Do you remember when the pandemic hit? On one hand it feels like a distant memory ago—like we’ve been caught up in this vicious cycle for ages. Yet, I remember where I was when things got real. I was in Decatur, Alabama eating at a restaurant with my buddy, Seth, when we watched a live NBA game get cancelled. I was baffled. I’m sure you can recount those early days that were accompanied with feelings of astonishment and confusion. Before long, the news was dominated with Covid-19 headlines. The beloved March Madness tournament was cancelled. Then society closed down. It wasn’t long before we were all working from home.
The ability to work for home was thrilling, but the inability to see people weighed heavily after a while. I lived by myself at the time, so it was just me and my golden retriever, Winston in a one-bedroom apartment. It wasn’t long before I was going mad. Loneliness and depression were real battles at the time. My heart questioned where God’s presence was in that time period. Oh, if I could have only seen the future.
Let me provide a brief caveat. At the time, I was 26 on the cusp of turning 27. Things had not worked out relationally in the past for a number of reasons, but the ultimate one being that it was not God’s appointed time for me yet. However, that didn’t stop half of the congregation from trying to set me up. Aunts, grandmas and student ministry leaders all lined up to try their hand. A former boss would joke about trying to set up a church bachelor show. Honestly, I can’t help but laugh thinking about the thought and effort given my way. Marriage was something that I had desired for a while. Desire might be too light of a word—I longed for it. I knew a Godly wife would be such a gift to me and would make me more effective in ministry. I had felt that God was withholding something good from me, but in all reality, He was just teaching me that He was sufficient. I didn’t “have” to have anything besides Him. This lesson had to get pounded into my head more times than I care to admit.
Back to the COVID situation—I was back at my parents’ house about a month into the pandemic. I was scrolling through Instagram when I came across one of Bailey’s posts. I had followed her a couple years before because she was posting girls ministry content and I wanted to keep a fresh edge in that field. Okay, yes, it did help too that she was highly attractive. I’ve never quite been the shoot your shot guy… I’m a little more calculated than that, but I was bored and who knew when the pandemic was going to end? I mustered some courage and sent her a message asking if she’d be interested in Face Timing. I’m a sports guy so let me use an analogy. This wasn’t an open lay up or even a contested three. It was more of a half court buzzer beater shot. There was no way she was going to say yes. She is beautiful, smart, entrepreneurial, wicket talented, and so much more. I’ve got a couple intramural UM championships under my belt along with an M.Div. degree. The phone dinged and I saw that she responded. I opened it up and she said she’d love to go for it.
I’ll save you the details, so this won’t turn into a novel, but the brunt of it is that the chemistry was off the charts. Our hearts and callings aligned. She was and is so much more than I could ever hope for in a partner. She amazes me day after day and it will be an honor to call her my wife one day. To my single friends out there, hold on. It can feel like it’s never going to work out. Bring your frustration to the Lord instead of letting it embitter your heart. Trust the sovereignty of God. The pain of your past will only allow you to cherish your future partner even more. In my situation, if God had not allowed me to walk in loneliness, I’m not sure I ever would have reached out to Bailey. Our stories are all a creative work in the hands of the Creator. In the words of Carrie Underwood, “Jesus take the keyboard.” Okay, that may not be the way it goes, but the sentiment is still the same—God is and will write your story if you let him.