6. hard but necessary

Dear beloved,

The date count has gone up. The total number of dates now that I have gone on has been 6. And while they have been positive experiences, I hoping that the number will stay at 6 until I meet you. Dating is confusing, it brings up more questions that it does answers, and the worst part is when it brings up unanswered questions. Dating is filled with uncertainty and while uncertainty helps me to depend on the Lord, it also scares terrifies me.

I find it pretty ironic that I started writing this post a couple of days ago, with an entirely different purpose, outlook and conclusion. The draft was saved, unfinished and unpublished, as if to say that I was even uncertain of what I was trying to say. And even as I sit here at 3:20am in the morning, having just waken up and unable to sleep with a myriad of thoughts in my head, I find myself writing aimlessly and trying to process what it is that I am actually thinking. It has been a tough couple of days, and I am slowly coming to the realization that uncertainty and not knowing all the answers can often be a good thing. Despite the amount of anxiety it has given me these past couple of days, uncertainty, in all of it’s glory has helped me rely on, and be more dependent on the Lord.

I am excited to meet you, and eager to get to know you, but now that I have had experience in dating, you can also add apprehensive to that list. Because getting to know you, as fun as it will be, also requires vulnerability. I am not an easily vulnerable person, mainly because being vulnerable means sharing something that you aren’t necessarily comfortable opening up about it, or answering a hard question that requires blatant honesty. Vulnerability requires trust, and trust is a hard thing to establish given a short time period, and is something that must be built. I hope that when we date, our trust will be built, that our trust will have a foundation of friendship, because figuring out if you want to date a stranger is pretty hard.

In the past couple of days, it seems like I have felt every single emotion on the spectrum of emotions, from anxiety, frustration, disappointment, confusion, dread to joy, wonderment, relief, eagerness and ultimately peace. Through this dating phase God has taught me some lessons that were surprising, and yet… necessary.

  1. It is better to be uncertain, than it is to be foolish.  – Being uncertain is not a bad thing, but it is a scary thing. It means being cautious, protective of my heart. Entering into a relationship isn’t going to be easy, and character is everything. How are you going to treat me, are you listening to what I am saying, are you going to remember what I have said, are you interested in getting to know me? Before I give my heart to you, before thinking of the future, these are questions that I now know should have solid answers.
  2. It is okay to not know what my desires are – Desires are simply that – desires. They are not written in stone, and they may and can change over time. I learned that the important part is to be pursued and loved as a partner first. Because a godly marriage is the foundation for a godly family. Are you pursuing me because of me, and the partnership that we can have in Christ, or are you pursuing me as a means to an end goal? I am still trying to figure out what my desires are. Those desires may change as I meet you, as I commit to you, and as I love you, as long as our desire first and foremost is for the Lord.
  3. There shouldn’t be any hesitations. – If and when I commit to something more with you, there will be no hesitations, on my part and on yours. Hesitations are different than fears – there will always be fears. Fears of failure, fear of the unknown, of heartbreak, of invested time that does not lead to marriage. But hesitations breed insecurity, insecurities – doubt, and doubt – mistrust. Any type of commitment should be entered in with confidence, joy, peace and eagerness to start something that will be glorifying to God. I want our commitment to take the fear of the unknown and make it exciting.
  4. Feelings aren’t everything, but they are something. – Attraction grows. I don’t know if I will be attracted to you at first, or if the attraction that I have for you and vice versa will grow as we get to know one another and see the hearts that we have for Christ and for each other. There are other feelings too though. Feelings of nervousness are important, feelings of anxiety and stress. I learned that if I feel these things I need to ask myself what is the source of these feelings, not simply regulate them and move on. God can use the way that I feel to reveal to me something that I had not known before.
  5. Being comfortable with vulnerability takes time. There was a point when I felt like i was having open heart surgery, without any warning or pre-op appointment. I appreciate honesty, openness and vulnerability, and I am willing to reciprocate. I learned that it is one thing to be vulnerable, and another to be comfortable with the vulnerability. Ideally it is the latter, sometimes vulnerability is worth the risk, and I know that it will be worth it with you.
  6. Friends in different stages. – I am so thankful for friends and family who have spoken into my life in different ways throughout the dating process. Friends who are single, married, divorced, and newly married – single parents, grandparents, married parents. They have all spoken truth into my life, with various viewpoints, experiences and nuggets of wisdom, I hope that you have people pouring into your life as well who love you enough to pray for you!
  7. Sanctification. Ultimately I see the dating process as a process of sanctification. And that is what has given me hope. In the past week alone, I have seen results of this, in my complete dependence on the Lord for wisdom and discernment. He has revealed to me the power of praying His word, specifically Psalm 143:8-10  which reads:
    Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust.
    Make me know the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.
    Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to You for refuge.
    Teach me to do Your will for You are my God!
    Let Your good spirit lead me on level ground!
     Psalm 143:8-10 
    These verses, now committed to memory, has been a saving grace this week, and to see and recognize how God has answered this prayer has been in and of itself been an incredible journey.

