Longing for Love Day 1; Letting Go & Holding on

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I grew up in the church, and went to every revival and children's group they offered. My brother and I were even baptized together. In the midst of it all, I had Young Life leaders, church leaders, my track coaches, and so forth who all lovingly pursued me. They all had my best interest at heart and were always there to encourage me. However, after graduation I was left with a cap and gown, a diploma, and a heavy heart weighed down in its entirety with my first heartbreak. My high school boyfriend of three years had broken up with me right before graduation. 

The reason was unclear, but the hurt I was feeling was pretty profound. The promise ring that taunted me with broken promises of a shattered future made me sick to my stomach. 

My first year of college was a blur. I no longer had mentors pursuing me as they once had before. I was an adult now and the "real world" was now my reality. I found myself longing for love so deep it rattled my aching soul. I started sneaking out to parties and clubs every weekend because I wanted the attention, and most of all I wanted the noise to drown out my painful thoughts of loneliness. The hardest part was coming home during the late hours of the night. The silence screamed louder than any music I'd ever heard, and I felt even more numb than before. It was in these very moments that I knew something was missing. 

During my sophomore year of college, I met someone who I fell hard for. I was broken, and I loved the way he pursued my heart. For a while, life was great. I still had a lot of pain and things going on in my life, but he was always right there. Two years later, he proposed and enlisted in the army. I moved out of my mom's house and got my first apartment in hopes to proclaim "adulthood." Things were looking up for us and our future together. Until one day, life as I knew it came to a screeching halt with two pink lines. I was pregnant, and the news didn't go too well with the man I was planning to marry. I was barely nineteen, in college debt, struggling with bills, rent, and a car note, but I was certain that I wanted to keep this baby. However, my fiancé demanded that I get an abortion. He presented a big case with the reasons I should, along with the guarantee that he would cover all costs. 

He said no one would ever want me if I had a baby, and that I'd be shamed by everyone, along with having no help to support me. He made it clear that if I let him cover the abortion cost, we would have an amazing life together once he came back from basic training, but if I chose to keep it he would leave me.

Looking back on this, I have realized that this is exactly what the enemy does to us. He makes his way in during our moments of vulnerability, spitting nothing more than lies and guilt into our hearts. He presents a big case and offers us what sounds like the best and easiest choice. But deep in my heart, I knew the best choice was to keep my baby. Without a doubt, I knew I didn't want to get the abortion. Even when the first appointment brought news that there was no heartbeat and that a dilation and curretage (D&C) was needed. 

God kept whispering soft but firmly..."Keep it." In the midst of my pain, fear, and tears I received a mighty and true second opinion. And although my friends and family felt as if I was holding on to false hope, I listened to what the Lord had whispered into my heart and sure enough, the heartbeat was soon sound and strong. 

Throughout the months, my belly and thirst for more of Jesus grew and grew. I moved back home and my mother helped and supported me in every way possible. Over time my ex changed his number, and he stayed in another state after basic training was over. He literally wanted nothing to do with me and our unborn baby. 

The day I gave birth to my son was the day a new woman was also birthed. The few days in the hospital were filled with friends and family stopping by with gifts and love. But, at night when all the visitors where gone, I'd sit and cry. Giving birth is an experience that's not meant to be shared alone, but there I laid with physical and emotional wounds as I rocked my newborn baby. My only visitor in the late hours were the hospital staff who kept asking if I was sure I didn't want the nursery to take him so I could rest. 

Upon discharge the pain really hit. Not the pain of just giving birth but the pain of heartbreak and fear. My mother pulled up to help me out of the wheelchair as the nurse made sure my new baby was safely strapped in his car seat. With a hug and a pat on the back, the nurse jogged back in from the bitter winter's chill. It wasn't until we got home and I looked into my newborn's eyes that first night that it all hit me. Philippians 4:4 finally made perfect sense to me: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Though I was suffering, I still was able to rejoice and love my sweet baby boy, as I was enamoured by him. 

You are probably expecting me to say my son completed a void in my heart that I had been missing, but truthfully it was a void that only my Creator could fill. See, for so long I've thrived on worldly promises and through others pursuing me. I have come to realize that people will break promises, but God never will. He lovingly pursues us every waking hour. He was pursuing me through my nights of singleness and longing for love, even through the lonely nights in the hospital with my newborn. He has always been here pursuing me. I had to go through suffering and being born again to fully grasp this truth. His love and promises are steadfast.

I knew the gospel, but I had not quite allowed it to transform my heart yet. Two months after my son's birth, God aligned my path to collide with my now husband of two years. He has been my support through the birth of our two daughters, and he has held my hand at the final hearing as he signed the adoption papers for my son whom now is legally his. 

God called me to step out in faith when I was single and pregnant with my first child, but He was also already in works of lining up my future husband and amazing support system of friends and family that helped along the way. 

I can vividly remember the many nights that I sat up crying, circling answers in magazines to see if I was dating material. I did questionnaire after questionnaire. I read posts and articles on making the best meals- meals so delicious that would make me a wife immediately. 

But the truth is this: there's nothing in this world that we can do to earn God's love and grace. Once we truly grasp this very truth, we are finally able to grasp the beauty in surrendering all aspects of our lives over to Him. 

For so long, I thought I was defined by my title of being single. Now, I see that even then I was defined by my wholeness in God. It's in that truth that our hearts can finally be set free from trying to earn love, free from the loneliness, and free from the lies that you aren't relationship material. Looking back on all those nights I laid in bed crying, feeling as if something was missing from my life, I can see God hunkering over me, breathing life and a desire for more of Him into my weary heart. 

Sometimes, we have to go through feelings of emptiness to see that no one in this world can give us the type of fullness that God can.

{photo: @thisverygarden}

About the Author

Jasmine is a twenty-something Tennessee native who loves to encourage and empower other women through her words and photography. She works occasionally in a Children's Emergency Department, and spends the majority of her time with her husband embracing the chaos and beauty of life with their three young children. Aside from encouraging others she loves the feeling of getting lost in a good book, exploring, and thriving on a whole lot of grace. You can find Jasmine on Instagram here.


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