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Last valentines day we broke up.

The real kind of break-up. The never talking again, throw all of his stuff away, delete him from social media kind of break-up.

And I was crushed. I thought that he’d been the one and that made it even harder. I hung up the phone for the last time, sat on the floor of my apartment, opened my bible, and talked out loud to God.

“God, my heart is broken. Please fix it.”  

And for a long time I sat on my floor like that. And for many nights afterward I did the same thing. My tears made the pages of my bible all wrinkled in the same spot night after night as I held tight to one promise. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

I wrestled with trying to figure out why our relationship had fallen apart. I replayed things over and over again in my head.

Baron was a godly guy who had pursued a relationship with me thoughtfully and prayerfully. I’d never met anyone who took care of me the way that Baron did. He truly put me and others before himself. He cared about my heart, he cared about protecting me and providing for me, and he always encouraged me to pursue the dreams that God had given me. He loved the Lord and he loved me.

Seems perfect, right?

But it wasn’t perfect. And honestly there were a lot of reasons why Baron and I broke up. We argued over dumb things a lot. We were long distance. I was terrified of getting married. He was struggling with what his next step in his job would look like. I was unbelievably stubborn and he was too.

Definitely not perfect.

So we broke-up. We gave up. And to be honest with you, He was the one who felt confident about that decision. I, on the other hand, was spending a lot of time with my bible and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. It was a hard season. A really, really hard season.

And here’s what I learned: Break-ups suck. There’s really no fancy, spiritual way to say that.

But here’s what else I learned: Being a Christian and loving Jesus doesn’t ensure that my relationships (even with other Jesus-loving Christians) will be perfect.

All kinds of relationships are hard and they’re messy and they can leave us with achy hearts from time to time. Relationships hurt because we are broken people who love broken people. But thankfully we are also broken people who love a perfect God. And it’s our perfect God who is capable of redeeming our broken relationships.

And while God’s redemption doesn’t always look like restoration, sometimes it does and praise God for that because His restoration leaves relationships infinitely better than they were before…

It was about five months after Valentine's Day that Baron called me. My heart flipped when his name popped up on my phone after months and months of not speaking. I answered the phone and I didn’t say another word for the next twenty minutes as I listened to him share what God had been doing in his heart and life over the last several months. It was a long apology and just like a godly man and leader should, Baron took every bit of ownership over our broken relationship. He had been praying about us long before he called me and he asked if I would begin praying with him too.

In the coming weeks Baron called my parents, my best friends, and a few others as he began rebuilding the foundation of our relationship. He didn’t expect to walk back into my life without pursuing my heart, my trust, and my community first. When he had the blessing of my parents and my friends, he flew all the way to Tampa to take me on a date where he looked me in the eyes and said these words. “I know now that you’re the girl I’m going to marry and I’ll wait however long it takes for you to see that too.”

And thankfully for him he didn’t have to wait long for me to see it too. We gave each other a lot of grace and by Thanksgiving we were engaged.

But here’s what you need to know. Our relationship still isn’t perfect. We are still broken, stubborn, and unbelievably flawed. But we’ve learned that we aren’t striving for perfection. My one true and perfect love is Jesus, not Baron. Jesus is the only one who will never let me down. Only His love is perfect.

But in His perfect love, He’s given me Baron, a man who is capable of giving deep love because he has received even deeper love from God. Baron is able to love me because He loves God the most. He’s able to give me grace because he’s been given lavish grace first. Only by God’s grace can a broken person love another broken person. For Baron and I, our relationship isn’t just founded on love, it’s founded on grace too.

So this Valentine’s Day, I am infinitely grateful for the grace of God on my life and on our relationship. If you’d asked me a year ago if Baron and I would ever get married, I’d have told you it was impossible. But God loves to do the impossible and He gets all the glory and praise for a love story like ours.

Baron is the love of my life but Jesus is the love of my eternity.

So don’t ever forget the One who loves you first and best. Only by His grace will you ever be able to truly love and be loved.

 

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