I was raised by two parents who had the PERFECT love story. They were highschool sweethearts and it was like they had been pulled from the pages of a storybook or off the big screen. My parents never fought with each other, at least never in front of me, and they gave me hope that one day I would find that perfect fairy tale love they had! Their love gave me hope.
My parents, older brother, and I were an extremely close and very emotionally driven family. My dad was my hero and I looked up to my mother; they were everything I wanted to become. I was an outgoing, full of life, imaginative, and emotional little girl who loved Jesus and never wanted to disappoint anyone. I was the “perfect child”, the good girl who could do no wrong.
Everything changed for me at the end of my sophomore year of high school. There were many things that influenced my drifting from the Lord, but there’s one in particular that stands out. Can you guess what that was? It was, of course, a relationship with a boy. He was a different type of boy -- he was so different from me that it drew me to him like a magnet.
Attraction turned to like.
Like turned to an innocent love.
Innocent love turned into an unhealthy relationship.
This left a very unhealthy Jerika.
During the course of our relationship, I gave and gave and gave, so much so that I began to lose my identity. In the moment it made no sense to me, my mind and heart were at war with each other, yet I still gave everything I was.
I was used physically and emotionally and then thrown away, humiliated, yelled at, and laughed at, all while being told how much I was loved in return. It was exhausting!
Near the end of the relationship, I was completely broken down. I went from this happy-go-lucky “perfect child” into an unconfident, scared, bullied, hopeless, emotional wreck. Lying started to become a normal and almost natural part of me. I was torn away from my family and my demeanor completely changed into someone my parents did not know.
I had developed a pretty severe case of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) which is basically a disorder that has everything to do with control, moved out of my parents’ house at the age of 17, and by the end of it all decided that not living would be the best answer. That was when I reached rock bottom.
But I could feel Him.
Little by little, Jesus poured his love out to me. Not in big extravagant ways, but little sweet subtle notions. He knew that’s what I needed; He knows me so well. He reminded me that I was HIS and not anyone else’s. He told me that I was MORE than this evil that had taken control of me. He fought for me! As He spoke loving words to me, my heart started to go from cold to warm.
In college, I fell completely head over heels in love with Jesus. I get giddy just thinking about it! The more I got to know the Lord, the more time I wanted to spend with Him. I remember many nights just locking myself up in my room, reading the word and letting every word soak up into my spirit. The Lord became my best friend and there were many nights, usually they were the best of nights, where I would just spend with Him and only Him. His words were molding me into the person He called me to be.
During those silent nights in college with Him, I learned his complete, true, abundant, jealous, extravagant, and beautiful love for me. He romanced my heart and reminded me of the significance and beauty he sees when he looks at me. I then was able to see myself through his eyes and found true freedom through that. I craved more and more of Him.
Still, my desire to have a perfect marriage like my parents’ persisted. I craved this fairy tale and I believed that I could make it happen through sheer willpower. While I was no longer pursuing abusive men, I sought the “perfect Godly man”. I wanted a man with a heart like Jesus and, no matter how hard I looked, I fell short time and time again. After every date I found myself asking: “God, why can’t I find a guy like you? Why can’t I find a man with your heart?”
One morning, while studying His word, I believe God spoke to me and said,
“I am your Husband. I can love you and will love you BETTER than any man on this earth ever will.”
That day, everything changed for me and I truly began to see God as my everything. I experienced his immense love for me in a new way and that began to change how I treated others. When I knew I was infinitely, intimately loved by the Lord, I could be free to love others well too.
He gave me everything I needed emotionally that I would ever need in a man, He was and is my Provider, Protector, Counselor, and Friend. My desire to have a husband or a fairy tale marriage washed completely away -- I had all I needed in God.
For about two years, I lived in this space, wholeheartedly seeing Jesus as my husband, being completely content with my singleness. Then the Lord threw me a curveball and I met my earthly husband! I was completely taken by surprise! Even though I am now happily married to my husband who loves me in such a precious way, the Lord is still my one true Love.
My story isn’t a formula for how to find a husband or a cure for singleness, but is a reminder of the precious love of a God who is crazy about you. He calls us Beloved, sings sweet songs of love over us, protects us, comforts us, leads us, and encourages us. Let Him romance you, delight in you, and speak tenderly to you, for this is His greatest desire! You are his beautiful bride!
Regardless of your relationship status, as a Christian, Jesus is your Husband! Whether you're single and hating it, married and struggling, divorced and broken, engaged and excited, or anywhere in between, I encourage you to pray this prayer knowing that God loves you more than you can possibly imagine.
I come to you now with a heart empty and yearning for you; a heart that is full but never satisfied.
I ask that you come into my heart now and rid me of my desire for an earthly love, a desire I know only YOU can truly fulfill.
Rid me of my thirst for intimacy with a man and revive my soul to crave only YOUR sweet love.
I ask that right now we seal a marriage bond together that will never be broken.
I ask that my longing for an earthly romance, be replaced with YOU romancing my heart daily.
I ask that I fully come to know your love for me.
I want to fall completely head over heels for you and I'm ready!
I want to be fully and truly satisfied only in you.
I ask that you come to be my Husband, Jesus.
Tear down the box I have put you in & take me back as your beloved Bride.
How has God changed your life? How has he changed how you see yourself?
We want to hear your story (even the in process ones) of victory in Christ!