On singleness, cops, crying in cars & trusting God

Yesterday was a weird day. A day that ended with me sitting in my car crying and having a cute cop pull up beside me, make me roll down my window, ask me if I was ok and offer to help me.

I know I posted my “bucket list” the other day and declared I would hold onto hope for better days and dreams coming true, but sometimes it’s still hard to believe for good things when so much pain, fear and disillusionment stare one in the face. I’ve been struggling over the last few days, even though Christmas itself was filled with family, friends, good food and a good time. This past evening things just seemed to spill over after I spent what was actually an enjoyable time with a sister and a cousin at the movies, watching the second installment of the “Hobbit” trilogy. (I still can’t quite get over the fact that Peter Jackson made three movies out of a very short children’s book…although, as a Tolkien fan, I’m not complaining.)

While we waited for the movie to start, my cousin and I spent some time chatting and catching up, since we don’t see each other very often, and as is usually the case, our conversation turned to our status as single women. She and I are eight days apart, in our thirties, and still, regrettably, unmarried. She related to me how her brother made some insensitive remarks to her on Christmas day, regarding her singleness, basically telling her she was “running out of time,” and not likely to ever get married if she didn’t get her act together soon. My heart went out to her, and as much as I love her brother, if he’d been present, I’d have been tempted to smack him. Anyway, she then went on to lament her single status and wonder why only older men and creepy guys seem to ask her out. I told her I seemed to have the same problem (and occasionally guys that are way too young), and that she certainly wasn’t alone in her feelings of “What’s wrong with me? and why do other people seem to have no problem getting married?” It’s especially demoralizing when those much younger than you–like those you used to babysit as children–are now getting married and having children. I felt that acutely just the other day when I noticed on Facebook the engagement of a young man eleven years my junior that I used to think of as a little brother. Ouch. I couldn’t help but turn my gaze heavenward and say, Ok, God, when’s it my turn?

Strangely enough, however, as my cousin continued to lament her singleness, and even as I commiserated with her, I tried to encourage her as well, especially when she told me she often felt angry at God over her singleness and was afraid she’d be single for the rest of her life. I told her to trust God, no matter what. To leave it in His hands. And, somehow, for her at least, I meant those words. I believed those words. And I genuinely want to see her happy and blessed with a husband. But, as I drove home, I couldn’t believe those words for myself. I’m not angry at God over my singleness like my cousin. But I am discouraged. And in a place of unwilling resignation over the fact that I may never get married. When I was younger, I had hope. But as I get older, that hope is quickly dwindling, as I realize the sad fact that men typically age better than women, and unless you’re the exception and one hot cougar, most men won’t look twice at an older woman. (If someone would like to contradict me on this assessment, I’d be happy to hear it. I’m just stating what I observe.)

So, as cruel and insensitive as my cousin’s words to his sister were, I concede there’s some truth to them. Even my other cousin, his sister, conceded that. And that’s why the words hurt so much. As women in our thirties, my cousin and I are definitely, in some ways, “running out of time.” Does that mean God can’t do the miraculous? I hope not. But, yes, a miracle is probably what it would take. Especially for someone in my situation. I actually have more hope for my cousin than myself because not only am I a woman of a certain age, but I feel led to a very specific calling in my life, one that most men wouldn’t want–or at least, all the men I’ve met so far don’t want. And it’s not something I’m willing to compromise on. As much as I want to get married, I know I wouldn’t be happy married to someone who didn’t share a similar calling/career.

So, I’m having to face the fact that, aside from divine intervention, I might very well never get married. And this thought, stirred up after my conversation with my cousin, as well as thoughts about my other current struggles, disappointments, and afflictions, eventually led to my sitting in my car in front of my house, pouring out frustrated tears to a God Who seems absolutely remote right now, and then having a cop pull up beside me, rap on my window, and shine a flashlight in my face. I looked up to see a young cop staring at me, and at his command, I rolled down my window. I couldn’t disguise the fact that I’d been crying, so he immediately asked if I was ok, and when I mumbled a “sort of,” he then proceeded to insist on helping me in some way. I expressed appreciation at this offer, but told him I lived at the house I was parked in front of, would be fine, and would be going inside momentarily. Thankfully, that seemed to assure him enough, and he left me after that. But, understandably, I was slightly embarrassed about the whole situation. It was certainly a first for me. (And it made me wonder why a cop was patrolling our street late at night.)

