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.
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.
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!
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?
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?
- Totally abandon your heart to trust God in fulfilling his promise for marriage.
- Never “missionary” date, which is dating an unsaved guy in hopes of getting him saved so that you can then marry him.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let him find you actively moving in your purpose not idly standing by for him to come and give your life meaning.
- Main thing: if you must disobey God to be with them, they are not the one for you.
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!
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!
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.