Before you read this, please understand the following.
I’m writing this as an eighteen year old girl. I’m writing this as someone who has never been kissed or even held hands with a boy. I’m writing this as someone who does not have all the answers, and who doesn’t have any false illusions of being an expert on these subjects. Hopefully, I’m writing this in humility and in searching my own heart, which is definitely deceitfully wicked and completely un-understandable at times. I’m not trying to judge anyone, or force my views upon anyone else.
I went on my first date when I was seventeen. Yes, I was under eighteen. Yes, everyone thought my parents were crazy for letting me go somewhere alone with a member of the male specimen (although we did drive separately and there were several thousand people surrounding us as we awkwardly walked around outside with our hands in our own pockets).
Before you start getting all interested, though, I’m not planning on telling you all the details of my love life in this post. Someday, I’ll probably tell the whole story and you’ll get to indulge in your nosiness all you want. Today, you’re just getting little snippets, though. Snippets like the picture of me on my first date, wearing bright orange cords (“You’ll be able to find me when you get there because I’ll be wearing bright orange pants!” I told him, much to his horror) and with windblown hair, walking around with a nose reddened from the December breeze. I was finally getting to spend the afternoon with a guy that I liked a lot. He’d won my respect as a friend and had followed all the rules when it came to asking my dad permission to take me out, meeting the family, and getting to know me from a distance. And he was serious about me. Dead serious.
Long story short, that relationship lasted for about three months. We broke up over the phone, because he was on a trip several states away, and it was completely mutual. As far as I know, there were no hard feelings. We’ve seen each other since then, and while I won’t lead you guys to believe that being in and out of a relationship is as un-messy as your mom’s kitchen sink (or maybe it’s just my mom who is like that), it’s fine. There were no tears, no fights, and no more than a handful of “shoot-me-now” awkward moments. He’s an amazingly godly guy who loves the Lord and will make a great husband to someone one day!
It just won’t be me, I realized. And so I ended that relationship with the assumption that I would just have to start searching for my husband elsewhere. In a Bible study, maybe. At a church. In the middle of a book signing. At the grocery store, for Pete’s sake.
He could be ANYWHERE.
When I wrote my little comical parody of “Pride and Prejudice” a few months ago, I was completely taken aback by the almost viral response it got. Ten times more views than any of my other posts to date. I was laughing about it with my family and I think I made the comment, “I guess people found it funny!” My dad just shrugged and said, “There’s truth to it. For every truly funny thing, there’s gotta be a little truth behind it.”
It took a few days for that to sink in. But when it did, it really sank. Deep to my bones. To my guilty heart. The heart that, ever since I was old enough to realize that boys and girls are different, longed to have someone tell her that she was pretty and special and sweet and smart. The heart that wanted to be held, nurtured, and flattered. The heart that sought after a match, and wasn’t going to take “Wait” for an answer. Because waiting is boring and some of us just want to know all the answers right now. And what girl, when she’s so desperate to fall in love and so eager to make it happen with whomever seems interested, can resist a handsome, sweet guy who seems to genuinely like and respect her?
And so I’ve made mistakes. I’m not here to list them for you, or to ask you to judge my life or my heart. God’s pretty good at doing that Himself. But there did finally come a day when my heart was completely captured. Snatched up, tucked away, and treated like the treasure that it is. And it wasn’t a tall, handsome, bowtie-wearing stranger who did it.
It was God.
My heart stopped fluttering the moment I realized that no man is ever going to make me truly happy. I’m never going to wake up one day and think that the man by my side is a perfect gift from the Lord sent to meet my every need and fill my every empty spot.
My emotions stopped swirling when I realized that I might never find someone who makes me belly laugh every single morning, even when I’m sick or cramping or about to give birth to his child.
My longings stopped controlling me when I opened my eyes and finally understood that no man will ever be able to read my mind, or know my heart, or completely capture me in every way imaginable.
Because that’s not what men are for. That’s what God is for.
For years, I’ve grown up with the mindset that my whole childhood, teen, and young adult years are just a “holding place” for the day when I’ll be married and my life will be fulfilled. I’ve approached friendships with just about every male I know as a tentative “beginnings of a relationship” mindset. I’ve made my own plans for the future, and tried to direct my own steps. I’ve attempted to match myself and failed horribly.
We all laugh at Lizzie and Jane and Lydia and Mrs. Bennett, but why? Because, but for the grace of God, that is us. That is me. A woman solely focused on one thing: holy matrimony. A heart yearning for a six-foot-two male by myself with dark curly hair and freckles. Someone to listen to my heart, to hold my hand, and to supply a warm pillow for me to dry my tears.
But when did we replace God with marriage? When did we, as young women, shift our eyes from the true lover of our souls and seek to find contentment in shy telephone calls and awkward hand-holding in the park?
Marriage is a beautiful thing. Love is a beautiful thing. I can think of few things that would make me happier than to know that God has a wonderful, godly young man out there who will never know me perfectly and will probably make me mad nine days out of ten and will forget to turn off the light in the laundry room, but who I will love, cherish, and delight in. I look forward to that day, should God bring it to pass!
But I’m ready to be done with the guessing. With the wondering–could it be this guy? Or could it be that guy? I’m through with asking God to show me my husband and I’m ready to just ask God to show me Himself. To let me know Him more fully. To let me fall more in love with Jesus everyday.
Marriage is never going to make you truly happy.
Jesus will make you truly happy.
Love will never bring you true contentment.
I don’t look back over my past experiences with romance or young men with regrets or embarrassment. If I did, I probably wouldn’t be sharing them with you right now. All I want to do is share honestly what God has taught me about love at this time in my life. My life isn’t a fairytale. I’m not a believer in pumpkin carriages or magical first kisses or princes who ride in on horseback.
I’m a believer in grace. In unconditional love from God our Father. I believe that God cares about me enough to completely satisfy me every day of my life. In love and out of love. Through messy relationships and beautiful ones. Through broken friendships, broken hearts, and nights spent knocking on the gas station door asking for a carton of ice cream because you just broke up with your boyfriend. (Yep. Been there.)
I don’t have to look forward to the day I fall in love. Because I already am in love. Passionately, gloriously, and miraculously loved and cherished by my Lord. And when you think about it that way, why would I waste a single moment waiting for a guy anyway?