It also made me ponder the sad fact that most often the tears I shed are either completely unseen or seen by complete strangers. And that seems to be the story of my life. Unseen. Most of my pain and suffering have been completely hidden from those around me. And, ironically, that was one of the things I was railing against God about in my car. The fact that I’m so tired of feeling alone and unseen. Even though I have a big family and a few good friends who care about me, I just feel like I’m always floating on the fringes. That no one truly knows me. That no one has any idea of what I’m truly going through. Perhaps that’s one reason I desire marriage so much. Because if I felt truly seen and known by even one person, it would mean so much to me.

I’m trying to hold onto hope. To believe that maybe my circumstances will eventually change. To believe that God answers prayers and that some of my dreams will come true. To believe that the scary things I’m facing may not be as bad as I think they’ll be.

But sometimes I can’t help but shed frightened, frustrated tears. Because while it may be easy to tell others to simply “trust God,” trusting God myself is often the hardest thing to do.

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More thoughts on intimacy…

I should be studying my precalculus right about now, but instead I feel the need to unburden the confusing, frustrated, and hurting thoughts milling about my head.

Intimacy. Fellowship. Relationship. Friendship. These are things every human longs for. They are natural desires. They are meant to be fulfilled in some way. We are wired this way by God. He said Himself, “It is not good for man to be alone.”

So, why, I keep asking, both myself, and God, are these things still so elusive for me? Why, throughout all my experiences in the church, do I continually find myself feeling like I don’t quite fit in, that deep and meaningful friendships and relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ are so few and far between? I’ve had so few truly fulfilling, truly satisfying experiences in the church, that I’m tempted to give up hope altogether that the “spiritual family” and spiritual friendships I long for will ever materialize.

I’ve been attending a wonderful, Spirit-filled church for the last several months, that I’ve been greatly been blessed by and thank God for, because it’s been a long time since I’ve even attended a church regularly–but as wonderful as this church is, I still feel that familiar, disconnected feeling there. Even in the singles group I’m a part of, I feel out of place, as sweet and friendly as everyone is. I know that part of that out-of-place feeling simply comes from the fact that I happen to fall in that unpleasant category in Christian singledom: mid-thirties, never married and no children. Most of the people in my singles group are not only much older than me, but also divorced with children. So while I put no limitations on friendship, not being able to chime in when most of the people around me are discussing their kids, ex-spouses, etc., definitely hinders me from establishing meaningful relationships. It’s also frustrating when you’re still the “newbie” after several months, and it’s clear everyone else has known each other for a while and formed a friendly rapport with each other.

But more than any of these things, it frustrates me most of all that the majority of the people in this singles group seem more preoccupied with superficial, trivial things than the things of God. Unless we’re actually sitting down in our official “discussion” time, it seems most of the chatter revolves around sports, recreation, painted toenails (for the women), and other trivial matters–which, in and of themselves, there’s nothing wrong with, and I’m certainly not opposed to, but when I gather with fellow believers on a Sunday morning, I’m not really there to talk about trivial things. I want to share Christ. I want to pray. I want to be prayed for. I want to see Jesus show up. But how can He, when we’re so preoccupied with everything BUT Him? And how can I ever truly find the sweet, intimate, Christ-centered fellowship I long for, when those around me seem more satisfied with talking about who won the football game and what color their toenails are?

I’m not claiming to be more spiritual than any of these people. Far from it. I like painting my toenails, and I love watching football, but there is a time and place for those things. I just don’t think Sunday mornings are that time and place. And when I sit there, as those around me discuss everything but Jesus, something inside me just aches with loneliness. And I walk away feeling so empty and disappointed. Feeling once again that I don’t fit in. That as much as I long for relationships, apparently I’m not going to find them in church. Or at least I haven’t yet. I’m there, but I’m not there. I’m there, but I’m not known. I’m there, but I’m sitting on the outside looking in. And this is the feeling I’ve had throughout my life, in nearly every church I’ve attended. Most often, it’s been outside the four walls of “church” that I’ve found, in brief periods, sweet, Christ-centered fellowship with other believers. Like the time I sat outside for nearly a whole afternoon, in Brazil, talking in Portuguese with a sweet, sweet Brazilian man who told me he was disappointed that most Christians he knew didn’t want to talk about Jesus. So for nearly a whole afternoon he and I simply talked about Jesus. It’s an experience I’ll never forget, and one that, sadly, I really haven’t replicated in my life since then.

