This day is a hard day. It’s a day in my story when everything changed. Now four years past, the ache is fresh. I don’t think that changes in the grief journey when we’re reminded by dates and smells and pictures and places of what we’ve lost.
Because I know it’s a hard day, I choose to go even further back in my story — more than a year before I would even meet Raouf. I’m back in Africa. I’m single, serving God as best I can, while hormones rage and emotions lead me down paths I should not tread.
Even in my young, messy life, God is speaking. That’s the amazing thing about reading my journals again, after 30 years. I’m doing stupid things, but God’s talking. I’m writing down what I hear. I don’t always listen, but I’ve got a personal record that he did speak to me. I’m grateful for his grace and for the record of it.
So, there I was pondering life and my future. (Remember, I’m just a twenty-three-year-old). I wrote:
I thought a lot about marriage today and had a new desire to be a support for my husband and a true Christian wife. Loving and raising children, being active in my community as a witness for the Lord and supporting and sharing in the work and projects of my husband.
Then I ask: Could I really be satisfied in that role? An answer comes as a “yes,” knowing that the husband God would provide would have the desire to share his work with me, to seek my support.
Raouf Ghattas was God’s yes for me. I laugh at the words “supporting and sharing in the work and projects of my husband,” because anyone who knew Raouf knew he was a man of “projects.” Yet, I loved supporting him in his projects and his work, because he “worked as for the Lord,” not man.
I found complete satisfaction in my role of wife to him, because we truly did share in the work together. He needed me to support him. I needed him to support me. We worked together in ministry, and God showed us so much of himself as a result.
When I answered the call to serve God among Muslims, I was concerned that there were not many men who would have such a call. God knew better. Raouf was the man who was walking the same path toward service. I just had to be willing to say “yes” to God’s will on my life as an individual first before he allowed me to find the partner he’d chosen in advance for me. He called us as individuals and put us together as a team.
Today, I look back on the writings of a young woman and smile. Thankful that I listened, thankful for God’s provision, and most of all, thankful for God’s yes in Raouf Ghattas.
Are you questioning your future? Wondering about ministry or marriage? Seeking peace in your singleness? Even if life looks messy, listen. Listen for God to speak and take note of what he says. He’s not done with you yet. Just say yes.
Grace and Peace
P.S. I also want to say that God also blessed me with two wonderful boys, and it has been a privilege to be called Mom by them both. Just didn’t want them to think I missed that part of God’s call as well. 🙂