Today, Lukas and I have been married for three years. He’s not home to celebrate the anniversary though, so I thought I’d use this time to reflect, and invite you into our rather special love story.
Before I begin though, I need you to know that this is our journey. This is not a promise that you’ll experience the same thing if you’re ‘good enough’ or pray ‘hard enough’. And I don’t believe God withholds good gifts like partners and spouses for ‘bad behaviour’ or sexual sin, either. I don’t think God works on a reward and punishment system when it comes to romance and love. I think he just works his plan, no matter what we do. For some that looks like marriage, for others it is singleness. I don’t know why. I know it isn’t always easy, though.
I want to share our journey today, to give you hope that you can trust God with the specifics and intimate details of your life. I want you to see that a female pornography addict can be loved and have a fulfilling life, despite her past. I want you to know that God cares for each of us individually, and is always unfurling his wonderful and unique plans for each of us, even though it doesn’t always feel like it.
Now, let’s get to that special story, shall we?
I was sixteen years old. My mental health was in tatters, and ongoing bullying had taken a toll on my body, mind and spirit. My parents wanted me to change schools, to uproot the life I knew and try something new, in the hopes it would help me heal. I refused. Although what I knew was awful, it was familiar. Change was the thing that scared me. So, I fought my parents with all the teenage angst I could summon.
One evening though, everything changed.
I stood on the veranda of our family home in Wollongong, full of the usual mix of emotions. To the left of me thundered the ocean, on the other side, sat a towering mountain range. As I stared up at those mountains, something happened. I heard a voice.
‘Alice, over those mountains, someone will love you. Go’
In that moment, time stopped and I felt peace for the first time in many years. It felt as if I had dived into the ocean, and replacing the noisy chaos of my life was a soothing silence. I felt unreal calmness. I was flying free in this realm of peace that felt so unknown. It was a peace that surpassed all my understanding.
That’s when I knew it meant something. That’s when I thought perhaps, this was the voice of the God I had forgotten. So, much to my parent’s surprise, I walked into the kitchen and made my announcement
‘Mum, Dad…I will go to that new school. That one over the mountains’
It was scary. But that strange and seemingly divine message gave me the courage to push through.
It was a good school. As much as it was pompous and primpy, with the regulation hair cuts, blazers, kilts and removal of piercings, it was a place where I grew and learned. It was a safe place. Here, I made lifelong friends and had teachers who genuinely cared about me. It was also the place where I began to settle into my faith again. I met God through people who acted as his hands and feet in the world, and through praying with others who knew him intimately.
It was a healing place for me in my final years of high school.
I am thankful.
I know my first true love is Jesus. He was the one who loved me when I ventured over those mountains. He had a healing journey in store for me when he called me. He loves me.
I knew this as I completed my HSC and started applying for universities. However, I did feel kind of disappointed when the prophecy wasn’t fulfilled in the way I thought it would be…with a boyfriend, someone who wanted to marry me one day.
But God was working.
Jesus is the love of my life, but as God does, he doesn’t just fill your cup. He pours until it overflows.
There was more to come.
At this school I met Lukas.
He was a good friend. We bonded over the metal bands I had on my study folder, and our perpetual immaturity (not to mention our pathetic mathematical skills). He was funny. He made one too many poo jokes for my liking, but there was something about him. He genuinely cared. He had a huge friendly smile and found the joy in life. We gravitated toward each other and had a great friendship.
That friendship lasted over the years. As he moved to Melbourne, then back home and then off to Hobart, we stayed in touch. As I struggled through addiction, deteriorating mental health and a plethora of other issues, our connection never faded. He knew my darkness, but he remained. When he would visit his family, he always made time to pop by my place or we’d organise a brunch with a few friends.
We chatted online and occasionally spoke on the phone, sharing about our relationship woes and sending silly pictures to each other. I had a crush on him during high school, but eventually that faded out into a platonic friendship.
He looked out for me. He helped me when my car broke down, he sent me money to pay for expensive surgery or bills I couldn’t afford, bought me books he thought might speak into my life and even had the guts to tell me I needed to end an emotionally abusive relationship when I couldn’t see reality. When I had a terrifying car accident just after my twentieth birthday, he was the first one I called. He’s always looked after me.
We were good friends.
But in 2016 something in our relationship fundamentally changed.
We started talking more and more often, and found ourselves discussing deeper matters of the heart. We spoke on the phone, texted and chatted on Facebook daily.
Eventually, on one of his short visits home from Tasmania, over a two-for-one schnitzel deal at the local pub, we realised that we had fallen in love. After seven years, it finally clicked. We were made for each other. I distinctly remember him saying
‘Alice, I know all your past. I know all the crap you’ve done and been through. And I want you to know that doesn’t scare me one bit’
I swear part of my soul healed as those words fell from his lips. I didn’t believe I was lovable. Not after everything I had done and struggled with.
He is my blessing. He is my answered prayer and the fulfillment of that sacred message God spoke to me when I was just sixteen years old. He is the love God told me about and foreshadowed that day.
I am so glad I listened to that call.
Lukas and I were just friends for so long. But as I look back, it was as if our souls knew from the very beginning, that we were ordained by God to have our own very wonderful love story.