by Ashley Ivery

God commissioned me to spend a date-free year alone nurturing my relationship with Him. I needed it. I can appreciate the wisdom that pain has produced in my life, but I would be lying if I did not admit that coupled with that wisdom were fear, cynicism, and doubt.

The sting of rejection, betrayal, and disappointment tempted me to close off my heart and distance myself from the possibility of a romantic relationship. I had played the fool more than once and I did not want to invest another iota of my being into a relationship.

Within this embittered state, “Date Nights with Jesus,” were born and God sought to chip away at the hardened recesses of my heart.

”And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” —Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)

The hefty expectations I placed on my romantic relationships were incapable of being satisfied by a mere human. I had spent so much time turning to people and things for fulfillment that I ended up casting an unbearable burden on my relationships. God led me to acknowledge my role in each of my relationships and prompted me to forgive each grievous party (including myself). Sometimes God needs us in a place where only He can reach us. God may call us out of a romantic relationship in an effort to ensure that only He has access to our heart so that He can administer healing.

Our God is capable of of eternal, lasting, and unconditional love. God craves a relationship with us. We have a God who is jealous for us. We have a God that gets on our menial level each day to nurture a relationship with us. Our desire for love will never be entirely satisfied by another person. We can only find true love, security, and contentment in our relationship with God. God’s love is a love like no other.

So, today recognize that God wants to give us a new vision of love, but we must first take hold of the love He has for us. Take the restrictions off of God and allow Him to work on you. Recognize that God wants to position us to partner with another person, but we must allow Him to access the root of our fear, doubt, and cynicism. God needs to work on us, but not just in an effort to get us ready for a man, but in an effort to get us ready for the Man.

Our True Bridegroom.

Jesus.