different loves. same Jesus.

Falling in love feels different for every person.

That much I know. And it feels different with every person you fall in love with. I remember well the first time I loved a boy. I was 13. I was a baby, with very world-dictated definitions of love. But I loved him deeply & fully for 7 whole years. We never dated. Never, ever ventured past the boundaries of friendship. Chalk that up to never-in-sync timing and the omniscient hand of God. But when I was 16, he sat in the grass with me as I cried about him & how confused I was, and he wouldn't let me out of his sight until I stopped. Falling in love with him took time, and it was young and sweet and naive. Falling out of love with him took time too. Years. But to this day I am thankful for the man he was and is, because I truly believe God used him to protect my heart from the breaks and bruises a teenage heart too often endures.

I fell in love with someone who loved me back when I was 20. I loved him despite all odds. It took some time for me to identify it as love, because it looked so different than any love I'd ever known. This love would quickly become all-consuming. It would have more ups and downs than a Nicholas Sparks novel. It was fiery and passionate and hard. But it was love. I fell in love with him blindly, as did he with me. We put the world aside and let each other be enough. We also fell in love selfishly, taking from one another things that weren't really ours to give, both physically and emotionally. And even when our love turned cold, we spent a fair amount of time attempting to rekindle it. It's such a hard thing to do, to acknowledge that a love you put so much into has died. But God was there. Every step. Every high moment and every stumble. Even when I was screaming at him to let me hear him, but didn't, he was there.

Things fall apart so better things can fall together. Falling in love with J was instant. There was just something about him and the ease with which we spent the 6 hours that spanned our first date talking and laughing and learning about one another. The way that, without ever having to say it, I knew that I was always going to come second in his life. Never lower than that, but always below Jesus. I don't even remember falling in love with him, I just was. I can't pinpoint the moment or place it happened, it feels like it's always been a part of me. But there are things about loving J that make it unlike any love I've ever known. It's the fact that, through the way he loves me, I better understand the way Christ loves each of his children. It's how his love pushes me to love others better and more deeply. It's how at my absolute most miserably-mean worst, he doesn't treat me like I have the plague. I would sacrifice anything to ensure that he would be happy for the rest of his life. He keeps my easily-fleeting feet on the ground, but pushes me to be more me everyday. Most of all, it's how our love and our relationship is absolutely saturated by Jesus and his presence. While the hand of God has been visible in every moment of my life, it is here, in my love for and with J, that I see him most clearly and purely.

I've only loved three men in my life. And each one is it's own individual story that I refuse to regret. Everyone has a story, a past love, a heartbreak. I think when we get to the point when we stop looking back on them with cold hearts and pointing fingers, we release ourselves of pain that no one should be carrying around. When we can look back and choose to find the hand of God in it, we should be able to do nothing but praise him. And maybe so-and-so was a total jerk, and maybe he did hurt you deeply, but he'll always be a part of your story. Why not take control of that and tell it the way you want it told? I never want to look back on past loves with hurt and bitterness again. I want to be thankful for his always evident hand in the stories of my past. I only want to look forward, to the future that was handwritten by the Author of Time.

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 
-1 John 4:8

Happy Valentine's Day guys. 

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