Prayer Journal entry from Sunday, February 28, 2016:
God, I felt your Spirit.
I felt you in the wind as I spoke, and I know you helped me speak directly to his heart.
I felt my flesh fighting against you. I wanted so badly to leave things out and to just hold him… the pain in his eyes was enough…
Yet, the gift of the Holy Spirit within me kept me going. It urged me to go on. The inner turmoil was unlike anything I have yet to experience in my life.
Lord… you know our hearts. You see our souls. And you understand our pain. I pray that you help he and I lean on you and soak up your love and mercy like a sponge. Help us prepare for your will in our lives. Teach us. Feed us. Grow us. Lead us. Mold us and make us into the daughter and son you would have us be.
Help us to accept whatever happens.
Help us mourn… help us heal.
Wrap your loving arms around us, Lord. Watch over us as we sleep…. Keep us grounded throughout the day.
I will continue to give him to you daily.
I’m letting go.
Have you ever had a gut feeling? One that repeatedly came upon you, causing you to either accept it or consciously ignore it until it became so persistent that you could no longer continue as you were?
I suppose the pull of the Holy Spirit is kind of like that. And usually, it is most wise to heed that “gut feeling”, or gentle (sometimes not so gentle) prodding.
This time, I definitely did not want to do as I was told.
I had been with a wonderful individual for three years, almost four this October. I still consider him to be one of the best things that had ever happened to me. Not only was he my best friend, but he was my confidant, counselor, and so much more.
You see, therein lies the problem: he was so much more to me than just my boyfriend. From the beginning of our relationship and throughout, I had put him on a pedestal. He was my everything. I even put him before God! I looked to him for my self worth, my beauty, a cure for my depression and anxiety… he was the one I ran to for everything.
God was never at the center of our relationship. Instead of trusting in God and putting my faith in Him, I poured all of my issues into my boyfriend. And that, my dears, is too much pressure for one man to handle.
The only one who can fix me and restore me to my fullest potential is God. I am still very broken. And I need to be whole and steadfast in God’s love before I can pour my love into someone else. I relied on my boyfriend for my happiness and joy- things that are fleeting to humans. He could make me happy for a moment, but pure joy? That comes from God! Though he is a fantastical and marvelous human being, he is not the one who can make me whole. Another sinful human being cannot complete me. I need to find completeness in Papa God.
I didn’t realize any of this until about six months-in to attending this young-adults group called ParadigmKC. Through this group, God began speaking to me. He used various outlets to do so, whether it was a sermon, a song, community group or through a new and trusted friend, He slowly and surely got to me.
One Thursday night before community group Bible study, I had dinner with two wonderful ladies- my best friend and someone from our childhood that God brought back into our lives via ParadigmKC. We talked about many things, and eventually the subject changed to my relationship. At first it was fun gushing about the love of my life to them, until the childhood friend confidently voiced her concerns.
Here are a few of the hard questions she asked me:
Question: Does the person you’re with currently make you fall more in love with Jesus?
I know. That one is kind of a toughy. And it hurts to think about. Especially when you love this person so dearly. However, I urge you to think on it just as I had to. It is extremely important.
Question: Do you see fruit in your significant other’s life?
This is also a difficult question. I have learned the hard way that it isn’t our place to judge others. My walk with God is my own, and so is yours. However, according to Galations 5:16-23, the Holy Spirit is supposed to guide our lives. Furthermore, you should be able to see the fruits of Christians. That being said, I do know of many believers that are definitely saved yet bear no fruit. A friend explained it to me as, “having one foot in the World and one foot in the Kingdom,” or “luke-warm Christianity,” which God does warn us about in Revelation 3:15-17.
Question: Is he a leader?
Basically, she was asking me if he led me to Christ and wanted us to grow in God both together and individually. God calls the man in the relationship to be the leader (Ephesians 5:23-24)! If he is not leading you, something is amiss.
She also pointed out that even from the outside-looking-in, our relationship seemed to be unequally yoked. Whether he was saved or not, we weren’t on the same page, and that’s a very dangerous thing.
Dating, to me and to many other Christians, is for marriage. If I choose to date someone, I want it to be for the long haul. To be unequally yoked is a very scary thing if you’re considering marriage. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 tells us how dangerous it is to “team up” with a nonbeliever. It can cause MANY issues later on in marriage, and it can ultimately end in divorce.
Dating is also for edification and observation. You want to observe how they are in all situations, how they treat others and you of course, and how on fire they are for Jesus. You also want to edify one another; because if you should not work out in the end, both of you should be better for having been together (for example, baggage and insecurities are significantly less than when you first met). Basically, whomever is blessed enough to be paired with either of you will be extremely thankful to your past relationship for helping you to grow and work through things.
