To my fellow hopeless romantics,
I feel you.
If you think for one second that you’re the only one who daydreams of a flawless love story, (complete with a breath-taking romance that results in a relationship so perfect that Hollywood officially gives up on all rom-coms, and Nicholas Sparks himself gives up on his life’s work – because what work of fiction could ever compare to your reality?) and actually believes that your fantasies are completely rational and there’s no reason not to hold onto the hope that maybe the greatest love this world has ever seen will involve you….
Well I’d say you’re wrong because hi, my name is Katie, and I feel you.
Can we just be honest? We all long for a love so incredible that it permanently changes our life. We all crave something that has enough passion and depth to make us feel truly alive. We want to be seen for who we really are and still found desirable. But, as many of us have figured out the hard way, that kind of satisfaction actually doesn’t come in human form. And yes, we know this in our heads, but we haven’t quite trained our hearts to follow. We know that only Jesus Christ can truly satisfy our souls the way they were designed to be satisfied. We know this. But our hearts are still restless and we’re still adding details to our daydreams.
I say “we” because there’s no point in even pretending that I am not 100% included in this. So if you feel bad about this at all, just know that we’re on the same team. We’re in this together. That’s actually why I’m writing – I wanted to share with you how God took our relationship deeper this summer than it’s ever been in my life. How he became so real and so personal to me that I can’t remember the last time I checked my Dream Wedding board on Pinterest. How He revealed so much of His heart and character to me that I genuinely enjoy making time to read my Bible because I can’t wait to find out more about who He is. And trust me, if He has the patience to lead me to this place with Him, He will absolutely do it for you.
(Disclaimer: Jesus is not my boyfriend. I just wanted to say that. Go on.)
So I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or what, but summer “break” is no longer what it used to be for me. It used to be my favorite time of year – hands down. Endless amounts of swimming and sleepovers and snowballs and not one mention of the word “homework”. But this year it looked more like working and cleaning and missing my college friends and being weirded-out by sleeping in my old room again. My favorite season started to become my most confusing one. I wasn’t really sure where to fit or what to do, or if I was even in the right place. I was trying to make the most of it, but every day I wondered what that would even look like. It was super weird and confusing and lonely, to be honest. It isn’t an emotional walk in the park having to sleep in your old room again – remembering all the times you spent crying and growing and singing and praying and just feeling too much. Reliving your old feelings becomes kind of unavoidable in that situation, not to mention wildly uncomfortable and definitely NOT on my “Sweet Summah Time” bucket list I made on my phone. So, why? Is this not some type of cruel and unusual punishment?
God, I asked you to keep me close to You, to make this summer mean something – what are You doing?
That was a real prayer of mine. And well, I don’t know why but God doesn’t exactly like to answer me immediately, or out loud, or in any kind of way that I ever expect…so I kinda just sat on that one for a while, until I started having thoughts that I would never come up with myself. I started to think that He’s letting me remember on purpose. I think it’s been a while since I’ve felt these things and I think that looking back on who I was when I felt them daily makes me feel like a completely separate person now. Like the Katie I am today barely even knows the Katie who used to sleep in a tiny, pink and yellow room every night with a million stuffed animals piled onto her bed and tears soaking into her pillow.
And maybe at first that’s okay, ideal even. But truly, I think that should break my heart, and yours. It should break our hearts to imagine that everything I went through in my life was for nothing. That I felt so heavily and struggled so truly and almost let it break me, all to just forget it completely. To just be okay with ignoring an entire part of who I am; of what’s contributed to who I am today. Actually, how dare I? Don’t I realize that there’s purpose in my past? Don’t I see that my deepest pain can connect others to their ultimate breakthrough? Why have I been investing more energy in burying my past emotions than in loving others through their present ones?
Praise God that He saved my soul and has been transforming me by the renewing of my heart and mind ever since, but I don’t think it’s enough to say just that. It’s not enough to leave it at: “God saved me from the path I was on.” What path? Why did you need saving? That’s where it counts. That’s where your story finds purpose. Those details are the exact cracks in the fragile clay jar which is you that the glory of our Loving Father shines through to others who are hurting and need your hope. These are the details that make you real and vulnerable and relate to people who are convinced that no one ever could. I never realized until this summer how selfish it is for me to ignore all the pain of my past. When I refuse to let myself go there, I refuse to connect with other people who haven’t yet found the Solution. Closing off my past completely closes off God’s access to actually use the story He’s written for me.
Not only do other people need your story, but you do, too. This time of remembering my old self and feeling old feelings puts me in the perfect position for worship. Because how can you be reminded of your old self without being reminded of how good God has been to you? You can’t acknowledge how broken you used to be before Jesus flooded your heart without also acknowledging how absolutely incredible His love and grace and healing power has also been in your life.
