The Day When I Meant to Break Up – But Instead Fell in Love

When God Knows Better than You. Learning to trust and wait on God, even and especially for a husband.

Twenty four years ago today  – March 23, 1992 – I awoke with a singular plan on my mind – today I must break up with that James Walker. It wasn’t even that we were seriously “going together.” We had only been dating for one month, but at that time at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis Tennessee, if you went out with someone more than three times in a row, you were pretty much considered “dating.”

It wasn’t even that I didn’t like James. He was a really WONDERFUL guy. He was kind and thoughtful and Godly, gentlemanly and strong… Come to think of it, I don’t know what I was thinking!!

This day was a Sunday, so I had invited him over for a “let go” lunch. I had made what my family called our Regular Sunday Meal – A roast in the crockpot cooked along with potatoes, carrots, and onions, with a side dish of green beans, some type of bread (I don’t remember) and a dessert to go with our coffee. My plan was to fatten him up before the kill. 😉 Bless James! Oh, what a fool was I!!

Thankfully, God MIGHTILY intervened during the sermon that morning. Dr. Adrian Rogers wasn’t there that day, so Bro. Bob Sorell was preaching.  As he closed his message, he asked a question phrased something like this:

“Are you standing in the doorway of what God has for you, that is HIS VERY BEST, but you are blocking the way because YOU don’t think it is best?”

It was one of those moments when it seemed like there was no one in that huge 7000 seat auditorium but the Bro. Bob and me… (know what I mean?)… And it was like he was staring straight into my eyes. Immediately in my spirit, I sensed the Lord say to me, “Well, are you?”

Theeennnn Swoosh! I was back with the 7000 other people, realizing just how tired I was of trying to run my own life, figuring it all out on my own.  See, I was a young adult who thought that by that time I’d already be married and on my way to the dreamy world of the white picket fence and motherhood.  Instead, I was a single elementary school teacher, who had not long ago surrendered to God’s “whatever” – but somehow I kept trying to grab back control for myself.  God was {again} reminding me that continuing to try to be my own god and manipulating my own plans was not working, that He had other plans that were better… and I’d experience those if I’d just back away and let Him do his thing!

So in an act of total surrender to the Lord, His “doorway” and His plans, I told Jesus that I was moving out of the doorway [say this as dramatically as possible –  Moooving out of the doorway!].  That I wanted His best. Then I looked up in the choir loft and saw that James Walker, and added, “Even if you want me to marry that James Walker up there, I will, if that is Your best for me. I’m just tired of trying to figure out everything on my own.”  {I guess you can see the irony… huh? 😉 }

Nothing big happened after that. Just peace with God. Then lunch. A yummy lunch roast beef meal where every time I tried to suggest to James that we “just be friends” God would remind me of a quality I had been praying for in a husband – and then show me that James had it. So I would eat a bite of roast. Or vegetables. Or bread. Or dessert. Until I was stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.

So I suggested that we move to the couch to enjoy a second cup of coffee {another score on my list, btw, someone who would enjoy coffee with me} and every time I tried to break up, God would open my eyes to the husband requests I had made over the years and how James’ character traits were meeting even the most insignificant ones I had listed.

We drank all of my coffee (I only had a small 4-cup maker back then), and he had to go back to work {at the church – as in he was called into the ministry… and God had called me at the age of 13 to be a minister’s wife… but I was still somewhat blinded to this at the time}.  So James did what he had been doing all month, before he left me, he would take my hand and pray with me.  But this time when he took my hand and prayed… during that prayer… God did a 180 degree turn in my heart, and by the time he finished praying, I was in love.

{Let’s just have a moment of silence and let that sink in.  Thank you.  Now, moving on.}

James had no idea.  He walked out the door, went back to work, oblivious of the whole emotional rollercoaster that had been playing out in my heart and mind all afternoon.  He had no idea of the break up – nor of the fall in.  (Again… bless this precious man!!!)

I thought I had been “in love” before – but not like this!  I had no idea what God’s brand of “in love” really felt like – that deep sense of security and peace that passes all understanding… when a girl has prayed and prayed for years for that man God has chosen… and waited (sometimes patiently and sometimes not… but waited none the less) and then when God says, “This is the one!” – that feeling… it was a beautiful overwhelming!

I ran to my little filing cabinet and grabbed a manilla folder entitled “Husband” and poured it out on the table.  There were scrap pieces of paper from teenage years hearing sermons about Godly men, from break ups or crushes and characteristics I would want and wouldn’t want in a man, letters and prayers from college when others were getting their husbands and I didn’t… Scriptural lists, and totally ridiculous ones that really don’t matter in the scope of life, but they mattered a little bit to me… and I began to compile a full list of all of the requests I had made over the years for my husband.

Guess what?

The compiled list had 113 things on it.

And guess what else?

James Walker met all 113 things on that list!


God did NOT have to do that for me!  In fact, over the years while I was praying for my husband, people would tell me that I needed to lighten my list, that it would be impossible to find someone with all of those qualities.  Though I was willing to give up the surface things, I wouldn’t budge on the Godly ones.  However, our gracious God gave me even the surface silly ones, too.

Why?  Because He is a Good Good Father.  He delights to delight His children.  He loves us, and has good things in store for all of us IF WE WILL WAIT ON HIM AND TRUST HIM.

I certainly didn’t do it perfectly.  But as I waited and trusted, I learned to fall in love with Jesus.  He became my first love, my first Man, my first Husband.  And while I was learning to love the Lord with all my heart, the Lord was also working on preparing my earthly husband – teaching and molding and calling and growing James to be the Godly man, servant, and spiritual leader of our home that he is today.

God’s timing and ways are perfect.  Praise the Lord!!!

I’ve never shared this in writing before… but today, I sensed that the Lord had someone  He would encourage through this story, so it’s my joy to share and pray for each who may read it.

If God hasn’t worked in this way for you, yet… Don’t give up on Him, because He hasn’t  given up on you!  He may not work exactly this way – but His ways are so high that we can’t even imagine them – so it will be even better than my story!!!  (Isaiah 55:8-9).

OR if you feel like He won’t work this way for you because you didn’t wait on Him and you have “already messed up” – DO NOT let the enemy play with your head and heart that way!  You know better than that.  God’s mercies are NEW every day!  You can start today waiting on and trusting in the Lord – and He will help you in ways you can’t imagine!

Read these favorite verses from Lamentations 3 back to the Lord, affirming them as Truth that you will determine to cling to in the days ahead (I found and clung to these during those days of waiting for a husband – and haven’t let go ever since):

This I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation;
It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His tender compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;

Great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.

The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self);
Therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.

The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him,

Lamentations 3:21-25 (Amp)


Be encouraged, my sisters.  Only God knows how the day will end when you surrender it into His hands.  I began this day 24 years ago intending to break up with “that James Walker” and instead, feel head over heels in love with him, and I’m praising the Lord that His ways are so much higher and better than mine – and yours too! (Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 55:8-9)

PS: And for all you girls out there waiting and wondering if God will EVER bring that man of yours to you: All of this occurred not too very long after Jesus and I had just been through this together.  (Check it out… I pray you’ll be encouraged!)







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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