After that conversation, I spent over a week digging in to God’s Word and asking Him questions about my relationship and where to go next. I went without speaking to my boyfriend, mainly because I was afraid. I didn’t know what to tell him! I didn’t know what God wanted me to do, so I withdrew and spent some time with God to gather my thoughts before presenting whatever the plan was with my man.
There were sermons and messages that certainly hit home with me in that time of fasting, praying and delving into His Word. A few key points I discovered were:
1. You don’t need to get married to be loved- you already are! No one will ever love you better than Jesus! Until you are fully satisfied in the love of Christ, you can never be satisfied in the love of another.
2. Your mate is not meant to complete you- only compliment you! You are completed in Christ already!
3. Do NOT follow your heart! Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. TELL your heart where it should go! Treat it like a GPS- you need to input the destination manually. Don’t trust such a fickle thing!
4. Our way is usually the wrong way. Proverbs 14:12 says that there is a way that seems right to man, but that way ends in death. If you’re not doing it Jesus’ way, you’re doing it the wrong way!
5. Don’t worry! Philippians 4:6-7 tells us not to worry about anything! Matthew 6:25-34 says not to worry- if God takes care of even the smallest of creatures, don’t you think you’re much more valuable to Him and that He will take care of you?
6. We can rejoice even in the storms. The storms are not just hard times! They serve a purpose. Romans 5:3-5 shows us that these storms in our lives develop endurance and strength of character. In turn these things lead to our confident hope of salvation. We can praise God in hard times and good times, because it all works out for our good and His glory!
So, with all of this knowledge and hope, I prayed that the Lord would guide me. I did not want to break my boyfriend’s heart, nor did I wish to start a debate. Honestly, I wanted to find another way around what God was leading me to do.
My heart and my flesh were yearning for this pain to be over. The subject of being unequally yoked had been visited and revisited over and over and OVER again. And as I thought on it and looked back at past conversations, I realized something:
God had been trying to get my attention the entire time.
I had been holding on to my relationship and the fantasies of a future with this person so tightly that God couldn’t get a word in edgewise. My grip was so tight on my boyfriend, that my flesh was running the show rather than my Spirit.
I was so intent on having things go my way that God took a back seat in my life and relationship.
And that is where I failed.
I planned a meeting at a park with my boyfriend this past Sunday. My best friend was there for moral support, without which I’m not sure I would have made it afterwards. She prayed for us as she sat across the park from where we sat.
The conversation was an emotional and lengthy one. I felt the inner turmoil of my desires and God’s will fighting against one another as I spoke. The wind that day would calm and suddenly come in gusts as I said certain things.
I felt God with us that day.
He took over my speech. I cannot honestly recall everything I said to my boyfriend. I know now that it’s because God was speaking to him through me.
He wanted my boyfriend to know just how loved he was. That this “break” was not happening because of anything he had done- we were already forgiven for our mistakes and failures.
No, God wanted him back.
It was as if He was saying to both of us, “You have been away for far too long, my child. Take refuge in ME for a time. Find your worth and your joy in abundance in my presence! My love is sufficient for you! It’s time to let go.”
After a while, I picked up two leaves from the ground. I gently took his hand and walked him to where there were no obstacles to block our way.
“What are we going to do with these,” he asked as he held one leaf in his hand, “crush them?”
I smiled and shook my head. “No, honey,” I murmured gently as I held out my hand away from us. “It’s time to let go.”
His face twisted in pain and he looked away for a moment to compose himself. Then, he held my gaze.
“Okay,” he said with pain and understanding in his eyes.
“One…” He lifted his arm out to match mine.
“Two…” We steadied ourselves, breathing in deeply to prepare for what was next.
“Three…” The wind swelled around us immideately and took our leaves on their own individual journeys.
Obedience is hard. Whether it’s to your boss, your teacher, your parent or God asking you to do something. We want what we want. And we live in a world that is 100% okay with living life our way.
Though this was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through thus far in my life, I firmly believe that it was the right thing.
How can I be so sure?
Not only did I approach the situation with a desire for God’s will to be done in both of our lives, but I have found reassurance in His Word and in my community.
Most of all? I have His peace.
Yes, I am still aching, and my heart breaks to know that this person I had wanted to grow old with is in pain… however… God is blessing me with peace. Pure peace. He is guarding my heart and helping me through this, just as I asked Him to do.
It will not be easy to wait on the Lord. Yet I have confidence in His promise. And I’m learning that taking the leap of faith is worth it in the end, because good WILL come of it. His ways are always good! So I know that we will be okay.
I truly hope that my words and experiences can help someone through a hard time. Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions. As always, you are not alone in this. Together, we can make it. Because you can’t do life alone.
“If We’re Honest” – Francesca Battistelli