When I was 49 years old, I started to pray, “Lord, next year I’ll be 50. Maybe there’s no one who’ll be interested in me anymore because of my age. But it’s okay, Lord, You’ve made me happy anyway.” In all those years of anxiously waiting for someone, I had been terrified to admit that I could be single for the rest of my life. But this time, the Lord had healed me so much that I could humbly and serenely accept whatever His plan was for me, as long as I knew He was with me.

Then I met Chuck.

We were both from the same missions network, and he was one of the speakers in an event I was organizing. When he started to approach me, I felt the Lord tell me, “Do it right this time.” Before, I would easily dismiss a guy who simply rubbed me off the wrong way–in any way– unless I really liked him in the first place. I could use the shallowest reason not to give the guy a chance.

The first time I saw Chuck after our conference, we went out for coffee. So I prayed before we went out, “Lord, help me be a blessing to this man.” Then Chuck started talking about himself. I thought to myself, he forgot to ask how I was! Normally, I would be turned off. But then I remembered my prayer. I remembered that he just arrived from a trip and that he had just lost so much. So I chose to listen and ask questions. Then our conversation became so enjoyable! When I learned to think of being a blessing to him first, I noticed that our friendship grew.

A Change in Perspective

Just a couple of months into the friendship, a friend asked me, “Do you like Chuck already?” This is what I told her:

“If I let my heart have its usual way, it easily falls for anyone who shows me attention and care like Chuck does. But the Lord is helping me guard my heart. God is teaching me how to see relationships from His perspective. It’s like… to honor Chuck as a man is a way of honoring the Lord who initiated the man-woman relationship. I never saw it this way before. I realized that every time I look down on a man, I’m not seeing him from God’s perspective. And every time I would be offended by a man, it’s because I’ve looked to him for my needs that he’s not meeting. I cannot look to Chuck to fill my needs. God has taken care of me this whole time; He’s the One who meets my needs. And if this friendship will lead to something more serious, I think it’s because we will get to see and experience more of God and His character and be more like Him.”

I wrote that two months before Chuck and I were engaged.

God Shows His Goodness

On the day of our engagement, during my quiet time, I was wiping tears of joy because I sensed a sweet blessing coming my way. The Lord seemed to be saying He would bless me. Though I did not deserve it, it pleased Him to bless me anyway. Later that evening as Chuck proposed, somehow, somewhere in my heart, I knew he was to be my husband. Even as I squirmed and shivered because it was too overwhelming and too sudden (Chuck never verbally communicated his intentions until that time), I quickly consulted the Lord. When I sensed it would bring a smile to the Lord’s face, I nervously said “yes” to Chuck as my way of saying “yes” to God’s gift in him. (No, it didn’t feel right in turning down a gift from the Lord!)

Chuck and I got married when I was 50. In my vow, I said that I felt like Sarah who had the privilege of laughing with her firstborn long after everyone, including herself, had given up on her being a mother. But God had better plans.

God has the best plans.

It wasn’t a coincidence. Even on my 50th birthday earlier that year, my mom had declared in faith that it would be the year I’d get married. A few weeks after Chuck and I got engaged, she showed me her prayer journal. She had an entry listing the single ladies she was praying for to get married. I saw my name there, and it was ticked off. Thank you, Lord, for parents who tirelessly pray.

Having waited so long, I had almost given up on marriage. But God was the One who waited. He knew better. He knows the best. I was the one who took a long time in learning about true love and in understanding God’s ways and believing in Him. When I found my home and security in our Heavenly Father, He graciously gave me the tearful pleas of my heart.

This article was first published on Oct. 19, 2020, in One Voice Magazine.

Rocelyn Anog Madinger

Rocelyn Anog Madinger, is called Roce by her friends (pronounced like ‘rice’ or ‘race’ with an ‘o’). She graduated from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Music, major in Music Education. She was a music teacher for more than 15 years, teaching music to students from the pre-school to the Seminary level. In 2009, sensing a call to serve cross-culturally, she took Ethnomusicology and the Arts courses in Payap University, Thailand, and has helped facilitate related courses and workshops since 2012. She is serving with SIL Philippines as the EthnoArts and Orality team leader. Through local music and arts, they affirm and encourage underserved minority language groups, helping meet their church and/or community needs. She is happily married to Dr. Charles B. Madinger.