For this man I prayed… and waited… and wrote… {Part 3} and God granted my request!

The story Part 1

The story Part 2

In an unlikely place at a most inconvenient time, God brought the name James Walker across my path, and I wrote it on the last line of the “possibility page” in my journal.  Then I went home for bed rest.  Praying… and waiting… and writing… and resting.

What I knew then in my head and mostly tried to act upon, I now know in my heart.  God doesn’t need us to put ourselves “out there” in order for us to find His will, His plan, His mate.  In the most unlikely time and at the most unexpected place, He can bring about what ever it is that He desires for our lives – in His perfect timing and in His perfect way.   While we are waiting on God and praying and trusting, we must also be obeying.  As long as we are obeying God right where we are, He will guide us and we will be in the right place for Him to accomplish His best in and through our lives. 🙂

While I was home on bed rest, I prayed for James Walker, along with the other people in my journal.  Soon I began receiving sweet cards from the girls in my single’s Sunday School class.  And oddly enough, they all mentioned a “friend” they had named James Walker, who coached our church league girl’s softball team.  After I returned from my month of rest, I met James on my first Sunday back at church.  It was February 23rd,1992.  Exactly one month later, I knew James Walker was the one God had planned for me!

See, besides praying… and waiting… and writing in my “husband’s journal,” I had also been writing something else.  Something that I started when I was 13 years old.  A list.

A list of all of the qualities I wanted in a husband. 

It was more like a file folder full of scraps of papers and corners of church bulletins than an official list.  When ever I would see or hear of or think of a quality I wanted in a husband, I’d write it down and tuck it away in my file.  Some of the qualities were deeply Spiritual and important.  Others were absolutely silly and unnecessary for a great marriage.  But all were important enough to me for me to write down and give to the Lord.  I reasoned that if they were important to me, and if I gave them to Him, He would give them back to me if they were best and if He could receive glory through them.

And guess what?!!!

James Walker had every quality I had asked for in a husband! 

I didn’t know it at first.  In fact, we had gone on just three dates when it seemed that everyone at church already had us “married off.”  I didn’t like him in that way, so I prepared a Crock-pot roast and invited him for Sunday dinner in order to give him the “lets just be friends” speech.

That Sunday morning before dinner, our preacher said something that would be a life-changer for me.  He said something like this: “Are you standing in the door way of what God has for you because you don’t think it is His very best?”  James was sitting in the choir loft at the time.  I was so “done” with dating, and I had just “married Jesus,” but I felt as if God was speaking directly to me that morning.  “Was I standing in the door way of what God has for me that is His very best, but I didn’t think it was?”  I let out a sigh and looked up at the choir loft and told  the Lord:

“Lord, I just don’t care anymore.  I don’t want to stand in the doorway of what you have for me.  If you want me to marry that James Walker up there, I will do it.  I just don’t want to miss your best.”

When church was over, I rushed home and set out the meal.  It felt like fattening up the calf before the kill.  All was going as planned until I tried to give the “friend-speech.”  Each time I started to say it, God would remind me of something on my list, and would show me that James had that specific quality.  So I’d take a bite of food, regroup, and try again.  This lasted through the entire meal and two cups of coffee afterward.  (BTW, a coffee-lover was on my list!)

It was time for James to return to church for the afternoon, and I still hadn’t told him that we could “just be friends.”  I was thinking about what my friends would say when I told them I couldn’t do it when James held out his hand to me.  He unassumingly said, “Let’s pray before I leave.”  So I took his hand… and in the middle of his prayer, I FELL IN LOVE!

My heart did a 180!  Instead of going back to church and telling my friends that I “let him down easily” – I had to go back and tell them that James was the one!!!

He left my house completely unaware of any of this, and I was left dumbfounded.  I was in love.  A completely different feeling than I had expected.  I was overwhelmed, excited, nervous, and energized.  Mostly, I was confused.   So I did what any List-making-praying-waiting-girl would do, and I pulled out that file called “husband” and compiled a master list of 10 years of listed qualities.

There were 113 of them.  113!

And James Walker met every quality on my list!

Soon my parents met him and agreed that he was the one for whom we had prayed.  On the day that they met James and agreed, I was able to do something I had been waiting to do: I wrote “Dear James” in the “Husband Journal.”  It was a monumental event. 😉  I kept writing, and gave the journal to James as a wedding gift.

We met and married in under 8 months time.  To God be the glory!

I share this story in gratitude to both James and Jesus, and in hopes that it will encourage you dear readers who are waiting and praying for God to do something big in your life or in the lives of your loved ones.  Through this 10 year period of praying… and waiting… and writing, I learned some beautiful truths:

1.  Nothing is too big or too little for God!  Well-meaning people would tell me that my list was too long or too specific.  Several times I asked the Lord if I needed to let the list go, and I never felt like that’s what He wanted.  I knew that if God wanted to answer every request on that list, He would and could do it.  And, God knew that whether He did or didn’t give me what I asked, I would still trust and glorify Him through His answer.

2.  It’s in the little things that we often realize how much God loves us and cares about the intimate details of our lives.  I expected God to answer the important Spiritual things on the list with a YES.  But truly… It wouldn’t have been a game-changer if my husband didn’t like old movies or classical music.  The fact that God answered even the silly and unnecessary things on my list make me love both God and James even more!

3.  If it’s important to us, it’s important to God.  He will never laugh or make cruel fun of us for the desires of our hearts.  If, as we are praying and obeying and waiting when we happen to be desiring something that is not good for us, He will help change our desires into something that IS good for us.  Nothing about our lives, our desires, our choices, or our loves is unimportant to God.

For this man I prayed… and waited… and wrote… And God granted me my request.  May He forever receive glory through our married lives!

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord
with all your heart and mind
and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him,
and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP

Roll your works upon the Lord
[commit and trust them wholly to Him;
He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will,
and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.
Proverbs 16:3, AMP

About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at


  1. Love this. You were faithful and both are truly blessed. I enjoyed working with James. We had some challenging times and I tried to always remain a faithful friend. Love to you and your family. Can’t believe the kids have grown so much!

  2. People I witness to seldom believe it – though I didn’t have a journal, I prayed with specifics on a Saturday night and met my husband-to-be the next afternoon. It was a whirlwind week, he proposed on Friday, I accepted and we were married a year later. We celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary this year. God is so good at giving His best gifts.

  3. I think I see the back of my head in that picture 🙂 haha.. and Josh’s big ole noggin. I just want you to know how much I’m encouraged by this! I am a complete list maker, and I’m now a military wife where I feel that flexibility must be number one on my priority list. It is good to know that God is concerned with the details of our lives! 🙂

    Thank you! I so hope our paths cross again 🙂

    ~Annie Gray Hendry

    • Annie, that is exactly you in the picture of us being pelted with rice! I had so much fun looking through our wedding pictures to find a few ones to post, and I just can’t believe how quickly you have grown into a beautiful and married woman. And Josh… a Daddy! Your family was a big part of our early married life and we love all of you so much. 🙂



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