Returning to My First Love

Returning to My First Love

by Kelsey Nannemann | March 1, 2011

I walked into my dad’s office one November afternoon and asked if we could talk. He looked up at me and soon had concern written all over his face. I couldn’t hold back my emotions anymore. Suddenly I choked out the words, “Dad...I need to break up with him.” I burst into tears as he wrapped his arms around me. I knew that the decision I was about to make would be one of the most difficult – but most important – of my entire life.

It sometimes seems as if I’m looking into another person’s life when I think back on the pain and confusion that had overtaken me that winter. Growing up, I genuinely loved the Lord and had an ongoing relationship with Him. But as I grew older, I began to forsake my First Love. I knew there were things in my life that I had been holding back from Him; things that He needed to clean out. I was not finding my fulfillment in Him anymore. I was looking to the things of this world to bring me satisfaction. Soon, a relationship with a guy came along and completely took over my life. I became engaged to this man, but instead of a beautiful romance that brought me joy, this relationship was slowly destroying me.

I built my life around my fiancé, giving him everything I knew to give: my money, my time, my purity, and my heart. I was so wrapped around him that nothing else seemed to matter to me anymore. My relationship with my family was getting more and more distant every single day. I had sacrificed every friendship I had for the sake of keeping him happy. I barely left my house unless I was going to work or spending time with him. Church was the greatest chore of all. I sat there amidst the congregation, thinking only of what a hypocrite I was and wondering if it was ever possible for me to change. My relationship with God was absolutely non-existent. In my mind’s eye He was distant, uncaring, and impossible to reach, though I would have adamantly denied these statements had anyone bothered to ask. The Christian morals I had grown up with were thrown down the drain and I was preparing for marriage to someone that I didn’t love or respect, someone who made me miserable. I felt trapped in the relationship, but I was too afraid and prideful to try and get out. I wanted things to be the way they used to be with God, but I thought that I had messed up too badly for Him to give me another chance. I had known the Truth and I had trampled on it. I was convinced that I would have to live the rest of my life suffering the consequences of my mistakes.

The regret of what I had done washed over me as I stood there crying in my dad’s arms. I had no way to fix the situation I was in. All I could do was face it. I can’t explain to you the agonizing pain, the complete helplessness, loneliness, and terrifying fear that had overtaken me. In that moment I wanted nothing more than for the earth to open up and swallow me whole so that I would never again have to face what I had done and what I was going to do. I had reached my end and knew without a shadow of a doubt that I couldn’t handle life on my own anymore. It was there, crying in my dad’s arms, that I knew how much I needed Jesus Christ. And it was there in my dad’s arms that Jesus whispered to me, “Kelsey, I will be with you, but you must obey.”

My dad and I sat down to try and figure out how I was going to go through the break-up. I can honestly say that it was the worst night of my entire life. The promise God whispered to me earlier that day was the only thing that sustained me.

At first the loneliness and the depression swallowed me whole. For months after that I didn’t feel any freedom, joy, or victory, and rarely did I feel His presence. I had completely forgotten how to pray, how to read my Bible, and how to love. Learning to have a relationship with Him again was extremely difficult.

But everything had begun to change the day I decided to once again commit myself to the Lord and return to my First Love. I realized that I missed Jesus so much, and I knew that all I needed and wanted was Him. I remembered the love that I could feel in His presence, and the way that He cared about every little thing in my life.

I suddenly realized that those things which I had been holding so closely, those things He hated, the things which separated me from Him – they were never worth it. To have Him was all that mattered. And so I rid my life of everything He hated, everything I could think of. I began to meet with Him again. It was awkward at first. I thought He would be mad at me for what I had done, but I was wrong. I realized that the only thing that kept us apart was me – my pride, selfishness, and belief that I could fix myself on my own.

Every day He shares His heart with me in greater ways, and every day I love Him more. I spend hours every day learning about Him, and there’s still always so much more. Recently I’ve discovered how jealous He is for me. Rather than being bothered by this fact, it’s made me realize how much He loves me – that He wants to be a part of every aspect of my life and have me wholly to Himself. As I relearned how to surrender everything I was to Him, He met me where I was. He brought so much healing and wholeness into my life that it can only be described as a miracle, a beautiful work of God. If you knew the person that I used to be, you too would never stop praising Him for the great love, compassion, and power that He has displayed in me.

Perhaps you are feeling the extent of how much you need Jesus and how much you want Him in your life. Day in and day out I see other young women going about their busy lives, clinging to everything they can to find satisfaction. Instead of coming to Him, I see them trying instead to find what they desire in a relationship, in a job, in their appearance, in their reputation, or even in their possessions.

In order to have a fulfilling romance with Him, we must remain faithful to Him. If you were to have an earthly marriage, you would never expect your husband to think that it would be okay for you to have an affair. In the same way, it is not okay for us to have a love affair with the world when our only love should be for God. First John 2:15 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (KJV). God makes it black and white for us. In Luke 11:23 He says, “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” (KJV).

I once thought it was possible for me to love the world and still love God. I believed that I would be able to do whatever I wanted to throughout most of the week so long as I allocated some time for reading my Bible and going to church. I thought that if I did those things, I would have God when I needed Him and could pursue all of my desires in the world as well. I was convinced that I could have any type of relationship I wanted to and still be able to maintain my relationship with Him.

And most importantly, I thought that I was all that was needed to live the Christian life. And oh, how wrong I was! God makes it clear that if we want to have a relationship with Him, we must give Him everything. When I gave God everything I knew to give, I didn’t realize what I would in turn receive – His life! He has given me His joy, His peace, His love, and His Spirit living within me. I could not possibly ask for anything sweeter.

Let us remember Mary of Bethany and the example that she set for us so many years ago. Mary took her most prized possession and poured all of it out at Jesus’ feet. As a woman in her time, Mary would not have been able to provide for herself, but would have been de- pendent on others to provide for her. The bottle of spikenard was nearly the value of a brand new car in our day. To pour the spikenard upon Jesus’ feet was no small act of love. She poured out the thing which would offer her security and provision for years to come. Jesus Christ was honored and glorified by her act, and used her as an example for all of us. He said in Mark 14:9, “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her” (KJV).

Let me encourage you, sweet sister, to give everything to your King. Do not hold anything back from Him, including yourself. As you pour out that which is most precious to you upon His feet, He will exchange your life for His.*

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