Ryan Otto had always wanted to get married and have a family. He had dreams of falling in love and living happily ever after. As a football player in high school he was very popular, but rarely dated. In college, there were several girls he liked but fear had always stopped him from pursuing a relationship.

Ryan had no memory of his parents being together. In the world’s eyes, some would view him as a “mistake.” As he grew, he longed to experience a traditional family with mom and dad and siblings. While this was his heart’s desire, his fear was even greater.

“I was looking for this perfect person that I could never find. It was all produced out of this anxiety and fear of getting it wrong and being outside of God’s will. I think there was a fear of maybe making the same mistakes that my mom and dad did.”

That fear kept him paralyzed. Throughout college, seminary, and for several years afterward, he didn’t date. What if he disappointed God? What if he hurt someone? What if chose the wrong spouse? As he began pastoring a college ministry, he had come to a place of being comfortable with being single. Just him and God.

Then he met Mary Jane. M.J. wasn’t like anyone else. She had grown up knowing she wanted to marry and have kids. She envisioned marrying someone who could provide a comfortable life. She knew she didn’t want to marry a pastor – they were so serious, and ministry could be so difficult.

Ryan soon realized he had feelings for M.J., but what if she wasn’t the right person? What if this wasn’t God’s will? He wrestled with those feelings, and he wrestled with God. Ryan began asking for clear direction, for a sign. It would take God moving in a big way to bring these two together. And God did, not once, but over and over again.

Hear their inspiring story in Chapter 43 of Epic.

When God writes your love story - Ryan and M.J. Otto

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