12.12.2012

Part 1 - Growing Up



 Where to begin?

Since it’s been five years in the making, we need to start at the very beginning…all the way back to 2007. We will share the basic details of the past five years in the first few blogs to develop context and then each talk about the difficult yet profound lessons that God has taught us. We pray that you will be encouraged through this and realize that God wants to use you wherever you’re at. 





But let’s start at the beginning shall we?

Picture this with me.

14 year old girl. Beginning high school. Excited for new adventures. Insecurities about puberty, being liked and fitting in. Longing to be loved.

That’s how I would summarize entering the new world of high school. I wanted to be in the ‘right’ group, have the right friends, right boyfriend and partake in all the right activities. I was a Christian and loved Jesus, but I didn’t truly grasp that He could love a girl like me. I believed in God but I doubted if He really believed in me. Because I longed to be loved and wasn’t accepting that love from the Lord I found it in friends compliments, activities and boyfriends. Ask any of my close high school girlfriends how many boys I would “talk” to at once… this was an ongoing joke all throughout high school… sometimes they would make the list past ten. Point being: I got my affection, love and belonging in the world from others: humans that are imperfect and will make mistakes… I was basing my worth on them.

Typing this isn’t easy. O how I wish I could shake myself back in grade nine and ten and tell myself to run to Jesus for my worth knowing that the world can never and will never satisfy and that Jesus longs to love with me with a love that isn’t of this world. Jesus loves me enough to die for me…. He died knowing everything I have done, will do and are dealing with… if only I grasp’d even a piece of that concept in high school…sigh*

Summer of grade nine came and went and for two weeks at the end of the summer I worked at Conestoga Bible Camp, which is where I met Mark. Mark noticed me, thought I was good-looking and we got along great but I didn’t really care for him to be honest. He was a senior in high school and a “great Christian man”- He would never be so low to date me, so I never really gave it much thought. You see I’ve been dating boys since middle school, looking for my worth from their words and actions. (I didn’t know this consciously but looking back it’s obvious to me) Mark and I had great conversations but none that filled my need. After talking to Mark at length about it now, Mark knew he liked me back in the summer but was to nervous and thought “there’s no way I would ever go for him- I was way out of his league.” However he mustered up the courage to ask me to Christmas banquet that the churches put on. I would love to say that the rest is history, we started dating shortly after and have been smooth sailing ever since- but I can't. What I can tell you is that God was working on us all the way back in 2007. I love how God works, how His timing is never our own, but it’s always perfect in His plan. Many times Mark has asked “why God” through the times I’ve broken it off with him and what is God’s plan in all of this… looking back now it’s clear to both of us just how much God was working.

I did fall for Mark, absolutely. But like I mentioned above there were other boys I’d been dating so Mark became another great guy friend who I was interested in.

However, I was fifteen, super immature and just trying to survive the pressure of high school and was dating another guy. I so desperately wanted to be loved and cherished by him that I started going sexually farther than I wanted to: this was a massive wake up call. By this point I’d been cheated on and took him back but was so terrified that he would leave me for another girl again… so I kept convincing myself that going just a little bit farther wasn’t a big deal if it made him stick around. By this point I had myself convinced God didn’t want to use me and after begging the Lord for forgiveness and not feeling any different my patterns didn’t change much.

I let Satan control me in the area of shame because I compromised my values.  Let me quickly explain. When we ask for forgiveness God forgives it all and we can go boldly in confidence knowing He forgets the sin and we should too. (And change our ways/strive to never do that sin again) However, I never got the “walk boldly in confidence of who I am in Christ part.” So I let myself stay in shame. Feeling so guilty about everything but continuing to sin because I had already gone ‘this far’ I just kept going or at least doing the same.  After all this, I broke up with him and a few weeks later Mark asked me out before the summer and I ran directly into his arms. After three weeks of being so confused and trying to work on this new relationship with a guy I truly cared about, I convinced myself if Mark ever knew my past there is no way he would want to be with me, so I saved both of us heartbreak in the future and ended it quickly.

I spent August working at camp again and Mark was there. That left me with little time to be focused on other men and more focused on God. At this point, during my summer going into grade 11, I had started a mild eating disorder and was pretty confused about life.

Let me pause for a moment and tell you that during these years I was happy and did love life. There were so many great things that happened but I painted a picture that I had it all together when inside I felt that I didn’t. But looking back at these years I’ve learnt that God loves me (and you) whether we have it all together or not and we shouldn’t have to hide our imperfections and insecurities.

Getting back on track: Mark and I continued to chat over August that year and had so many amazing conversations. He was so different. He led me closer to Christ and wanted to pray for me and encouraged me so much. We got along so great without the pressure of school, boys and fitting in. Summer was amazing with Mark… and that’s the trend our friends saw... 

Date/get close with Mark in the summer and then ditch and run as soon as high school hit again and my reality set back in.  Throughout grade 11 (Mark’s 5th year) we stayed very close. I dated a guy off and on through this time and had some very manipulating and abusive encounters with other men that year that left me heart broken and even more cautious about the labels being put on me and the extra five pounds I was desperate to loose. I also wrestled a lot with trust and commitment issues. I was sick of breaking boy’s hearts and breaking my own in the process but I was so deep in this cycle of looking for love in all the wrong places that it just continued.

Mark and I ended up dating again that next spring, but once again I ended it not being in any place emotionally to be in a committed relationship. Mark was committed: always.  And I wasn’t near ready for that….

These years were tough for me but especially for Mark. Liking me constantly for years and getting to date me for months here and there but that being it. It was hard for him to trust me and trust God that he was actually doing what God wanted him too. But I’ll let him share more of his story in the upcoming blogs!

To close this blog off, high school for us was a time when we noticed each other, dated twice, facebook’d almost every day and grew together a lot through the summers. Mark was striving to love me like Christ and I was noticing. I wasn’t acting on it yet, but bit by bit Mark slowly started to get to know all of me, my secrets and fears and things that I swore if he ever knew about he would break up with me instantly. As I slowly started sharing, Mark remained; something Christ does so perfectly. God never gives up on us and Mark wasn’t giving up on me yet either & as 2012 is coming to a close I am so thankful that Mark and I can share this story now knowing that he  never gave up.



Stay tuned for part 2

Mads.

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