Is there something wrong with me? Or is it more than just me? Why is that kind of friendship, fellowship and intimacy so elusive for me? Why do I only seem to find it in isolated pockets and experiences in my life? I’ve been crying out to God for a while now for more Christian friends, deeper relationships, and just a Christian “family” where I feel safe being vulnerable, but so far, even at this church I now attend, such relationships feel so out of reach for me.

I long for intimacy. And I don’t just mean the romantic kind (though I certainly want that too). I long to be known. I long for more than “Hi’s” and half-hearted “How-are-you’s” on Sunday mornings. I long to sit over a cup of coffee with someone, pour out my heart, pray, and just talk about Jesus. But I don’t have that. And I can’t figure out why I don’t. Especially when I pray so much for it, and I’m trying to do all the right things to find it.

So for now, God is all I have. And while having Him is certainly a great comfort, I still struggle in attaining intimacy with Him as well. Sometimes all I want is “Jesus with skin on.”

So here I am, just aching inside, and just wishing the ache would go away.

Thoughts on intimacy

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about intimacy. What is intimacy? What does it mean to be in an intimate relationship with someone?

I guess intimacy has been so much on my mind because it is the one thing I feel my life sorely lacks and the one thing I crave, more than anything else.

I am, by nature, an introvert, and reserved and a bit shy with people, so developing intimate relationships with people has never been my strong point. I am also currently single, and while I’ve been in physically intimate relationships with men in the past, I’ve never experienced true intimacy–the emotional and spiritual kind–with a man, and I confess, especially as I get older, it is the one kind of intimacy I long for more than any other. Which, I suppose, is only natural.

I’ve stated before that I know, at least intellectually, that only Jesus Christ can fully satisfy these cravings of my heart. And I still know, at least intellectually, that no person–no man, even–can truly, fully meet the longings and needs of my heart. To place that burden on anyone is unhealthy, and I recognize and accept this. I’ve been on the receiving end of someone placing that burden on me (my first boyfriend), and it suffocated me so much I ended the relationship. So I get it. I get that no human being, no matter how wonderful and fulfilling the relationship may be, can truly be expected to meet all my cravings for intimacy, acceptance and love.

But if this is true, and God alone is supposed to satisfy and fulfill me, and meet my needs for intimacy, then why is intimacy with God something I continue to struggle with? I read books and blogs by lots of Christians who tell me that God alone is always enough, that it is only through an intimate relationship with Him that I will find true fulfillment, and I always nod my head in agreement, even though my own heart is feeling completely empty, thirsty and unsatisfied, in spite of my attempts to “draw close” to God.

So, I’ve been wondering, why is this? Where am I going wrong? And do any other Christians struggle with this? Just the other day I sat on a fence at my old childhood home, surrounded by green forests, softly chirping birds, a blue sky, sunshine and a delicious, peaceful silence (aside from the birds), and I poured out my heart to God, with many tears, asking Him why, if He were to be my first Love, and the One I’m most intimate with, then why is He so hard to know? And why must He be invisible and remote, when, in my deepest moments of pain, all I want is two safe, strong, and very visible arms to hold me close? In my pursuit of God, I often feel like I’m playing hide and seek. He’ll let me catch glimpses of Him, and those glimpses are wonderful, but then He disappears again, and I’m left chasing after Him, trying to find Him again. I have this very vivid picture in my mind of being in this beautiful forest playing hide and seek with God. I know He’s there in the forest with me, so that’s somewhat comforting, but He’s always just out of reach. I’ll see Him just ahead of me, peeking around a tree, and excited, I run toward His direction, hoping to finally catch Him, only to find He’s disappeared again by the time I get to the tree. And on and on this game goes. He’s always just ahead of me, “teasing” me as it were, peeking around trees, but actually getting close to Him, or being caught up in His tangible embrace, is always just out of reach.

