The story of how I met, fell in love with, and eventually married Ciano Joasil is nothing less than extraordinary. Everything from the very beginning ‘til where we are now is purely supernatural, and purely the doing of God! Before I get into the details of how we met it’s important to explain where I was spiritually, because I believe that understanding where I was before our lives collided is the very basis of ‘why’ we’re together today.
I’m from Ethiopia originally, and through circumstances that seemed to be pointing me back there in 2016, I decided to move and see what life would offer in my own country. I made the move back to my birthplace in the winter of 2016. At the top of my reasons for relocating was my desire to be closer to my parents, who had also decided to move there. I was excited about my decision, expecting it to be the perfect step for my life at that time. I felt sure it would be bursting with new beginnings. However after the initial ‘starburst’ period of settling in, reuniting with friends and family, and reigniting my passion for all my beautiful country had to offer, I felt this odd sort of… disconnect. Yes I was excited to be home, but deep down I knew that something was amiss. Although I knew about God back then I wasn’t a born again Christian, and the teachings of the gospel didn’t feature as part of my life at all. Three months later I came back to the U.S. for what I thought was a brief visit, but as God would have it I never left. I couldn’t figure out why I was back in America when better opportunities were waiting for me in Ethiopia, but it seemed that God had a completely different plan for me than what I could have ever imagined for myself.
After the Lord squashed any plans I had for my return, I spent the entire summer of 2016 on a spiritual sojourn of sorts. I tried to go back to my old life, which included New Age practices and trying to rekindle old relationships— in an effort to feel “at home” again I pretty much tried to resurrect all my old, bad habits. But that summer something more powerful than my own desires was at work- God intervened and put an end to my wandering in a way that made it very clear to me I wasn’t to go back. Instead, God extended His hand of grace to me and saved me for Himself. He began to teach me what it meant to know Him. By the time summer came to a close my spiritual journey of fasting and praying had paid off- I found a church that not only welcomed me, but worked with me through deliverance to set me free of all the habits that had hijacked and arrested my life. They taught me about the Father, and helped me gain spiritual strength. Little did I know, God had hidden the treasure of marriage for me in that little church.
Like every girl, marriage was something I dreamed about. Clichéd as it sounds I’ve been fascinated by bridal magazines since I was 16, hoping to be as beautiful and deliriously happy as all those models looked with their ‘husbands’. When I was not saved, my relationships never lasted beyond a year- and even if they started out great they always left me hurt, broken, traumatized and in some cases, emotionally bankrupt. It drove me crazy trying to figure out why I kept meeting men that either used me, abused me or just plain wasted my precious time and energy. By the world’s standards I felt had a lot to offer: I came from a good family, I looked pretty good; I was well educated with a fantastic career I enjoyed and was good at. I was upbeat and made sure to keep a positive attitude towards life in general- I believed “you get back what you give”. But that’s not what I got! No matter what kept happening on the romantic front though, I never lost that 16-year-old desire to be deeply in love and loved in return. However marriage didn’t come, only more birthdays, and a lot of time went by without Mr. Right showing up. What I didn’t account for was God doing everything to turn my life upside down…for the best!
For me, it’s important to take time out to mention what salvation has meant to my journey to a supernatural marriage. We may all have different thoughts about this, but I’ve seen with my own eyes the transformation God made in me- from a brokenhearted, single woman wallowing in misery (this is not for drama, I really lived this), to the joy, strength and rebirth I experienced when I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I feel my story would be incomplete without saying this. Once I got saved and committed to only follow Christ the rest of my life, the true journey of my life began. As I said before, God brought me to a powerful church in Brooklyn (which was nowhere near where I lived, haha!) The proof of my hunger for Jesus was proven over the next few years- I drove sometimes up to three hours one way, just to attend service twice a week and get educated in the true word of God. Eventually God started working deep deliverance in my life, getting me free from the bondages I’d unknowingly trapped myself in because of the earlier occult practices I followed. I did this for almost three years. With each passing week I shed more of the old things and started to see the real me, the woman that had been hidden under a camouflage of sin and bondage. Also I should emphasize, a lot of my deliverance came from fasting, intense prayers, spiritual warfare and my willingness to serve God even when I thought it was impossible to serve Him or to continue going at that pace.
