19 Years Before She Got the Ring??

michelle cake

The Beginning

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.

Time Apart

michelle themAbout 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.

Connecting Again

michelle current kiss cheekTwo 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.

michelle sonThe 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 oneheart@rhodonna.com for consideration in a similar write-up.

I Pray for a Man Strong Enough to…

man determination

I pray for a man…
Strong enough to say I am sorry
Strong enough to not have his identity threatened when I say something bothers me
Strong enough to not care who knows he is in a relationship
Strong enough to face his fears
Strong enough to seek counsel
Strong enough to be who God created him to be
Strong enough to face obstacles
Strong enough to be confronted
Strong enough to confront
Strong enough to be humble
Strong enough to walk away from temptation
Strong enough to deal with his past and issues resulting from it
Strong enough to seek help when he needs it
Strong enough to keep his word
Strong enough to leave excuses behind
Strong enough to lead by example

And this prayer is being answered!

by Rhodonna Boyd


strong on cliff

Married Late, but Worth the Wait

tash and darrell header pic

Prior to dating Natasha, Darrell was in a long-term relationship. He and his then girlfriend had planned to get married six months into the four years they were together, but to Darrell, it just never felt right.  After time reading the Word, he realized he no longer had the same love for her.  That resulted in him cutting off the relationship, 30 days before they were finally to marry.

During the same time in his life, he felt that, in order to progress in a lot of areas, he needed to also release his then church home.  He followed his heart, left his church that he had gone to his entire life, and God directed him to a church in a small town in Indiana called Kingsford Heights.

Natasha was a member at this church in Kingsford Heights. After a while, she caught his eye.  He then began asking around to get a feel of what kind of person she was. Yet because of his recent relationship, he was a bit skeptical so he did not pursue  her.

Time passed and there was another guy visiting the church because of his interest in Natasha.  Once Darrell saw this, his adrenaline kicked in and he said to himself, “Although I’m taking it easy before making my move, she is mine and you aint gone take her from me.”

Darrell stepped up, and approximately ten months after first attending his new church home, he asked Natasha if he could take her out for her birthday.

tash date

Before meeting Darrell, Natasha had dated guys who always seemed to fall short of what she desired in her heart. She often felt like the “rebound girl.” She had gotten to the point where she told God she was tired and was totally giving this man thing to Him.

During that time, the other gentleman who Darrell saw pursuing her, was making his move. He was an older guy.  She was a homeowner and had a leak that he came out to fix for her.  At this point in life, her mindset was, “forget about love and being attracted. If I can get a guy who can fix stuff around the house and on the car, that will work for me.”  Natasha, being an older (late thirties) single woman, was just ready for someone to help and look out for her. “Forget about dinner and a movie” she said to herself.  She was at the point where she was willing to settle.

tash and darrell kissing

She later learned that “Mr. Fix-it” was married. At this point, she thought, “Wow! Okay God, I guess this is just how my life is gonna be – I will never have anyone who is gonna be completely mine, this is it, at least he can fix my house.”

It was after that when Darrell spoke up.  They went out for her birthday; afterwards she went home and thought to herself that it was not going to work.  Why not? Because he was such a nice guy, she wondered if he was too nice. She then realized how sad it is that women are so often not treated well, that they take for granted nice guys who do treat them as a woman should be treated. She decided to stay with it and she is glad she did!

He lived an hour away and would come out weekly to mow her grass, he would insist on driving to pick her up so that she wouldn’t have to drive to his family holiday events (yes, two hours driving round trip that he would make twice in the day), when she was willing to at least meet him halfway.  Talk about having someone who would be there for her!

Although having wanted help, being the independent woman she had become accustomed to being, Natasha still had to learn to let go. She learned to allow Darrell to be there for her and treat her like a lady.  He wouldn’t allow her to pay for anything. And if she ever wanted anything, for him, it was never too much.

They tied the knot!

Their progress might have been slow meeting each other, but that day did come!  Four months after their first date, they got engaged. Six and a half months later, they were married!  God preserved them completely in the area of sexual purity during this time, and they are a testament that it can be done!  Darrell is ten years Natasha’s junior, which is another thing that was different to Natasha.  They have no doubt, this is exactly as God intended it to be.

Close to five years later…

natasha family current

Darrell and Natasha are still very happy! God blessed them with two beautiful children, a daughter Gabby who is almost four years old and their baby boy Joshua, who is two. Darrell is still the same man who she dated. He still helps to lift the load.  He has always kept her family at the forefront, and nothing costs too much to him for her. After four years of marriage, he upgraded her wedding ring to four carats!

They had heard often that in their first year of marriage, couples usually contemplate divorce. Darrell and Natasha are glad to say that was not their experience!  While they acknowledge that everyday is not a rainbow, they are blessed to never have had a time they wished they could turn back the hands of time. They are both very glad about their decision.

Natasha’s final word to singles

Natasha encourages other singles to remember this: “We have always been told delay is not denial.  I don’t believe it was truly a delay, as much as it just was not yet the timing of God.”  She absolutely believes Darrell is her purposed mate sent from God. Yet, she really desired to be married at the age of 23, but Darrell would have only been 13 at the time. God developed them over time until they were both old enough and mature enough for the beautiful life they now share.  He knows the plans He has for us, and His timing is perfect!

I think it is so awesome to see real life, honest stories that were not so pleasant before the very pleasant came along. I am delighted to bring encouragement by sharing these stories. We all have stories, hard times and the temptation to settle. Just don’t do it! Wait on God, even if you feel like you’re marrying late, trust the God who will make it worth the wait!

