By: Fredrick Mang’ula
My name is Fredrick and I’m 21. I’ve had tons of struggles in my life as a Christian starting with doubt and unbelief, lust, relationships, and the list goes on. Right now, I have this deep conviction to write about relationships. Basically stuff I’ve gone through and lessons I’ve learned in hopes that someone out there might learn something from my mistakes and not walk down the path I took.
Ever since I learnt that God wants us to commit everything to Him especially our relationships, I had two great doubts. One is that God had this secret plan to keep me single for the rest of my life and two, that He would pair me up with someone I wasn’t attracted to.
I might introduce myself a bit. I was brought up in a Christian family where everything was done using the bible as a benchmark. We went to church, had family prayers, read the bible together even attended crusades. Things seemed to be just where they should be. Life seemed like it couldn’t get better till my dad, I’m told, had this affair with some lady in our neighborhood. At that time I was too young and naïve to understand the weight of issues at home so I thought all dads and moms had to fight sometimes.
My parents sent my sister and me to boarding school just to get us away from the war at home. When I turned 12, I got into a relationship. I had been trying to fill this void I felt in my heart. Home no longer felt like a safe haven for us, so I set out to find my own. That led me to having several relationships. Throughout my life I have jumped from one relationship to another leaving a trail of heart breaks. I’m a jerk I know.
When I joined college, I knew things couldn’t get better cause we have all the freedom we’ll ever want. I knew this wasn’t right before the Lord but I was too stubborn to admit it. I had just come from a relationship with Christine. We had lasted 6 months. That’s the longest I’ve been with a girl. During our time together, I started getting dreams and visions that God wanted me to be more serious with how I related with others, especially my girlfriend. We soon broke up. She transferred to a different school and we just couldn’t keep up with the long distance. I admit Christine was the first girl I really liked and thought maybe things would be more serious this time. So this break up really hit me. I knew for me to get a girl who’ll be in for the long haul I had to play by God’s rules or at least that’s what happily married people kept telling me.
So during my second year, I set out to learn as much as I could about relationships. Over time I have learnt to trust the Lord. Initially I had doubts: God wants me to be single or will give me a girl I’m not attracted to, plus many others but with time these keep fading away. Last week I read a dream a girl once had from the book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris. I’ll just paste it.
It was finally here–Anna’s wedding day, the day she had dreamed about and planned for months. The small, picturesque church was crowded with friends and family. Sunlight poured through the stained-glass windows, and the gentle music of a stringed quartet filled the air. Anna walked down the aisle toward David. Joy surged within her. This was the moment for which she had waited so long. He gently took her hand, and they turned toward the altar.
But as the minister began to lead Anna and David through their vows, the unthinkable happened. A girl stood up in the middle of the congregation, walked quietly to the altar, and took David’s other hand. Another girl approached and stood next to the first, followed by another. Soon, a chain of six girls stood by him as he repeated his vows to Anna. Anna felt her lip beginning to quiver as tears welled up in her eyes. “Is this some kind of joke?” she whispered to David.
“I’m…I’m sorry, Anna,” he said, staring at the floor. ‘Who are these girls, David? What is going on?” she gasped. “They’re girls from my past,” he answered sadly. “Anna, they don’t mean anything to me now… but I’ve given part of my heart to each of them.” “I thought your heart was mine,” she said.
“It is, it is,” he pleaded. “Everything that’s left is yours.” A tear rolled down Anna’s cheek. Then she woke up. “When I awoke I felt so betrayed,” she said. “But then I was struck with this sickening thought: How many men could line up next to me on my wedding day? How many times have I given my heart away in short term relationships? Will I have anything left to give my husband?”
I often think of Anna’s dream and the image haunts me. There are girls from my past, too? What if they showed up on my wedding day? What could they say in the receiving line? “Hello, Fred. Those were some pretty lofty promises you made at the altar today. I hope you’re better at keeping promises now than you were when I knew you.”
“My, don’t you look nice in that tuxedo. And what a beautiful bride. Does she know about me? Have you told her all the sweet things you used to whisper in my ear?”
There are relationships that I can only look back on with regret. I do my best to forget. I laugh them off as part of the game of love that everyone plays. I know God has forgiven me because I’ve asked Him to. But I still feel the ache of having given away my heart to too many girls in my past.
What would you want on your wedding day? Nothing is quite as romantic as hearing an honest account of a married couples love story. Though it’s hard to imagine, someday I’ll tell my children the story I’m writing with my life today. But that realization does little to save me from the puzzling maze called now. “History never looks like history when you’re living through it,” says John Gardner. “It always looks confusing and messy, and it always feels uncomfortable.”
As I stand on this side of matrimony with no potential mate in sight, I’m right in the middle of the messiness and confusion. I still have so many questions. Will I know when I’m walking through the story for the first time? Will I recognize the event that will begin the chapters of my love story with my mate? Will time stand still for one moment to tell me that this person— this one person, out of all the billions bustling on the planet— is the one? Will I realize when it happens? Or might I miss it?
Some questions are probably best left unasked. I know I should push them aside and wait for life to unfold its mysteries. Someday when I’m older and wiser I’ll sit back and tell my story to someone who will listen. And as I tell my story, will I remember the doubts and questioning prayers of today? Or will I have forgotten the silent longings; will they wash away like footprints on an ocean shore? I’ll probably tell some young fool the same things I get so tired of hearing from others. I’ll tell him to bide his time, “for it’s sure to work out in the end.” And, of course, “you can’t rush these things.” Someday I’ll have a story to tell. So will you. How will you respond when one day you look back on your love story? Will it bring tears of joy or tears of remorse? Will it remind you of God’s goodness or your lack of faith in that goodness? Will it be a story of purity, faith, and selfless love? Or will it be a story of impatience, selfishness, and compromise? It’s your choice.
I encourage you (and continue to remind myself) to write a love story with your life that you’ll feel proud to tell. I leave my email address in case someone has questions or encouragement. It’s always easier walking through this together.