A little over a week ago, I spent the afternoon with a woman who I refer to as “My Adoptive Church Mother”. We spent hours talking catching up on one another’s lives and enjoying each other. At one point in the conversation, after telling her about some of my more recent and painful “romantic failures” she looked me in the eye and asked:
“Patrick, have you been settling when you’ve pursued this women?”
I don't think her question sank in until today. For some crazy reason today during my 9½ minutes of morning prayer I uttered the request: “God, please show me what you want for me in a wife”. I had no idea that my request would be answered as quickly and loudly as it was.
I went to church this morning, MY church, Fellowship in Chippewa Falls Wisconsin. It is the only body of believers where I have ever felt that I truly belong as myself without even a hint of pretense. The members of the Fellowship Community help me live more and more like Jesus every day.
Soon after arriving at the movie theater where our services take place, I was elated to see my Church Mother by the coffee cart, as she has been absent from services for about the past month for a very good reason. After a heart-felt hug and a brief conversation, we both were herded, along with the rest of the attendees, into Theater 3 because we always have the intention of starting on time. While I was walking to my seat I couldn’t help but think how much this woman inspires me. She is devoted and passionate about bringing grace to graceless spaces, she’s always been honest with her wounds and her mistakes, she’s strong, kind and compassionate, this woman is a warrior in every sense of the term, and I love her for it (and love the fact that she’s vocal about spiritually adopting me).
After getting to my seat I watched a brief intro video and then woman from our church stood up and talked about her ministry in Liberia, West Africa and her recent trip to that country. Through passion and obedience this woman has joined God in accomplishing amazing things. In less then a year, schools have been built, wells have been dug, pastors have been trained, and relationships have been formed that will positively influence generations of rural Liberians. While she was talking I penned in my journal that my prayer had been answered: that God wants (and has designed) my wife to be extremely passionate about serving people in need and obedient to Him, even when it doesn’t make any logical or emotional sense.
Then, as if my prayer hadn't been answered enough, after the service I joined some friends at Culver’s for lunch. During our time there my Church Mother, one of my friends, and the wife of another friend led a discussion about what it would look like to create a group for women that would promote further community and integrity among them. While listening to these three women talk I realized that I was witnessing something that was simply otherworldly: from the Kingdom.
Today, I caught a glimpse of my future wife’s character through the women of Fellowship Church in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The majority of the women I just wrote about are already married. However, that fact doesn’t make me despondent: thinking that “All The Good Ones” are already taken. It actually makes me really hopeful because I know that as I continue in community with these women, women like them, and Fellowship as a whole I simply won’t be able to settle for anything less than amazing, passionate, captivating woman of integrity: the women of Fellowship won’t allow it.