When Nick and I began dating it definitely had its questionable moments. I remember the first time we spoke when he had returned home from Alaska. We were standing in and outside of my office. We both tried to communicate but we didn’t really know how to talk outside of text messaging and phone. It wasn’t like talking as peers because this time it meant more. That first day when he got back we stood outside in the hallway talking about random things, well I let my mouth mutter because I honestly just wanted to keep talking to him.
I may have said some outrageous things that didn’t make sense but it didn’t matter to me. I simply just wanted to see inside of his heart and see what this guy was made of that God had so clearly pointed out to me over the previous months. When we carried on with our day it felt wrong and there came this sense of unsettledness in my heart. So I said a prayer asking for clarification of what I should do next and the thought of asking him to lunch sounded like the correct thing to do.
As days went on we would respectfully date one another. He would pick me up and take me back to where I needed to go or was before. He respected who I was as a woman and never crossed a line that most men I had been around thought was okay to do in the early phases of the relationship. I noticed rather quickly that Nick was different yet I spent quite awhile fighting it.
I fought the relationship because I felt that I didn’t deserve to be treated in the way that Nick treated me. I felt happy and I definitely appreciated where the relationship was going. The chemistry Nick and I had was a bliss that I never knew could exist here on earth. We would spend hours talking and laughing, we bonded really slow but very deeply. He allowed me to develop trust in him and he also allowed me the freedom to test the waters as much as I needed to in order to ensure that he was none of the guys that I had dated in the past.
He chose to allow me to let me travel through the relationship in my own pace and respect me with every step of the way.
Eventually I felt myself understand my own worth and that I indeed do deserve someone like him. It actually says so in the Bible that I deserve grace and to not be troubled. One of my favorite Bible verses are 1 Corinthians 15:10 which says
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me”
As a Christian up until that point I had experienced salvation, forgiveness of my sins, to have genuine faith in life, and to truly believe and understand that God will always fight my battles for me. But never did I begin to know what God’s Grace truly felt like.
And I would say that grace is the one thing about my relationship that I have always been constantly thankful for in my relationship with Nick. He has always given me the grace and patience to be myself and feel what I feel when I feel it. I’m constantly comfortable with who I am and where I’m at in my mind. I think I fought harder earlier on in the relationship to feel guilty for delighting in our relationship and allowing our physical chemistry to get swept away at times.
I even felt guilty at times for being around Nick so often and practically living together before we actually married. Then one day I prayed to God and I asked Him what am I doing wrong and why am I pushing Nick away. I am a believer and I know what the Bible says about living in sin and how the religion expects this of its people. The one thing that I heard was “I am not religion” and those words alone changed my heart and my spiritual life in more ways than I could imagine.
I began walking down this path with Christ figuring out what grace was and unconditional love. I learned how to forgive without perseverance or wasting time being mad at little tings in life. I learned how to trust Nick and I also learned what a valuable relationship with Jesus Christ was like. I stepped away from focusing on the religious expectations I could never meet as a human and instead choose to focus on learning more about Him and what He has done and continues to do for me each and everyday.
In a relationship series at my church, my pastor on the last night said that the thing you love most about your husband most likely mirrors what you love most about Jesus. Falling in love with Nick I always felt like he taught me what living by faith actually meant and walking in it but as I sit and reflect on the months we have been together, I’m starting to see that all along he has actually shown me what grace is all about and yes that is one of the deepest and most meaningful attributes that Jesus has and chooses to gift to us as people each and everyday.
Grace is such a big deal in relationships and you have to freely give it; it goes beyond what forgiveness does it takes the word and turns it into an action. Grace is needed to be exchanged between partners as well as given to yourself. No one is perfect and we are all going to fail in one way or another and most likely we are not going to constantly meet each other’s needs and approval on a daily basis. It’s why grace is so important in any relationship.
God is definitely a key factor in a relationship and needs to be the center. But you also need to allow yourself to become aware of how God works in your life through that relationship. Before Nick came along I had forgiven everyone in my life except myself. I had felt dirty and unworthy of God’s love, I felt ugly and not beautiful. Nick made me listen to the worth that I have been blessed with and he is the one who encouraged me to look into God’s word and see exactly what He has said about me and to genuinely trust it.
I no longer see myself as the sinner who blanketed herself in sheep’s clothing in order to be less visible to the naked eye. Instead I see myself as a Proverbs 31 woman because I chose to allow God’s opinions to matter most over Nicks or any other person’s opinions of me as well.
With faith you can walk through life trusting that things will work out. With forgiveness you allow yourself to speak words that begin the process of relieving someone or yourself of something that can never be made up to you. With grace you choose to act upon it, cut yourself or others some slack, and simply just move on in life. It’s the best lesson I have ever learned as a Christian thus far and I’m so thankful that I have a husband who continues to model what grace should be.