Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a few thoughts on dating

This is us back in the day...aka: when we were dating.

Lately I’ve gotten several questions about dating. How do you know when you find ‘the one’? What is some advice on dating and God-scripted love stories? I can’t tell you exactly the formula that will work for you, but I can share how God led me.

Well, let me take you back to where it all started…


Silently I sat on my bed by the window, clutching my bible and Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliot in my arms. “Daughter, I never promised that you would get married.” I heard Him whisper to my heart. After several months I realized that if God was asking for my dream of getting married, then He had a good reason to do so. So I gave that dream to Him – which sounds a lot easier than it really was for me. How do you really put into words what it means to surrender?

The rest of my highschool days pasted without huge struggles about being single. But soon those days were over and I found myself at a small Christian college. It was here that I struggled a lot with the desire for a relationship. Sometimes my heart ached so badly that I thought it would break from loneliness. It was a season of waiting. There were a few guys that I met on mission trips and various events and I’d ask God, “what about him?”

This is where I advise you to be very careful. Our hearts can be very deceitful. I can’t tell you how many times I thought “I could marry them” or “If they asked me, I would date them”. Don’t let your desires skew your thinking. Seek the Lord and He will reveal the right time. Lots of times He said “no” by never allowing me to see my crush again, or I found out they started dating someone else.

I met Jonathan the Spring semester of my sophomore year at a Bible study where he led worship. He had it all – he was tall, dark, ruggedly handsome, funny, outgoing and played guitar. I liked him more than anyone I’d ever met just from that first encounter. Even so, I didn’t pay him much attention the first few weeks. (He later told me that he probably wouldn’t have been as interested in me if I had. He didn’t want someone who just came to a Bible study to meet guys.) The next few months were spent getting to know each other at the Bible study.

How did I know he was ‘it’? Well, the first sign was our similar passions. Pretty early on he asked me where I thought the Lord was leading me in life – I had never met someone whose God-given passions were the same as mine. Exactly! Second, was the way he pursued me. He was careful, respectful and intentional. Some of the first questions he asked me when we started “talking” were about my salvation and views on the Bible (which made a big impression on me). I knew he was serious about me. He wasn’t just playing around with my heart – he told me that I was the kind of girl he prayed God would give him one day.

Once it became clear that it was almost time to move on to dating, we spent 2 weeks apart with no communication in order to seek the Lord. It was an agonizing 2 weeks for me. In my heart, I knew that I already loved him. Even so, I gave all my hopes for this relationship to the Lord. I didn’t hear a “no” this time. I felt at peace with moving on and I knew that Jonathan was a man that I could trust with my heart. Sure, I had a few doubts here and there as we dated, but they were mostly in regards to the real person I found. I knew that I could not change him, so I had to ask myself if these were imperfections I was willing to live with for the rest of my life. Time and time again, I said yes and fell more deeply in love with this wonderful (and yet very human) man.

Was it scary and overwhelming at times? You bet. Still, in those moments I knew that the Lord was leading me. I had no doubt that I had sought His guidance and He had led me to this man. He chose me and I chose him…and we’ve never looked back.

The things of the heart are deep any mysterious. I don’t know where you are or what your past looks like. I can’t tell you anything but to seek the Lord. He knows our hearts and He knows what we need far better than we do. Trust Him, wait for Him. Your heart may break. Your dreams may shatter. Your soul may ache. Mine did. But there is always a purpose. The plans He has are far better than we can ask or think.


“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:9
PS: I know I haven't gotten to some of your questions, but I promise the answers are coming. :)

32 comments:

Laura said...

Thank you for this post. It was really beautifully written with honesty and gentleness :) xxx

Gail @ Sophisticated Steps said...

I LOVE that verse at the end. I was already thinking it and then BAM...it was there. :)

I admire your passion for the Lord at such a young age. I wasn't a crazy fool or anything, but I probably should have done a lot more waiting on the Lord than worrying about guys. Still...God showed me the right one (and he was quite unconventional! :). 11 years and 3 kiddos later, we're going strong.

