I had a post written about what Hedge and I decided as a couple before marriage about our family and I realized that I needed to start from my beginning...
I was raised in an unchurched home, with the
brokenness of a failed marriage that turned my life upside down at the age of
five. For seven years, I spent countless hours in the car going back and
forth from one home that established very few rules, to another home that
had established boundaries around how much air I could breathe. I
learned early in life that two worlds existed. I learned quick how to do
what I needed to get what I wanted in life.
I had a very
controlling father. He loved me, but his love was conditional with high
expectations. That quickly taught me that looking for acceptance and
love was going to be found in the relationships I built in my life. When I turned 12, I was given the choice to choose where I lived. I chose the roof that
allowed much more freedom with my mom. I made new friends that
introduced me to illegal and inappropriate uses of my time. I was living
for the moment without any regard to consequences.
I don't fault either of my parents for their lack of parenting because 1) they didn't have
Jesus, and 2) they were doing what they were taught, "behave,
don't ask questions, do well in school, get a job and settle down...and
if you aren't happy get divorced". By age 13, I turned boyfriend crazy and gave up my purity so young because it was asked for. I gave of myself over and over again through all of my young teenage years. I was a bubbly free spirit on the outside and on the inside I would have grieving
moments where my heart would cry out for belonging, security, and
unconditional love. I kept myself busy so I could ignore it all.
I encountered the truth and love of Jesus at the age of 17, and something in my heart and mind broke.
I can't explain the understanding that overcame my mind, but all of a sudden, I got it. He loved me. He pursued me. I was worth a love that
sacrificed. For the first time in my life I felt unconditionally loved. I wasn't threatened into Christianity because I was afraid of death, I was beckoned into living a life for Jesus here on earth because of his relentless love in dying for me. His passion took the pain of my sin, of my selfishness, of my pride, all of my junk and physically bleed for me. I was not the smartest student in school, but I knew trusting Jesus had nothing to do with my head and everything to do with my heart. I instantly became one of those zealots that carried
their bible around in my senior year of high school and preached the gospel. I wanted
everyone, everywhere to know the Jesus I had fallen in love
As a 17 year old new christian, I was cared for so well by
real people who lived out what scripture said. I was discipled. I was
shown the love of Jesus through teaching, love, and encouragement. I was
challenged to stop giving my heart away. I learned so much about what
love and marriage was supposed to look like during that period of time. I went to a discipleship program the following year, that was a no-dating
program and I soared under those boundaries. For the first time in my
life I was content. I loved my single time with Jesus. I had no intentions of dating again. I was young and I learned that until I was ready to date towards marriage then I wouldn't give my heart away.
I met Hedge a few months shy of turning 20. He was not on my radar, but I am so incredibly thankful that He was God's plan for me. Hedge was a godly man with strong character. He was a gentleman to women and He was intentional about who he befriended. He didn't woo my heart with empty promises, he prayed for us every step of the way in our early dating days. God used him to bring healing to my heart through his gentle leading and reliance on Jesus. His vulnerability in Christ and desire to pray together for direction and leading drew my heart towards a life with him.
To young girls & Single women:
I am passionate about seeing teenage girls guard their hearts. For them to know they are worth being loved in a real way, by a real guy who would someday pursue their heart towards marriage. My encouragement to young girls who are still growing in their knowledge of Christ, in their understanding of who they are in Him, I say "hold on honey, give that heart of yours to Jesus to hold, let him be the caretaker of your emotions and your desires. He knows what you long for. His desires for your future are good.
To single women, you may be at an age or in a season where people all around are dating or getting married. Do yourself the greatest favor. Stop comparing. Stop looking at the details that give others what you long for and start looking right at Jesus. It may be an hourly task, that you have to train your heart and mind to do, but eventually you can find contentment in Him. But the gift of contentment comes with great surrender. When you give your desires over and you hide your heart in Jesus, you are being given the gift of peace. I pray you trust He is good enough to surrender your heart. Your heart is worth that trust.