I found the first love poem I ever wrote to a boy. This masterpiece was completed when I was twelve-years-old and the boy for whom it was penned shall remain nameless. After I finished it, I could not wait to show it to my mom because I was so proud of it. Her response disappointed me a bit. Her smile got bigger and bigger until she finally… burst out laughing!
Reading it as an adult, I can now fully understand her reaction. Here it is, reproduced for your amusement:
In the very inner depths of my heart,
you, a dry match, created a spark.
Over time, that spark expanded in flames,
which brought a feeling inside that drove me insane.
I asked the Lord in prayer one night,
“Lord, what’s the fire taking over my life?”
Then suddenly, I dreamed of two turtle doves
and realized this thing in my heart was pure love.
When I’m with you my heart beats three times as fast
and it burns hotter now than it did in the past.
I thank the Lord Jesus for giving me you,
and I promise through time I’ll always be true.
It’s so funny how we define love when we’re young. My twelve-year-old heart thought it was taken for life. For whatever reason, I was so taken with this guy that I could not imagine living without him. As it turned out, many other crushes and short term relationships followed, so I suppose I broke my promise to “always be true.”
Even though I would have given you a hundred definitions of love back when my life was one ongoing Disney movie (in my mind), I was very focused on feelings (which is a common understanding of love for teenagers). Whenever I felt butterflies, it seemed like a sign that something incredibly special was happening. Even though my mom tried desperately to explain the difference between love and infatuation, I found myself saying, “I love you” to multiple guys. It started in middle school and by the time I was grown, I had worn that precious phrase out. What shamed me the most were the times I said it without meaning it.
Because I depended so much on feelings back then, it seemed natural to flippantly throw an “I love you” out at every pass. Unfortunately, the phrase meant less each time I used it. Each new relationship eventually got to the “I love you” stage no matter how long we stayed together. So, the words “I love you,” which are supposed to indicate devotion and selflessness, were reduced to sweet nothings we would use as we played game with each other’s hearts.
This is another reason I’m so thankful for the way my husband handled our relationship. Before he and I met, I remember thinking, “I’ll know he’s from the Lord because our relationship will look nothing like the relationships I’ve had in the past.” As I’ve mentioned previously, Eric and I got to know each other as friends for over a year before he pursued me romantically – and he waited until he was sure he wanted to marry me before he ever told me that he loved me.
Waiting for him to make a move, or to declare his love for me may have driven me crazy at the time, but I am so thankful that he waited. Finally hearing “I love you” meant something again, and finally saying “I love you” back meant something again as well.
God forgives. He heals. He restores. I’m so thankful that God still faithfully brought Eric to me even though I had not guarded my heart in the past. If there’s advice I could pass along based on my experience it’s this – keep the words I love you tucked away in your heart until you know you are ready to marry someone.
Love is something you do, so when you say “I love you” to someone, you are declaring that you not only feel something for them, but that you will do what is in his or her best interest. Playing with someone’s heart is not in his or her best interest. Not only that, but when you look that sweet someone in the eyes and know beyond the shadow of a doubt you want to spend the rest of your life with him or her, you’ll want to know that you have saved that sacred part of your heart for that moment.
What do the words “I love you” mean to you?