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Patience Through Prayer

Actress Angie Harmon learns good things do come to those who wait thanks to an answered prayer from God.

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I have played strong, determined women in my television roles—a New York City prosecutor, a San Francisco homicide detective—women who pursue every last lead and keep on doing the next right thing until they solve the crime, women who are certain of the path they’re meant to be on. Offscreen, too, I’m pretty keyed in to what’s supposed to be going on in my life, but I have to admit, sometimes my impatience gets the best of me. 

I’m the most impatient person on the planet. I’m always saying, “Hey, God, I’ve got this great idea! Check it out!” When I want something to happen, I want it to happen now, in my time.

Like when my husband, Jason Sehorn, and I started going out. Back then I was on Law & Order. He was a professional football player, a cornerback for the New York Giants. One of his teammates introduced us. Right away I knew Jason was special. He reminded me of the first crush I ever had, Christopher Reeve’s Superman (when I saw that movie as a little girl, I realized, Ooh, I don’t need to push boys away. They’re cute!). 

Not only was Jason tall, dark and handsome, he was also smart, strong, kind, honorable and a real gentleman. I mean, the guy was Superman! And I’m sure he could run faster than a speeding bullet if he tried!

From our first date, we clicked. Everything was going great. Until the day we had our first big fight. I went home and sat on my bed, crying. “Lord, I thought I would have met the right guy by now! Please tell me you’ve got someone in mind, because I’m tired of waiting,” I prayed. “I want to be married and have kids. I need to know the right man is near.”

At that moment, the phone rang. It was Jason. “Hey, I just wanted you to know I’m here.”

“What?” I asked. I didn’t know what he was talking about.

“I’m here. Downstairs. I need to talk to you. Can I come up?”

I agreed. When I opened the door, there was Jason with a big bouquet of roses, so huge I couldn’t see his face. “I want to tell you I’m sorry,” he said. He’d had an event that night and at the end of the dinner, he’d gone around to every table and collected every single rose from every single centerpiece.

Our relationship deepened after that. The more I got to know Jason, the more I loved him. Even so, I was totally surprised to see him walk onstage when I was on The Tonight Show in March 2000. Right there in front of Jay Leno and the entire audience, he got down on one knee and asked, “Will you marry me?”

Of course I said yes!

It wasn’t till a couple days later, in my dressing room at Law & Order that I realized I never asked God what he thought. I’d been too busy telling him what I wanted. “Lord,” I said now, “I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you about this earlier. Is Jason the one you really want me to be with?”

No answer.

I tried again. “God, I don’t want to make a mistake here. I have to know from you. Is Jason the person I should spend the rest of my life with?”

Still nothing. There was a paper clip on the table in front of me. I picked it up and fiddled with it. I felt my impatience resurfacing. Why wasn’t God answering? I just wanted a sign that I was doing the right thing. I looked across the room and saw a cup on my desk, a pencil holder. All at once I had this wild impulse. “God, I’m going to close my eyes and throw this paper clip,” I said. “If it goes into that cup, then that means you’re okay with me getting married to Jason.”

All right, I know how strange that sounds. But I had to do something. Besides, you’ve got to keep in mind that I can’t even throw a crumpled paper into a wastebasket from two feet away—Jason’s the one with athletic talent, not me. But that day, I closed my eyes and tossed the paper clip across the room. As soon as I let go of it, I opened my eyes.

It went right into the cup! I don’t know what I would have done if it hadn’t, but God didn’t put me to that test. He’s always been a lot more patient with me than I am with him.

These days I’m learning the art of patience, mostly from Jason. I see how good he is with our girls, Finley Faith and Avery Grace, ages four and two. He spends hours with them in the backyard looking for bugs and snails and frogs (I think, Gross, those were a plague for a reason!). 

My favorite time is right when the girls get up from their naps. They have their little sleepy faces, and they crawl into my lap and snuggle. They’re so still I can feel their hearts beating. I hold them close and think how grateful I am that I waited to meet the right man and have our wonderful family. Not in my time but in God’s. 

And never do I feel more like I’m living in his time than when my little ones are in my arms. It’s a reminder that all good things come to those who wait. Even to an impatient person like me.

The Story Behind the Story

I went to L.A. to interview Angie Harmon and bring her story to the page. We’re both working moms with two young daughters so I know how hard it can be to balance a career and kids. In fact, the interview had to be delayed because Angie had pinkeye—we’d been through that at our house too. Chatting with her was like talking to an old friend. We’re both Southern (Angie’s from Texas; I’m from Alabama) and have a lot in common, especially our belief in the power of prayer.

I asked Angie what she wanted her girls to learn from her. She didn’t hesitate. “That there’s always room to improve. We can always do something that makes us a better person.” I love that! Clearly Angie is a beautiful woman, but from working on this story I found out how beautiful she is on the inside too.—G.R. 

Download your FREE ebook, A Prayer for Every Need, by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

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