Dating is a lesson in selfishness, selflessness and sacrificial love. It is hard, confusing and while I do not regret any of these experiences, I also would not go back and repeat them. This past dating experience will take some healing, some recovery, some processing. Ultimately, we both left having shared the gospel and making a new friend. There were harder lessons to learn here, and some were necessary, and the way that I look at it all, is that it is preparing me for something greater, it is preparing me for you.

Dating is hard. Marriage will be harder. I am apprehensively excited to journey together,

Love,

Your future wife.

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5. dating

Dear Beloved,

It has dawned on me recently that in order to marry you, I will, at some point, have to date you. It should seem like common sense, but I guess as I have grown up, I have always expected to befriend someone, for a friendship to grow into a relationship, and for that relationship to one day turn into marriage. I expected courtship to be easy, natural, organic if you will. And here we are, we come to the word that I have recently realized that I detest…. dating.

What is dating? I don’t know. I wish dating would mean the art of putting dates into a dessert or sweet treat or slapping an expiry date onto a breadloaf – sounds simple enough to me. Because I have no idea what I am doing in this area of life. Nor did I ever think that I would be ‘dating’, I don’t even know if that is what I am doing, but I really don’t know what other trendy name they are calling it these days. People add the word ‘biblical’ to the front of the word dating, to what they call ‘biblical dating’ or ‘biblical courtship’ and well – that’s when they have really lost me.

I find it hard to wrap my mind around dating, perhaps because I have so many mixed feelings about it. I love that you can intentionally get to know someone better, and perhaps in some cases meet a new friend, but if that were the only case, we would stop wondering about what the other person would be thinking. In all honesty, if it doesn’t work out (and I am far from being an expert) would I consider it time wasted? I’m hoping that whatever time I spend ‘dating’ would be glorifying to the Lord and fruitful in some way; that God would use it for His glory. I thank God for His sovereignty, because only a sovereign God would be able to use a bad date for something good (insert light chuckle here).

I wish that when I walk into a coffee shop, sirens and flashing lights will go off, a marquee wouldn’t hurt either, as if for God to say, ‘THIS IS THE ONE’! I am told that it is not this easy. I will say this – I am excited for the ‘dating’ to be over. To be able to look back, reminisce and see what God has done through those dates ‘good or bad’. Because regardless of the dates, I am sure that God is at work, someway and some how. I am constantly praying that God will be given glory – always, even with a short time together. When we make that final commitment to marriage, beloved, I am sure that our relationship, courtship, and period of ‘dating’ will point towards the cross, will be a testament to what God has done in both our lives, and that we will be more fruitful together than when we are apart.

… maybe dating doesn’t seem so bad after all… HA – yeah right.

Anxiously dating,

Your beloved

3. The feeling

Dear beloved,

I think I am struggling with God – not with unbelief, but with experiencing Him passionately. It feels like I am standing in a splash pad with no running water. I know what I am supposed to be doing – I am ready, dressed and willing, and yet there is no flowing water.

Last week in Romania, we sat in  a packed van and sang our hearts out to the Lord our God, after seeing the way that he worked in the gypsy camp. We left the van and almost all of the girls were in tears – experiencing the depth and the works of the Holy Spirit on their hearts. My eyes were dry, not a tear in sight. I wanted to cry, I wanted to feel the works of the Holy Spirit working in me again. He is working in me, I am learning and my heart is being changed, and yet I don’t feel that passion or that conviction. Rather I feel the heaviness of my prideful heart, while I long for the tears of emotion.

I am searching for that feeling, the feeling of experiencing God and being overwhelmed by his presence. I know that I am wrong to think that this feeling can be fulfilled by you, or by watching a romantic comedy, and yet I would rather numb my mind and gravitate to mindless entertainment than finding rest and meditation in His word. Reading the bible has lately become a box that I check daily and a page that I fill in my notebook. I have read the word and yet where is the obedience and fruit?

