If you have thought that I am crazy for being engaged at the age of twenty, you wouldn't be the first. In fact, I would be the first one to admit to the nuttiness of mine and Jake's journey thus far.
This is something I've wanted to write about for awhile, but I was not sure if it had the proper place in the public web-world. However, the Lord has shown Jake and I that he has us on a journey that was not meant to be private, but to be shared so that Christ may receive glory.
God changes your plans... Lets put it this way. I came to Moody Bible Institute dead set that I would not become a typical "Moody" and get my MRS. certificate before I graduate. But here I am, preparing to do exactly what I set out not to do-- Wasn't my plan perfect, Lord?! Through much prayer on both ends, it was obvious that Christ was bringing Jake and I together through a passion to serve Him. As conversations deepened in the early stages of our friendship, God had clearly been doing a work in both of our hearts separately which ultimately brought us together. The Holy Spirit was confirming this relationship even if I intended to have my plan and my way.
But God is ultimately sovereign, and this is His life to be lived through me, a mere clay vessel. When I listen, he can shape, mold, and direct me on to paths that are far greater than my plan could have ever been. Praise HIM.
God takes us all on different journeys... If there was a detailed blue print map of how life should be lived in order to get to heaven perfectly to follow "God's will", let's just say I'm sure they would be out of print. All though this doesn't exist, for some reason it seems that everyone tries to force their own made-up blue print map on to every one else. Maturing in Jesus has taught me that the only map given includes only these things: to love Christ above all else, the commandments clearly marked out in scripture, and to listen to the Holy Spirit for the rest.
All this to say, there is not a formula for dating, courting, talking, casualling, friendshipping, brothering/sistering, or whatever other methodology our post-modern church has designed for Christians to supposedly make it to marriage successfully. Because if you don't follow the right one, you won't make it there properly (insert sarcasm). But, there is an act of loving Christ above all else and there is a complete surrender of every part of your love life to Him and there is a Holy Spirit full of wisdom and discernment that knows better than any self-help book. That's all on that subject.
Following God's commands is more pressing than following cultural norms... This may be one of the most vital things I have learned, and thus, I have to say it again, in different words maybe: following the commands of God should be the primary concern of Christ followers rather than following whatever social norm is insisted, commanded, expected, and twisted within the culture. What am I saying? I am saying that God's commands are clear in scripture. There is an intimacy within relationships (spiritually, emotionally, and physically-note all three) that was only intended to take place within marriage. God's commands to either remain celibate or pursue marriage are emphasized through Paul's writings. He's really not joking around in 1 Corinthians 7. What does this mean? Jake and I had to pray seriously about our "love life" and where God was leading us. We're not just playing house, and should not continue in such a way. We often face the question and reply: just because culture says you have to be out of college and making X amount of money before you can pursue marriage, is that what the Bible's standards are? We don't recall him talking about college... age... careers... but he does talk about living by faith and surrendering to Him. Don't succumb to society. Succumb to Christ.
I am sure to have many more thoughts to come, but for now, let's just say Jake and I doing our best daily to glorify Christ through our failures, insecurities, callings, mission, successes, craziness, and every step in-between. We are young and we are wildly and fearlessly loving the life that the Lord has given to us. Another rant about our relationship is sure to come, but for now, thank you for your love and support as Jake and I venture to fully devote our lives and service to Christ.
Blessings from yet another crazy twenty-year-old engaged Bible college chick.
I like to talk.