Today's post is from Alece. I think she's definitely a rare gift to anyone she meets. Even though the time we've spent face-to-face is not nearly enough, she's impacted me more this year than many people I come in contact with every day. Words can't express how much I admire this woman. I feel incredibly blessed for her friendship - and for her authenticity. Her story isn't easy to hear - it's one of heartbreak and wrestling with God's hand in the midst of brokenness. Her words are often filled with questioning and struggle. But - she clings to the Hope she knows. And to me, this is what makes her so beautiful.
I didn't date until I was 20, and my first and only boyfriend became my husband a couple years later. He is the only guy I've ever kissed; he's the only one I've ever slept with.
And somewhere along the line, without even realizing it, I assumed that had earned me some brownie points with God.
After all, I'd "kissed dating goodbye". I'd saved myself for my husband. Subconsciously, I thought that guaranteed an incredible, lasting marriage.
But then he cheated on me.
In some ways, it feels like I'd saved myself for nothing... Like none of it mattered.
I know, at least on some levels, that that isn't true. I know that even my "all things" are intended for my good, even when it's impossible to see. I know that He is redeeming, restoring, rebuilding me, for His ultimate purpose.
I also know that redemption doesn't usually look like we think it will.
And that there are no brownie points to be had. There are no guarantees, no obligatory blessings, no automatic protections or provisions.
Life is just plain hard. Even though God is good.
Even though God is good.
And even when I "kissed dating goodbye".
I hope to someday see the bigger picture. The full circle. The "none of it mattered" transformed into "every bit of it mattered".
But even if I don't, even if I won't, I'm still called to trust Him. To live on the truth of what He says and who He is.
Because then and only then...
All of it mattered.
Alece Ronzino moved to Africa at 19 and pioneered Thrive Africa, a ministry focused on training indigenous leaders in the poorest region of South Africa. Her journey of faith is a mix of grit and glory. Mostly grit.