So, here we are broken hearted from boy and holy spirit dwelling richer. Truth sits in front of me and I can’t blink enough to miss it, though those most close to me could tell you that I tried…I really tried.
Like most times, I am a slow learner and like to trudge through the thick of it when the straight and narrow is well within sight. It just doesn’t seem to stop me from paving my own way, from chasing control to death—literally it seems at times.
In God’s grace it only took me two or three months after sending him home on the plane to realize that he was not mine. It took him longer and his promises to wait forever for me left me always hanging on, clinging to something I knew wasn’t mine. But I hung onto the idea of him and me, the feelings, the moments, the future—I clung to it like a monkey to a tree.
And let me tell you, it took that darn tree falling flat to the ground before I unlatched. But when I did, Jesus was there among those broken branches and leaves turned brown and He held me. Gentle and patient as ever.
A week later this man who waited for me to throw my hair down, he texted to tell me he was in a relationship. FYI—it wasn’t with me. A little broken and a little relieved, I kept trudging through my jungle.
A few months later, nearly one year after I sent him home on that plane, he proposed. FYI—the ring wasn’t for me.
Not gunna lie—I cried. Yes right there on the couch by myself, I wept like a baby as the blizzard outside poked at my heart a bit. And eventually one friend just laughed at my foolishness and the tears faded into giggles and thanksgiving. Yes, I was actually thankful that it wasn’t me—deep, deep down I was thankful I obeyed, even when I felt my world turn. I was thankful, I kept saying it and soon my heart believed too.
Then the holy spirit began to convict again. He showed me this picture. This picture of me and him together that morning, his arms holding me tight.
I looked at it and I wept for an hour. This time, it wasn’t because I missed him. Rather, because I stole from him, I stole from his wife to be and I handed him over things that weren’t his to have either.
Here’s the thing—our lips never touched that year. Our hands collided only several times. We were rarely alone and we sought wisdom from our elders. He asked my dad if he could date me months before I even knew he was going to pursue me. We were pure, we did it right—so I was convinced, we were doing it right.
It wasn’t until I found this picture and I saw him holding me and I heard him singing to me and remembered our long drives and endless conversations about family and Jesus and our future together that I realized I was a thief in the night.
Last month, the boy married his bride and their wedding was beautiful. Once in a while, the tears still fall as I see her holding his hand because I remember all that I have, all that I just wish I could give back. So much I wish I could give to her, so much I wish I had never taken.
I hate that I stole those moments from her.
I hate that I didn't see it—that as a sister in Christ, I took those moments from him, my brother, moments that belong to his wife—now forever mine.
So sisters, how do we reconcile this? How do I know all of this and yet still enter into another dating relationship?
Real quick, let's clarify some definitions:
--Dating: finding the right person for me, intimacy before commitment, pretend like you're married to see if it will work, just enjoying each other and waiting to see what happens, no time constraint.
--Biblical Courtship: being the right person to serve your spouse in glorifying Christ in your role as man or woman, commitment before intimacy, commit your way to the Lord and marriage will work, intentional time to decide if marriage is in the future or not, either you're it or you're not.
1.) Let us be in the world but not of it.
What does dating look like when filtered through verses such as these?
- For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. -Mark 8:38
- Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. -James 1:27
- But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. -1 Peter 2:9
- Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. -Rom. 12:1-2
- We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. -Rom. 15:1-2
- For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant[a] of Christ. -Gal. 1:10
When we, as women in the love with Jesus, walk around holding hands with our man, how are we not in some respect reaching even deeper into our culture with each grasp we take? We say we want to be a light, to be a generation that rises up, to walk in our newness. So how do we date no differently from the world but not think twice? Okay, so maybe we don't kiss until our wedding day or have a short engagement or cherish our virginity.
These are honorable pursuits, ones that very much impact, so I ask—is it enough?
2.)Our hearts are deceitful; we must learn to guard.
What exactly is in our heart?
- He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean. For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' " –Mark 7:20-22
Is the heart always bad?
- Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. –Genesis 6:5
- The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? –Jer. 17:9
How do we guard our heart?
- Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Prov. 4:23-27
- Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day. –Prov. 23:17
- Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. –Ps. 62:8
- But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. –Ps. 13:5
Why is does it matter?
- You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. –James 5:8
What is the result of guarding our heart and abstaining from the world?
- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. –Matt. 5:8
Okay, so maybe we get the physical part of dating down. Maybe the being together but not really being together the way we were created to is silenced for a bit so that we can just date. What about the heart of it all? Ladies, we all know it is deceitfully wicked—add that to our emotions, our biological clock ticking a little quicker, our Facebook feed plastered with new relationship statuses and big ole' rings, and our Pinterest-planned wedding and then what? Can we truly guard our hearts adequately inside of a dating relationship in the culture we live in? I thought so.
See, a battle in ever dating again for me is this—because we are just dating with no indication of anything more intentional, essentially that could be YOUR husband holding my hand.
And in this situation, this boy who I sent home on the plane, he thought I was his. I thought he was mine.
Sisters, how do we reconcile this? Even in a friendship, how do we devote hours to primping and prodding our hair up to the ceiling and cover our faces with color because we know our "friend" is going to be there tonight, but tell our roommate we really are guarding our heart—it's a group party and we are just friends. Really?
By design, I don't believe we were created to be in close friendship with guys. Think about it—do you ever see a girl in scripture just be friends with a guy where it doesn't lead to sin?
3.)We really can’t miss it—we can’t screw it up.
If I don’t date, I will never meet my husband.
- But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matt. 6:33
- Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. –Ps. 139:16
- I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. –Ps. 32:8
People will think I’m crazy.
- Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. -1 Tim. 4:12
- For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. -1 John 2:16
- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
- Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)
- Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
- And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. –Mark 12:33