Love at any cost is worth the bargain. 

“I can’t wait for you to meet the girl that you can’t possibly imagine hurting. I can’t wait until you meet the girl that you just can’t let sit in her pain cause it hurts you too much. I can’t wait until you meet the girl that you can’t imagine ever doing this to. I can’t wait for you to find that.” 

And that was my get-outta-jail-free card for the boys that broke my heart and made me feel like I wasn’t worth respecting. My excuse was simple: I just wasn’t that girl for them. If I was, my pain would cut them so deeply that it would stir a rise to action in them. 

This excuse was fueled by the belief– the blind, here-and-now-minded hope– that when I met the right guy, I’d find rest; I’d find joy and bliss and he’d never let me hurt and loving each other would be seamless without any bumps or frays; I’d find the boy that connected all my dots and gave answers to doubting questions– a boy who’d make sense of all the pain and unfinished stories. 

I thought that I’d meet the boy who would make me okay, who’d make all that I wanted to change about my life OKAY. 

That’s what marriage looked like for me. It was what the ring and the knee and the forever promise all illuded to– fixed. Better. Finally at one hundred percent. 

Needless to say, I was pretty shell-shocked when engagement wasn’t this beautiful, dreamy thing of a road to walk down when it finally happened to me. You can imagine the surprise that found me dumbfounded and bewildered when we both still managed to hurl ugly words at one another without even a second thought. 

If I’m being honest, engagement was one of the most fulfilling, ache-filled seasons of my life. As a little girl, I probably daydreamed more about my engagement than my wedding itself. And to say that battling disappointment and frustration when engagement turned out to be an uphill trek in the sleet and thick mudd and the last thing I expected when I imagined being engaged to the love of my life– to say it wore me out and took a toll on me physically, emotionally, and spiritually would be an understatement. 

Loving Greg is a dream. Being loved by him is an overwhelming honor that leaves me speechless every time I get to wake up next to him in the morning. I’m almost three weeks into my marriage, and it’s honestly the best choice I’ve ever made– choosing Greg. And choosing to choose him every day. He is my backbone and my last burst of energy when I’m down in the dumps. He’s my slow Saturday mornings and the lighthouse that draws me back in when my mind is storming. I love him more every single day. I wouldn’t have ever not chosen this life.

But love, if you’re the girl with the heaviness wrapped around your shoulders like a hand-me-down back-pack, throwing all of your hope like an anchor into marriage because you think that’s going to be your escape— then let me be the first to stop you right now. Because I’ve run ahead of us hopeful hearts, and I’ve seen what’s coming. 

The problem is, the right guy isn’t going to come with a flashing red neon sign above his head that shouts, “IT’S HIM!!” 

You’re still going to fight with him.

He’s still going to break your heart.

You’re still going to let your ugly show it’s fangs and say things you wish you could take back.

You’re still going to wonder, even in the thick of engagement and wedding planning and premarital counseling, if you’re even going to make it. 

You’ll still make up reasons in your head about how and why it’s not going to work out. 

You’ll still ask him if he’s sure when he asks you to spend the rest of your life with him. 

And that’s the reality of engagement that people don’t warn you about. 

It’s not your rescue. It’s not your safety net. 

Because, no, he won’t come with the “It’s me, I’m here,” sign. 

You won’t know it’s him by all the ways he shows up or says exactly the right thing or makes everything better as soon as the storm clouds roll in. You won’t know it’s him because you’re his only choice or because he tells you he loves you after the first week of casual dates. No, that won’t all happen for you when you meet the right guy.

But you know how you will know it’s him? 

You’ll know he’s the right one when you’re sitting in the passenger seat while your car is parked outside his house before dinner with his parents, and you’re almost in tears because your hands are full of all the deflated expectations that reality didn’t meet. You’ll be telling him how you just had always wanted to find the guy who would hurt when you hurt, who wouldn’t let you sit in the pain. You’ll be talking with your hands, trying to explain, trying to take control back of the situation when you realize — thats not his job.

It’s not anyone’s job.

That’s what Jesus did. 

You’ll know he’s the right one when being loved by him points out the Kingdom shaped hole in your life that you’ve been waiting for “the right one” to fill, a hole that won’t ever be patched up until you stand in the Light. 

Jesus didn’t let me sit in the pain. He did something about it. He couldn’t stay seated at the right hand of the Father and continue to watch my life play out the way He saw its doomed storyline unfolding– and so He came. The help from heaven. 

Engagement and marriage and finding the one you’ve been waiting for is a lot of wonderful things, but it’s not our rescue. It’s not our heaven, the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not even the thing we can hold onto to justify the pain. 

You’ll know he’s the right one when, for the first time, you stop looking to him to rescue you and instead find Jesus at the end of all your questions. 

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2 thoughts on “Love at any cost is worth the bargain. 

  1. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Carver on your marriage! Jenna, I’ve been a fan of your blog for quite some time and also the work you and Hannah have been doing on ‘If You Find This Email.’ Keep up the awesome work, Jenna!

  2. Jenna,

    I never leave blog comments. My MOH just sent me this and oh my gosh I cannot describe to you how fulfilling and relieving it is to read your words. I’m thick in the middle of my engagement season and at every turn have asked myself, “WHY didn’t anyone tell me this was going to be hard??” I thought since I found the one that was IT. That the Lord would make us one and poof; problem of life solved. Every word you wrote spoke to me. I just called my MOH and asked her if she secretly wrote this and disguised her name. Seriously that is how much I identified in your words. KEEP WRITING. No matter what the enemy is trying to fight you with, keep writing. I’ve read many blogs and so many christian writers and your words- HIS words through you- brought me to my knees. Thank you sister. I love you for your honestly. It was so powerful for me and I feel the presence of the spirit in your words! xoxo

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