Thursday, September 24, 2009

09/24/09 - Testimony

I asked a young lady I know to share her testimony with my readers. I hope it helps you as you walk along the path of having a heart fully devoted to the Lord!

Once upon a time a tall, handsome, Christian young man walked into my life. This was a very pleasant, much anticipated surprise. For years, I had purposed in my heart to save myself for just the right one and now here he was!

In my mind, he appeared like a prince in shining armor! This was the moment that I had dreamed of - the moment that I had longed for! I had eagerly looked forward to the day that the Lord would bring someone into my life that I could love and plan a future with. The Lord sent this young man into my life and with the blessing and approval of my parents, we befriended each other and enjoyed getting to know more about each other.

As time progressed, my heart was anticipating all that the Lord was going to do in our relationship. I openly talked with my parents about him and prayed that if the Lord saw fit to bring us together for life, He alone would make it happen. Joy flooded my heart every day as I was given a vision of a hopeful future and felt God’s leading and peace. All throughout our long-distance friendship, our hearts were being knit in spirit and werejoiced in our love for the Lord and our compatibility with each other.

We Purposed to do Things Right

After a seven-month friendship, with his family’s blessing and mine, he asked to court me. He wanted to take our relationship to the next level. I was overjoyed and ecstatic! To think of giving my heart to a man in preparation for marriage was more than a dream come true!

We both marvelled at the goodness of God and saw that He had blessed us with the desires of our heart. As youth, we both had given our futures to the Lord and had purposed to save ourselves for our future mates and now the day had come to enter into a life-long relationship. We began sharing more openly, reading and memorizing Scripture, dreaming about a future together, and appreciating each other more fully and deeply. It was four months of sheer bliss!

This young man was more than I could have ever dreamed of. I was swept off my feet and totally romanticized. It was a joy sending sweet notes to each other, taking walks and sharing heart-to-heart, being surprised receiving flowers, calling each other pet names, and so many special things! Life was wonderful—at least that’s what it seemed like. My parents were thrilled for me. This courtship was like a breath of fresh air; a perfect and good gift from God.

Four months of utter happiness transpired and then one day I found myself as an engaged young lady—totally head over heels in love with a man that I knew I was going to marry, be committed to, and spend the rest of my life with! Everything seemed so perfect. I had never been so happy in my entire life. This is what I had dreamed of for so many years: I had desired for so long to become a wife to a man who was my best friend; I desired to be a helpmeet and fulfill God’s vision that He imparted to him; I desired to raise children for the glory of the Lord; I desired to be a wife who would love self-sacrificially and make her man feel like the king of the mountain.

I Gave My Heart to Him

As we continued correspondence, visits, fellowship, chats, and sharing of dreams and hopes, we began to give each other the most precious gift of all—our hearts. My emotions and mind began to be consumed with this young man, and I realized that my purpose in life had changed from loving the Lord whole-heartedly and seeking to please Him alone.

I now had begun living for my fiancé and wanted to do all within my power to make him happy and pleased with me in every area. Every thought was consumed with him, every passion and desire was towards him, and all that I wanted for a future I found in him. I looked to him to love me just the way I needed; I looked to him to bring me happiness; I looked to him to fulfill my needs; I looked to him to provide the security that I desired. Over the process of time, I had unknowingly allowed my fiance to take a seat on the throne of my heart, replacing my Lord and Saviour.

A Few Chinks in His Armor

As blissful and sweet as our relationship was, I began to have little checks in my spirit about some things I noticed in our relationship and that pertained to our future. Small fears arose in my heart and even my parent’s hearts as our relationship continued. They seemed small in comparison and I admitted that I was willing to take the chance of dealing with those issues if need be just because I wanted to marry him so badly and felt he was perfect for me.

I determined to deal with everything to prove my unconditional love to him. I pushed all worries, fears, and hesitations aside in my heart from time to time. Eventually, a few very important issues rose up in our relationship that my parents and I felt needed to be addressed. I brought them to my fiancé’s attention and because of this, he was hurt and disillusioned instead of feeling honored and respected by me.