Naturally, this game of hide and seek with God is extremely frustrating for me. I know, as wiser Christians keep reminding me, that I’ll never develop intimacy with God unless I spend time with Him, and to spend time with God I am supposed to pray and read His Word. Well, I confess, I do derive some comfort from “spending time” with God in this way, but the truth is, at least lately, even praying and reading His Word seem to give me only so much satisfaction. I still come away, not only feeling thirsty, but asking more and more questions. I’ve been delving into the Old Testament lately, and the more I do, the more I shake my head in bewilderment at many of the passages I read, as I honestly ask myself, How do I develop an intimate relationship with a God who is so beyond my reach, so utterly holy, and, quite frankly, downright frightening at times? I know He is love as well as holy, and there are many beautiful passages that express His love toward me. I know, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I am supposed to be justified before Him, and given access to Him. But still, I find myself drawing back in fear, because I ask myself, How can a sinful, puny little human truly have an intimate relationship with the God of the universe? Especially the God I believe in, as described in Scripture? How can I truly be intimate with someone I am afraid of? If I were married, I would only be able to have an intimate relationship with my husband if I were not afraid of him. Obviously. So, if intimacy with God is more fulfilling than even a marital relationship, then how does the fear of God factor into this? How is fear truly compatible with intimacy? Is there something I’m missing?

I haven’t read any books, or heard any sermons, that address this issue. And so I am left, for the time being, wrestling on my own with these thoughts, questions and frustrations. The only comfort and quasi-answers I’m finding in Scripture are passages written by the apostle John. I like to call John the “apostle of love,” because he seems to write more about the love of God than any other writer in the New Testament. Even he states in 1 John 4:18–a favorite Scripture of mine–that “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” So how do I reconcile this statement with so many other Scriptures that tell me to fear God and portray God as a fearful Being? This is where I’m struggling. I understand the need to fear God. I understand the seriousness of sin. I understand how that separates us from God. I understand Jesus’ blood cleanses us and reconciles us to God. But somehow, none of these truths make me feel truly secure in my relationship with God. They don’t make me feel close to Him or able to truly enter into any kind of intimacy with Him.

When I think of God, I think of my earthly father, who, while never failing to tell me of his love for me, and even showing it to me in different ways, still caused me to draw back from him in fear because he was the strict disciplinarian in our family, and he could/can often be quite intimidating in his “wrath.” I’ve never been able to have an intimate relationship with him, despite his repeated assurances of his love for me, because I’m too afraid of him. Likewise, I feel too afraid of God to truly have intimacy with Him, even though His Word assures me of His love for me. I’m afraid of His anger. I’m afraid of His wrath. I’m afraid of His holiness.

So when people tell me to have an intimate relationship with God, is this really possible? And for those Christians that claim to have this kind of relationship with God, not only am I envious, but I want to know how they enjoy this sort of relationship. Because I’m not sure what I’m missing. I’m envious of the apostle John, who the Scriptures always portray as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” and resting against Jesus’ breast. That’s the kind of intimacy I want with God. I don’t think Jesus loved John more than any other disciple–at least that’s not how I interpret those passages of Scripture. I simply think John was somehow able to enter into a more intimate relationship with Jesus than any other disciple, and because of this intimacy with Christ, he had perhaps greater insight into the love of God than the other disciples. Which is why he wrote about love so much. But that is just my hunch.

So, practically speaking, how do I find this all-satisfying intimacy with Christ, that apparently John had, and other Christians have? Why is it so elusive to me personally? Is it really, truly possible to have intimacy with an invisible Spirit? To find satisfaction, when one’s faith wants so desperately to be sight? Or, is it more like the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13–“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known”? Must I learn to simply be content with dissatisfaction, as contradictory as that sounds? Is true intimacy, whether with God, or another human being, even possible? And if not, what do I do with this cavernous thirst, this profound emptiness, that haunts my soul? I feel like an utter failure as a Christian for even admitting I’m wrestling with these things.

I’m sharing these struggles here because, sadly, I don’t currently have any brothers or sisters in Christ I feel safe admitting these questions and frustrations to. And that in itself only frustrates me more. Despite the fact that I’ve found a church, and that I’ve even made some new friends there, all my relationships there, and with other believers, are mostly surface-level relationships only. I have no one right now I can truly open up to. Either most people I know aren’t on the same page spiritually, or they are simply not interested in developing anything beyond a very superficial relationship. So, even though I have some fellowship now, and I’m definitely grateful for that, I still feel like I’m starving relationally.

I’m starving for intimacy. Even in the midst of a loving family, even in the midst of a wonderful church, even in the midst of new friendships…I feel alone. Desperately alone. And I wonder if there is anyone else who feels the way I do.

How do I find the intimacy I crave? Will I ever find it with a husband? Will I ever find it with God? Will this emptiness, this thirstiness, this hunger, ever go away? Or will it haunt me till I die? Will it only be satisfied when I leave this mortal body?

