A LOVE STORY: by anna norman
Hello! My name is Anna Norman (used to be a “Wright”). I married the most beautiful/handsome/wise/godly man I know over 15 months ago on July 24th, 2010 and I am so honored to share our story with you!
I love our story; not in a “look at me" sort of way but in a “look at Him" sort of way. It is one of those stories that you look back on and just wonder how God writes things so perfectly and so far outside of our comprehension (and imaginations).
Here it goes...
Matt Norman was that guy. The one that was known as the bachelor throughout Solid Rock for quite a few years. He was always serving, had turned his life to the LORD at 23 and really had an amazing walk with God . He was the one that caught my eyes in 2007...but nothing happened for about 2.5 years.
We met, as he recalls, for the first time at the Way in 2007 (the SR group for those 18-28...I used to fall into that group). To be honest, I had heard quite a bit about him as John Mark was one of his friends and also thought he was the greatest catch for us ladies. And did I mention he was ridiculously handsome (and becomes moreso everyday)? However, one small thing, Matt was not a “dater.”
He really was that guy-the guy that you wanted to know in the smallest of ways; the silent type that you knew had a world of mysteries hidden behind his eyes, and someone who you knew answered to God and not to man.
I actually remember first meeting him officially in the summer of 2008. He led a house church in Lake Oswego that I said I would never go to (only because there were a lot of ladies at it and I didn't want to be one of "those girls"-not that any of them were but you know?). I ended up there one day because my sis and and a girlfriend had gone out to lunch and didn't have time to take me back to my car before they went. This was the first time I remember actually conversing with him.
Let me share a bit of the background on my heart at that time: I was never a dater. My longest relationship was three months-in my 28 years. I rarely was asked out-very rarely. Which was likely a good thing because I don't know if I would have said “no” when I was supposed to. What we think of as rejection I truly believe God sees as His protection and grace.
God did put two things on my heart since a young age that I felt my future spouse had to be: 1) Someone who answered to God and not to man and 2) someone I could listen to for the rest of my life. I also said I would never go out on a date with someone who asked me out via text message (more to come on that one). My amazing parents always prayed for a man like this.
Back to the story: After this house church meeting I started hearing from MANY people things such as: "Do you know Matt Norman?", "Would you ever date Matt Norman?" And yes, people did refer to him with the first and last name-all the time. This is not an exaggeration, I probably over the course of two years heard around 100 different people ask me about him. They also asked my sister about him and I, sent me emails saying they were praying we would get together (I thought it was weird but apparently they were on to something), I had people come up and say they knew who I was going to marry, we had the Kiselys pull both of us aside in the fall of 2008 and ask us about each other, and many constantly tried to get us at the same place together. Example: Miss Barbara invited my parents over to their home for dinner, along with me, my sis...and Matt. Interesting.
Nothing happened. Nothing. I mean ladies-there was NO REASON for me to think that he would ever be interested in me. My friends often said he looked at me in a different way but I didn't see it-at all. However, there was something I just knew. This next part might sound weird but the definition of faith is "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." I truly have many, many journal entries from my prayer journal asking why Matt was put into my life. Why was he always wherever I was? Why was I so attracted to him? Why I thought he would never ask anyone out...let alone me. But I KNEW that God had said to "wait for that man."
Throughout the two years we had many awkward and great conversations. Never on the phone but once for many weeks during Christmas break 2009 via facebook chat and often face to face since we were usually at the same church functions. He made me so nervous and few things are able to do that. He doesn't remember any of the awkward moments-I guess that is why He made us male and female. The "wait" was for about 1.5 years even after I knew the LORD's promise.
In August of 2009 there was a week where he said he was going out of town with his family. I felt that I needed to pray for him as a man, not him in relation to me (which I had often done and realized that was not the right heart), for that entire week. He got back on a Sunday and on Tuesday I got a TEXT! Please refer to the standards I listed above if you are wondering why that is in caps. He asked if I wanted to go out to dinner. I, of course, went against my creed and said yes!
Our first date was August 17th, 2009. You might think that it was history from there but that just wouldn't make our story perfect. We talked for four hours straight over dinner and dessert and when I went home I told my roommates that I would wait another 50 years to go out on another date like that...it was so pure, so perfect.
The next two months were interesting. We had an amazing family invite just Matt and I along with all of them for a Labor Day weekend retreat at their ranch. We had some odd conversations over the four days and I left there not really knowing what would happen.
You see, when Matt asked me out, he didn't know for certain that I was “the one.” He was trying to process through things and make sure that he was listening to the LORD in everything. This often means that men need that dreaded word to many women, time. He had never taken any large risks in life and this was likely the largest. We went on many dates during these two months where he was the perfect gentleman: barely even sidehugs to end the dates. And I still felt the LORD urging me to trust and wait for this man...
September 21st, 2009 (literally, written in my journal)- while on the Labor Day trip I remember sitting out on the dock reading from the book of Ruth. This story always fascinated me and it got me thinking of what a woman in waiting looks like. On September 21st, on my usual running path, I was just praying and asking what I was to do about Matt and trying to wait. I felt the LORD sweetly say, "You are Ruth. You wait." Great! More waiting!
The funny thing is what happened within ten minutes of that. I was listening to the Loveology podcast from the Way while running. John Mark was trying to give an example of a good dating situation and here was the kicker; he said "It would be like Matt Norman dating Ruth." I teared up. Immediately.
Really? Really? Does the Maker of the universe care that much about our hearts? Is He that involved in our small stories?
It gets better. I went home after the run and we had a meeting at our house that night regarding a Zimbabwe mission trip. The group asked each of us to pick up one of the pictures that were all over the house and write to that orphan. All of the kids had Zimbabwean names and their birth dates on each sheet. Except for the one I picked up: it said "Ruth-new girl." That was it. Her picture is still on our fridge now...
In the book of Ruth, Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law (although her husband had died), told her to start working in the field of a man named Boaz who was very kind to her and cared for her since she was a widower. There is a verse that says, "Wait for the man, for he will not rest until the matter is settled." That is why I waited...that is why the LORD called me “Ruth.”
It wasn't until the last week in October of 2009 that things changed. I had been patient (by God's grace...most of the time) in just letting things go as they were. I was willing to wait for him to KNOW for sure but this week was the time that I felt peace to ask what he was thinking regarding us. He spoke for about 30 minutes straight on how he wasn't quite sure and didn't like taking huge risks and quite a few other long sentences...it ended like this: I said, "I trust you."
Matt and I started dating that next Thursday after we had that conversation. That was October 24th, 2009. I went to Bali/Thailand over Thanksgiving with a group of friends from the church and he wrote me a letter for everyday I was gone with a verse that reminded him of me. We got engaged on April 24th and married on July 24th...
The verse on our wedding invites was Ephesians 3:21. "Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly beyond all that we think or ask."
*We are also six months pregnant as I write this! The funny thing about the Ruth part of our story is that I actually promised God if I got to marry Matt, that we would name a daughter Ruth. We aren't finding out what we are having but if it is a little lady, you know her name!
Ladies: please wait on the LORD and relish every minute of it. I LOVED my life before dating Matt. I loved where the LORD used me, what He taught me, how He pursued me when I walked away, and looking back, how He was preparing my heart and my character to be a wife. Cherish the waiting...it is His time to make things more beautiful than you had ever imagined.
PS: here is the best way to describe how I love my husband (from a journal entry while dating)-
"He is the last line in "Anne of Green Gables," "I don't want diamond sunbursts, or marble halls, I just want you." That is my husband to me.