Hello Friends, Jenn here—talking to you about what love has looked like in my life and what the Bible has to say about it. Warning: this post gets a bit graphic and may be a trigger for some of you. Proceed with caution. I am always here if any of you would like to talk or know more about my story.
As some of you might already know, I got married to my wonderful husband Andrew on June 10th. I haven’t been able to post because we were on our honeymoon, then settling into our new home in the mountains of North Carolina. Marriage has been such a journey, even in the two weeks we’ve been in this thing. But let me tell you—I know God is going to teach me A LOT about myself and about marriage in the coming weeks, months, and years.
If you were to ask me what my favorite book of the Bible is, I would have to say 1st John. It’s not a book you hear a lot about or might not have even read. It’s small, towards the very end of the Bible, but it is so jam-packed with truth, that speaks to my weary and restless soul. This is the book I go to when I am dying in my walk, when it’s just easier to go through the motions of Christianity, instead of actually doing the work myself.
1st John is all about the incredible agapé love God has for us.
“We know how much God loves us, and we put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect…such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because Christ first loved us.” –4:16-19 NLT
I don’t know your history with love, but personally, Cupid and I have never really been friends. I always seemed to end up in these crushes or relationships where I was the one who loved harder and got kicked to the curb first. I used to say in high school that I had a big sign on my forehead that read: “Go ahead, you can hurt her. She’ll forgive you.”
One relationship I was in really left me scarred, and to this day I still see some of the remnants of how toxic that relationship was. I fell—HARD—for a guy who was much older than me, was an incredible Christian, but also took advantage of my innocence and need for love. My dad and I have never had a good relationship, so I have always longed for a guy who will cherish me and take care of my heart. Well for the purposes of this blog, let’s call this guy Chuck. So, Chuck and I were friends for a long time before anything happened between us, and since I was much younger than him nothing should’ve happened between us anyway.
Chuck was there for me when my family was falling apart. He was there for me through my depression. He was there for me when I needed spiritual guidance. He was always there for me. I learned to trust him through the years. At the suggestion of a few friends who said, “One day you two are gonna get married,” I began to entertain that very idea. What if we did? I mean we already were as close as two people could get, so why not? I mentioned the idea to Chuck, and we started toying with the fireball of attraction. We got very handsy, but I was always very aware that this was wrong. I didn’t like sneaking around or feeling like I had to hide this person who meant so much to me.
One night, he asked me to sneak out with him. I played hard to get for a little while, but in the end, I snuck out with him. He took me to a little park near our houses and parked the car. We got out and went around on the playground, enjoying the peacefulness of the night. The next thing I knew his arms were slung around me, and we were walking back to his car. We kissed some and then things progressed much farther than they ever should have.
Being this high-school girl, with a desperate need for love, and believing that I would one day marry this man, I didn’t fight him. I let it happen. All the while knowing, “This is wrong, Jenn; you shouldn’t be here.” It all happened so fast that I don’t think I could’ve stopped him even if I wanted to. He took me home after that and I went to bed with a mixture of emotions. This was what I wanted, right?
Fast forward several months, and he had moved on. Abandoned me. All communication just stopped. I felt so used. But at the same time, I still loved him. All I wanted was for that text of “I’m sorry, I love you,” and I would be his all over again. Ladies, do not listen to the devil when he whispers that lie to you. This man, who I had given so many years of my life to, was not worthy of my heart. He assaulted me. He broke me. He tore me apart inside. All under this idea of love.
So you can see why I was very very wary when it came to any guys in my future. I was even wary of God. I always thought He was disappointed in me for the things I had done with Chuck. My ability to trust had been shattered, and now I had to pick up all the pieces and figure out how in the world they would ever come back together.
I head off to college, a mess of a person, my well-armored heart in hand, ready to say “No way, Mister!” to anyone who came calling.
And then I met this blonde headed, blue eyed, wonder-boy, named Andrew who was like a prince from a fairy tale book. He was kind, respectful, humble, honest, funny, sweet and definitely not real. I knew I just couldn’t trust him because no guy is this perfect.
“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” –3:16 NLT
Even though I told Andrew I would not date him our first semester in college, he selflessly continued to pursue me the way Jesus would. He wanted to bear my burdens with me, he wanted to go track down all the guys who had hurt me in the past, he wanted to help me fix me. He knew me, with all of my broken pieces, and genuinely loved me, way before we ever started dating.
Friend, I don’t know what you have been through, and I pray that your story is not like mine. But if it is, there is hope. Jesus is the Great Healer and the Perfect Restorer. He can take any story, my story, YOUR story and turn it into something painfully beautiful.
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God.” –5:1
You are His baby girl. You are His baby boy. You were made by Him and you are oh so loved by Him. His love can be trusted. You can put God through every test and trial and He will still come back as perfect and unchanged as ever. Your scars and wounds do not define you, nor does God dwell on them. Praise the Lord for the chapters of redemption he brings through the shed blood of His only son, who died a sinner’s death—my death—so that yours and my sins can be forgiven. The only thing we have to do is trust Him. He is still writing your story and he can be trusted to write the most fantastic story of all.
“We know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the True God. And now we live in fellowship with the True God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only True God, and he is Eternal Life.” – 1st John 5:20
This road will not be an easy one, and I can guarantee tears and pain are to come in the healing process. But sweetheart, you are worth a godly man who loves Jesus. In fact, you are worth more than that; you are worth a Savior. And He is worthy of taking care of your heart.
Jenn (@jenn.alexx) is an author + creative at thegracescripts.com. Jenn is passionate about women’s ministry. She attends Southeastern Seminary. She and her husband live in North Carolina.