Jesus, What a Friend and Lover

7 Mar

Today would have marked a very special and unforgettable day in my life. Today would have been the day that I would have walked down a long aisle in a beautiful white dress and taken my vows to became a married woman. Thoughout the past weeks, many of you have expressed concern wondering what had happened and have encouraged me by saying that you were praying for me. I thank you for your love. I thought I would share with you my testimony of what the Lord has and continues to teach me, in hopes that it might be an offering of praise to God.  I am so thankful for the freedom, grace, strength, and joy that I know can only come from my Saviour!__________________________________

It started about a year and a half ago. The Lord sent a young man into my life that I befriended and enjoyed getting to know. As time progressed, my heart was anticipating all that the Lord was going to do in our relationship. I talked to 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 we rejoiced 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. I was overjoyed and ecstatic! We both marvelled at the goodness of God and saw that He had blessed us with the desires of our heart. 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. Life was wonderful—at least that’s what it seemed like. My parents were thrilled for me. This friendship 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 and spend the rest of my life with. Everything seemed so perfect. I had never been so happy in my entire life. After all, 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 by this young man, and I realized that my purpose in life had changed from loving the Lord and seeking to please Him alone. I began 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 by him, every passion and desire was towards him, and all that I wanted for a future I found in him.

Hurts vs. Respect
However, even with having my rose-colored glasses on, I began to have little checks in my spirit about our relationship and future. Small fears arose in my heart and even my parent’s hearts as our relationship continued, but 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. 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 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. But we worked through these times and proceeded through our relationship loving each other.
Six weeks before our wedding day, we had a very important meeting with both sides of the family to discuss some very significant matters. At this point, my fiancé expressed that he had been having concerns for quite some time, and now he and his family thought that the wedding should be postponed. I was completely blown away in shock.  Emotions raged during that meeting and it ended a sour way. Before he left, he 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 utter grief and dismay and became very angry. Upon arriving home, he 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 live without him—after all, he became my purpose in life, my existence in living.
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 did all I could to restore the relationship, but I was turned down and told to leave him and their family alone.
My life and future changed so very quickly and I was devastated. If something so wonderful started out as God’s will, how could it so quickly change, 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 one choose to remove someone they loved from their life? 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 anticipate and love was ripped away from me.

A New Beginning With a New Perspective
On February 3rd, 2009 the Lord blessed me in such an amazing way which allowed me to see that God still loved and cared for me. Mr. Gothard called and spoke to my parents and me and offered me an invitation to come and help in the ministry at the IBLP Headquarters.
This ministry opportunity was an answer to my prayers as I was begging God to lead and direct me in this state that I now found myself in. It was also an evidence to me that God had a purpose and plan for my life. He hadn’t forsaken me. Through this open door, my future looked bright and I was given a vision and purpose. I was overcome with gratitude to the Lord!
Through all the teaching I’ve been receiving, the times of studying and reading the Word of God, and counseling, I’ve come to see why God had allowed all of this heartbreak in my life and what blessings can come from it.

A Discovery of Why the Friendship Did Not Work
God has shown me that through the time of 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. By giving my entire heart and soul to this man, I was left with a divided heart and a heart cannot have two masters.
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. I could not be a channel of holy, agape love, thereby encouraging my fiancé in the way of Christ-likeness. I now see why it is so vitally important that I give my whole heart to God and then allow Him to love other people, including my fiance through me. In that way, I do not have a divided heart and divided loyalty. I had lost my ardent desire to seek the Lord’s 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 now 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 man and my Saviour. I was now 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.
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 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. I failed to trust the Lord completely and depend solely on Him.

The Step of Freedom and Joy
Realizing all of this on Saturday evening, the 21st of February, 2009, 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 restore my heart and soul. After feeling so overcome with grief and heaviness, my spirit was lifted.
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; 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 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 not allow any affection to compete with His love for me.
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20 Responses to “Jesus, What a Friend and Lover”

  1. arielle March 7, 2009 at 4:10 am #

    Wow, what a great testimony Sara! Praise God that you are able to glorify him through all this!! Thanks for writing this, it was a great encouragement to me!!

  2. Tricia (Mom) March 7, 2009 at 8:09 am #

    Only one life to offer-take it, dear Lord, I pray;
    Nothing from Thee withholding, Thy will I now obey (my Jesus);
    Thou who hast freely given Thine all in all for me,
    Claim this life for Thine own to be used, my
    Saviour, ev’ry moment for Thee!
    -hymn by A. Christiansen

    Sara, may Jesus Christ by praised. May you be filled with much grace today! Praying for you. Love you immensely!!!

  3. Chris March 7, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    What an incredible story of personal spiritual growth that you have experienced over the last several weeks. This is a great encouragement and a reminder to all of us that in any situation, we should always seek to learn and understand God’s purpose, accept it, repent when the situation calls for it, and go on for God giving Him thanks every step of the way.

  4. Erin B March 7, 2009 at 8:06 pm #

    Wow, what a great testimony Sara! You have inspired me in so many ways, just by me reading that. It proves that you are a very strong individual and you know who to look to in need or always:) You have lifted my sprits and have taught me to fight my battles in life! I know that God is always right there when you need him, he has given me the strength to move on in life:)

    You are truly a beautiful person both inside and out!

  5. Ginger March 7, 2009 at 11:21 pm #

    This was just a needed read tonight, thank you!
    IN Christ
    Ginger

  6. Elizabeth March 8, 2009 at 7:32 am #

    thanks for sharing.

  7. Arianna March 8, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this, Sara! It’s amazing how God was able to turn around a tragic situation into something good, by you becoming closer to Him through your trials. You are such a special and Godly young woman, and such a blessing to me. Thanks for being such a good example to those around you!

