I was elated by Matt’s decision to get baptized. The testimony he gave at the baptism was quite touching. All I could do was be incredibly happy for him and encourage him despite his fears.
But I still couldn’t help but believe the wise advice that everyone had always given me. “He still can’t be your spiritual leader.” And I talked to God about it. Talked at Him. Let’s be honest: when He brought it up, I always cut Him off before He could say anything—“I know, I know, I’m wrong. He can’t be my spiritual leader. I’m taking care of it. Don’t worry about me.” How silly of me–to tell Him not to worry about me. HELLO. God of the universe up there. He loves me where I am! (These are things I wish I could tell myself back then.)
Well, I was really just avoiding the feelings of failure that I thought God would speak down towards me. How foolish! What He was really trying to say was, “I see you. I know your heart, and I love it. I love you. I want to give you everything—you don’t have to do anything else (and I could imagine Him shaking me at this point), just accept what I want to give you!” Now, what he could have meant by “I know your heart” could be any number of things; I think it is a mixture of “I know you love me and want to please me” and “I know you’re stubborn, so I just made your non-Christian into a Christian for you. And what’s more, he’s gonna be your spiritual leader.”
Sometimes I look up and tell Him to quit showing off. But that’s just my way of accepting that He loves me so much more than I ever expect—truly, more than I can ever understand. And it’s my way of telling Him that I love the things He blesses me with…and I love Him for being such a great Father.
Here is an excerpt I dug up from a journal entry I wrote shortly after Matt got saved:
It’s so different, feeling this deeply rooted heart-connection with a significant other. He took the initiative to pray a couple nights ago…just he and I, praying for us, for our relationship to last and grow and persevere. […] A corner of my heart once trapped in a deep sleep was finally awakened. At first, I didn’t like the feeling that someone so close to me was entering into my prayer life…that someone who knew me so deeply was forming a bond among the three of us. But after some thought, I realized how selfish I was to even dislike such a gesture. For the first time, I am in a relationship where God is rapidly becoming the center.
I distinctly remember the feeling. When we prayed together, it was like some huge rock inside of my chest was rolled away, and a little hole in my heart was revealed. One that I never even knew was there. And there Matt was, filling it with his prayers and his support and the love that only Christ can give him. And ever since then, it’s been full and empty and everywhere in between with the ebbing and flowing of our relationship with each other and with God.
You see, this was a very hard thing for me to accept at first. He hasn’t even been a Christian for that long. How would he ever have anything to say that could help me? Ah, my pride at its prime. But the beautiful thing is that through Matt’s salvation, God tore down that pride barrier between me and Him. I learned something really quite important:
Everyone has something to offer me…regardless of how long they have been a Christian, how many stories they know from the Bible, and where they are in their walk with God.
That means that God can use more people to get through to my stubborn head. Isn’t that neat? He knows me quite thoroughly. (I have LOADS more to say about this topic, but there is simply no concise way to say it. I’ll have to record it in another post, another time.)
Ever since that first night we prayed together, he’s taken the initiative to study the Bible with me, pray with me, pray FOR me, and start reading devotionals together. He’s often the one to start a discussion about the topic in church from that day and voice the need for Godly counsel. He’s offered me spiritual guidance for everything—my relationship with my dad, my college choice, my struggle to maintain friendships, my spiritual and emotional health, even my hobbies and my “alone time”. It’s amazing how much support a Godly man can dish out. And now that I’m here, I can’t imagine ever living without it. It was always a me thing before Matt came around. But for the first time, faith was bringing us together instead of tearing us apart. And I think that’s a very beautiful thing.
Of course, even a relationship where God is the center isn’t always rainbows and lollipops. That’s why there are two (or maybe three?) more parts to this story (at least now, there is a definitive end in mind to this series. Don’t cry).