Time is a tricky thing. Sometimes it seems to drag on (like when you are waiting for an overdue baby to arrive) and sometimes it feels like you blink and years have gone by. Right now I am experiencing the latter.
It is hard for me to believe that it has been seven years already. Seven years since Phillip and I went on our first date.
I often think back to those days when we were head-over-heels in love. Not because I wish to go back or because we aren’t in love now (we are actually more in love now than we were then) but because of what God taught me during that time.
From the very frist moment that I saw him my heart was his. I know, it sounds like something out of a sappy chick-flick. To be honest, I never believed in love-at-first-sight, until it happened to me. Our friendship began while we were doing hurricane disaster relief in Slidell, LA. After long, hot days of sorting through clothes and ministering to people we would sit outside in the Burger King parking lot where we were camped out and just talk. Long after everyone else had retreated to their tents or designated spot in the motor home, we would be sitting under the stars talking about anything and everything.
By the time we were home our relationship had really already begun, but on September 18th, 2005 we went on our first real date. After that date, our future together was pretty much set in stone. Well, sort of.
With 14 years between us we weren’t exactly the picture perfect couple. Add Phillip’s worldly and not so distant past to the age difference and we had a recipe for a bit of, well, drama.
Though I know most of them had good intentions, I had many people come to me and tell me I shouldn’t date Phillip. I even had people say that God instructed them to tell me that my relationship with Phillip was pulling me away from my relationship with the Lord. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
Yes, I was captivated by my new love, there is no doubt about that. I woke up in the morning eager to talk to him on the phone. I couldn’t wait to see him at chapel then get to spend the afternoon browsing malls or sitting on park benches with him (hey, that’s what you do when you don’t have money for real “dates”). When we said goodbye in the evening my heart longed for morning to come just so I could see him again. Yes, I was enthralled, and I still remember the moment when in my quiet time with the Lord I found myself asking, “Do you love God this way?”
In my 19 years of life I had never loved another person the way I loved Phillip at that time, and I had never experienced that kind of love for the Lord. My heart was convicted that every morning I should long to hear His voice even before my feet hit the floor. I should be captivated by Him, enthralled by His beauty. I should be eager to be at His side ALL day and ache when I find myself far from Him. After all, isn’t that how God feels toward us?
God used my human and flawed love to teach me about His perfect love.
It was during that time when Psalm 27:4 sprang to life in my heart and spoke wonders to me. As my love for Phillip grew, so did my love for the Lord.
As for the suggestions that I end my relationship with Phillip…I did pray about it (as anyone should) and I especially prayed about the fact that he was so young in his faith with the Lord (the issue most of the people thought was grounds for ending the relationship). I’ll never forget the answer I got from the Lord, because it came so clearly to me.
I felt God tell me to look at Phillip’s heart and see if he desired more of the Lord. If he did, then all the “concerns” didn’t matter, because the Holy Spirit would continue to grow him as he continued to seek the Lord.
Sometimes I think we expect Christians to be too “perfect” and we forget that we are all a work in progress. I did as I felt the Lord told me to, and I saw a man whose heart desired God. That was enough for me.
Now, 7 years after that very first date, though I didn’t think it possible at the time, I love Phillip more than ever. He is an amazing husband, father and man of God and I am blessed beyond measure to have him.
Happy anniversary of our first date, my love, may we have many, many more.