    ~Arianna~

  8. Marjorie March 9, 2009 at 7:05 pm #

    I know this has been a hard time for you, but what a lessons you learned! What a wise God we serve. Thank you for sharing this- it will also help many other girls, too, I’m sure. Very good points.

  9. Amber March 10, 2009 at 8:34 am #

    What a beautiful and honest testimony. May the Lord be praised, Sara. I have been dealing with the truth of my own idols over this past year. It can really leave a person feeling so empty. I am refreshed to see your joy!! Thank you for sharing. I used your last article on rejoicing as a devotion one morning with the children. Wonderful!! Just this weekend I experienced again the fresh live of Christ that my idols had for some time replaced. So freeing!! Indeed, I say rejoice!!

  10. Stinnett Family March 10, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    Dear Sara- Thank you for sharing your heart with us! We think and pray for you often!!

  11. Carolee Schwaderer March 10, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    Thanks for being so open and honest, I am sure we can all learn from this. To God be the glory!

  12. Jenna March 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm #

    What a testimony! How brave of you to be so honest and open about it. You have been on my heart so much since all of this happened. I’m glad you are seeing your way through it!

  13. Stacy March 10, 2009 at 9:56 pm #

    Hi Sara,
    Thank you for sharing that testimony. The Lord has used it as a warning in my life.

  14. loispierpont March 10, 2009 at 11:09 pm #

    So happy to read this Sara.
    God is so good.

  15. Stephen March 11, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    Wow!!! I am totally blown away by your testimony. I am a 40 year old single man who has made many mistakes in my life. It is refreshing to see a young woman take such an amazing stand for Jesus, especially regarding purity and giving Christ sole first place in her life. My prayers are with you, Sara. May God continue to bless and guide your path. May he keep you safe on your upcoming mission trip.

    With Christ’s Love,

    Stephen

  16. Sally March 11, 2009 at 7:28 pm #

    Hello there! You don’t know me, but I found your blog through someone else’s. It has been a big blessing to me and I wanted to write down a few thoughts.

    I found your blog when you were recently an attendant in Adena’s wedding…you were engaged at the time. I so enjoyed looking through and reading all your posts about courtship, engagement, and wedding plans and was so looking forward to seeing pictures of your wedding. However, God had other plans. One day, I came to your blog and there were no pictures of you and your fiance’, no headers about courtship or wedding plans, and the website about your wedding was no longer available. I was so devastated for you! I, like many didn’t know what had happened. But,I knew that there must be a logical reason. Now, what a blessing to read the whole story and see how God has gotten the glory. I went through a similar situation…although I was not engaged to the young man. We were in the courtship phase. I too started to see many “red flags” in the relationship and when I brought them up(prayerfully), he was in total denial. It was a very tough time and I really struggled with making a decision. I so longed to be married, and have a husband…but knew that a lifelong committment was just that-lifelong. If it is going to be forever, it better be God’s will! Anyway, I ended up being the one to call of the courtship with him. I stood before him, in tears, and told him that he may not understand why the break up must occur, but that it was what God wanted and must happen. What I learned, was that God will tell you to do something and though no one else may understand, you still have to do it…because He is your God and you’ve entrusted your whole life into HIS hands.

    I am now happily married to God’s choice for me, and was blessed with a beautiful baby girl 6 months ago. He came along when I wasn’t looking and what a blessed time it was when I realized that he was God’s will for my life. Being completely surrendered to God brings complete peace and joy!

    Hope I haven’t bored you too badly. You are just a blessing and I am so happy to have “met” you through your blog. God bless you as you continue to live for Him and seek His will for your life.

    In Christ,
    Sally
    piano4praise.blogspot.com

  17. Mary Buzzell March 12, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    Oh Sara, God has given you much wisdom through your trials. It is a gift that you have shared with all of us. Thank you for being so transparent in sharing your heart about this season in your life. All who read it will learn and carry away nuggets of truth to apply to their own personal idols. To God be all the Glory!

  18. e03 March 16, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    like others, i was surprised to come to your blog one day (i had been wondering abt your wedding, etc) and see that all those happy pictures, etc. were gone. your thoughts on loving God and letting him love others through you are sort of new to me, or a new perspective. thank you for sharing what you’re learning. there’s beauty in brokenness….

  19. Rayburn April 5, 2009 at 12:28 am #

    Hi, I’m an 18 year old boy who loves the Lord with all my heart. I’ve been following your blog off and on for sometime, and I, like others came to your site today wondering about how your marriage went. When your site came up, I saw that you had nothing about marriage anymore. Curious about what happened, I traced this blog post back in the archives. I’m thankful though that God has used this trial in your life for your good and for His Glory. It’s good that this came up before marriage instead of after. God is so good. I had a similar experience. It wasn’t related to courtship or marriage, but your situation reminds me of mine in so many ways. Anyway I’m glad the Lord brought me through it. I so enjoy your blog and appreciate your standards. After seeing what is in the world today I wonder if there are any young people anymore that believe in morals and standards. Coming across people like you is so encouraging. Keep the faith and never back down on your standards, although you may come across people who don’t like what you stand for. This happens to me all the time. God bless you and your ministry.

  20. Michelle December 3, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    Wow.

    I know exactly how that goes. And this has shed some light on my relationship that ended just a few months ago. I was madly in love with this man… and he tore my heart to pieces. I knew deep down that I was being too close, too clingy, too everything… but I did nothing to change it. Now, he wants nothing to do with me.

    Thank you for this. Seriously

    Michelle

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