I’m young, confused, socially awkward – I’m 16. I had a mind that raced ahead of my own time, but a heart that was inexperienced and had an ironclad wall surrounding it. Impenetrable.
Most girls grow up dreaming about the perfect wedding and family. My image was dysfunctional, broken and hard work. I imagined the children, but not the husband. I imagined being divorced. I have no idea where I got this but I couldn’t shake it, I just believed it. I couldn’t fathom someone loving me enough to want to marry me. To be honest, I couldn’t imaging loving someone else that much.
I was 3 months into a 9 month relationship. I already knew by then that it wasn’t going anywhere, but I held on. I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t heartless and that I understood what love was. Everyone else seemed to know. While they were desperately in love, I was desperately trying to love. For months I heard a burning voice inside that wanted me to end it, so we parted. This made me realise that I was looking for something specific in my future partner. No, I didn’t go off and make a ‘must-have’ list – I was looking for an image. God’s image. At 16 I wasn’t even close to beginning a personal relationship with God, but I was already seeking Him. If you haven’t guessed, that burning voice was God. The One who always guides and protects.
What’s changed? I’m a little wiser. Still a bit awkward. My heart? I still don’t understand the depths of it, nor it’s capacity, but God does. He is the Spirit living in me and changing me. Though tempting as it is, I can’t just pray to change the hearts around me. I need to pray to change the heart inside me. I don’t get it right all the time. However, it wasn’t the past experiences or my own understanding that taught me of love. It was God. It’s who He is. He’s always reminding me that His love is real and I can have it. I deserve to be loved, because I’m his valued daughter. Don’t ask for less. Now I can love another because of Him. He’s that powerful.
What would you tell yourself a decade ago?
If I could go back and talk some sense into the 16-year-old me, I probably wouldn’t say a thing. God always has us where we need to be. He knows the time and the place for everything. But If I could be really cheeky? I’d probably slip myself a piece of paper with the words written:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
This scripture is not just for weddings. Let the truth break down the walls around your heart.