A Love Story Many (Single) Years in the Making
BY: NIKKI MICHELLE CHARNSTROM
As women, our desire for love is undeniable. Even at such a young age, before we’ve even lost all of our baby teeth, we fantasize about boys and marriage. It’s nothing to be ashamed of — it’s just how we’re wired. However, society has its own views on relationships and at times, we might feel pressured to measure up.
Although, not every woman gives societal norms the power they ruthlessly demand. Christina Vincent, a 37-year-old from Springfield, Missouri, trusted in the Lord’s plan when it came to her love story — rather than taking cues from an impatient world.
Growing up as a pastor’s kid, her perspective on romance came from God’s opinion on the matter. Even at a young age, Christina had a strong sense of commitment to the Lord — a decision that ultimately set the trajectory of her life.
“My perspective on love changed drastically over the years. I moved from enjoying being someone’s girlfriend to wanting to take care of someone, but there were important lessons to learn about myself,” Christina shares, “I recently found an old journal where I wrote that I was still learning about love, and I found it hard to accept love from others. I wanted to give it, but because I had been hurt, I kept the love of others at an arm’s length.”
Although she had experienced hurt, God used relationships in her life as opportunities for learning valuable lessons:
- Sometimes you love people who cannot love you in return.
- My desire to give love was wonderful, but I was also worthy to receive love.
- Love is a risk that is worth taking because the Lord holds my heart.
- Love is so much more than an emotion. It is a choice, a commitment, and it is intentionally stirred.
Christina didn’t meet her husband Yisrael until the age of 33 — so, she knows singleness well. Although doing life alone can have its challenges, she learned to embrace her life as a single woman with acceptance and grace.
“Every season of life has its highs and lows. While my heart always desired marriage, singleness was not the negative counterpart of marriage. Whether single, married, or single again, we can choose to allow the Lord to shape our perspective and thus our experience. I determined I wanted to live my life for Jesus and if I was single, then that was best for the Kingdom in that season,” Christina expresses, “God was not punishing me, I just had to embrace the season I was in and ask Him to show me the goodness in it.”
Time and time again, no matter how painful the journey became, Christina could pinpoint God’s faithfulness. He brought beauty from the ashes and in those moments, she knew He could do the same when it came to her future husband.
“The Lord saved me from making some really poor choices along the way. There were times when my heart wanted to go one direction, but the Lord kept pulling me the other way. After struggling, sometimes arguing with Him — and crying, I reluctantly took the Lord’s path,” Christina reveals.
Oh, how rewarding it was for her to follow the Lord’s leading because she met Yisrael! So, what was it like meeting her hubby for the very first time? Christina shares all the details…
“The first time I spotted him, I thought, ‘Oh! Who is that?’ I quickly fixed my hair, put on lip gloss, and then pretended I didn’t notice him walking up to me! I realized quickly this man had a real relationship with Jesus and that intrigued me. If nothing else, I knew I would want to be friends with him.”
You could say the rest is history, but Christina’s wisdom is something we all need to hear. She makes a point of saying, “You could fall in love and marry anyone, but trust God for the best one for you." It is because Christina allowed God to cultivate her heart’s desires that Yisrael is everything she’s ever prayed for.
Since they’ve been married for a year now, the biggest adjustment Christina has faced is learning how to listen to the Lord’s leading as a couple — not just as an individual, single woman.
“I had so many years to cultivate my personal walk with Jesus, that His leading was familiar. Suddenly, I was married and had another person in the mix who hears God’s voice differently than I do. Yisrael and I have had to learn how to hear God’s voice together for our family,” Christina says.
So, while Christina’s story might look different than a lot of others out there, it ultimately led her to Yisrael. Living through many years as a single woman couldn’t have been easy, but she remained driven and confident in herself — and God’s promise.
“When I have a promise from God, it is a done deal. God sees my life as a full picture from beginning to end. He saw when I would meet my husband, and I trusted that. If God is faithful to fulfill His promises, that means I already HAVE what He promised, I just haven’t gotten to that part of the journey yet,” Christina shares, “I came to a place where I realized 'waiting' means I am without something, but even in my singleness I held a promise that had its fulfillment in my future — so, I was not without any good thing as a single woman. This confidence allowed me the freedom to truly enjoy each season and stage of life I found myself in.”
No matter where you find yourself today relationally speaking, it’s important to remember everyone’s love story is going to look different. For Christina, she was called to wait and trust the Lord would provide in due time. So, yes, your path won’t look the same as another and that’s OK — enjoy the journey and as Christina says, “Bet on God!”
It’s time we begin to release ourselves from society’s standards of “when” we should be married and “when” we should have children. Your story is your own — and that’s what makes you, you! Love will find its way to you in one way or another — don’t get caught up in the discouraging game of comparison.
Nikki is the owner and founder of Crowned Chics. She lives in the warm desert of Phoenix, Arizona with her beloved family. If she's not ferociously clanking away on her typewriter, she's behind the camera capturing moments for her business Charnstrom Captures Photography.