If you knew our story then you would understand why this picture melts my heart and why it brings tears to my eyes, almost every time I see anything from our wedding, this is my response. It brings me to my knees under the weight of forgiveness, love, and grace. It restores my faith that I serve a mighty God who is able to do more than I can think or imagine.
Let me give you a little backdrop into my life, so that you can see fully the picture of our story. My husband and I began dating soon after I ended a previous relationship. The relationship I left was an emotional rollercoaster and involved a ton of partying and immaturity. Two broken people, never can make one whole. And before that relationship I was in another relationship where I was left confused and hurt by the outcome. My soul was a mess and my emotions controlled me. I lived a life selfishly and armed with brokenness as a “friend”
Jory and I “talked” a while before I ever allowed us to put a label on it. We would sit in his car for 4-8 hours at time. I would cry my eyes out and he would listen so patiently and told me that I deserved more from a relationship. He would listen to me talk about my past relationship and would give me pretty unbiased advice. We would also talk about God together, even though neither one of us was living a life close to that. God some how always found a way in our conversations.
We finally put a title to our relationship and became boyfriend/girlfriend. I went with him to one of his family campouts and experienced many families come together and love like Jesus. I had never experienced anything so pure and so full of joy in God. It’s like I was in a whole different world. I knew I wanted my life to change, and I wanted to actually walk like Jesus. We both began pursuing a godly lifestyle.
Shortly after that, my friend called me with the worst news, her little baby had died unexpectedly. I sat with Jory outside telling him the awful news and explained to him how I wanted to love her like Jesus. I even prayed before going and was going to talk to her about Jesus. But the problem with that is, I didn’t even fully understand the love of Jesus myself. I was just another broken person trying to help a broken person.
I ran into my ex-boyfriend there because he was best friends with her boyfriend. I ended up cheating on and leaving Jory for this other guy. I can’t explain why I did what I did, other than I was broken and didn’t ever take time to allow healing into my heart. I left the door open for the devil to play around and try to make his home.
But God . . .
Jory discovered the news on his own when he saw me with the other guy in a public place. But even in his brokenness he chose honor. I came to our apartment we had together to pick up my stuff and he had put all my clothes in bags, carefully labeled, “shirts, pants, dresses, etc.” I was blown away that he had taken the time to do this and didn’t just take them all out back and light them on fire. He had done it with so much care, down to the last detail. And I had A LOT of clothes.
Jory began fasting 17 days for me and I didn’t know it at the time. God began to move in my mess. I would sneak in through a window of Jory’s apartment, our “old” life together. I would read his journals, and found the unimaginable… that he still loved me even through everything I put him through. I saw his relationship with God was on fire and I was taken a back by it all.
I came to the conclusion that I needed to be single and focus on myself. So I broke up with the other guy and moved back home with my parents.
But I kept talking to Jory, we hadn’t put a title on it again. He was so caring and so full of love. He helped me with e v e r y t h I n g. We were basically “dating” again when another awful decision was made on my part.
During this time, I decided to go to a party with a friend. I drank a lot and took a pill that she had given me. I cheated on Jory again. In my own twisted view, I slept with my ex-boyfriends best friend thinking it would gratify me somehow. I knew the next morning I had made an awful choice. Why did I let brokenness control my life, why did I allow this to happen again, my stomach was sick.
Jory was in my work parking lot, sitting in the car together when I broke him the news. I explained what happened and I was fully ready to receive all the anger and cuss words I could imagine. I told him I understood that he couldn’t be with me, and I understood I needed to take responsibility for my actions.
Then the unimaginable happened, he forgave me, he chose me again, and he still wanted to pursue a relationship. After the hell I put him through, he still said he wanted me. He sacrificed every emotion he felt for me. That’s when I felt God’s grace. That’s when I knew God’s love. That’s when I understood what forgiveness really looks like.
We both began seeking Gods way for our lives, together, hand in hand. It was shortly after that we felt the call to get married and to also stay sober. Everything kind of happened all at once. We now were worried about telling our families but confident in our decision. And we started to talk about how to break the news.
[To be continued]