Two Years Ago

Two years ago today I woke up and burst into a panicked sob. Sleep had temporarily relieved me of my burdens, but with the first ray of daylight meeting my eyes... my sorrow pierced my heart. My mind flickered with thoughts of the previous night.

It had been Josh's last day home. The ten short days of his leave after boot camp were over. The last hours had been spent sitting around our friends, Jason and Katie Church's, bonfire. Our Bible Study had ended and we had finished off the rest of Halloween night, eating smores and laughing by the firelight.

The past ten days had taught me more than I ever imagined that I would learn. Each day with Josh continued to lead my heart in a deeper friendship. Boot camp had changed Josh. He was more solid and godly than I had ever seen him. His enthusiastic zeal for the future made my heart leap. I chastised myself for imagining us anything more than friends. I had had a crush on him five years before. That "crush" had nearly broken my heart with his leaving for seminary and the pain of him forgetting me. It was a mistake I would always regret. Yet, it sometimes felt like it was happening all over again; except now I was older and he was much wiser. One thing stayed true... he was leaving again.

My face flushed with the hot heat of the fire as Josh said nonchalantly, "I probably won't be back for about a year." For a moment, my mind went nuts and with all my heart, I wanted to disappear. I wanted everything to fade away and to never think about Josh again.

Then it was over. Everyone left and Josh needed a ride home. He was living just two minutes down the road with his dad. When I let him out, it was an awkward moment. I felt my insides ripping out. He couldn't leave for a year. Or was this it forever? There was a quick, "stay in touch" and a pat on the shoulder and he was gone.

I don't remember getting home. Mom and Dad asked how things went. I forced a smile and said that it all went well. I went to bed shortly later. As I lied on my bed staring at the ceiling, I prayed.

Why do I feel this way if he is leaving? Why am I so young? Have I let my heart get tangled against all of my intentions? 10 days. That was all it took. Lord, please help him. I love him. It is different now. I love him so much that I would be willing to let him go if it is Your will. Oh, what is Your will?

For the first time in my life, I had to tell Mama and Dad about my feelings toward Josh. Too many teenage girls had held onto their emotions and feelings, letting them eat them raw while their parents were perfectly capable of being a fountain of encouragement and wisdom. I was a blubbering fool as I cried on Daddy's chest.

"Oh Daddy! I am going to miss him so much!"

He looked at Mom with a concerned face as he spoke to me. "Honey, Josh is gone. Pray that God will help you move on."

He encouraged me to focus on what I had decided years before. I would not give my heart away, especially to someone who had no desire for it.

Yet, as I laid awake that November 1st morning, a soft whisper drummed a message into my mind. Josh is only gone for a while. My feelings weren't in vain. Tears rolled down my face as I prayed with all of my soul.

Bring him back to me or take away this longing. 

Looking back, I see that if I hadn't been willing to give Josh up... I would have hurt myself deeply. God gives when He knows that you have nowhere to turn but to Him. November 1st 2011 was a grim day of fear and worries, but a year later I was preparing to get married to the very man God had ordained for me to love. The words "I love him" may have first hit my thoughts that Halloween night, but God had ordained that love before the earth was set on it's axis.

The secret to love: if it's true love, you are willing to give up everything for it, even if it means seeing it leave you. If it's of God, it will come back. True love is putting God above all that you desire and saying, "it's yours." We love because He first loved us.... it's encouraging to remember that He has true love mastered.


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