Lord, anything but……

 

Some women put together a list of qualities their man must have before they would be willing to date them. For me, it was 3 things I would not, could not accept in a husband and a future life together.

I said Lord, give me a husband and he can be anything but…

He cannot be younger than me.

I am not sure why but at the time I decided this, I think I felt that the guys I was friends with were already so immature that going any younger would be more like babysitting than a relationship. Only I wouldn’t be getting paid! Also, who wants to be the ‘older’ woman?

He can be anything but….

He cannot be a Mennonite.

Ok, I know this sounds harsh and judgmental but you have to understand that I grew up outside the church and in a densely populated Mennonite community. Everyone was somehow related and the ongoing game of ‘Mennonite Bingo’ – trying to figure out who you were related through, was nauseating. Names like Peters, Klassen, Doerksen and Funk were so common it was comical. Since I didn’t understand the difference between the Mennonite denomination and the Mennonite heritage, I lumped it all together and said no thank you.

And he can be anything but….

He can not now nor ever be interested in vocational ministry.

The thought of marrying a pastor was so terrifying that this was an iron clad statement. To know why this paralyzed me so, simply visualize your pastor. He is an amazing man, right? He is wise and thoughtful, endlessly patient. His passion and fire is contagious and he speaks with a conviction that takes your breath away while encouraging you to your knees. Now think of his wife. She is soft spoken and demure while managing to raise their six adorable and perfectly behaved children. She is his rock and it’s obvious that they are equally matched in their scholarly aptitudes while she maintains her submissive role. She is an incredible and gracious hostess, able to balance her Sunday school duties while running the women’s ministry events and quilting with the seniors mission circle. She always looks perfect, not a hair out of place and her fundraiser cookies are always the best seller.

Simply put – I knew I could never measure up.

I think you may know where I am heading with this but I will share with you that my husband (drum roll please) is a year and half younger than I am and was born into a Mennonite family. He is also a pastor at a large Mennonite Brethren church.

Those that know me tend to chuckle at how I got here. Everything I said I couldn’t or wouldn’t do is what God gave me. It is a testament of my weak trust in Him and how He has blessed me in spite of myself. I wish I could say I learned my lesson, that my faith is unshakable and my trust immeasurable.

But it’s not.

I have grown but I am still growing. There are times I echo the words of Isaiah and say “Here I am Lord, send me.” And other times I whisper “here I am Lord, send me anywhere but…” It’s a process, one that continually brings me to my knees and makes me wonder how God can be so loving and patient with a grumbling Israelite like myself.

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