Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Most Important Love Lesson

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm pulling one of my favorite blog posts out of the archives. In 2014, I did a series exploring my experience with different types of love. If you want to read the original post with links to other posts in the series, go here!

The post I am sharing now explores true love vs. infatuation. For a large portion of my life, I did not know the difference. It took God, a pastor and Jared to teach me the meaning of love. So on this auspicious day when we celebrate love in all its forms, I hope you enjoy! 

Today's Learning About Love lesson has to do with a pastor and a broken heart. The pastor is the man on the left in my photo, Jason. He is one of the people I admire most in the world. The broken heart belonged to me my freshman year of college.

How did I get a broken heart? Well, it had to do with a boy named Jared (my now-husband!) of course. Jared and I met our freshman year in 2006 at Texas Tech's Welcome Week. We semi-dated, but Jared did not return my affections at the time. And that's ok, folks! It all worked out in the end. But because of my one-sided feelings for Jared, I went home the summer of 2007 with a deeply broken heart.

You see, I thought I loved Jared. I couldn't think about anyone else when he was around. I couldn't understand how such strong feelings wouldn't be reciprocated by the man I loved. I had a lot to learn.

That summer, I did an internship with the children's ministry at First Baptist Church of Boerne where Jason was an associate youth pastor. The children's minister reached out to Jason and asked him to take me under his wing. I think she knew I was lonely. Jason invited me to Bible Study with the youth group at his house.

I was leery of participating at first. I had absolutely no friends in Boerne. The people my age showed zero interest in me, even when I tried to befriend them. My first impression of the youth group occurred when the head pastor's daughter publicly shunned me when I introduced myself to her. Needless to say, I was nervous.

But Jason and his beautiful wife Mindy made sure I was included in the group. Jason would ask me questions in the large group and Mindy would include me in small group discussions. I don't think they realize how grateful I am for the love they showed me that summer.

Because of Jason and Mindy's example, I learned what true love looked like. True love ministers to all people without any thought of return. True love makes you want to be a better person instead of making you want to die. And most importantly, true love doesn't make you suffer. It makes you sacrifice. If I truly loved Jared like I thought I did, I would have to let him go if he wanted to leave. I needed to sacrifice my self-interest and let him be happy with whomever he chose.

Over the course of time, Jared realized his mistake (duh!) and here we are almost three years later. But I never forgot the lesson Jason and his wife Mindy taught me. When it came time to pick the pastor for my wedding, I knew it had to be Jason.

To Jason: thank you for the love you showed me in a very difficult time. You have truly made a difference to me and the outcome of my life.