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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.

By Angie Harmon as told to Ginger Rue, Los Angeles, California

As appeared in

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.