But we worked through these hard times and proceeded through our relationship loving each other. We had been engaged for almost five months and now six weeks before our wedding day, we had a very important meeting with both sides of the family to discuss some of these fears. We wanted to bring things out into the open and find resolve. At this point, my fiancé expressed that he had been having concerns about me for quite some time (unknown to me), and now he and his family thought that the wedding should be postponed. I was completely blown away in shock.

How could he have withheld all of his concerns from me when I thought everything was so perfect? How could he have complained about me to his family? I felt mistreated and betrayed. Emotions raged during that meeting and it ended in a sour way. Before he left though, he told me to look into his eyes and he then promised whole-heartedly that he was going to marry me but just wanted to pray about a postponement.

My World Came Crashing Down

When my fiance left, I was in absolute despair and dismay and became very angry. It was a difficult night. Upon arriving home the following day, my fiance telephoned my dad and called off the wedding. I was heart-broken and in utter grief, more than I had ever been in my life. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the thought that I was going to have to live without him—after all, he became my purpose in life, my existence in living. How could I survive without him?

My entire heart and soul was given to him and now I had been rejected and my heart was shattered in a billion pieces. Even after it ended, I couldn’t let go. I did all I could to restore the relationship but I was roughly turned down, emotionally abused through accusations, and told to leave him and their family alone. It seemed like his love for me had quickly turned into a hatred.

My life and future changed so very quickly and I was devastated. For two weeks, I couldn’t cope and just cried constantly. Life had no purpose anymore. I couldn’t eat and had no desire to live.
If something so wonderful started out as God’s will, how could it have so quickly changed, I wondered? How could something start out to be so glorious and full of happiness and yet end in bitterness, anger, and even resentment? How could a lover go from thinking someone was so perfect in the beginning to pointing out all their flaws and shortcomings and choosing to harshly remove them from their life? Where was unconditional love?

I wondered about all these things for weeks as I cried, prayed, and sank into hopelessness, fear, and rejection. I wanted to give up; I wanted to die because all that I had come to love and anticipate was ripped away from me.

A New Beginning With a New Perspective

After two weeks of immense emotional pain and trying to cope with a broken heart, the Lord blessed me in such an amazing way which allowed me to see that God still loved and cared for me. I was offered an invitation to come and help in the ministry at the IBLP Headquarters located in Illinois. This ministry opportunity was an answer to my prayers as I was already begging God to lead and direct me in this state that I now found myself in. I needed a change and a new vision. This opportunity was an evidence to me that God had a purpose and plan for my life. He hadn’t forsaken me. My Lord knew exactly how I felt and was touched with the feeling of my infirmities. He saw my tears and was storing them up in his bottle.

Through this open door for ministry, my future looked bright and I was given a vision and purpose. I was overcome with gratitude to the Lord and left in breathless amazement! For many months, I’ve received teaching and counseling, and have enjoyed deep times of studying and reading the Word of God. The more I drew closer to my Saviour, the more I began to understand why God had allowed all of that heartbreak in my life and what blessings I have and continue to receive from it.

A Discovery of Why the Friendship Did Not Work

God has shown me that through the time of courtship and engagement, I had made an idol out of marriage, and I had made an idol out of my fiancé. I expected him to fulfill all my needs and be everything to me when, in reality, only God could be my source of everything. In my mind, I imagined that my fiance’ was perfect in all ways and then when I saw flaws I became worried and fearful. I began to seek out ways to please him more than my Saviour which even led to compromises in my life.

By giving my entire heart and soul to this man, I was left with a divided heart and a heart cannot have two masters - “for either ye will love the one and hate the other or hold to the one and despise the other”. My fiancé started to be a competing affection with my Lord and Saviour, and I had made him a god in my life. I had been loving him on my own merit instead of giving myself over to the Lord for Him to love through me. As a result, I could not be a channel of holy, agape love, thereby encouraging my fiancé in the way of Christ-likeness. I’ve come to understand why it is so vitally important that I give my whole heart to God and then allow Him to love other people through me. In that way, I do not have a divided heart and divided loyalty.

