Catching the sunset at Jacksonville beach over the weekend. I love watercolor sunsets.
I’m sitting in a corner at Panera in Jacksonville, Florida as I write this. It’s spring break and I came down to see my best friend, Janice, and her hubby. Janice is in class for a few hours so I snuck away with intentions of writing a little and exploring Jacksonville on my own. I’m having the sweetest time adventuring and simply getting to hang out. We go exploring. We bake cookies and dance in the kitchen. We go for beach walks. We talk about anything and everything. We have genuine conversation and I love it. I never imagined when we met in gym class in sixth grade that we would still be building our friendship ten years later. I’ve seen her romance with Stuart, her hubby, grow deep roots. I’ve see how excited she gets when we talk about kids and the future. I could go on and on.
I really want to share my heart and what I’m learning from the Lord right now. Being here has been such a fresh reminder that the Lord is faithful and that Janice’s story is not my story. I love seeing the way that Stuart looks at Jan. I have never seen her as happy as she is when they are together. They laugh and kiss and hold hands in the car. They know each other fully and love each other completely. They are best friends. But above all their marriage is rooted in Christ.
I remember when Janice and I first read When God Writes Your Love Story in tenth grade. We sat on her bedroom floor talking and dreaming. We started to realize just how much the Lord cared about this area of our lives. God isn’t stoic, distant, or detached…He is anything but! We started to realize that the Lord is in the details of all things. He has better stories for us than we could imagine ourselves. We started to dream about the men who would one day become our husbands. We didn’t have to settle. We also started to realize just how intimate our relationships with Jesus could be. The Lord used When God Writes Your Love Story to reveal just how much more He pursues me in a fresh way. Although I had believed in Jesus before that, I hadn’t really thought about how close and real He was. I could and do have a vibrant and life-giving relationship with the Creator of all things.
That revolutionized the way I approached spending time with Jesus. My identity is deeply rooted in Christ. I am a sinner in desperate need of the grace that He covers me in. I am messy and broken, but yet He still pursues me. This continues to draw me to want to know Him more. This year especially I’ve pressed into Jesus in a fresh way. I’ve been genuinely thankful for this season of singleness. My heart hasn’t been distracted and I’ve been given this time to be reminded over and over again that my roots need to be deep in Him. I’ll never be prepared for a future relationship with my man if I’m unaware that my security and significance can only come from being in Christ.
But then I came down to see Janice and Stuart and if I’m being honest I got a little jealous of what they have. I started to wonder when will I meet my man. When will I have someone to grab my hand as we’re walking down the sidewalk. When will I have someone pursue me with intention and honor all the days before and after marriage. When will I get to do everyday life with my best friend. I know that marriage is tough and challenging in a way that I can’t picture now, but I know that it is sacred and beautiful.
It may sound crazy, but I got jealous that I don’t have what Janice has yet. I’ve flashed back to dreaming in tenth grade of the stories that the Lord would orchestrate one day. Now I’ve seen each stage of Janice and Stuart’s relationship grow and develop. I have seen just how faithful the Lord has been with every aspect of their relationship from friendship to dating to engagement and now in marriage.
Sometimes singleness is just plain hard. Especially when I start to compare my story to others and take my eyes off of Jesus. Then I read a quote by Francis Chan that convicted me in the best way possible.
“Be careful not to turn others’ lives into the mold for our own…We have a God who is a Creator, NOT a duplicator.”
Y’all I needed to read that. My story is not Janice’s story and that is a good thing. My story is uniquely my own. The Lord is far too creative to script duplicate stories for anybody. And my goodness I am thankful for that! The Lord is Creator and He is faithful in all of the details. Janice’s story is uniquely scripted just for her by the Lord who loves and pursues her passionately. My story is uniquely scripted for me by the Lord who loves and pursues me passionately.
In Isaiah 43:19, the Lord says “Behold, I am doing a new thing!'” He doesn’t say that He is recycling something old, but that He is doing a NEW thing. That means we each have our own stories tailored just for us by the Lord of infinite creativity!
I am so thankful for how patient Jesus is with me. He is always growing me in the midst of my story. He is faithful. He is close and intimate. I’m beyond excited to meet my man some day soon and see how the Lord scripts every detail; he will be one of my biggest blessings and our marriage one of my greatest joys. BUT the Lord is reminding me that the absolute greatest part of my story is my relationship with Christ. He is the foundation of my story.
My heart pretty much just spilled out on the page as I sit here in Panera watching people come and go. May it remind you that the Lord is Creator and not a duplicator. Happy Monday, sweet friends!