When I was 25 I dated a guy who loved it when I would tell him the story of us: how we met, what I felt then, when it changed, and he would interject, winding his version of the story into mine.
It’s one of my favorite past times: with coworkers, with friends, family. Sharing first impressions, memories, shifting intimacy, growing connection: all of us telling our version of the story of us. I do this with Jesus too. Sometimes it’s the full epic version, and sometimes it’s the story of us that day or year.
2016 began with an ‘us’ that I had only dreamed about. I didn’t know such intimacy existed, such deep knowing of one another. It started with me in a tattoo parlor getting tiny white words written on the inside of my wrist – no one but Him there with me. The woman warned me it was going to hurt, and I pressed in, and gripped Him tighter. I didn’t wince. I wanted to be scarred by this season; to be marked by Us.
At the beginning of 2016 we were more us than I have ever felt. No one else. Just You and me. Like You promised. Like I wanted.
By February or March the romance was wearing off. Nothing was wrong, but as is usually the case in relationships, life crept in. I was working full time again. Gone were the days where breathing without You felt impossible.
I loved You, and I tried to force our relationship into a small space. I would sit down with You for 30 minutes and demand our connection back – and that’s not how either of us work. I just wanted to feel all the feelings again, and You aren’t a fan of being used.
But You are gracious and kind, so You brought trial once again because You know the intimacy I crave is often a result of forgetting I’m seeking intimacy, and instead, seeking You. And nothing makes me seek You like us facing a battle together. We didn’t have time to look at each other in the spring, but we lived in a constant clinging. I could feel You beside me, with me, around me as we tackled demons together.
With the summer came attack in a different form: the illusion of no attack at all. Nothing was wrong with us. I loved You. Wanted You. Was just busy. I would pass You on my way out the door and toss a kiss Your way. You asked for more, but I was too tired. I would get home and crash. I would feel the pull of Your Spirit, offering me strength and peace and rest but it was on the other side of vulnerability, on the other side of an open Bible and a conversation with you, and all that just felt…too much.
And so we drifted. I drifted. Sure of you and sure I wanted you, but believing the lie that I would make time for You tomorrow. Always tomorrow. Never today. And, as is the way with all relationships, where you invest today is where your heart will go tomorrow.
Each tomorrow left me less inclined to even discuss the day with you, let alone hear your thoughts through your Word. Your voice got harder and harder to distinguish from the voices of those who seek to sound like You, quoting You but always taking Your words out of context. And sooner or later I found myself angry with You for things You had never done or said.
By the time we reached the Fall, I knew what was happening. I could see I was being held hostage by an imitation of You, but by then, I didn’t care. I knew I should, but my captor let me do whatever I wanted. He wasn’t you, but he was easy. He didn’t want anything from me. Didn’t want real intimacy and all the work that comes with that.
But You fought – as You tend to do. In your sneaky way. With patience and grace.
You have this way of calling to me without ever asking me to crawl home, to beg, to repay, You just come and carry me, sometimes I don’t even know it until I can see our house in the distance.
And then – when I can see how far we have come, how You have been fighting for me while I have been looking the other way, how You have been restoring me through unexpected means, how You have been working for me – and then – when I can see what You’re calling me back to, when I can remember what I’m missing, when I can see our life together – then – even though I have no choice – I still choose you.
All that happened. We came home together. Walked into the house. And I was so tried I just went to bed. And that’s how the winter has been. Us home together, moving around each other, loving each other. Each night, we climb into bed together and neither of us say a word. You are waiting and I am trying and for now, that is enough. We are good, You and I. We are committed and connected, but I can feel, it’s not enough. I want more. I need more.
I want days where we do it all together: the mundane and the magical; where we catch one another’s eye across the room and share an inside joke. Where we sneak outside, giggling and in love. Where we weep together. Where we lay in bed and I hear about Your life: what it felt like to be rejected, betrayed, denied. Where I ask You for help with everything from drawing breath to changing the world. Where I learn You – why You do the things you do, what drives You, what angers You, what makes Your heart swell. Where we talk together about the day when we will actually be able to touch one another and where this will be sight not faith and where i will never have sin between us again.
After all, that is how this story of us ends.