I remember from a young age wanting to grow up and experience all the adult things. I was the little girl who played with baby dolls, made house and forced her poor younger brother into giving up his Action Man figures so they could marry her Barbies! (#BigSisterLyf)
I think from a young age girls are often conditioned to idolize marriage and having children and I know I certainly did. I couldn’t wait to grow up and start a family!
Later on in life I would realize that it would be this idolization that would overtake my heart and hold more weight over my life than it should have. Fast forward to my teenage years. I remember when all of my high school friends started getting boyfriends and sleeping with them. I felt awkward and weird for being a Christian and having a ‘rule’ that said I couldn’t do what they were doing and to be honest I didn’t really understand what that ‘rule’ even meant or why I should follow it. My faith was very young at this stage and I didn’t truly know God in a loving an intimate way. Though I knew of God, I completely blocked Him out of my heart and did things my own way as I pleased, including with boys.
Over the next few years I’d dabble and experiment in relationships, some more long term and serious, others just ‘flings.’ I was desperately seeking validation and security in guys and when I’d find one who seemed to “have it altogether” and be close enough to perfect for me, I’d latch on and give him my heart. Being a fairly sensitive and emotional person, I deeply desired relationships and human connection, so when a guy gave me the love and attention I so desperately craved, I would give him anything he wanted. It seemed that all a guy needed to do was love me and tick a few boxes and I was sold. Looking back, it breaks my heart that I was so insecure.
By my early twenties, I became restless and frustrated. All I wanted was to get married and have my little brood of babies I’d always dreamed of. “Why hasn’t God blessed me with this yet?” I kept asking.
Not to mention all my friends has started finding their ‘dream man.’ I felt like God was depriving me and I was missing out.
I was 23 years old when I got engaged to a guy I had been dating for just under a year. He was everything. Loved Jesus, came from a good family, was attractive and wanted lots of babies just like I did! Sounds perfect, right? Our relationship was full of passion, love letters and whimsical fantasy. I was lost in the ecstasy of young love, and whilst we had a wonderful dating relationship there was always something a little off with our communication and there were things that bothered me that I was too afraid to speak up about. I was a people pleaser so I kept things to myself, I had an amazing guy after all, isn’t that everything? To be honest, we were both seeking marriage as the ultimate goal, the end goal all Christians need to fill. I wanted this guy bad and it seemed that marriage was the way to get everything I had ever wanted, right?
Caught up in the whirlwind, we talked about weddings all the time. We were dreamers and often our discussions would look like a series Pinterest boards as we mapped out our perfect wedding and honeymoon destinations. What we fell short on, however, was discussing what a biblical marriage would actually look like for both of us. Did our core values actually align? Did we want the same things in life? Were we actually complimenting and supporting one another?
It wasn’t until after our engagement that the reality of these questions would set in. I clearly remember sitting at my desk in my old bedroom unable to concentrate on my uni assignment because of a wave of anxiety that had hit me. I journaled furiously in those times, processing the way I felt – isolated, trapped, confused. Something wasn’t right, instigating a battle in my mind that would unfold in the coming months and lead to many tears and breakdowns, confessions of undying love and separations.
We were stuck in an emotional whirlpool. My anxiety increased and I suffered panic attacks. Though I still loved him and cared for him deeply, something deep within me was stirring and whispering that things weren’t right. I even remember having a dream where God so clearly said, “this isn’t it, he’s not yours,” which scared and confused me even more. I had to make a decision. As days and weeks unfolded, our fairytale perfect Instagram-looking relationship was quickly falling. Though we tried to hold on, I think we both knew deep down that we were being pulled apart from each other for a reason we didn’t quite yet know. We fought with each other, against one another and for one another, but nothing quite worked and one day in a car park beside the beach we frequently visited, my fiancé let me go for the last time.
I want to say a disclaimer that this guy was nothing short of great. He was a good guy and to this day, I still hold respect for him. He just simply wasn’t ‘my guy’ and I can now see the bigger picture of how we wouldn’t have worked, in fact, we would have torn each other a part. Though we have now parted ways and he is with someone else, I can fondly say that by Gods grace we ended on amicable terms.
The months that followed the break up were some of my darkest, but I can truly say that it was God’s grace that brought me through and revealed to me a very powerful side of His love I hadn’t experienced in my whole journey as a Christian.
It wasn’t until I let God in fully, as the romancer and ultimate love of my heart, that I began to feel fully secure, fully known and truly loved without a romantic male influence. Though for many years I had presented the attitude of a ‘don’t need no man’ type of girl (I’m also extremely independent!), deep down I truly did believe I needed a man to complete me and make everything whole and wonderful.
It was during this break-up, perhaps one of the toughest times of my life, that I had no choice but to trust and rely on God. I pressed into Him daily, through the anxiety and the depression, and the deep healing He brought to my broken and wounded heart was truly incredible.
Looking back at my journal entries from that time, I am amazed by all the little things God did to restore and bring joy back into my soul. Whilst I’m still single today and have those same desires in my heart, I can say with deep conviction that I am satisfied, whole, complete and joyful with my life and who God has created me to be. During that painful time, I would have never thought I’d be typing this with a grateful heart and huge smile on my face, but that’s simply what has happened.
My advice to any young Christian female … just wait and trust. Wait on God to provide the right guy and trust that he truly knows what is best for you. Don’t force it. But also, trust in the man God has already provided for you, Jesus!
He’s not just the perfect man for until you get married… He is the love story and He’s still going to be the perfect lover of your soul even when you do get married. Most of all pursue His plans and purpose for you, run after His heart first and not that of guys who don’t know what to do with it. (Trust me, sometimes they really have no clue!) God’s love will go deeper than any relationship can. His grace will abound any pain you will experience, I can promise you that one!
Break ups won’t kill you. When I broke off an engagement, I thought I was doing the worst thing in the world. The stigma and pressure I felt, well it almost felt like I was committing a sin.
I now understand that by doing this I was actually loving and respecting myself in the best way possible and I’m actually humbly proud of myself. By honouring God and respecting the sanctity of marriage, I was actually making the best decision I could have. Marriage is not something to be entered into lightly."
I’m still waiting on my husband , but I sit here with a deep satisfaction and pure joy in knowing that when that day does come, it will be because of God’s timing and not because I forced it. Oh and one last thing, set up boundaries! My goodness, do this! Break ups are made worse when physicality has been involved. Guard you heart, guard you mind and guard your soul and BODY – Jesus wants it first above any guy and trust me, you’ll want it to be that way too.