At the age of 25, I had still never been on a real date. I was certain that I was a weirdo, but I was perfectly okay with my single state. I even wrote a blog about how being single was a blessing.
But then on January 15th, I met this local boy with a backwards cap and a friendly smile and I was smitten. We began a friendship and before I knew it, I was in a relationship for the first time! The emotions and experiences that most of the world faces at the age of 16 were suddenly hitting me in my mid-twenties.
Childish excitement kept me from sleeping as I re-played the sweet moments of getting to know this special young man. I had NO idea what I was doing. He didn’t exactly know what he was doing either, but it was fun to figure it out together :)
Months passed and our relationship continued to blossom. What I didn’t anticipate was all of the lessons I would learn through sharing life so closely with another person. The parts of myself that I had usually kept hidden from others were now exposed as my heart had been opened.
This process was painful! My sinful nature (pride, jealously, selfishness, etc.) came to the surface. It’s never fun to have someone see your faults and especially to admit your own faults. This year has brought me to my knees in repentance more than ever before. While this was extremely challenging at times and brought on so much stress, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a deep appreciation for the cross and what Jesus did for me. In the past, I always felt like a pretty “good” person. I may say a little white lie here and there but I couldn’t really pinpoint my sins. But after being in a relationship and dealing with these new emotions, I realized the weight of my sins. It brought me to the feet of Jesus and I could finally grasp what it meant for his blood to wash over my sins and make me white as snow.
Being in a relationship is teaching me to be more like Jesus. No longer am I living for myself. I no longer do whatever I want, whenever I want. I have another person to consider when I make decisions. His needs and wants come before my own. Laying down my selfishness has been a refining process in itself. It’s been a challenge to let go of some of my independence. In my single days, it was common for me to go on walks at midnight to pray and spend time with God. However; knowing that this makes my boyfriend extremely worried has caused me to give up what I want to do in order to keep him from worrying. I’ve had to lay down my pride and ask for forgiveness many times when I’ve failed him.
Loving another person and being loved by him has taught me so much about God’s love for me. Even on the days when I am moody, emotional, and I sin against him, he is patient, forgiving and loving. I feel so unworthy, yet he loves me anyway! And to think that God’s love is even better than that! His love for us is PERFECT and holy. It’s also been a great joy to love God by loving him. I want to always be there for him to encourage him, support him and pray for him. I’m not perfect at it, but I strive to love him in the same way that Christ loves me.
The theme verse through our relationship has been “Love endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13: 7). Even though we come from vastly different cultures and upbringings; Even though we disagree on some things and each have our own quirks; Even when our eyes are swollen from crying and we just want to give up- we strive to glorify the Lord together.
Being in a relationship is harder than I expected. If Satan has his way, a relationship has the potential to distract you from God. We have to constantly strive to love Christ first, then love each other. Some days are hard and it isn’t always a magical fairytale, but the JOY that comes through striving to give of myself and love another person; the BLESSING of being loved no matter how unloveable I am…this has made this year one of the most teachable years of my life. I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve matured as I pray daily to seek the LORD for his favor and direction for the future.
I’ve learned that no matter which season of life I am in, God is still the same. He teaches me different things in different seasons. Whether I’m single, or whether I’m in a relationship with a godly man, or whether I’m married one day- I want my life’s purpose to be to glorify the LORD and exalt his name forever.