My Tear-Stained Shoulder by Tina Webb

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My Tear-Stained Shoulder
by Tina Webb

Not long ago I sat on her couch, my arm around her shoulder, as she wept. The longing for marriage never left her. It only succumbed to temporary band-aids of divine longsuffering. My shoulder had been drenched with her tears many, many times. This time was no different. I sat and comforted her with my presence, my arm and my silence.

My best friend had no family on this side of the country. My family had become her family, despite that the color of our skin did not match. But God puts the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6) and soon after meeting her, Jesus bent down and opened our arms wide to match His. I learned in the second year of our friendship that the typical Christian catch phrases and scriptures did not really minister to the heart of a young woman who had waited, and waited, and waited. She loved God. She knew the scriptures. She knew God was love. But that ever-present question would dislodge from the depth of her soul and come out of her aching heart, “What am I doing wrong?”

Because I had learned that God does not accept us based on our performance, but by the blood of Jesus, I knew that there was nothing that she was doing that would inhibit His hand of mercy and blessing. Before we knew her, when the world around her was marrying, she had received counseling from religious people who told her to take inventory of her character and life and repent. Consequently, that road of introspection and fault-finding scarred her precious, tender-hearted soul. I thank God, for the people she met later who, through prayer, opened her prison gates so that she could go free.

My husband and I, my daughters and I, and even other friends and I would wonder: “She’s such a wonderful woman of God, why does she have to wait so long?”

From time to time she would comment to me that even non-Christians at her job would wonder why she was not married yet. “You are thirty-four and don’t have a boyfriend?!” They couldn’t believe that such a kind, compassionate, and attractive young woman had never been sought after and claimed.

Oh, she’d been sought after. Over the years, she’d meet a guy and tell me about him. One even came over to “meet the family”, but most of them exited the door of her life rather quickly. She never hid from them her love for Jesus and the fact that her faith was her foundation. Her journey has proven to me that unfortunately, Christian men who are sincerely passionate about their relationship with Jesus Christ are few and far between.

My cries to God during my day activities would echo the midnight tears she had shed, all alone in her house. I remember the day my four year old, who loves her with all of his might, looked at her and said, “Mommy has Daddy next to her in her bed, why don’t you have anyone to sleep next to you?” Bless his heart. His innocent question was the shared question in our community of friends.

I tried to be the faithful, upbeat, positive friend, because she had asked me to help her never give up on her desire for a husband. I had my own prayers whose answers I awaited. I was confident that God’s heart was good and that He gives His children “a future and a hope”. When she volleyed between her hope and the Apostle Paul’s scripture about being forever single, I would remind her that if she had this desire, it was from God. When her hope grew limp and her sobs made heaven cry, I would sit and look up at the ceiling and ask: “God, why?” As the years passed, there were times when subtle anger towards God replaced my trust in His heart. I remember driving down the highway admitting to Him that I was angry with Him, confused by the lack of suitors, and frustrated with the length of the wait.

Recently, at a Christian women’s conference my friend pulled me aside. “I’ve met someone,” was her reply. I did what best friends do and quizzed her quickly before the worship set began. One answer she gave kindled my hope: he sincerely and passionately loved Jesus Christ. Two days later, my family welcomed this stranger with open arms, but interrogating minds. We had so much fun. Yes, he is the one.

He’s perfect. He is the promise. He is the fulfillment of seventeen years of her prayers and eight years of ours. Funny, his skin color matches ours, not hers. But she’d been told that she would be a breaker of prejudices and my husband and I had been told many times that we’d be bridge builders.  Go figure.

Today, tears of gladness crown my heart. The joy of my best friend has been made full.  Today, a fountain of renewed faith in the heart of God replenishes my soul. God does not want Ishmaels. God’s intent is never to cheapen or ignore the desires He puts in our hearts.

I did not know that walking alongside my best friend would challenge the foundation of my faith so much. Sometimes, when I was weary, I questioned the One whom I love. Sometimes the wall of my faith would fall.  But He’d speak His word in my mind and rebuilt the wall, firmer, stronger, and better.

Tina WebTina Webb is the author of the fantasy fiction novelette, Before the Beginning, which illustrates the nature of God the Father, as He experiences the rejection of one of His own. Her newest release is a inspirational devotional, Selah: Daily Quotes for Daily Meditation, co-written with her best friend, Sena Woodall. Tina is married to Doug and the mother of six. Besides writing, she enjoys homeschooling her children, leading worship for prayer meetings, and cooking. She writes about topics related to her books on her author blog: beforethebeginningbook.blogspot.com.

 

 

 

Selah

 

 

Before the Beginning

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4 Comments

  1. This is an awesome message of faith, hope and love. Our God is Faithful! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. Wonderful! God’s choice and God’s timing are perfect.

    Reply
  3. Selena

     /  February 6, 2014

    My story parallels Sena’s. The waiting was longer that I would have ever imagined. I cried those tears. I had those questions asked of me by children and adults alike. I waited for the one the God had for me, not knowing if he would ever come. 20 years is a long time in our eyes. But I, too, have the testimony of God’s faithfulness manifested in His “YES” to the longing of my heart. He brought me a godly husband who has been so worth the wait. Tina, your example of friendship in the midst of the hard times is a blessing. I hope that others find a friend who can walk along side of them while they wait on the Lord. And Congratulations, Sena. I rejoice with you!

    Reply
    • Thank you Selena for sharing. I’m so glad that God has proven his faithfulness to you too! This road we live is certainly not easy, but at least when we have God in our lives, it is easier. Blessings to you and yours.

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