I wish I had the answers. For now I’m simply searching. Praying. Wrestling. Hoping this gaping hole in my heart will one day be filled.

Lessons in weakness and in letting go

hopeSo what is this weakness in myself that I abhor so much?

It is my weakness with the opposite sex. As hard as I try to fight it, it seems to cling to me with ferocious tenacity.

The roots are in my childhood, of course. (Aren’t they always?) A strict, severe father that I was too afraid to get close to, a cold, aloof mother who overlooked me, an older man who took advantage of me when I was a little girl, a disease that made me feel ashamed and different—-it’s hardly surprising I became confused, mixed up, and desperately insecure. The love I could not get where I should’ve gotten it, I looked for in the wrong places. Even at a young age I noticed that what little acceptance and affirmation I received came from the opposite sex—however wrongly—instead of my own sex.

And so, that hunger for love and acceptance carved a huge hole in my heart, that I sought to fill with whatever male attention I could get.  And as I grew older, and the “plain Jane” and “ugly duckling” transformed into a more comely creature, the male attention I sought became more and more accessible. I learned to rely upon my “sex appeal” for my sense of self-worth. I was a natural at flirting. Where I clammed up around women, with men I felt at ease. I put up with all sorts of advances and behavior—some of which could even be called sexual harassment—-merely to feed the attention-seeking vacuum in my heart.

I am heartily ashamed to admit all of this now. Looking back, I cannot believe at how low I once stooped. But the heartbreaking thing is that the insecurity that once drove me to tolerate such disgusting behavior from men, is still very much alive in me. I recognize it now, of course, where I once did not, so I suppose that is a step in the right direction, but it is still this huge, ugly monster that I cannot seem to conquer. As all else in my life spins out of control, I cling to the last vestiges of my self-worth as resting upon the admiration of certain ones of the opposite sex. Whenever I feel low, I remind myself of all the handsome, much younger men I’ve had “flings” with (who, by the way, while good-looking, were all self-centered jerks), and see them as “trophies” on my wall. How sad and pathetic is that. Yes, I say to myself, you were a good girl and had the guts and morals not to give into temptation, but you must have been something pretty special to get such fine physical specimens of the opposite sex to fall for you!

Disgusting that such thoughts should float through my mind! And yet, though I try hard to suppress them, they still do. Even as recently as a few weeks ago, I faced temptation in regards to the opposite sex. A young man at least eight years my junior, asked for my number. It was immensely flattering. He was a very good-looking fellow, a Marine, and how well I could have justified myself in caving to his appeal. Oh how tempted I was to give in. But I steeled myself, and blew him off, reminding myself that, like every other young, attractive man who has ever pursued me, he was sure to want only one thing. And though it might boost my ego for a short time to be on the arm of a much younger, gorgeous Marine, it could only end in heartache. Besides, he was only attracted to a “mirage” of myself. Not the real me.

But my weakness in regards to the opposite sex has been mainly magnified in another situation, in another sphere of my life. I can honestly say that up until recently I never knew what “falling” for a man meant. Lust, yes. Like, yes. Infatuation, yes. But genuinely caring for someone so deeply that their happiness was more important to me than my own? This is a first for me. I never expected to fall for this person. And I actually tried very hard not to. But I was too weak. God’s gentle warnings stirred my spirit, urging me to “guard my heart,” and oh how hard I tried, but ultimately I failed. I saw him nearly every day, I had to interact with him nearly every day, and this proximity eventually led to my downfall. I knew better than to feel what I did for him—he was very much “unavailable,” an unbeliever, and a bit of a “bad boy” (not “bad-bad” in a “drugs-tattoos-jail” sort of way, just “bad” in the image he portrayed).

Perhaps it was partly the fact that I knew I couldn’t have him, and that he was, at least by my standards, a bit “bad,” that drew me to him. And it was hard to resist feeling something for him, when, at least for a while, it was obvious to me he found me a source of interest as well. It was not always a lop-sided affair between the two of us. But I was drawn to him not merely because of physical attraction, or other outward factors—-I was drawn to him primarily because he aroused within me what is both my greatest “weakness,” and perhaps my greatest strength. He aroused my compassion. My empathy. I am a sucker for the broken, the lost, the downcast, the oppressed, and those in bondage and pain. And he embodied these.

