Part 2.

I believe we all have a story to share. God has put each one of us on this earth with different gifts, talents and passions and we are called to use them to glorify God and His name alone. Whether you’ve been a Christian your entire life or are just figuring out who God is and if He even exists, I believe you have a story to share.

This is my testimony.

(Don’t worry- you will hear from Mark soon… we write these blogs together even though it’s mostly from my perspective, but continue reading through the series and he will write from his perspective too! )

Mark and I still weren’t together. (Grade 12-Mark 1st year) After years of talking and conversations we hadn’t ever dated for more than a few months. Mark strongly believed that he didn’t want to play with girls hearts and made conscious efforts not to date a bunch of girls but planned on dating only one woman. Mark hadn’t dated anyone other than me (which I adore to this day) and had never kissed a girl. So when it came to his relationship with me, his intentions were always clear: this terrified me. I wasn’t near ready for marriage and although Mark didn’t mean that he wanted to marry me right away, he knew I had the qualities he wanted in a future spouse. It scared me knowing how ready he was for a committed dating relationship and how insecure I still remained about relationships and commitments. If you remember (from part 1) I dated a fair bit and got involved with men that were very manipulative- lets just say my view on relationships wasn’t a great one.

I had commitment issues and didn’t trust men, including Mark. What amazes me is the patience Mark has shown with me throughout the years. Because Mark remained a constant friend, supporter and encourager he allowed me to slowly…(key word slowly) open up to him about my hopes, fears, dreams to live in Africa and of course my past. Each time I opened up to Mark I always thought he would be so upset with me and never want to hang out with me again… and each time I was proven wrong.  Instead he loved me more, encouraged me more, prayed with me even more and never left. God used Mark to paint an earthly picture of His (God’s) patience with us every single day. God is constant and is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) Whether you’ve been a Christian your entire life or figuring out who God is, we are constantly disappointing Him and sinning and yet God still gives us another chance. He is patient with us and never gives up. Each time we run back to the Lord admitting we screwed it up He takes us back. I love God and how patient and loving He is. Those characteristics’ of God are qualities Mark modeled as I worked through all my commitment issues. Mark knew I’d been hurt by other men and was so loving and patient as I worked through it all. I am such a blessed woman to be loved by a man who strives to love me like God does.

Mark and I spent the summer of 2010 together at camp. By the end of the summer I knew. People always told me “wait for a man who loves Christ more than you. Wait for a man who treats you right and if he loves you like Christ loves you, it will be ‘easy’ to submit to his leadership.” I knew Mark did this. Yes, it took me three years to figure it out and as you’ll read another two years to be mature enough to act on it but I knew Mark was not just another boy I’ve dated and been close with.  Trying to summarize how I knew is difficult. Mark loves me with a love that can’t be found in this world; it can only be found by knowing Christ and that was/is the difference. All my past relationships I had been loved with a worldly type of love. But Christ’s love is selfless and giving. This love doesn’t give up when times get tough or the emotions of happiness goes away. This love puts the other first: always. That’s what Christ did for us by dying for us. He loves us so much that He died so we could be with Him forever.
& that’s how I knew Mark was a man I could marry and love- cuz Mark’s love was so different, so pure.

My first year of university was tough though (Mark’s 2nd yr.) Dealing with the intense pressure of high school was tough already, but living on my own in a university culture where drinking every day in frosh week and the weekends is considered normal brought it to another level. This ‘free and be single’ attitude kept Mark and I away in the fall after being so close the previous summer. I needed to go to God for my worth but was timid and reserved most of the time so I looked for it once again men and partially in God. These few months were tough for Mark and I figuring out what the summer was and if our futures included one another. Mark and I eventually started dating in December after I got my life ‘back on track’ with God because I still ‘knew.’

There was just one major issue that led me to break up with him three months later:  I didn’t know how to love Mark with that Godly pure love because I refused to fully grasp God’s love for me.  Even though I longed to love Mark with God’s love - if I wasn’t accepting that God was crazy in love with me, there was no way I could show and lead Mark in that same love.

I didn’t realize this all until I went to Africa five months later where I spent a solid year discovering and being romanced by a God who longs to love me and learning to love 18 abused and vulnerable children with that pure and selfless love that can only come from Christ.

But I’ll leave my Africa lessons and the exciting parts of how Mark and I are together today for part 3.

How part 2 ends is bleak. I broke up with Mark in March 2011 and left for Africa in August where I spent a year serving beautiful children and educating refugees. Mark was fed up with me constantly breaking up with him and he told me in March we were over for good. He was done trying and gave up.

When editing this blog Mark asked that I write about how he wasn’t perfect and did give up… I’m quoting what He said: “even though I was trying to love you with Gods love I wasn't perfect and still gave up. Cause we talked lots about me striving to love you like Christ but I think its also important to show even with that desire I did still fail and only God can love you perfectly.” This shows my mans heart so perfectly!! Yes, Mark waited patiently and strived to love me like Christ through these years but he isn’t perfect and eventually did give up. God never gives up – ever.

After all these years of talking and hanging out, we only saw each other once for 20 minutes at a campfire before I left in August 2011 and that was it. I left for Africa with zero hope of a future together with Mark.

Little did Mark and I know what God was going to do in both our hearts in 2012.

Stay tuned for part 3.

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