One of the things I've been trying to work through in my own spiritual life is the confusion that resulted from listening to the words of well-meaning church members. I spent all of my childhood in a conservative Lutheran church, then the next several years at an Assemblies of God church in which it was common for people to give "a word of knowledge" (presumably from the Holy Spirit) to people as a means of encouragement and guidance for their lives.
While I have no doubt that the people who prayed for me sincerely loved God and meant only the best with all their hearts, many, many years later, I am trying to sort through the aftermath of the emotional turmoil that their "prophecies" have caused in my life.
When I was 25, I went through a very unwanted divorce in which I kept hoping my husband would change his mind, but he never did, and so I relied heavily on my church family to help guide me through.
One woman told me confidently, "I honestly believe the Lord is saying that you are going to be married again in the next 2-3 years."
And so, in came the trickle of "messages", supposedly from the Lord, from people who told me things such as, "He (your future husband) is going to love you so much that it's going to make up for all the rejection you've felt in your life" to a prediction that I would have 4 kids, including a supposed confirmation of what I was to name the oldest.
This is why some people live the way that was described in the thread about putting your life on hold in order to prepare for "the one."
For example, the friend I wrote about in that thread had also been told certain characteristics about her supposed future husband ("He's going to be tall, with dark, straight hair") and so my poor friend even went so far as to reject any guy who asked her out and did not fit that description. Her heart was sincere--she simply did not want to disobey God by choosing someone else--but you can imagine the poor girl's train of thought: "Well, this guy seems really nice, but I have to say no... After all, he has curly hair, and The One God has for me is going to have straight hair..."
This is why some of us have lived in fear of making too many decisions about our lives on our own. Someone in the last thread made an excellent point that living this way is fear, not faith--but it was a total Catch 22 for those of us who believed in the words of some of the elders at our churches. If God had someone on the way for us, a life of carefree choices that didn't consider the other person (even in their absence) would be directly disobedient to what we presumed was God's will for our lives.
The other thing that made me believe (or want to even more strongly) is that the people telling me these things all told me independently of knowing what anyone else said to me and were often pastors, so it convinced me that this surely must be from the Lord! Because wouldn't pastors, of all people, be capable of hearing accurately from God?
Fast forward 20 years later... With no future prospects in site, and being well past the ideal child-bearing age (important footnote: I no longer have the desire to birth children at all), I have to look back and wonder--was the devil working overtime to whisper pretty lies into the ears of people I loved and trusted (including a family member), or were their own hearts just that eager to encourage me that they were able to convince themselves of made-up "prophecies"?
One of the things that was told to me was, "God has someone waiting for you, but not here." And so, when the opportunity came up to move out of the area, I felt the need to say yes, because surely I was on the way to meet The One God had for me!!! And once again, it's been several years... and all I hear now are crickets (literally--there's one somewhere behind my couch right now, happily chirping away.)
Now, I understand that some people will say, "But what about Sarah and Abraham? Nothing is impossible for God!" A couple of key things that I think must be considered about Sarah and Abraham is that: 1. They were extremely wealthy--no worries for them about how they would pay for Issac's daycare or education! 2. People lived a lot longer back then, and I will be 45 of my next birthday (my avatar picture was taken about 6 months ago), which puts me at a stage in life where I do not want to think about beginning to change diapers.
Even if I did meet someone today, I'd assume we'd date for maybe 2 years, get married and then hopefully have a few years to ourselves or with the family he already has, and that would put me at right around 50 years old and having my first baby.
Anyone else interested in starting a family at 50? Let's see a show of hands... Maybe a few... but for me, no thank you--unless God intervenes, I am looking to serve in other ways.
However, that doesn't erase the negative feelings I still have surrounding this whole experience. And I will never again believe any kind of supposed "prophecy" about my future marital status.
How about the rest of you?
Have any of the rest of you experienced this, and how have you coped with it? I would really like to hear your stories, thoughts, and experiences, whether from your own life or observations you've made of those around you.