Maybe it is because I have had the more intimate privilege of knowing her, but it is she who I admire most among His Body. It is because despite her past, her struggles, doubts, trauma, unbelief, disappointments, frustrations, sins, hang ups, she never ceases to show up, to press forward, to seek all that He has for her, and nothing short of it. In this sense she is shameless, and God rewards it and sees it as humility. She has confidence in Him to do and be and go above and beyond all she can ask or imagine, and she never ever gives up. She never backs down, shrinks, retreats… she gets back up again and again and again. I love this so much about her it is overwhelming.
Her faith is the kind I want to be around every day and night of my life. Her steadfast pursuit of God, her ongoing race toward Him no matter the trials, these things are admirable. Nothing holds her down or stops her from going forward with God, even if it is costly… because she knows that if it hinders her walk with Him, it is not good. Unintentionally, I was a hinderance, and therefore, letting me go, although heartbreaking, does not devastate her because she is pressing ahead and looking towards the goal and prize that is in Christ Jesus the King. Her faith, as seemingly young as it is, has far surpassed my ‘seasoned’ faith, and it is so commendable that the thought of not running the race beside her is excruciating. But the selfless and loving thing to do, to think, is to release her and let her go and enjoy the race with God without hinderance. Yes, it is a painful loss to me, the most painful of losses, but it is not about me, it’s about her and God. And in that sense, I must sit back and cheer her on, as I’m separated from my love so she may be all God wants her to be for Him. I get the privilege of knowing God used me in some way to have something to do with this race of hers, and that is enough to make me smile (and ask that if He’d will it, keep using me).
I ask that God forgives me for holding so tightly, so selfishly, so desperately wanting her for me… when she is His first. I failed to love her, to lead her, to be the friend and lover she needed, but God will never fail her and is the ultimate friend and lover, in whom there is no failure. It is a painful and humbling thing to write these words, to hand it all over to God. I have overstepped, smothered, and tried too hard and held too tightly. My love fell short, but God’s doesn’t. I ask for His forgiveness to help me not condemn myself and live in guilt and regret and how I could and should have done and reacted so differently. I want to run like she runs, with endurance, eyes fixed on Jesus. I just hope she knows how much I love, care, and admire her, even though I was unable to express, communicate, and articulate it well. In a sense, I can continue to love her by loving and obeying God and living as the man He wants me to be. In this way, I feel like I am still getting to love and honor her, even if from a distance. I want to adopt the same attitude as Christ, to mourn and despair and grieve no more as one who is without hope, but to smile and run with perseverance and faith; not with unbelief or slowing down or backtracking, but forward with God, and believing truly that He can and will and does meet all our needs; that His grace is all sufficient, that He exceeds and surpasses all we hope, dream, and imagine.
Yes, Lord, give us this mind and heart, in Jesus’ name.