Rebekah warned me: “Big things happen during Pathways. I’m get excited but preparing myself for what is to come.” I wanted to make this journey count, and thus I made a personal promise to myself. I was going to focus on my intimate relationship with God. I did not want to think about other personal relationships, but only focus on what God was going to do with me as his daughter. I wanted to experience the love of God like never before. I prayed a dangerous prayer and asked him to take me out farther than I had ever been before.
For our community devotional, God had placed on my heart to write about relationships. God allowed me to attend Rebekah’s Growth Group that focused on God’s love. God wanted me to write about my struggles of overcoming my struggle with food and my relationships with my ex boyfriend, now best friend Zachary. I went against God and wrote a different devotional. I sent the first to Dan and he replied to me that he needed me to go farther. I finally obeyed, and asked God to give me the words to write about my life, especially my struggles with relationships. I wrote the devotional, for the first time being public about my personal struggles. Despite my fear of what the community would think, I wrote the words that God put on my heart.
On October 11th, the first day of week five (the focus being Relational), Zachary died tragically. Two weeks before this happened, I had the opportunity to see him. We were lying on his bed, when I kissed him. He stopped me and asked me “what are we doing?” He continued and said, “Jessica, you made a promise to God not to be with me, and to give your heart to him. I do not want to be the person who breaks that promise.” I was shocked, confused, thrown off guard. Never had Zach refused me to be intimate with me. He took me in his arms and said, “Jessica, I am sacrificing for you.” Upon hearing those Christ like words, I wept. God had sacrificed his only son for my sins, and now Zach was sacrificing for me to prove to me that the guilt of our relationship was no more.
Zachary was an atheist, and for the four years that we had dated we never once talked about our beliefs in God. He knew that I was a devout follower of Christ and that I went to church, volunteered with my community, and worked towards being God’s tangible hand. For the first time, I asked him if he believed in God. His response, “Yes, and You better give me that Job!” He had just applied for a new job that day. He then continued to tell me that we could never be together and that I was going to find someone who loved me and care about me more than he could.
He then drove me home. When standing outside my house, I swore that I saw an angel, a white Jesus like figure. I knew that God was there allowing us to spend our last few minutes together. In the two weeks before his death, I was amazed at how much Zach had matured. He was truly a contributor of our friendship, and no longer was the greedy consumer of my love. We had finally made amends to our relationship; there was no more guilt or sorrow. We could for the first time move on with our lives.
I truly believe that this has been God’s plan the entire time. When I met Zach 6 years ago, God wanted me in his life so that I could show him the love of God. And now, I get to share Zachary’s story with others. I am not one to push religion or God on others, but God gives us the opportunity to spread his love and tell of his greatness. I know that I will one day see Zach again, because I was the one person who had the relational right to confront him about his beliefs.
Upon hearing the tragic news, I was hysterical. I called my spiritual dad and mom (Chuck and Marjie), and they came running to my house in the middle of the night. All I wanted to do was pray. The prayers were messy and sloppy, but Marjie prayed for peace. That night, God was present, and I felt the warmth and gentleness of Zachary’s arms around me. I was able to sleep peacefully. The grieving process is hard, and I feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster. However, I know that God’s grace and peace surrounds me, and that his unfailing love is eternal, much like Zachary’s sprit. At times I am angry at God, and ask him why; yet, God has prepared my heart to be able to rely on him during the hardest event that I have thus endured. Even though I am not home, God has blessed me with a spiritual community that has held my hand and sat with me in my mess during these dark days.
As Dad spoke into my life, “I see the outlines of the trees, but not the color.” He said, “The more that God wants to use us and your story, things will be that much harder.” I said, “Gee thanks!” Right now, I don’t even see the outlines of the trees but the shadows. I know that eventually God will bless me with the ability to see the colors of his most magnificent creation.