Updated: Aug 26, 2019
It is because of the Lord’s loving kindness that we are not consumed,
because His tender compassions never fail.
They are created new every morning; great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion and my inheritance,” says my soul;
“Therefore I have hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him."
(Lamentations 3:22-24) AMP
Growing up, I was convinced my parents had the sweetest love story. The romantic movies couldn’t compare to their “boy meets girl” moment or the journey it took for their friendship to bloom into a relationship. With nothing but a heart full of faith, a suitcase and a one-way ticket to Russia, they met, fell in love, and were married on the mission field. Since I was a little girl, I would pray for a love story like theirs; the kind of love they still have for one another. A love that could have only been orchestrated by God; one that glorifies Him. If you’re like me (a hopeless romantic), I developed a lot of expectations and ideas of what my story would look like one day. Of course, what would I know? God is the author, not me. He’s the one writing the story. We simply have the joy of experiencing it! Though, I never would have imagined the aches, twists, and detours my “love story” would entail.
I always pictured myself dating once and getting married. Heartbreak-and-pain-free! Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But love isn’t always so simple like in the movies or storybooks. During my second and third year of University, I went through two relationships in the Kingdom. My first relationship was with a brother in my campus ministry. We dated for three months while I was away on an internship. It was during that summer that we realised that our dreams were very different, which wasn’t surprising because we had rushed into the relationship. Sometimes we can be tempted to take matters into our own hands simply because we are impatient. In a way, I tried to manipulate God’s timing. I was so fixated on having a boyfriend rather than growing deeper in my love and understanding of God.
Though it didn’t work out, I am very grateful for the purity and friendship we held throughout. It made the breakup easier and we both grew from the relationship. In response, I also became more aware of what I desired in a man; someone devoted to God, a spiritual leader, loves his family, is persevering, mature, and has an adventurous spirit.
A year later, I was introduced to another brother while I served on a mission team (which is an entirely other story). We built a friendship during those next 8 months and began dating by the end of summer. He was ministry-minded, had big dreams for the Kingdom, and I felt that God had finally answered my prayers! After having wrestled to overcome my insecurities about dating again, I was so excited to begin this new relationship! And things were going great... at first.
Nearly two weeks into dating, my boyfriend called me up and ended our relationship. I never received closure or found out why, other than the fact that “his feelings had changed.” Suddenly, I was left confused and devastated. Two weeks? What had happened to allow such a drastic change? I had prayed and fasted earnestly for months, because I was fearful of entering another short-lived and “failed” relationship (not knowing it would be shorter lived than the first). Initially, I was heartbroken and confused as to why I was facing rejection time and again. Did no guy want me? If this was my second terminated relationship, then there must be something wrong with me... Am I not spiritual enough, funny enough, or pretty enough? These were the questions I asked myself, knowing full well they were Satan’s schemes for me to blame God for my crushed dreams and broken heart. Rejection is not God’s desire for us, but rather, reconnection to Him. In order to believe that, I also had to remove my “fairy tale” ideals and expectations of love. It’s not at all like the movies and storybooks, because it’s real.
Love can be unpredictable, unexpected, and entirely unscripted. Thankfully, God’s story for us is far greater than we can ask or imagine. There will be twists and aches, but that’s what helps us to grow in our understanding of God’s love and compassion for us.
What I came to realise was that I had been waiting “expectantly for him,” but I was not waiting expectantly for Him. I was searching for a man, rather than seeing that my greatest love was already there before me. My “Prince Charming” did more than storm a castle and rescue me from a tower. Instead, He gave His life for me. He redeemed me. He chose me. He looked at me, in all of my selfishness, insecurities, and pride, and saw me as a woman worthy of being saved, being loved and cherished forever. What greater love is there than that? The greatest love story is not written in a storybook or shown at the cinema, but in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. Once that became my conviction, it was His love that repaired my broken heart, rid me of my fears and healed my wounds. I found confidence and security again! Better yet, my dreams of love were not tainted by my hurts, but instead, given a new hope in Him. With His perspective, I was able to see just how compassionate God was to me during my heartbreaks. They taught me of His Sovereignty, His peace, His comfort, and His abiding love. In experiencing rejections, I was able to better understand God’s heart as I learned how to give mine without the guarantee of that love being returned. And ultimately, I discovered that it is not a boyfriend or husband who can fulfil me, but God alone. He is enough for me.
Today, I stand amazed by His enduring faithfulness. After three years of hurts, transitions and disappointments, I was content to just serve God and contribute to my ministry. Lo and behold, God was at work, placing an amazing man in my life - someone who loves God wholeheartedly, adores His Word, leads me spiritually, loves his family, has a desire to serve, is a true friend to others, and has a very adventurous spirit (Amen!).
We first ran into each other at a campus retreat, but were reconnected when we had our first encouragement date at a conference the following summer. I was so impressed with his spirituality and vulnerability. Our date took me completely by surprise! Isn’t that usually how God likes to work? I think He does that so we can learn the heart of surrender, patience, and trust in Him. His timing is always perfect!
Dating David these past nine months has been a whirlwind of growth, blessings, and adventures! To find someone who inspires you and brings you closer to God is one of the greatest experiences. That’s not to say that everything has been easy. It takes work! We are imperfect people, but thankfully, we have the gift of a perfect Father at the heart and center of our relationship. With the Word as our foundation, purity as our conviction, and the support of godly men and women in our life, it makes the journey all the more rewarding. I hold no bitterness or regret in my previous relationships, because they helped me to better appreciate my relationship now, and it instilled the conviction that God is my only and forever first love. No man, family, or friend comes before Him.
“The Lord is my portion and my inheritance.”
My relationship with God is enough, but I am grateful that He holds true to His promises (Psalm 37:4). It’s encouraging to know that God still wants to give us the desires of our hearts. I don’t know precisely where God will lead, but whether this relationship works out or not, I am grateful for this gift - to experience God’s presence in loving someone. The best part is, our stories are not over yet! Come what may, let us wait expectantly for our Lord and find joy in whatever these next chapters may bring!
Haley Vett (Campus Ministry)
Haley Lynne Vett was born in Sweden in 1995 to Derik and Leigh Anne Vett, missionaries to Russia. Growing up on the mission field, the eldest of three has always felt a healthy drive to share her faith wherever she goes. Recently graduating in Public Relations from the University of Texas, her passions are reading her Bible, helping youth, music (writing, singing, playing and performing) and speaking Russian! This summer she's exploring and enjoying her time in Asia.