signs, so I could be where I needed to be physically but also emotionally and spiritually.
And because God challenged us to die to self even before our courtship and in our courtship, it’s been that same journey in our marriage.
Of course it’s easier said than done, but it’s such a display of Christ’s love for His Bride-the Church. Dwight’s love for me astounds me. He is truly an example of Corinthians 13. He loves me and challenges me to live out Christ with the way I love. Are we perfect? Not. At. All. But we are striving to love perfectly as Christ has commanded us. Five months into marriage and we have seen His beautiful mercy upon us and I am so excited to see how God will continue to lead us intricately as we continue to trust Him deeply.
I’ve wanted to be married as long as I can remember.
I am sure I found girls, relationships, and marriage to be foreign and gross at some point, but what I remember clearly is that from a young age, I was on the lookout for the young lady that I would make my Queen.
I think this desire was ultimately given to me by God, but it was fostered and exemplified by my parents and their imperfect but WHOLEHEARTED display of spousal SACRIFICE, team work, patience and love, which they CONSISTENTLY modeled for myself and siblings.
I remember snapshot moments in elementary and middle school when I would imagine the future, who the ‘girl of my dreams’ would be, how I would meet her, how I would know she was ‘the one’, and what the journey would be like.
By all accounts I was a highly imaginative child, but I never came close to dreaming up the show-stopping woman God had in store for me. I definitely never could’ve imagined the fantastic and redemptive journey of growth, learning and preparation that led me to first kneel before the Lord, surrendering all to Him, and then kneel before my now-wife, surrendering my life for her as well.
Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the entire story in detail, but there are a few moments from my journey of courting and now being married to Yodit that I’d like to focus in on to support a central point which I believe every Christ-centered relationship, but especially the marriage relationship, displays with supernatural consistency. Here it is:
God’s plan, for His children, is INFINITELY better than any plan that you could dream up or imagine by or for yourself.
God’s Plan for my life showed up throughout our courtship and currently in our Marriage in the form of 3 major ingredients: Surrender and Obedience, Patience, and Self-sacrifice.
Surrender and Obedience is God’s Plan
Surrender is always the prequel to embracing and receiving Gods plan. Obedience is always the vehicle that moves you to and in God’s will.
I had to surrender every facet of my life to Jesus Christ. Without that the rest of this story does not exist. On December 26, 2012 — a day I will never forget — God, in his mercy, brought me to a clear crossroads, and gave me the Grace to recommit all of myself to Him. What I was able to see, by God’s mercy, is that the ‘partial surrender’ equation is actually 100% surrender to sin. There is no middle ground. I think that I, and a lot of young men, try to rope off the “girls/dating/sex/situationship/relationship” corner of life and keep God out. Take it from me, that approach will never work, in fact, it will always and only result in pain, grief and regret. I thank God for delivering me from that destructive path and onto the redemptive path of 100% surrender. My life became a journey of daily resolve to take all my thoughts, words, and actions captive to Christ. This included my dating.
When I got to know Yodit enough to realize that I was very interested, my first act of obedience was to bring this out into the open with intention. Being clear and honest from the get-go paid great dividends for us and taught us the value of communication from the early stages of our dating journey.
Patience is God’s Plan
After talking consistently for about two months, I knew Yodit was absolutely ‘wifey’ potential.
I wanted to date her! There couldn’t be any harm in that, could there be? Continuing in the lane of intentionality, I made my desires clear. I also prayed about it and sought counsel.
But, I got the red light – no go. Just friends.
Yep, you heard that right, I GOT FRIEND-ZONED!
As if once were not enough, when the feelings and desire were still there almost a year later, after prayer and counsel I decided to shoot my shot again – you guessed it,
I GOT FRIEND-ZONED AGAIN!
Each of these times, my heart was crushed. In hindsight, I was excited and rushing a good thing before its time, thus causing myself some pain. It’s like a piece of fruit that you love — a peach, pear or a nectarine — and you want it so bad that you bite into it before it is ripe. That result is never as tasty as it would’ve been had you waited.
God was ripening and preparing me SPIRITUALLY in my IDENTITY and role as a man of God – called to lead as PROPHET, priest, and King in the home.
Without that preparation and the time it took, I would not have been ready to embrace the responsibilities of Christian courtship, let alone the responsibilities of a Christian husband. I truly wasn’t ready. God knew it and his perfect plan was for me to wait on Him. In his rich mercy he did finally grant me the desire of my heart in allowing Yodit to be my wife – but He did it in his timing and taught us both the valuable lesson of patience along the way.
[and I don’t even have time to get into the major patience challenges of a long distance relationship, yea, she was in NJ & VA and I was in CA]
Dying that you may live [on repeat] is God’s Plan
I’ll keep this one short and to the point. We are about 6 months into our marriage. The moments that we have, by God’s grace, died to our selfish pride and taken the road of humble service and love, even in the face of our imperfections – those are the moments where we have blessed each other. Those are moments where God has blessed us with glimpses into who we are becoming.
I am called to love my wife as I love myself and as Christ loves the Church.
This baffles me and challenges me every day as I reflect on how much Christ loved and loves his people — his bride — the Church. The challenge to emulate that love both baffles and excites me. I know that by myself I cannot even come close. I know that only by working to kill my sin and by learning to love Christ more can I strive towards what He would have me be and live in our marriage. The same is true of what Yodit is called to live and be in our marriage.
We are striving absolutely imperfectly, but absolutely with our whole hearts filled with love for each other and for our Lord and Savior. We are learning, every day, to fulfill what I believe to one of the central goals of Gods plan for marriage – to give all of oneself for the other, and for the glory of God over and over again, with great joy.