My eyes have really been opened the past month. I’m realizing what I had four years ago was safe. We spent hours talking, letting God confirm daily what He wanted from us and we obeyed. We didn’t waver at all from God’s will miles apart from each other. Until we were actually within a few feet from each other that’s when everything changed. It wasn’t a sudden change but over time things changed. Things were no longer safe, we were thick in the reality of what God was doing and each other.

Our relationship was kept off social media entirely. This should have been hint #1. He tried to tell me repeatedly when couples make their relationship public, you’re only allowing outside influences into an area they don’t belong. I believed this and so I agreed with it for almost a year.  Over the past three years though, he’s been very public with his past and present relationships. Three years ago, I took this as flat out rejection. Now though, I realize it was never rejection, it was respect.

The situation didn’t feel right any more. It felt right four years ago when we met in this space. It felt right four years ago when  we built on a foundation we both swore was stable. It felt right when he moved here because God told him to “Go.” It felt right because our situation was unique … so sacred.  Until it was no longer sacred and I pushed it away. I didn’t want anything to do with it any more. He was doing with her what he did with me four years ago. Our connection was no longer between us and he never loved me. He loved the idea of me but not the real me.

This truth has set me free.

I won’t lie, this truth hurts. Earlier this week I fought back tears and I did again yesterday morning. My pride doesn’t like to admit it and I’m almost slightly ashamed to type it, but I don’t know any other way than to be authentic with how I feel. I wanted it this way because I was scared. I was losing this person I created a life with for over four years even if it wasn’t consistent, it was still familiar …. it was safe. And just like that, enter another woman and it was gone. My heart couldn’t take it, so I bailed.

Every thing God places in our hands requires work. I worked pretty hard to obey the Lord in everything. This last time though, it was no longer about obedience to the Lord, but about guarding my heart … for good. I’m protecting myself from further hurt. It’s counter productive, I know but for now, it’s what’s right.

Accepting truth, real truth, isn’t for the faint of heart. 

God’s Word has continually guided and directed my steps since 2012. The only time my steps weren’t directed was when I tried dating in July. I prayed but didn’t wait for clearance, I jumped in. God knows our desire to be close to someone, He understands our desire for companionship. We say we aren’t looking for it, but deep down we really are.  Until Jesus is everything to us, until the reality of His presence is deep in us, in those deep, hidden places, we won’t be ready for the real relationships He has specifically designed us for. 

This truth is what I’ve settled in my heart, let it settle in yours too.

Understand though, I’m not good with relationships. I love people and when that love is threatened I tend to either hold on to it tightly or I let it go without thinking twice. In my dating relationship, I let it go. I literally ran away from it. But with Jeremy, it was different.

Twice in the past week, when I’ve gotten in my car to leave our song came on. The first time, I changed stations immediately because I was pissed. The other day though, I listened to it all the way through. He dedicated it to us when he was back home. He didn’t remember it though after we broke up. I was reminded why I held on so long. Love doesn’t give up. It doesn’t quit. Love always protects, trusts, hopes, and always perseveres. It never fails.  It takes two people who both love each other to make a relationship work. I was the only one in our relationship and friendship who loved the other person. For the first time in four years, I quit because love was never reciprocated and I realized it.

Accepting this truth is disappointing but freeing. The truth really does set us free.

The truth I’m accepting right now is knowing the Holy Spirit can work between people anywhere. It worked between us consistently for four years. It’s worked in my life consistently since I closed this door.  The problem is I tied my experience with the power of the Holy Spirit to a person instead of a Person. The Holy Spirit will work between any one with an attentive heart. A heart that is truly seeking the Lord, one who walks in the Spirit daily, and lays their life down for others. God first, family (children, mother, father, brother, sister, etc) second, everyone else last.  In that order, no exception. 

This last truth is what I keep at the forefront of my mind.

A friend reminded me last week it’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to cry for what’s no longer but not to live there. Don’t live in the memories but to keep moving forward in the Lord because He’s going to do something new. In the stillness, I know that new thing is already here. I’ve known it for almost two months. All those pieces coming together perfectly behind the scenes. There’s peace knowing God is control but even without His blessings and what He will give me, I’m secure.

Let me encourage you to do a few things. Let God love you back to life again before making commitments. Open your hands wide for what He gives you, but don’t hold on to it too tight. More importantly, follow Jesus everywhere. I’m not talking about physically or spiritually but emotionally and mentally.  When we’re truly following Jesus, He will take us through valleys of offenses we’ve never fully dealt with. It will be hellish. Instead of running towards the next feel good high, run to Him wholeheartedly. Running the race for Christ wasn’t for quitters, but for people who aren’t afraid to run and fight. And yes, sometimes for a season you have to run this race with only Him and alone. If you’ve never been alone for longer than three months, then there’s something inside you broken and you’re looking for other people to make it or you whole.

Don’t argue with this truth, accept it, and change.

Don’t hold on to your plans too tightly either. Even with prayer and reading Scripture, God can throw a curve ball into our plans at any time. Our plans, visions, and preparation are many, but “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

I don’t know what 2017 is going to look like but I’ve stopped looking ahead. I’ve spent more time with family and friends during my holiday break. This holidays has been a little hard and not as joyful, but my joy is no longer in people, but in a Person. The one who never gives up on me and loves me unconditionally.

This truth is the only one I will accept forever, I hope you will too.

In Jesus and with love,

Julie