And that is why I grieve even more over my stupidity and foolishness in allowing myself to become entangled in romantic feelings for this young man. Initially, I wanted nothing more than to reach out to him, to show him the love of Christ, to be a witness to him. My intentions and heart were pure. I began praying for him. And God answered some of these prayers, in a beautiful way. But, like the fool I was, I let my heart become involved with this young man in ways it shouldn’t have. As he opened up to me more and more, instead of continuing to focus on what God was doing, and continuing to love him with the love of Christ, I allowed my own neediness, and desire for male affirmation, to get in the way. And I hate myself now, so much, for this! That my weakness should hinder anyone from coming to Christ is reprehensible.

Finally, in recent months, as I realized I was not winning the war with my weak flesh, and mourned over the fact that it was crippling me in my efforts to truly reach out to this young man, I told my Father in heaven that one of two things had to happen: for my sake, and for his, one of us had to go. So, a few weeks ago, he left. Without warning, without a word. He was gone. I had hoped I would be the one doing the leaving, as it would’ve been easier—for now, I am reminded of him every day, and cannot get away from the memories of him I have in the place we once shared as co-workers. But God knows what He’s doing, and I know He did what was best. And as much as I ache with sadness over this young man’s parting, I am filled with a strange kind of joy as well. Joy that God answered my prayer, and joy for the young man, that he is doing better things with his life (prayerfully!) and has a better chance of finding Jesus apart from me.

So if anyone reads this and feels led—-please pray for this young man alongside me. For all I know, I may be the only person that’s lifting him up in prayer right now. He needs all the prayer he can get. His name is “Michael.”

I miss him. But his life is completely in God’s hands now. And I am the better off for it. I am learning the hard way that true, agape love “does not seek its own.” It does not cling, but holds with open hand. It lets go. And I, if I truly love and care for this young man, with God’s love, instead of my own selfish brand of “love,” will not mind letting him go.

Forbidden fruit

Why does one always want what one knows one can’t have? What is it about “forbidden fruit” that is so tantalizing?

One thing I have really struggled with, and had to lay at God’s feet over and over again, is the issue of my singleness. I am not getting any younger, and as each year slips by, remaining single gets harder and harder, especially when so many I know are getting married all around me. I’m ashamed of the jealousy that fills my heart every time someone I know finds their “special someone.” I was even jealous of my oldest brother, who, at nearly 34 years of age, finally wedded recently. I was happy for him, too, of course, but seeing him so happy, made me feel my own lonely state all the more.

So, do I have the “gift of singleness,” that the apostle Paul talked about? I don’t know. I’m not even sure I know what it means. Does it mean one has no desire at all to marry? If so, then I definitely don’t. Does it mean one has no sexual desire? Again, I fail the test there. I refer to the Apostle Paul’s words—“it is better to marry, than to burn”—for comfort on that account.

But singleness seems hardest of all when it is self-imposed…..and when, in that state of self-denial, self-control, and self-discipline, one meets a person that threatens to shatter all their hard-won resolve. I am in such a place. I have come to care deeply about someone I know I can’t have. It’s completey irrational that I even care about him at all. And yet, I see him nearly every day, and I know that the feeling is not completely one-sided. He’s not a Christian. He’s got a girlfriend. We are from completey different worlds. I feel crazy for even allowing myself to care about him at all.

And yet, I do. And I know it’s not so much what he looks like that draws me to him, but who he is underneath all the exterior stuff. And that person is wounded and broken like myself, a fellow traveler through the “Valley of Trouble.” A kindred spirit, in many ways. But unlike me, he has no door of hope—no Saviour to look to when the going gets rough.

The Romantic Idealist in me, of course, wishes I could be the one to “save” him. I’m naturally drawn to those who are in pain, who are trodden and downcast, and I long to “fix” them. But the Rationalist in me knows that I could actually never save or fix anyone. Only Jesus can. And if I truly love or care about someone, I have to love them enough to “let go” of them, and place them completely in Jesus’ hands.

And that’s what I’m struggling with right now. This young man is my “forbidden fruit.” Every logical, rational fiber of my being tells me caring about him is absolutely futile. But, meanwhile, my heart is at war with my head, and the Holy Spirit is confronting me on all levels, urging me simply to “guard my heart.” I have to constantly ask myself, What do I want most? Do I want this young man for myself? Or do I want him to find healing, hope, and salvation in Christ? The answer to these questions quickly gages the validity of my feelings and how well I am “guarding my heart.”

I long to honor God. And I know He cares more about this young man than I do. So I’ve simply got to trust…..and to pray.

And to let go.