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Between a rock and a hard place

By Kathleen McGovern
Coordinator of Youth Ministry 

Since it happened people exclaim “let me see it!” I pause for a moment wondering what in the heck they’re talking about and then remember that I have a ring on my finger that states, “I’m engaged.” I still try to wrap my brain around the fact that Ben, my previous boyfriend, is now my fiancé and you know what? It’s awesome!

I look down at my finger sometimes, being a girl who was never one to gawk over jewelry, and think, “what does this ring mean?” The proverbial “rock” that many women strive to get, one that sits on your finger and solidifies a romantic relationship that you’ve found here on Earth. The whole concept of getting a ring with a diamond on it seemed silly to me but it wasn’t just a ring I wanted, it was what it represented.
For a good portion of my life I just thought to myself, “It sure would be nice to have a boyfriend to love, someone to love me.” There were nights that held out in loneliness, especially after hanging out with a particularly cute couple. I’d want to be a particularly cute couple with someone. I’d pray and ask God to bring me the right guy, or at least make me completely comfortable with being single because some days were harder than others. Every wedding I went to played Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” song where I was forced to stand in the center of the room, try to catch a bouqet of flowers and shout to the world that if a guy “likes it” he would “put a ring on it.” It was frustrating  horrifying  a hard place to be in.

Prayer always helped but it didn’t take away the desire to be with someone I could have that deep love with. God and I had to have at length discussions about my pursuit of the perfect relationship. God was always trying to tell me the perfect relationship was with Him. The back and forth with God started at 11, when God had to gently tell me “Laurie,” played by Christian Bale in “Little Women” was not going to be my husband.  The pleas, the cries and laments over the next 18 years didn’t faze God. There was a plan in motion that God wanted accomplished. I would get frustrated at times because I would want to be let in on the plan. Even after meeting Ben and a whole year going by before we started dating God would hear my familiar whining of “What’s going on here Lord?!?” I wanted to be with someone. I wanted to get married. I wanted to be loved. I thought that was accomplished by getting engaged and engagement meant getting that “rock.”

The day we got engaged it was absolutely beautiful outside. The day included a steamboat ride, and a tour of the Missouri Caves, where we saw a lot of…wait for it…rocks. Seconds before we got engaged I was on a cliff overlooking the river. Unbeknownst to me Ben was by the car still getting the ring ready (it was tangled up in his rosary). I stood there, alone, and looked out over the water and was overwhelmed by God’s presence.

Words cannot describe the overwhelming peace I felt. I cared only about the knowledge that GOD loves me. I stood at the top of that rocky cliff and internally praised God for all the blessings in my life. The Spirit swelled up in me and I felt peaceful, content, and without want. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t care that I didn’t have a rock on my finger. I didn’t care that Ben was back at the car. I cared only about being in that moment.

And that’s when it happened. The man I loved was down on a knee presenting me a ring, pledging his love to me, and asking if I would pledge mine to him.

It felt surreal and wonderful but that previous moment on the cliff with God was a beautiful reminder that God is first and the real rock of my life. It took me awhile to know, and still requires prayer on my part, to know that GOD IS MY ROCK. No other rock, either in a cave, on a cliff, or on my finger can satisfy me or hold me up like God does. For God created all those rocks, He is surely more meaningful. I was blessed with that moment overlooking the river because it was a moment for God and me. Like old friends that reminisce about life, I was reminded that God has always been there for me to lean on and that He has been present at all times in all stages of my life.

God was with me in those sad moments where I was wanting, and he was gently whispering that the plan he had was far better than my own. God was with me in the happy moments, the angry moments, and with me in the in between moments. God brought Ben into my life and put us on our path at the right moment. I wouldn’t have been able to hand pick someone better for me and I would take every sad and wanting moment I had and joyfully relive them all over again to get to where I am now with Ben. He is not only my love, but also a person who constantly wants me to know God more. Ben challenges me to remember the journey didn’t end with just getting this diamond “rock” but that it’s just beginning in relying and leaning on God at all times, the real rock of our life.

Please pray for me that I can always remember that and pray that my future spouse and I can always have God as the rock of our relationship!

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Also, I just found this article today. If you have ever been in a place like I have been with the ups and downs of the pursuit of the “rock” for your finger and your relationship with God you may find this article interesting. It’s written by a very talented author and it’s just downright awesome and a great read.