I feel lukewarm. I know it is a job that only the Holy Spirit can complete. I need to get down on my knees and yet, I do not know what I would say.

I am a sinner. He loves me. And I am redeemed. Of this I am sure. I can’t seem to articulate much else.

Love,

Your Beloved

2. He is working

My dear beloved,

I continue to marvel and stand in awe of the incredible God we serve, my hope is that you too are amazed by His mystery. He is constantly reminding me of His grace, His anger, His wrath and His patience.  Lately, I have been encouraged by the way that He works, even before we can think of what we want, or know that it is what we want for ourselves.

Last Saturday, a friend of mine and I decided to fast on Wednesday. I was going to initiate a conversation with someone. I wanted to commit that conversation to Christ, that God’s will be done above all else, regardless of my desires or future plans. On Tuesday night, at 9:30, I received an email from him, telling me to come see him sometime tomorrow. Imagine my shock, but more so the peace – the peace that surpasses all understanding. What a confirmation, what initiation by Christ, what a reminder that He is working everything out for our good (Romans 8:28). God was working before I had even begun to fast, before I had begun to think to fast or think about having this conversation. God was working. God is working even when we may not see the fruit, or feel the effect of His work. Oh how God is working now, I will never know – but I trust that He is doing something good, something amazing!

I am comforted to know that He is working in every single part of my life – my job, my future missions trip, the girls in my youth group, the hearts of my students. And in this future relationship, this future marriage, this future union that will ultimately glorify Him. I know that He is working on our hearts and our relationship with Him. He is slowly sanctifying us, convicting us of our sin, and growing the love that we have for Him. He is working. I mentioned in a previous letter to you that the idea of you seems so far away, but to be honest, I don’t even know what to think anymore. Regardless of when the Lord wants to knit our lives together, I know that He is working in your heart and in mine. What a mighty God we serve – have I mentioned that I am excited to worship Him together?

Even though I may not yet know who you are, I am confident that He is working in us and on us right now.He is orchestrating something amazing, adding intricate details to a story that we cannot fathom or even dare imagine. He is writing those run on sentences that we will call our love story, and He is knitting something unique together that only we can call ours.

I am excited to know you, and I am excited to know Him together.

Love,

Your future wife.

 

 

My Beloved,

I am starting to get excited by the thought of you. I admit that for a while, you have been a thought in the distant future; someone I wasn’t ready for. It still feels daunting thinking about sharing my life with someone but today I got excited, and looked forward to the things that we would do together.

As I write this, I smile, because I can’t help but look forward to it. I want to worship with you. Worship in all kinds of forms, I want to be able to sing, praise, dance and jam with you. I want the Lord to be pleased with the love that we have for each other and more importantly, the love that we will have for Him. Worship is intimate for me, and as I sat in service today, there was this inexplainable joy in worshiping my Lord. And yet the thought of you beside me, as we worshipped together made me smile wider, picturing us worshiping & loving the Lord together. I am excited to be encouraged by the love that you have for Him, and the passion that you have for worship. We are but made to worship.

I am excited to serve with you. I think about the recent joys that serving has brought me – in junior fellowship, worship and other various ministries. God has presented me with unique opportunities that I didn’t know that I would enjoy. I look around the church, and I see couples serving together in different ministries, and couples taking on independent roles in the same ministry. I am looking forward to use the talents that God has given us to further serve Him and give glory to Him. It feels weird, to not know who you are, yet I am so excited to see what God is going to do!

I can’t wait to grow with you! I want to be able to study and read the word together. I want to talk about the work that God has done in each of our lives, and I look forward to grow closer to Christ as I grow closer to you. I think of when we will pray together, meditate & memorize the Word. I long for you to draw me closer to the Lord. I want to be challenged & led by you. I am praying for you, in hopes that you are praying for me too.

I feel a little silly, and even a little giddy. The reality of you seems so far away, and yet so close. I love that our relationship will be centred on Him, that we will be more in love with Christ than ever before, and that will drive our love for each other. Christ is going to do amazing things in our life – God only knows. I have no doubt, that we will be presented with our share of challenges, tragedies and trials… only to find that we will continue to praise Him. My heart smiles & is delighted at the thought of you.

With hope, love & excitement,

Your beloved.