Being in a relationship was always something I craved. I wanted to grow up and get married to the perfect guy. In fact, I just wanted to fast forward my life to where I would meet my husband. I wanted romance, I wanted to be in love and be loved just like in the movies (you know, where the guy looks at the girl in slow motion with sunlight streaming through her hair while she laughs, and he just smiles and sighs with content and you know they are super in love). I genuinely thought that the love I had seen in movies was truly how it was in real life. Boy, was I deceived! It took a few hard knocks, a few reality shocks and a few lonely years to figure out what love really is – or rather, who love really is. And I'm still learning!

Now here's the thing: I knew God. I grew up in a Christian home as a Pastor's kid, I gave my life to Him when I was 4. I was your typical dorky church kid. So yeah, I knew God. But as I grew up I realised that I didn't really know Him, in an intimate, real, relational way. I didn't truly grasp His love for me, so my idea of love was skewed. I gave my whole heart away on a silver platter to someone when I was 16 (seriously girl, what were you thinking?). Things didn't end well and it took years to heal, and piece it back together. I am so grateful that I never gave away my virginity, I think the stubborness in me was definitely a strength in that aspect. Thank God for God (see what I did there), the Healer of broken hearts. He used that situation to grow closer to me.

As I grew with Him and understood what to really expect from love, my dreams and my ideas of a relationship changed. I became happy as a single person, in fact I got to a stage where I was truly content being a single woman (all the single ladies! All the single ladies! Sorry, mentally doing the dance right now) and was not looking for love in a man anymore, I was already loved and content in my relationship with God. He became enough for me, and I was enjoying exactly where I was in life. And would you believe it, that's when I met my now husband. But this time, I was careful with my heart. I was so careful that the poor guy had a really hard time even getting to know me! But he kept pursuing me and obviously things went well – we've been married for 3 years now and have a beautiful daughter. He won my heart in the end. We both were married as virgins, and I'm super proud of us for that! We managed to get through puberty and high school with an amazing gift to give each other in our marriage. And I now know for sure that movies are far from what real life relationships look like (insert laughing crying emoji face)! 

If I could give my 16-year-old self some wisdom (man, I wish I really could! You'll just have to listen for me) I would share about the kind of relationship I could have with God. One where you can tell Him anything and everything. Dear 16-year-old Kate, spend time getting to know the true lover of your heart! Open up. Talk out loud to Him. Hey, even send God some texts if that helps you talk to Him! Please understand the importance of keeping not only your body but also keeping your heart. Giving it away is a huge emotional investment you don't want to make 100% until the deal is really sealed – so if anything goes wrong, or he's not the guy, you're not left empty and completely broken. If you don't give him your whole heart, he won't have your whole heart to break (boom!). Give it all to God, and He will cherish and love it better than any mere man ever could. Then, when the right guy comes along he will need to seek God for your heart – and through seeking God he will know how to love you with real love. Don't worry so much about what others think of you. You are beautiful, you're unique and you're amazing! Grow close to God, cling to Him and His ways and watch your life unfold into more than you could have imagined for yourself. 

By Kate Karanges

 

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