Let me move forward to a specific fast that I did for getting married and to receive my God ordained husband. I did a 28-day water fast in December of 2016 and by His grace, I was able to accomplish it. It was one of the most challenging things I have ever done, but after I completed it- it planted my feet firmly in Christ. I absolutely knew that all that I’d asked for would happen in its own time. Even when things were hard, I knew the fate of my life was in the hands of God. Until then, I was content to grow spiritually and enjoy the season of being single. It wasn’t long after my fast that someone in my church became increasingly interested in me. Though we’d been in the same church for so long this was the first time in months he spoke to me and expressed his interest. Like any woman would be I was intrigued, and I agreed to his suggestion that we get to know one another. He was an attractive man, well groomed, with a steady job and a proven life of faith. He eventually told me the Lord had led him to express interest, and after a few more dates his agenda for marriage was finally revealed. He believed that the Lord said that I would become his wife. As for me, I was sure this was the answer to my 28-day water fast- I was excited at what I believed was my answer. However, we need to be careful what we think is God; we need to be sure what we hear. I was still young in the faith, and I didn’t discern the situation clearly, so I agreed to the courtship.
We had many, many, differences- age being one of them- but I thought things would be smoother after marriage. Looking back at that relationship now, there were so many red flags that came up as we progressed, things I simply brushed away because I thought “This is the will of God for my life”. We got engaged a few months after we started courting but although we completed marriage counseling at church, it didn’t seem like the relationship was moving in the right direction. One thing I will admit is that even though I had presented the situation before the Lord, I never received confirmation that he was indeed my God ordained husband. Nor did I ever receive peace with my decision to marry him. I felt discouraged and kind of carried away by the momentum of it all, but I kept thinking if I listened to what my own spirit was telling me I’d be kicking against the will of God for my life. I didn’t want to do that, and it held me back from expressing myself honestly every time I wanted to break it off with him. So we went ahead and set a date to marry at the end of December 2017.
With our set date approaching my nerves and anxiety grew. I couldn’t find peace about my decision, and the restlessness and disapproval of my family only made it worse. As the month of the wedding loomed we got increasingly agitated; in fact we became so irritated with one another to the point where we hated being around each other. I kept asking myself, “Why am I going through this when I feel like I’m not even in love with the guy?” I already knew the answer. When plan after plan after plan to move to another state fell through to ‘supposedly’ start our lives together, I knew it was God in action to get me out of what I had gotten myself into. Recognizing that evidence of His love towards me is what made me brave enough to finally put an end to the relationship. Sure, the year ended with me spending yet another New Years alone, but this time I knew it was not the end of my story.
As painful and humiliating as the experience was it taught me a strong lesson: There will always be an obstacle, hindrance or some type of diversion before your breakthrough comes. This is ‘Standard 101: Facts For Getting to the Desired Destination’. I knew my big breakthrough was still to come, but the how’s and when’s were the most difficult to deal with. Once I scraped my feelings off the floor I went right back to fasting, praying, fighting for my destiny and serving the Lord. But God is so wonderful… He put His hand on my once-more broken heart and healed me. Even I was surprised at how quickly I bounced back! One thing that was really odd and interesting though, was how I kept having dreams about a certain man by the name of Ciano Joasil. He belonged to another church, but visited our church quite frequently as we both had mutual friends in common. For nearly a year I kept seeing this man in my dreams. I didn’t even know him except for the beautiful and powerful sermons he’d give whenever our pastor invited him to speak at our Brooklyn church, or the brief chats we had when I visited our other site in Jersey. It was evident from his good looks, his sweet demeanor and his personable character that this was someone I really LIKED.
Our friendship never really became that deep, but as time passed I had an odd but steady hope in my heart. In December 2018 our church decided to do a 7-day corporate fast. It was called ‘the fast to manifest expectations before December 31st 2018”. I was still seeking God for marriage, yet I had absolutely no prospects at that time. By the end of the fast however, that whole situation had shifted! I got crystal clear proof that the Lord had answered my prayers, because my pastor’s wife called me the very next day to inform me that Ciano actually approached them to express his interest in me. Once I heard this I was ecstatic, because now all my dreams and feelings about him made sense! God had been preparing me all along by showing me what He had for me. We had our first date two weeks later, and he shared his heart for marriage. Something I only dreamed of from magazines was finally taking shape in my own life. Exactly a month after we started dating we realized we could not live without each other and that there was nothing more for us to do except marry. He proposed on my birthday one month after we started dating, and three months later I found myself walking down the very aisle I’ve dreamt of since I was 16. Only this time, I was walking towards my destiny and the man of my dreams that only God Himself could have orchestrated. Yes, we had the most beautiful, fairy tale like wedding I’ve only read about in books. Was it easy getting there? No, but God is the one that made it possible when the world constantly said ‘no’ to us.