Thursday, October 11, 2012

Opening My Heart

It brings me great joy to introduce my friend and today's guest blogger to you. Lindsey Zarob and I met almost seven years ago in Chicago. In the years that I lived out there, we got to know each other while serving at the same church. She's had quite a journey since those early days and is kind enough to share a portion of it with us today. I rejoice in all that the Lord has done in her, for her, and through her. He has great plans for Lindsey. I pray you all are blessed by her honest words...

 Hi ladies. Thank you for letting me be a part of this community for a bit. I listened to Jenn’s vlog for this week and wanted to echo some of what she said. What I am sharing may or may not resonate with you. But there are two things I am sure of. No matter who you are, where you are in your walk or where you have been there is always the possibility you will be able to use my story to minister to someone else. Secondly, Proverbs 31 says “she brings him good all the days of her life.” This struck me when I was single as it doesn’t say after she married him. It says ALL the days of her life. I figured I never knew if God’s plan was for me to be married but I did know that if it was, I should be making wise decisions and considering the man of my future to a degree. Not to mention that if I didn’t ever have an earthly husband I sure do have a heavenly one so I better be doing Him good :-)

So I say all that to encourage you not to write this week of study off just in case you think it might not be relevant to you. You never know where God will place you nor when His plan for you might take a turn you weren’t anticipating.

Jenn asked me to write for this week of your study quite a while ago and yet it has taken me all that time to get even a glimpse of what God might want for this post. But I think He has given me a word for you. :-)

Let me start by telling you a little about my mister and I.

My husband Peter and I met when we were 22 years old. When we began dating at 23 we were two people totally far from the Lord and didn’t know Jesus. Sure we knew of Him. Peter grew up in church so he certainly knew who the Great I Am is back then. But neither of us knew Him intimately.

We lived our lives as we wanted and we wanted each other. 
But as time went by, I started to fall more and more in love with the God I had briefly met when I was 16.

After two and a half years I distinctly heard the Lord say, “I have blessings for you and I have blessings for Peter but I cannot give them to you in this relationship.” It was one of those times when you know that you know that you know that the Lord just spoke to you.

We ended our relationship. I started to follow hard after Jesus and Peter started to read the Bible and ask questions. We pursued our Lord separately.  My husband had been raised one way, but never owned his faith for himself. It was at this time that he started to explore Jesus for himself.

Time went by and my heart ached for him and his for me. It became clear that the Lord had moved in both our lives. After seven months or so we started to talk a little here and there. But we were such new/young believers that we couldn’t distinguish our own feelings and the Lord’s will very well. We decided it was a good idea to begin dating again.

We didn’t seek the Lord on what His will was for us. We didn’t consider that perhaps God had a different plan. And we headed toward destruction. Within three months of dating again we were engaged. And five months after that, the engagement and the relationship were over.

It was devastating, heartbreaking, crushing. I’ve never felt such pain in my life and I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain on my worst enemy. I thought our first break-up was hard, and it was, but ending our engagement took pain and hurt to a new level. But it wasn’t God’s will for us to be together and I knew I would rather be in His will with all this pain than risk living the rest of my life outside of His plan.

It was in this time that I met with my God in ways I never could have imagined.

I spent that year falling in love with Jesus. I never knew a love like this. I think there was a part of me that still thought a man could fill that place. But I learned that no desire whether it be for a husband, a career, a child, a certain calling could ever fulfill what the Lord intended only for Him.

He was jealous for my heart and me. I didn’t know that God’s plan for me to love Him and seek Him was the only way I could ever be the woman of faith I really wanted to be.

I kept a blog that year of our break-up and this was the prayer I posted there at the end of that year:

Thank you for opening my heart. Thank you for showing me that my ability to love can only go as far as my love for you. And thank you Lord for loving me first so that I might love you back. Thank you for your promises and the TRUTH that you are faithful to fulfill them all in your time, as you are a God that cannot lie.

After two years the Lord brought my husband and I back together. And I can promise you it was the Lord as he and I both were quite reluctant in the beginning, so afraid of making the same mistakes again. But this time was different as God was at the center of our relationship and just as importantly He had my whole heart. So much so that I even asked the Lord if my testimony could really be that strong married rather than single. I didn’t want to give my heart to my husband as the Lord had ravaged me and I loved it.

Fast forward and next month we will celebrate our second wedding anniversary (woohoo!) and I can tell you now that I am so grateful for a God that would intervene on my behalf when He did. I could not be the wife or mother God has called me to be without having had those years to fall head over heels in love with Him. After all, I really can’t love well without loving Him first.

Lindsey Zarob is a Communications Freelancer and Consultant in Chicago, Illinois. She's a 30-something wife, mother, and lover of Jesus trying to live this life on purpose. Her love of physical challenges has led her to train for four marathons, completing three of them, one alpine climb in the French Alps, and an attempted summit of Mt. Rainier in Washington State. Lindsey and her husband are members of the Chicago Tabernacle. You can find her at her personal blog, Life as a 'Z' and can also find her on Twitter.  

I love the way the the New Life Version phrases this verse...

The Lord your God is with you, a Powerful One Who wins the battle. He will have much joy over you. With His love He will give you new life. He will have joy over you with loud singing. 

It''s sometimes a struggle for us to open our hearts to God. 
Yet once we do, we are forever changed and His love gives us a brand new life. Have you been changed by the Love of God? 
Open your heart to Him today... 
I promise, you will never be the same.


Go Love Project said...

Very beautiful testimony Lindsay! Thanks for sharing! Bridgette

alifewelldone said...

Beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing.