The man I loved walked out the door with no promise to return. As I watched him walk to his car, I could barely move from the place where my feet were planted. Cemented to the spot where my heart bled, I mustered the strength to pray, “Jesus, help me.”
When we were dating, Justin ended our relationship and walked away with my heart and my hope for our future. Every cell in my body screamed a protest, and I wanted more than anything to cave in to self-pity and shake my fist at God in objection. But something happened in my heart: I sensed the Lord whisper, “Marian, stand.”
Before that fateful night, ours was a storybook romance. We met, fell in love, and I just knew. It was like in the movies—only this one was pure and lovely, like a Jane Austen film. Justin was my person, my best friend, and he loved Jesus more than anyone I had ever known. Oh, and bonus: he was taller than me! For this five-foot- eleven girl who loves her shoes, that fact was a miracle.
Let’s just say I was giddy.
You should know a little of my backstory. I was in my late thirties when I met him. I was single and had waited far longer than I ever expected for God to provide the desires of my heart. I was the old cliché: always the bridesmaid but never the bride. Anyone who’s walked through an unmet desire of any kind knows the pain that accompanies emptiness. Through that season of waiting, there were many moments of grief and I fought hard to believe in the goodness of God in the midst of my unmet desire. But then one crazy, awkward day in February, when I was least expecting to fall in love, I went on a blind date with the man who stole my heart.
As spring rolled into summer and summer into fall, friends and family gave their hearty approval of the match. Therefore, I began to let my walls down and hope and plan for the future. But then, out of the blue, the man I loved went through a rough patch. Looking back now, I know it was spiritual warfare (more on that in the book), but at the time, it felt as though a cloud of fear, darkness, and doubt had descended upon our relationship. Justin was in a battle that I couldn’t really understand or fix.
Around the time that I was expecting a proposal, he told me in no uncertain terms that he couldn’t move forward in our relationship. He didn’t want to hurt me, but he couldn’t overcome the fear and doubt hammering against his chest. He needed to end it. Two small little letters, but that simple it was our relationship, our future, our potential marriage.
To say I was shocked by the turn of events is an understatement. Everything had seemed perfect, until the cloud descended upon him like nothing I’ve ever seen. Sure, I knew he was struggling, but I didn’t think it would come to this.
At first I began to offer words of encouragement and tell him why it would be okay, but then I sensed God telling me to stop. In my heart, I heard the call to stand. I sensed the Lord wanted me to trust Him, take my hands off the situation, and let Him work.
If you’ve ever been through a heartbreak of any kind, you know from experience what the Enemy loves to do in those moments. He loves to speak fear and doubt in our ears. To keep us from walking by faith, he seeks opportunities to lie to us about God’s character. We are most vulnerable to spiritual attack during those seasons. In many ways, pain proves an open door for the Adversary to breathe lies. Fear says that trusting God with our desires is foolish. Doubt says the Lord can’t fix the situation, so we had better take control. Yet in that moment, the Lord called me to walk by faith. He asked me to trust Him with my heart and entrust the “fixing” of Justin to Him.
To trust God with my heart proved a test. Before I met Justin and fell in love with him, I had already walked through a painful heartbreak and experienced the crushing blow of rejection. Then I waited a very long time to meet the one I believed was my future husband and fall in love. Now that “love” was walking out the door.
Could I trust God with this relationship? Furthermore, could I trust God with my heart?
Much to my surprise, I heeded the call. I didn’t put up a fight; I let Justin leave. Without a word, I let him go.
With his exit, I let go of a relationship that was sweeter than anything I could have imagined. I let go of my dream of our future together. I let go of any control over his decisions or what might happen the next day or the days after. God was calling me to see how He would work without my help, and every human instinct screamed for me to do the opposite. I wanted to stage a confrontation in the front yard and convince him that his fears were unfounded and that we could overcome this. Instead, I simply let go.
I felt as if I were facing my biggest fear. I also felt helpless to do anything to change my situation. Just as the waves of self-pity, rejection, and deep sadness began to mount, I sensed the Lord speak a clear word to my heart: “Marian, stand.”
Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God
whose ways you may not understand at the time.
As I faced the possibility of yet another bitter disappointment, I felt my knees buckle. The temptation to succumb to fear and depression knocked at my door, but more loudly than the siren call of self-pity was the strong voice of my God, who said, “Stand … and see” (2 Chron. 20:17).
I know that the only reason I was able to heed this call was that I cried out to Jesus for His help and power to do so. When I did, I experienced the covering of His presence. The Lord was with me, strengthening my feeble knees, enabling me to stand.
I was surprised at the peace that shielded me. To say that my faith muscles had grown over the years is an understatement. Looking back at the woman I was before, I knew that the old Marian easily would have thrown a full-blown meltdown on the floor, crying her eyes out and cowering to fear of the unknown future, escaping into a Netflix-and-ice-cream coma for weeks on end. I fully expected an emotional outburst, yet something seismic had shifted in my soul. The girl who once crumbled at the thought of her plans not being realized was replaced with a woman who trusted God, even when the outcome was unknown.
I felt the Lord’s presence so keenly the night Justin left. I sensed He was shielding me. His love enveloped me, and I found myself surprised at my ability to not cave in to the fears and doubts. I kept thinking, Perhaps I’m in shock and I’ll go into meltdown mode in a minute. But that didn’t happen. Something deep within my soul believed that the Lord would work this for good. I just didn’t know how.
As I sat on my bed, preparing for what I assumed would be an all-night crying session, I opened my Bible. I flipped to a place bookmarked with a single scrap of paper that read, “He’s got this!” A knowing smile formed on my face. Wow, what timing!
I knew the handwriting immediately. A friend must have slipped the note in my Bible at some earlier date. But that night, staring down at the page, I knew it was a word directly to my heart from God. The Lord wanted me to stand and believe—but not in any particular outcome. He wanted me to trust that, in all things, “He’s got this.” With that reminder, a fresh surge of peace flooded my heart. I didn’t need to worry or panic—Jesus had my back.
The night Justin walked out the door, I slept soundly. Like the cloud of God’s presence, a supernatural calm covered me. Meanwhile, across town, Justin experienced a far different evening. He was under serious attack from the Enemy. Unable to sleep, he fought his fears and doubts throughout the night. He cried out to God for help, and the Lord answered.
The next morning, Justin called me and asked if he could come back over to talk again. He hinted that the Lord had done something in his heart overnight. Within an hour, he was back at my front door, this time a far different man from the one I had seen the night before. Eyes puffy from a sleepless night, he asked me to take a walk. As we walked side by side, he shared with me his word from the Lord. I bet you can guess it: stand.
He told me that he had called three godly men—men he respected as mentors—and asked their advice. Each one had responded to Justin’s fears and doubts with one simple word: stand.
They told him that faith means we choose to believe God even when our fears scream otherwise. While Justin wasn’t one of those guys who was afraid of commitment, he was facing a real battle with a real Enemy who wanted to keep him from God’s best.
In the wee hours of the morning, while I slept, God moved. The Lord didn’t need my help. He gave Justin the same word that He’d given me just hours before. For Justin, the word stand meant he was not to let the Enemy win. Instead, he was to trust God with each step forward into the unknown. The Enemy, who hates marriage, sure didn’t want us to take that next step, so he was attacking Justin with every fiery dart in his arsenal. Lies of failure and fear rained down all night, but in the midst of the firestorm, the Lord said, “Stand and see.”
Of course, I couldn’t believe it when I learned that the Lord had given us the same word! But reflecting back on that night, my biggest takeaway was how the great I AM worked while I slept. I very well could have thrown a major tantrum or freaked out in fear, but I’m thankful the Lord called me to trust Him as He dealt with Justin. He fights for us! He is the God of angel armies. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. When we entrust our lives to Him, He is faithful.
A few short months later, Justin and I stood hand in hand, this time at an altar. Pledging covenant love to each another, we experienced the victory of that fateful night by becoming husband and wife. Our wedding was the best day of my life. I know every girl hopes for that, but I have never experienced the presence of God as I did that day. My family’s old barn nestled on a hilltop in East Texas became holy ground. God was there. It was glorious.
In the minutes after saying our vows together, Justin and I knelt at the altar and prayed. While we prayed, our friends led the congregation in the worship song “The Stand” by Hillsong United. If you aren’t familiar with the song, please download it. The words beautifully express the cry of our heart that day: “I’ll stand with arms high and heart abandoned in awe of the One who gave it all.”
The word stand was the anthem of our hearts, and we longed for it to be the music of our marriage. As the worship team sang these words, I looked back from the altar to see a spontaneous outbreak of praise. One by one, our guests began to stand and lift hands high to God, bearing stories of deliverance and proclaiming from grateful hearts how the Lord had fought for them in their weakness. What I discovered when I looked back to see worship breaking out was this: stand was not just my word; it is our word. It belongs to the bride of Christ.
Stand firm, dear sisters!
Marian’s book, Stand, released this week and is now available to purchase. Grab a copy today to discover how you can stand firm in the midst of your own faith testing seasons, battles with temptation, or spiritual warfare. We also have free small group videos available on www.standbiblestudy.com or the Redeemed Girl App.