My relationship history is complicated at best. I could probably fill a book on all the reasons why that is (which I would want NO ONE to read).
I’ve had some, lets say, volatile relationships. When two sinners get together, there is just more sin, and I have definitely seen my sin effect and hurt girls I have dated in ways that I never had seen in my singleness. Its slightly terrifying (take out the slightly….). I am selfish, moody, self-righteous, and also just completely jacked in my views of intimacy, love, sex etc. It’s a cocktail for disaster.
It was enough to pull a sensitive male like myself out of the “dating game” (which is a terrible analogy for finding ones spouse by the way). Wouldn’t it be a better service to whatever girl I could/would marry if I just left her alone? In my mind it was admirable idea; to save her from Hurricane Jacob….which is off the coast and could make landfall as strong as a category 5.
I had all but swore off dating and marriage. I am a sinner, much like everyone, but for some reason I had made my sin seem too big to be overcome, or just too big for grace from those around me. Sure, God has given me grace and forgiven me, and can heal me and change my heart, but my past/current messiness was just too much to ask someone to walk into, it was to much to share with another person on that intimate of a level.
After many, many conversations about how that was a lie, and a lot of pressing from all of my community about my control issues, playing God, deciding to “protect” someone “admirably” from the “monster” I presumed myself to be, I was confronted with the Gospel. Marriage, as are all relationships to an extent, is just a picture of what Jesus did/does/will do for us. We are constantly being confronted with our rebellion against God, and reminded of the grace and forgiveness we need/receive because of Jesus’ work on the cross. Other people are often a means by which we get to experience that grace. So who am I to write that off, and deprive myself of that avenue God may choose to use in my life, and someone else of the grace they can and will receive through me.
So I started praying:
“God, I am pretty sure this is never going to happen, because it seems to complicated and messy. It seems so hard, painful even. I don’t want to hurt anyone else. I don’t want to need grace and forgiveness from anyone, but I know I do and will, and that scares me. Please help me trust that you are good and that you use people as instruments of your grace. And even if that ends up not being the case, and all hell breaks loose, you still love me and that is enough.”
That was my prayer. And then I had an email in my inbox from the girl that got away….