Thank you for sharing this. I'm sure there are many who need to hear it (even if they don't want to.)

Sophisticated Steps

My Beautiful Life said...

I'm so thankful for the miracle of how God put me and Mr.MBL together. Earlier this year we celebrated 10 years.

Your question, "How do you know when you find ‘the one’?" I thought your response was good-"similar passions".

You've got to be heading in the same direction, or you will eventually be led down opposite paths.

So sweet how you both were so patient waiting it out until you knew.

p.s. I'm sure you get this all the time, but your eyes are stunning.

kels said...

this is exactly what i needed to read today. it brought tears to my eyes! i'm there right now... in that season of waiting. i feel like the Lord is telling me to give up my dreams of marriage to Him... to completely surrender! and you're so right... it's the hardest thing i've ever done! but i know He's preparing me for something great! thank you so much for sharing this... God definitely spoke to me through you today! you are lovely! :)

Just me said...

Thank you so much for this! It's definitely really hard being around lots of Christians where it seems like it should be easy to meet someone but it's just not happening. This was powerful and beautifully written - thank you.

Emily said...

It's interesting, while younger I thought I met a guy that I could be with. I saw him in the am then oddly again that same night and we hit it off. But at the very last moment I said I hated "it's a wonderful life" and he declared we were 'polar opposites' and walked away, never to see him again. I was baffled but realized God didn't choose him for me. (such a simple statement of not liking a movie)

Any way, God really knows best, doesn't he? I knew in the 1st date w/G-man, as we sat for 4 hours at the restaurant talking, that he was the one. I've done the same, asking if I could live w/his imperfections, and it's always 'yes' God's pretty amazing.

Amy said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. I wish I had been smarter a couple years ago when I got into my first serious relationship. I let my life revolve around the boyfriend and found myself going to him for all my troubles, rather than going to my Heavenly Father. I let myself grow far apart from Him. I have learned that my relationship with God is what I need to focus on the most. Any relationship/friendship that pulls me away is no bueno.

M. said...

ya'll have such a sweet story.

and dang, he had long hair!

Emily said...

How long were you dating for before you realized it was actually the right time to marry? That's what I'm struggling with.

Emily
texasnj.dayeightmedia.com

Have Your Way said...

Thanks for posting this. Im 23 and have never been on a date so Im starting to feel fret and worry that I wont find the one God has for me. This def. opened my eyes and helped me to realize I just have to keep being patient and wait for God's timing and not my own

Jessica said...

This is really good! Thank you for sharing. :)

Amber Noella said...

True, true! I'm still waiting for my prince, & I'm glad I got to read your encouragemnet ;)

God is so faithful!

Annie said...

as someone who is waiting for this part of my story to be written, i love how you shared yours. i'm so thankful for the advice you've given, whether it's a reminder or something i've not heard before. stories like yours are a sweet reminder that waiting on God in this area is so, so worth it!

Nikki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nikki said...

My hubby and I will be married 10 years in June. I remember being at a point in my single days, where I was completely content with being single...no waiting for a guy, just resting in Christ and allowing Him to fill my heart.

My hubby almost didn't ask me out, because during our friendship, He fully understood the relationship I was building with the Lord, and was afraid of interferring with that.

I'm so glad he did finally ask me out, as when the time was right, we pursued the Lord together, and there is no better foundation to build your relationshp on.

Thank you for sharing your heart on dating!

Natalie @ NS Pottery said...

So you totally made me tear up, but in a good way. :) Waiting is so hard, but I shall press on. Thanks for sharing your story. It is definitely encouraging.

Jenny @ Practically Perfect... said...

Such a great story and an inspiration to other girls and women out there who are looking for "the one" :-) Our dating story followed a similar route, and it really does make such a HUGE difference when you trust God with those relationships rather than yourself.

Monica said...

