Category Archives: Love Story Series

My Love Story, Part 6: The Engagement

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Part 1: The Hang-Ups

Part 2: Falling in Love with a Savior

Part 3: Love at Second Sight

Part 4: A Spiritual Leader

Part 5: Long Distance

 

I’ve been putting off writing this particular post because I felt that I “wasn’t far enough along in the engagement” to adequately describe it, to sum it up.

And, well, plans changed, and all of a sudden, my engagement is nearly over. But certainly not over in a bad way.

I wish I could live in that moment, where he got up from the other side of the table and came over to my seat to get down on one knee. It was thrilling. Not even the knowledge of its coming when he picked me up in a new dress shirt and sport coat brought that moment down.

People always ask me: “Why are you getting married? How do you know that he’s ‘the one’?”

Married people always tell you, “When you know, you know.” I always thought they were kinda crazy…especially when I thought I knew with the last guy I had. But when that phrase “I want to marry you” is followed by its proof–a period of drastic growth in both individuals and in the relationship–that’s when you really know. And I could sit around for years telling you what I now know to be important before choosing a husband, but I’ll save that for another time.

It was around the six month mark that it actually came out of our mouths. Now, that was about a year ago. And of course, looking at that point in our relationship from the perspective I have now, it’s crazy to think that I could have believed that I was ready to be married. But that’s a good thing. If I could say that we were the same people as we were a year ago, and that we had the same relationship, there would be a problem.

The most honorable thing I can say about our engagement is this: it has been a period of more growth than I could have imagined was possible in such a short amount of time.

It’s awesome to watch Matt step into the “husband” shoes…to take responsibility for me in a healthy way and to learn to love me in the way God desires for us. And likewise, I am slowly learning to respect him and his decisions, and to not try to take control of everything, the way I always do.

But still, one of the greatest things I have battled throughout our engagement is fear.

Not fear of him or myself. Not fear of our failure or fear that it won’t work out or fear that I am marrying the wrong person or at the wrong time. Fear of what others might think of me.

It often seems to me that a canyon lies between what I expect others to think of me, and what others do indeed think of me. But other times, the two are identical. The bad thing is, I always expect the worse: people will lose faith in me, they will think me foolish, they will misunderstand, they will be angry, they will look down upon me,…

It’s such a shame that marriage at a young age is so looked down upon. One author on Boundless said this:

Some people should marry when young; others should marry when older; still others, who have the gift of celibacy, should not marry at all. What I criticized was the trend toward later and later marriages. The problem isn’t that people are marrying late — the problem is that too many people are marrying later than they should. Those who should marry when young are marrying when old, and those who should marry when old are marrying older still. Some who should marry never do at all.

Of course, it comforted me that someone backed me up on my opinion. But what I really needed was for someone to put words to what exactly I was experiencing. And to know that I’m okay.

Another thing my mom told me, before we got engaged, was this: “College doesn’t have to have a white picket fence around it.”

That image of the “strong, independent woman” that gets a degree, establishes a career, and then starts considering marriage–which my dad had painted in my head–was not to be mine. In fact, that sounded pretty boring to me.

In the end…God’s plans are bigger and more exciting than a four year curriculum. And He doesn’t expect me or want me to neglect all other parts of my life while I’m in the land of Academia. I’m so grateful for that. Who knows! He might even whisk us away to some new adventure that totally exceeds our expectations for the future. Knowing Him, that’s probably what He’ll do.

And now…we have come to the end of the Love Story series. I’m kind of sad to see it go, since it has been the biggest part of my blog for the few months of its existence. From here on out, my blog will probably be peppered with various lessons God teaches me through our marriage. For Matthew will no longer be just a person in my life…but my own flesh:

And Jesus answered and said to them, “[…] From the beginning of creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Mark 10:5-8, NKJV)

August 10th, here we come!

My Love Story, Part 5: Long Distance

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Part 1: The Hang-Ups

Part 2: Falling in Love with a Savior

Part 3: Love at Second Sight

Part 4: A Spiritual Leader

We spent the summer together, all day, every day. It was wonderful, and we became accustomed to one another. It was nearly impossible to let go, that night before I left for college. To be completely honest, I’ve repressed the memory (unintentionally) and it no longer exists.

There is a lot of bitterness stored up in this part of my life…and a lot of strong–hardly harnessed, truly–emotions that had no outlet then. This is essentially their first outlet. It’s something I didn’t share then, and I wouldn’t have thought to share now (until this series came along). The following information is an incohesive cloud of emotions that overlap and work together to create a toxic mess.

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My Love Story, Part 4: A Spiritual Leader

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Part 1: The Hang-Ups

Part 2: Falling in Love with a Savior

Part 3: Love at Second Sight

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.”

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My Love Story, Part 3: Love at Second Sight

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If you haven’t already, you should definitely read Part 1: The Hang-Ups and Part 2: Falling in Love with a Savior.

So, when we were all sitting in Taco Bell late one night after a jazz band gig, after all the instruments were put away and we were spending our spoils on the cheapest food around, Die-Hard Atheist and his agnostic and open-minded (read: indecisive) friends sitting around him had some questions for me.

I had tried to stay out of it…unsolicited Christian input (not any OTHER religious input) is typically pushed away in those conversations. Nevertheless, I found myself sitting in front of a panel of non-believers, being grilled with all the classic questions. “What about the starving kids in Africa? How can a God of love let them suffer?” “What about the people who have never heard about your religion? Why are they condemned to hell?” And all the common criticisms and misconceptions that go along with it. The Crusades. Legalism. Hatred of homosexuals.

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My Love Story, Part 2: Falling in Love with a Savior

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If you haven’t already, make sure you go and read Part 1: The Hang-Ups.

After learning my lesson the hard way (not one, but TWO times), I decided that I would, for one, never date someone who does not share my love for Christ EVER again. That’s right, men. I have standards. I GOT THE POWAH. Yeah.

But secondly, I decided to finally take the time to fall in love with my Savior.

I knew it was possible. I remember reading through a Biblezine (yes…it’s a Bible in magazine format. Basically like a Study Bible for teen girls–AWESOME ministry) in 8th grade or so and seeing my Savior for the Bridegroom He truly is, for the very first time.

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My Love Story, Part 1: The Hang-Ups

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My favorite story to tell is that of my love life. For some reason, I love to recount the story of the different guys I’ve dated and what I’ve learned. Perhaps because the greatest life lessons come from your closest relationships.

This is just a story. I’m going out on a limb even posting this, because I often get terrified of what people think of me, or how people might perceive those who are mentioned in my posts (even if no names are given). And I want to say before we jump in…these guys that I dated had tons of good qualities and it wasn’t that “they weren’t good enough”. I simply want to show you what happens to me when I allow someone so close who does not have the same worldview as me.

But if you’re a single Christian man or woman, looking for a spouse one day…please, please take heed of all this. I’m not writing to teach a lesson. I’m writing to show you my heart, and what happens to it when you give it to a human to twist and turn it, and not to a God who knows what He’s doing when he twists and turns it. This is my journey of figuring out that He comes first, because no human can ever do everything He does for me.

I had always been told to never date a non-Christian man. I had been told (and oh, I learned) that non-Christian men couldn’t love me to their or my fullest potential, that they couldn’t be a spiritual leader, and that our differing worldviews would clash and it would never work. Furthermore, I had been told (and oh, I learned) that a man would never truly change his heart and mind to follow Jesus by being with me…if he did, it would only be for me; and if it was truly for himself, he still could not be my spiritual leader. We must be at the same place spiritually in order for him to lead me. (Refer back to my last post for some links to some even better reasons that I didn’t know then.)

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