You see, because of my lack of passion to please and love my Saviour, I had lost my ardent desire to seek His face, and my love for Him had grown lukewarm. In my relationship with this young man, I began to love for my pleasure and my benefit. What started out as a Godly, pure love had turned into a fleshly love. As this selfish love grew, I began to appreciate fleshly traits rather than spiritual traits, which caused me to have a lack of trust in this young man as well as my Saviour. Over the process of time, I had slowly become an idolater.

A New Understanding of Idolatry

You see, one does not need to bow down to a graven image to be guilty of having other gods besides the One True God. I had set up an idol in my heart and in the most secret cavities of my imagination. There was now someone else sitting on the throne of my heart. I looked to my idol to fulfill my longings, meet my needs, promise me happiness, understand me, provide in areas where I lacked, and love me in such a way that I felt secure and satisfied. I looked to this young man to erase all fears and calm all inhibitions when I should have looked to the All-Sufficient One, Jesus Christ. So, why would God have allowed something so perfect to end so tragically? Because my God is a Jealous God. Because God wanted to use this situation in my life to lead me to Christ-likeness and to help me learn more of Him. I have been bought and redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and I belong fully to Him for His service. I was created for His pleasure. He is righteously jealous of my love and devotion to Him as my Lover. I regretfully made an idol out of a good gift that He gave me instead of using it for His honor and glory.

Because of my divided heart, there was a barrier between me and my Lord, which made it easy for me to put down my guard and give in to my fleshly desires and wants. I took advantage of the joy and blessedness that accompany preparing for marital life and I failed to trust the Lord completely and depend solely on Him.

The Step of Freedom and Joy

Realizing all of this one evening, I got down on my knees and asked the Lord to forgive me for giving place to idolatry. I asked Him to cleanse me and purify me and to heal my heart and restore my soul (mind, will, and emotions). After feeling so overcome with grief and heaviness, my spirit was lifted and a certain freedom swept through me! I was now able to pray that the Lord would bless this young man and his family despite the hurt and rejection I had felt and received. I was able to thank God for loving me so very much that He used this situation in my life to help me learn to love Him supremely with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I recognized that He was going to use this situation as a tool for me to be able to help and comfort others if He so pleased, and I knew that He was going to use this situation for good as a means for me to have a dynamic testimony only for His glory.

There is freedom, peace, and unspeakable joy in being able to love Jesus with my everything and to keep my heart with all diligence being careful to not allow any affections to compete with His love for me.


lauren said...

Thank you for that; it was a perfect reminder that Christ is and will be the only one I truly need.

Evelyn said...

Thank you very much for this testimony.

Ashley said...

Wow! Thank you so much for your powerful testimony! I'm a varsity student in and from South Africa who is sharing life and leading 3 younger girls spiritually (by the grace of God alone)! And within our D group and in our ministry it just seems like girls are just dating nonbelievers and convincing themselves that they won't be scathed-lies women believe when the ooportunity for companionship is quite irresistable. The testimony has shed light and provided good wisdom that I seek to incorporate in the hard conversations to follow over the next few days. Be blessed

Julie said...

Three red flags in this story for me:
1) Romantic idealism - a trap which blinded her to the possibility of hurt, and made him harshly reject her in the end. People are often very cruel when someone fails to live up to expectations, however unrealistic those might be.
2) Entering into a serious romantic relationship after conducting a relatively short friendship long distance.
3) The apparent emotional immaturity of both parties - he, in particular, lacked the courage to confront (and discuss) problems in the relationship in an honest and timely manner. Leaving it until six weeks before the wedding is inexcusable.
Proverbs 27:5 "Better is open rebuke than hidden love."

cortney said...

So much of this story is familiar to me. Those thoughts of passion, desire, confusion, hurt, and redemption seem to be echoing from within my soul. I have, sadly, made the same mistake in my life, and have found myself on the other side of it, with a holy freedom unlike any I have known before.

It is true, God IS a jealous God, and He desires our whole hearts. I praise Him for placing me in that situation. He designed the perfect level of intensity and pain needed to get my attention and wake me up to my mistake. And to pull me back to Him.