Oh Jennifer....just precious! Can't wait for us to have coffee next week!

April Rowell said...

I hesitated to read this post since I'm past the world of dating and looking for "the one" but I'm glad I read it. I found myself getting very emotional while reading. Your words are perfect for those who are struggling with "singleness". I, too, once had those aches in my heart. Give it to God, he ALWAYS knows best!! :)

Alexia said...

Thank you so much for this :) It truly blessed me! Your story is such a inspiration, and your marriage is an example for many to follow. Many blessings to ya!

~Alexia

Jason Edberg said...

This was good. A great thing I remember is growing up I was always told to follow my heart. After reasearch I decided I would no longer follow my wimisical/artsy heart but, I would lead my heart.

Kristin @ The Chronicles of Kristin said...

LOVE the verse you shared at the end. Very encouraging. :) I'm a single lady myself- not married nor am I in a relationship, have never had a date, never went to prom with anyone, etc. I recently read Passion & Purity and God definitely used it to make me re-evaluate my stance on relationships. I love reading stories like your own where you can clearly see the authorship of God in the love story! So glad you decided to share this. What an encouragement and blessing! :) Thank you for sharing your heart!

Stephanie said...

I did the exact same thing...I prayed every night for my future husband, and desperately wanted to meet him. But I felt God urging me to give it to him and let go. As soon as I did my husband and I got together and were married within a year and a half. : ) God also used my experiences to share my story with other teenage girls and I was able to lead a purity retreat with my youth girls for a number of years.

A girl with a smile said...

Very encouraging...especially to find myself in similar ways.

Vivienne said...

thank you for a much needed post x wow x
be blessed today

huggs
vivi x

Grace said...

Oh I made the mistake of following my own desires and pride, even to the point of pretending that I thought God wanted me to be with this boy(and I actually believed myself), when all the while- looking back- every road block that I continually seemed to be coming across was from Him. It took this Boy's conversion to atheism to make me do an about face, and I thank God for the lesson I was taught, and hopefully have learned.
Thank you for this post!! This encouragement is incredible.

Samantha said...

Thanks for sharing :) Its so great to here storys like yours. It encourages me to continue my walk in purity and trust in him :)

Amylou said...

Everytime I hear more about your love story, it reminds me more of my own. It's beautiful. And I can see God in your life. Thanks so much for posting this!

Warren Baldwin said...

I'm doing a series on marriage this year on Family Fountain. This post or one like would be a very good addition to that series. Would you consider a guest post along these lines? Perhaps you and Jonathan coud write it together? wb

SavedthruLove said...

I think you wrote this out beautifully. God is so good to us and I get so wrapped up in thinking that GOD has never PROMISED me a husband and then I feel a bit bad for thinking of being married someday and getting all sentimental when I hear other girls are getting married and when I see a pink decorating set because I want pink in my wedding and... Yes. It is definitely a lot! ha ha
But God knows best and He is not going to short change me and I won't have to worry because GOD is going to put it in my future boos heart to seek me...

At least, I pray that is how it works.

Who knows.

your beautifuL!

♥cheche

http://www.savedthrulove.blogspot.com

Haley K said...

Jennifer, I can't tell you how much I loved this post. I soaked up every word as you wrote about your journey. And I have the upmost respect for you...putting God first and always always seeking Him for guidance. Your Jonathon must be a fantastic man :) I absolutely loved how you said he was, "careful, respectful and intentional" about courting you. Sounded similar to my sweet Adam. And I also like that you said he was human, yet how you came to love him more for it. We're all human and imperfect...and working to be more like Christ is so much better with our other halves :)

This post is going to help so many women (and men maybe:) who are searching and working toward dating and finding their loving companion :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. This is the first time that I've read your blog and it's exactly what I've been going through with God lately. I cried this morning, poured my heart to Him, and asked that He would help me to make my desires align with His will (even though that may mean that I have to give up what I want) and that as hard as this is, that He would help me surrender this to Him.

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