Three weeks into 2017, I was faced with the possibility of love, romance, and marriage. I clung to it, not knowing that it would be the source of much grief and pain for many months to come. In my impetuousness, I ran headlong into a relationship that was my undoing. Frustration and impatience had led to poor choices, with catastrophic results. I had grown tired of waiting, and was far from being joyfully single. In my anger and demand for an answer, I impulsively grabbed something that was not meant for me, and caused me a lot of harm and hurt.
And yet I lived to tell the tale. In the midst of picking up the pieces of my shattered self, I came to see who I really am – wretched, sinful, weak, helpless – and who God really is – perfect, sovereign, just, loving. The experience left deep scars in my heart and huge cracks in my soul. Spaces that only an infinite God can fill, and wounds that only a loving father can heal. It was a painful lesson that could have been avoided. But it was a lesson I needed to learn. Now I look back and I see – God works all things for good.
Three weeks before the end of 2017, I was again faced with the possibility of love, romance, and marriage. This time, I brought the question to God, asking if it was what he wanted for me. I couldn’t afford to go into that downward spiral again. I can’t lose sight of the one who loved me first. And this time, I had the strength and the will to walk away. The chance to say no to something I wanted, because I couldn’t lose what I needed. I walked away with a greater sense of who I am, because I know to whom I belong and for what I stand.
Like perfect bookends to my 2017 story, God brought love into my life in ways I never imagined. And with those two circumstances, I experienced the breadth of how my response determines how my life plays out. My desire to control led to chaos. My willingness to surrender led to freedom.
God gave me another chance to choose, and drink deeply from the well of experience and knowledge. He gave me the opportunity to love, and the second time around I chose to love the one whose love knows no bounds.
2017 was bittersweet, with fears and failures sandwiched between possibilities. And 2018 brings the promise of more chances at love – in all its forms and all its endings.