When Michelle, a college freshman, first saw Darren on the campus of their university, a thought came to her, “someday he’ll be my husband.” Little did she know how lengthy of a journey she had ahead of her before a “Mrs.” was in front of her name.
She and Darren met months after she first saw him. They became pretty good friends, but he was not interested in having more than that with her. Over time, they did end up in a relationship, but it was toxic to say the least. She knew a lot of dysfunction growing up, and not having dealt with the issues that resulted from it, there were negative effects on their relationship. In her words, “my toxicity made the relationship toxic.” Because of rejection issues, she found herself needy and high-maintenance. She pulled on Darren for what she learned later, only God could give. Amidst the issues, marriage was still top of mind for her, and not near his mind at all. Their relationship did not last.
Joining the Priesthood
Years after they dated, and broke up, they remained friends. Michelle never lost hope that they would one day marry. That is, until the fateful day that Darren called and said he was going into the priesthood. (We know what that means: he would be married to the church for life, never to a woman.) Michelle was devastated, and if that didn’t make matters bad enough, he told her that even if he were ever to marry, he would not marry her. Ouch.
After watching him marry the church, Michelle put all hope behind her of a future with Darren. They remained friends even while he was a priest. Best friends, in fact.
About nine years after he had joined the priesthood, Michelle really felt God leading her to cut off all contact with him. He was not in agreement. Despite that and her own hesitations, she decided to obey God. She wrote a final email to him and cut off all ties. She cried her heart out after hitting the Send button, but God answered a prayer: He took the desire that night away from her to have contact with him. She moved on with her life.
During this time and even before, she had begun to cry out to God and get discipled at church. This began a process of healing in her heart from things in the past. She faced issues and allowed the love of God to minister to her. It was not an overnight process but a completed one nonetheless. She was able to become whole in her soul, healed from brokenness, and to find her identity rooted in Christ, not in having “Mrs.” in front of her name.
When asked why she thought God instructed her to cut off communication with Darren, she believes it was because of the strong soul-tie she had with him. Their connection over the years had created quite the bond. One in which she held him very high in her heart. God wanted that position, and before they ever reconnected, He had it.
In the meantime, Darren was getting to know women in a completely different aspect in the priesthood. There was no pursuit and goal of relationship because of his commitment to the church. This gave him a fresh perspective. He dealt with them in family and life matters and gained another level of appreciation.
His original desire for going into the priesthood was to become closer to God by being with those serving Him. Yet while there, he realized he became closer to God by interactions with people who were not serving the church, the laity. He started to see that His calling was not the priesthood after all.
Two years after cutting all ties, Michelle all of a sudden started thinking of Darren. Days later, she received a call from him. They were from Louisiana and Hurricane Katrina had hit during that time. He wanted to check on her and her family. He told her that he was considering leaving the priesthood, and although he was not sure about marriage yet, he told her that if he did ever marry, he could see himself married to no one but her. These words brought healing to her from his previous devastating words.
Darren later revealed that, years before, he had only said he would not marry her to remove any hope she might have had of them having a future, considering his commitment to the church. He was trying to protect her, but his chosen words devastated her.
Marriage and Beyond
One year after Darren fully disconnected from the priesthood, they did indeed marry. Their wedding date being set before he even had the ring. Just a couple of months after moving to the same state, they were at the altar. A full 19 years after first meeting! She was 37 when they married, he was 39.
The last six years of their lives post-marriage have been beautiful and purposed. They are running a house with twelve beautiful children who have backgrounds in deep poverty. God has blessed them with one beautiful baby boy who is now four years old. They both have eyes first for the Lord, and then each other. They both desire for their marriage to be fruitful beyond themselves. Since marriage, they have worked side by side every day. Some cannot understand that. To that, Darren says, “I guess some are not called to do it.” It is very natural to them and not a problem.
Michelle would do it over again to be the whole woman that she is today. Her submission to the process and obedience to God in walking away, ultimately opened the door for what she desired all along. She learned, God is never trying to take something from you, rather trying to get something better to you! Now, while happy to be Mrs. Hazeur, it is not her identity. Her journey started off about the ring, but became about something much greater: wholeness.
Darren is tremendously blessed to have married a woman who loves God and desires to serve His people, something he had specifically told God he wanted. What a perfect match for him!
A great lesson learned in this relationship was this: in both marriage and singleness, “it’s not about us, but it’s about Him and His purpose.”
If you know of other inspiring stories of those preferably 28 and older, that waited on God for their mates, and fought to maintain sexual purity (even if they fell and got back up) in the relationship before marriage, please email their contact information and highlights of their story to Rhodonna at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration in a similar write-up.