I think this summer God reminded me of who I used to be and how I used to feel before I loved Him, so that my love for Him would deepen. That I would be grateful for what He’s done for me all over again, but even deeper now that I can see how far He’s carried me. And if He’s carried me this far, I can only imagine where He’ll bring me next. And suddenly I find myself daydreaming about my future walking with the Lord instead of what dress I’ll be wearing walking down the isle. Suddenly I’m less consumed by wondering if I’m the kind of girl who is found desirable and more or less beautiful than the other girls in the room, and I’m more consumed by how insane it is for the Creator of the Universe to love me this much. Suddenly I must find out more. I must dig deeper. I’ve got to experience more of this Love. This Love that is so obviously a higher level of love than the one we play around with on this earth that it needs a capital “L”. This Love that is so incredible that it permanently changed my life and still is. This Love that has enough passion and depth to make me feel truly alive. This Love that sees me for who I really am and still finds me desirable.
So I went for it. I jumped in. I chased after the Lord. I wanted to learn more about who He is and see more of His heart. I wanted to know Him on a deeper level. And as insane as it sounds, He met me there. He showed up. He totally changed my heart and thoughts, but in such a gentle way. Y’all, I now find joy in my personal quite time reading the Bible! People tried to tell me before that it wasn’t a chore, but it always felt like one to me. Now, it excites me to see what part of God will I get to know each day. Now, I even journal about how to apply the scripture I read to my life and write out my prayers so I can look back later and see His faithfulness spread across every page.
I don’t know if you realize how big of a deal this is. This closeness and honesty and commitment I have with my Savior is what the old Katie always wanted, but never believed existed. This is the relationship our souls crave. And better than that, it only grows from here. The only way is deeper from here. Think that’s amazing? What about how it’s all-inclusive? What about how it’s just as available to you as it to me? I’m not talking about making sure you don’t go to hell, I’m talking about finally satisfying that longing in your heart for the most epic love story this world has ever seen. I’m talking about not just accepting Jesus but chasing after Him with all your guts and loving every second of it. I’m talking about taking your relationship with your Heavenly Father deeper than it’s ever been in your life.
So if I could encourage you to do anything, it would be to seek Your Creator. Really seek Him. Pursue Him. I challenge you to start today. Start doing more than what you do now. Go deeper than you’ve ever gone. Step out of complacency and comfort and truly discover all that Jesus is and wants to do in you. And I encourage you that when your own “summer” comes around and your “old bedroom” reminds you of all the old feelings of the old you, to allow the discomfort, yield to your Creator, and watch Him turn a potentially desert season into a summertime romance that will change you forever. May your past hurts make you fall more in love with your Savior with every memory, and may you always be growing closer to Him.
Sweet, hopeless romantic, be hopeful. Be expectant of all that the Lord will do in you. You are so loved, you and your story are so full of purpose, and I promise that God always shows up.
If you don’t mind, I would really like to pray with you. This is word-for-word from one of my journals from earlier this summer. I just want to be open about my relationship with Jesus. I want you to see that it’s perfectly safe to trust God with your whole heart, and because it amazes me to read my own honest words and realize how deep He’s taken me. I don’t think He’ll ever not amaze me quite honestly. (Nicholas who?)
Lord, thank you for caring about our daily life. You are God of every moment. Your grace is endless and your love overwhelms me. Thank you, Father, that your love for your child outweighs your hurt when they choose the same path as your enemy. Thank you for your relentless pursuit. God I want to seek after you in return. I thank you that when we seek we find. I give you full permission, Holy Spirit, to invade my heart and mind and radically transform me to look more like my Jesus every moment. I refuse to fall into the same pit Satan chose. Holy Spirit help me to be on guard and to fight for my life when he attacks. But I know that, God, You are the Lord of Heaven’s Armies and You are sovereign and You fight for me always and Your victory is my victory because You’ve already won and defeated death and that will never stop being enough to hold me over from one moment to the next.
- Philippians 1:6
- Matthew 6:33
- 1 Peter 2:2-3
- Romans 12:2
- 2 Corinthians 4:16
- Jeremiah 29:13
- Deuteronomy 4:29
- Proverbs 8:17
- “Let It Happen” – United Pursuit
- “Open Space” – Housefires
- “Infinite” – Kim Walker-Smith / Jesus Culture
- “Fresh Outpouring” – Kim Walker-Smith / Jesus Culture
- “Closer” – Steffany Gretzinger / Bethel Music
- “My One And Only” – Kim Walker-Smith, Skyler Smith
- “Extravagant” – Steffany Gretzinger, Amanda Cook / Bethel Music
- “Have It All” – Brian Johnson / Bethel Music
- “One Thing” – Housefires