Some people grow up assured of love. They know what it looks like, they know how it feels, they trust it as something good.
Some people, through life and circumstances, see love as a possibility. Maybe it happens to some people, maybe God's love is real and people are too messed up to get it right, but it could happen.
Some people, through no fault of their own, grow up seeing love as a sham. Adults who claim to love them, leave. Those who make a promise, break it. Someone who should be trustworthy gets let in, and from the inside out destroys the last tiny shred of hope that love could be real.
It is the last group of people who need love the most--God's and people's--and reject it the most.
For as long as I have known this girl, I have attempted to love her. I am certain I have failed. But I also know that she has refused my love at times, not believing I could love her if she was not acting the way she thought I wanted her to act. Nothing could be further from the truth. At those times, from the distance she allowed, I loved her the most.
God taught me love through her. In my life with her I saw what true, unconditional love is, and how to give it. As I said, I blew it many times. But I always tried to be a model of God's love for her: steady, sure, trustworthy, certain, accepting, forgiving, with the motive being her good.
This is a young woman who has every reason to reject the idea of marriage, spit in the face of morality, and raise her hand at God and question everything He has allowed her to see and go through.
Instead, she trusted God to be big enough for her doubts, fears, and lack of faith at times. And most of all, she trusted God to heal her heart and show her that some people don't leave. Some people stay forever.
And now, truly against all odds, she is in love with a man worthy of her heart. He has patiently waited for her to sort out her thoughts on love. He has shown her loyalty, devotion and his true heart. She has changed him, and he has changed her--now they are better than they once were.
Love wins. This time, love wins. When we allow the Lord to teach us about things like love, we win. We stop being consumed by the fear our experience has taught us, and love wins.
My girl--I have never been prouder.