Hi, I'm Hope
You may be wondering what kind of credentials I have for advising you on how to conduct your love life. You have a right to know what my own journey has been like and why I have a passion for helping others in this very sacred area of life.
I title my testimony "Done there, Been that." Yes, you read that correctly. I didn't say "Been there, Done that" because relationships reflect who you ARE, not what you DO.
I hope that by sharing with you who I was and who I became, you may
be able to identify similarities or differences to your own life and
learn from my example.
Like 1 Corinthians 10:6 says, "Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted."
That word "lust" usually has a negative connotation, referring to sinful sexual desire. But it really just means "desire." Jesus used the same Greek word when he said, "With desire (lust) I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer" (Luke 22:15).
So, the things we lust after (or want) aren't always bad. If there's one thing you learn from me, it's that you do what you do, because you want what you want. You do not need to take another psychology class to figure out why you behave a certain way. Your heart (wants) directs your behavior.
Like most females, I wanted Prince Charming.
Some Unfortunate Facts
I fell into the sad error which is so prevalent in this degenerate age, especially with women. I measured my value by how much attention I received from guys. When I got dressed in the morning I'd intentionally wear something tight, eye catching and flattering. I knew the guys talked about me in the locker room and I felt proud of that.
The guy who asked me to the prom my Junior year eventually told me
how he decided to ask me instead of someone else. For a week he kept a
score card, giving points to various girls based on how good they
looked, how they responded to his flirtations, and how much they talked
or smiled at him. Apparently I scored the highest. Flattering, isn't
it? Um...at the time? Yes. Now that I think about it? I'm offended.
As I said before, what I did only reflected who I was.
Why did I dress or act the way I did? Because I believed (subconsciously of course) that my value was determined by how much people liked me. Therefore I had the right to determine what I did with my body, my social life and my education. I did not grasp the concept that Jesus had purchased me with His own life (because He valued me enough to die for me) and that I belonged to Him. He had the right to be consulted in all things. But because I didn't understand this, I lived for my own glory and not His.
"Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)
High School Graduation
For graduation, my oldest sister gave me a very unique graduation gift. She gave me, of all things, a book. A book that at first glance looked very "dorky." "I Kissed Dating Goodbye?" Really? Why would anyone do a silly thing like that?
Since my life revolved around boys, and I liked reading, I figured I'd at least check out the first chapter. I ended up taking it with me on our senior trip to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. An entire hotel was rented out to our class as well as several other high school graduating classes and we spent four days getting drunk at dance clubs and sleeping off the hangover getting tan by the pool during the day.
While everyone was compromising their purity, I was learning about it for the first time.
Part of me felt gypped that nobody ever even tried to teach me about purity. Who knows if I would have been teachable at the time, but still....All I knew was that it was wrong to have sex before marriage. But there's a WHOLE lot of things you can do without going all the way.
Until that time, Hollywood, 17 magazine and MTV provided my food for thought when it came to relationships. The role models in my life also did not provide a godly example.
I did not know that I was worth more than what I was selling myself
for. Nobody ever
sat me down and told me what qualities were important to look for in a
guy or what the real purpose of marriage is. I had no idea that God had
something better for me. But God did not leave me a victim of ignorance.
There in front of me was a whole new paradigm. A radical shift of values, identity, and purpose. In the pages of Joshua Harris' book I discovered a God who wanted to to protect me. A God who wanted to be so intimate with me. He was not just a God who blessed my food and kept me safe while I traveled. He was a God who wanted to make me happy and provide for the deepest lusts of my soul; intimacy, love, acceptance, identity, understanding, and belonging.
I found my Prince Charming.
After reading that book along with other eye opening experiences that summer, I made a commitment to myself and God that I would not date anyone until I was certain I wanted to marry them.
wanted a clean slate. I wanted a new identity. I really, really wanted
someone who was attracted to my personality and character more than my
body and my looks. So, before going off to college I cut my long blonde
hair very short and dyed it red. I thought this would be a safeguard
because I knew guys wouldn't be as attracted to me that way.
But what-do-you-know, before I even got through the student orientation weekend, I found a guy friend who I clicked with right off the bat. During one of the assemblies, I sat with my mom and several hundred other new Freshman and listened to some Seniors tell us about all the clubs and activities we could and should get involved with.
When it came time for questions and answers, I raised my hand and asked if they had a swing dancing club. Little did I know that this particular denomination did not approve of dancing. I felt like an idiot but directly afterwards a guy came up to me and introduced himself and told me that he also swing dances and it would be fun to go together sometime.
In a sea of strangers, I had found someone who I connected with and suddenly did not feel so alone. We ate together in the cafeteria and discovered we had more in common. We became "best friends" for 6 months and by Valentine's Day we made our status official as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Being friends with someone for that long was a record for me. We got to know each other so well. I discovered that good guys do exist. He was a true gentleman and a real Christian. He loved the Lord and treated his mom and sister and other girl friends of his with genuine affection and respect. Most of all he treated me like the most special person in the whole world. We talked on a spiritual level, sharing our struggles, fears, joys and hopes. I had never built emotional bonds with someone on that level before. I knew he would become my husband and felt peace with moving forward as a couple.
Then summer vacation came. I spent the hot months in a Christian youth ministry. My faith deepened but it was also challenged. I began my Sophomore year of college truly wanting to know what I believed for myself. Not what my parents believed. Not what my teachers believed. Not what my friends believed. I wanted to study the Bible for myself and know what the Bible taught regarding specific subjects. My boyfriend became alarmed. He had an ominous feeling that somehow my search would disrupt the comfort of our relationship.