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 oneheart@rhodonna.com for consideration in a similar write-up.


“I Would Cry All The Tears Again for a Husband Like This!”

tracy3 fave

A little background

Tracy had given her life to the Lord years before.  She made the decision to practice abstinence until marriage.  It was indeed a journey; when she was 36, God’s answered prayer of her husband was manifested.

During the wait, she remembers saying, “God, will these dry bones ever live?”  She would ask God to breathe on her. These very difficult times would come in seasons, during which it would be really hard to wait on God for her mate. Yet, she hung in there, and while she waited, she kept a genuinely joyous heart when girlfriends got married, believing it would one day be her.

The connection

When she was single she would create outings, inviting singles to hang out.  It was fun, a bunch of singles in a group setting, just going out to have a good time.  The group would go eat, play LaserQuest, and do other fun activities.

Included in these outings was a good male friend, Leroy Gibbs, with whom she worked in leadership at her church.  Over time, she and Leroy had become good friends, but had never considered each other as potential mates.

Listen to Tracy Teach on “Purity with Purpose”

One day, he shared with her that he was going to a ManPower Conference hosted by Bishop T.D. Jakes.  She offered him videos of Bishop Jakes to view, after which they spent time talking about the Word of God. He was really sound and deeper in the Word than she had known. Before now, she had only seen Leroy as a really funny and fun guy, one of the leaders at the church, a nice guy with great character, and a good friend. Now her eyes were opened to more.

This wonderful, quality man was a man of the Word! Yet, he was very different than the preppy guy to which she would usually be attracted. She was the woman that would come to church with the silk dress on, while he was a lot more laid back, more of a jeans guy. They connected at this level, and the rest is history. They dated six months before becoming engaged, and six months later, they were married. Yes, FINALLY at the mature age of 36, Tracy Manning became Mrs. Tracy Gibbs! She was married!

traci1 cake

Was it worth the wait?

Yes! It was absolutely worth the wait! Tracy says, “If I had to cry every tear again, if I had to suffer every disappointment again, I would do it to have a husband like this.”  She is still so grateful for Leroy now, after twelve years of marriage. In her words, “He’s the best husband in the world! I couldn’t have asked for a greater man!”  She is thankful for every guy that she liked who did not like her back, because she got the man who was the best man for her!  They have so many similarities, yet they are very different, and that works.

What about children?

gibbs fam

There were three children total coming into the marriage: Tracy had a daughter, Tralon, and Leroy had both a son and daughter: Jewlia and Jordan.  Tracy did not want any more children. Yet, after seven years of marriage, and as a 43-year old woman, God saw fit to bless them with a beautiful baby boy who has become one of the greatest blessings they could have asked for.

Maintaining sexual purity before getting married

While it was not easy at all, Tracy and her husband maintained sexual purity before marriage.  This was only possible because they made a daily, conscious choice to say NO to sex.  There came a point where they chose to stop kissing in order to help them succeed in their effort. It helped to keep them from going too far. Tracy makes it clear, that while they didn’t test the waters, God was very faithful in this area, just like he was in giving her all she desired in other areas regarding her husband. In her words, “God did it and it’s been great!” (Tip: no need to test the waters, when you trust God, He will cause all things to come together!)

Also, she wants to encourage all those who have a promiscuous past, God is a redeemer!  Do not be afraid that you will not be loved or accepted. She came to God at a later age and did not live a pure life sexually. She had an STD that is medically incurable. She shared this with her then husband-to-be, who still believed she was his wife. He accepted her, loved her, and moved forward. God is faithful!

Although it was really hard to hold out sexually, yet, they did so for a year before marriage. She still believes it is the wisdom of God NOT to have long engagements.  The Bible does not specify a time, but it is wise not to carry it out too long.

What would you say to other singles still waiting on God?

  1. Totally abandon your heart to trust God in fulfilling his promise for marriage.
  2. Never “missionary” date, which is dating an unsaved guy in hopes of getting him saved so that you can then marry him.
  3. There should be a gift match between the two of you. This is where your purpose and call in life compliments one another’s individual gifts and talents.
  4. Know yourself and be true to your boundaries; if holding hands and kissing leads to going too far, then holding hands is something you can’t do for the sake of purity.
  5. Let him find you actively moving in your purpose not idly standing by for him to come and give your life meaning.
  6. Main thing: if you must disobey God to be with them, they are not the one for you.

Listen to Tracy Teach on “Purity with Purpose”

Final word of wisdom from Tracy

Although it took them a long time to find each other, Tracy asks this question, particularly of those older and unmarried: “Would you rather be married 20 years out of the will of God and living in misery, or marry in your later years in the will of God and live happily ever after? It does not really matter the age, He knows what’s best! He created you! He continues to confirm over the years, that Leroy is indeed her purposed mate!

In closing

Looking at the pictures, God has definitely redeemed the time for both Tracy and her husband. They both look amazing, and from our conversations, I have learned that they have the energy for their young son.

God is no respecter of persons and since he did it for Tracy and her husband, you must know that He will also do it for you! He knows your heart’s desires, so begin to prepare for what He is preparing for you. Write down the desires of your heart and give them to God. Let Him bring what He deems best for you and present you with the one that you will be still singing praises over for decades to come! God can, and God will….for YOU!


Listen to Tracy Teach on “Purity with 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 oneheart@rhodonna.com for consideration in a similar write-up.