He was right. We both came to different conclusions regarding some important doctrines and although it was very hard for both of us, we mutually decided to break up. We did not want to be unequally yoked. Being on the same page spiritually was important to both of us and we knew that we wanted harmony, not discord in our marriage. We cried together and lamented our fears. "How will we ever find someone who will make me as happy as you?"
But in our hearts we believed that God was able to do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). God wanted our happiness too. God promises, "Them that honor me, I will honor" (1 Samuel 2:30).
I wondered what to do with
all the pictures we had taken together so I decided to make a scrapbook
and title it, "A Successful Courtship." It was successful because the
purpose was to decide if we were suitable for marriage. Our courtship
served it's purpose and I had no regrets.
we broke up, I suddenly had SO much time! I began to really pour my
heart into my relationship with God. I had no one else. He became my
best friend. My true love. It was as if I had destroyed the altar of
idolatry I had been worshiping at for many years. I had made romantic
relationships my god and now I had genuinely decided to let go of my
wants and desires and completely leave it in God's hands. To do His will
and glorify Him was honestly the cry of my heart.
I experienced a new intimacy with God I had never known before because I had been too distracted with developing bonds with boyfriends before.
Like the Song of Solomon says, "I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go" (Song 3:4)
I realized that God wanted to be married to me (Jeremiah 3:14) and that he calls himself my husband (Isaiah 54:5).
realized that I was complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). My identity,
value and purpose were not connected to how much someone liked me. They
were connected to Jesus.
I spent the next two years growing in my faith. I transferred to a Bible college and began to really thrive and blossom. I had amazing teachers who invested in me, believed in me, and trained me to serve God effectively. I began giving Bible studies to people in the community and really enjoyed serving in ministry.
When I attended my ex-boyfriend's wedding I had nothing in my heart but sheer happiness for him. He found a girl who was absolutely perfect for him, who complimented him so well and I thanked God for His leading.
He makes all things beautiful in His time
Another year went by for me and I had the honor of working at the Bible college I attended as a student. While there, someone started showing interest in me. I had some level of interest in him as well but I did not have full confidence that it was God's will to move forward. When he asked me one day on a hike if I'd like to pursue a "purposeful friendship" (whatever that means), I said no because I didn't want to risk taking a step forward and then taking a step back. I needed more time to pray and think about it. I told him it would take me at least 2 months (this is based on my previous history of going out with guys for a max of two months before realizing we were not "meant for each other").
that two months I worked in a different location for a couple of weeks
doing intensive ministry in a specific town. Someone I had briefly met 8
months prior was there, leading out in the outreach program. The first
thing I noticed about him was his confidence. He gave a worship talk and
he spoke with such spiritual authority, certainty, and conviction. He
knew who he was, who God was, and what God wanted for His life.
In the two weeks we worked together I learned that he knew A LOT about the Bible, he was a man who lived a principle-centered life (not feeling driven) and I really liked his leadership style. We worked really well together and I noticed myself developing an attraction to him. I sensed that he was attracted to me too.
I felt so confused. Now there
were two guys to pray about and I did not want to take any steps forward
until I knew it was God's will.
So at the end of two weeks when our outreach project was over he said to me, "I've really appreciated your insight these last two weeks. I need your insight on one more thing. I noticed we have some.....chemistry. Do you mind if I keep in touch?" I kindly said, "No." He looked at me puzzled. "No, you don't mind? Or No, I can't keep in touch?" I said, "No, I don't think it would be a good idea." I left it at that. I didn't explain it any further. Needless to say, the next morning when I had to drive him to the airport, our car ride felt very awkward.
A week or so later I had to call him regarding our outreach project. A couple of weeks after that I found another excuse to talk to him. Eventually we were talking every day and he finally suggested that we pray about our interest in each other.
I called my pastor and asked what he thought of David. I had fasted all day and had prayed, "Lord, please lead and guide me through my authorities and your Word. I will humbly accept your will." My fingertips hovered over the keyboard of my laptop ready to type out whatever my pastor said. After a long pause my pastor, who has very high standards and who I highly respect and admire said, "Nobody stands as tall as David, at least in my estimation." My heart fluttered with joy. He approved! My insides were cheering but I tried to remain calm as I listened to the rest of his advice. He told us to take things slowly and prayerfully.
Four days later, David called all four of my parents (step-parents included) and asked for their permission to court me. None of them had any reservations and were thrilled based on my description of his character and their time on the phone with him. He also spent a weekend with my family shortly after that, preached at my home church, and my family's approval was confirmed further.
We also called any other respected mentors in our lives, asking if they had any concerns, reservations or advice regarding us pursuing a serious relationship. We tried to stay humble and teachable all through our courtship, even up to the night before the wedding, asking God to help us see clearly any red lights to end the relationship.
I kept a
journal of observations I made about him so that I continued to keep my
eyes open instead of being blinded by feelings.
We courted for a year, he proposed, and we were married 6 months later.
have enjoyed seven wonderful years of marriage to date and we have two
amazing children. I have a bachelor's degree in Biblical Counseling and
enjoy mentoring people, especially in the area of relationships.
Love is like a plant of heavenly origin. It grows best in the soil of humility, prayer, study, wise counselors and attentive rational thinking.
It will take God into all its plans. It is not unreasonable, blind,
defiant of all restrain or idolatrous. I am so thankful that my husband
and I cultivated the soil of our heart before trying to plant seeds of
I know that the principles I share in this website are true. I don't know where I'd be or more importantly who I'd be if someone had not shared with me about God's ideal for my love life.
I want to pay it forward now and help others who could use instruction or motivation to do what is best for their love life. Blessings as you honor the Lord in this area and seek to glorify Him. As you do, He will honor you.
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