Photo courtesy Olivia Ward
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No More Empty Endings

“I thought I had met my Mr. Right.”

Olivia Ward with Emilie Vinson

When I was a kid, I lived in a bubble. I truly believed that one day I was going to meet my prince charming, and we would live happily ever after. My life would be complete.

Well, life isn’t a fairytale. But that didn’t stop me from seeking affirmation and significance from guys. By the time I finished high school, I thought I had met my Mr. Right.

We had a lot of things in common. Everyday we’d spend hours talking about every little thing you can imagine. We were in love. Eventually we felt that marriage was the way to go. It felt right because I didn’t want to be lonely for the rest of my life.

Eventually lust became the focal point of our relationship, and we fooled around a lot. We convinced ourselves that we were “just having fun.” We would lie to our friends and skip work just so we could go on a rendezvous.

In the midst of following our passion, we were desperately pursuing the excitement of intimacy and pleasure at the expense of each other. Over time, I equated physical intimacy to love. Greed and selfishness took over our relationship – it became a cycle that always had an empty ending.

One day, a friend of mine invited me to a “cool” Christian meeting hosted by Student Life [the name for Cru in New Zealand]. I didn’t want to go because in my mind, Christians were weird. When you enter into their “holy” space, they bash you with Bibles and holy water.

To my surprise, this wasn’t the case. Everyone there was normal, and some were actually cool. But what changed my life that day was the message. It was about a personal relationship with a personal God. Something inside clicked.

Coming from a religious background, it was always about what you have to do to deserve something. Now, I was hearing about this Jesus who gave up His life – all because He wanted to know me and relate to me, even when I didn’t deserve it? My entire idea about a distant good-for-nothing god who doesn’t have time for you was ruined.

Now I was faced with a God who was motivated by love, so that I didn’t have to bear the burden of all the crap in my life. And it didn’t matter what I’d done or where I’d been. All I had to do was believe. That was the beginning of my relationship with Jesus.

I had to learn to trust that He was the only one who can truly satisfy my need. This meant putting boundaries in place that would stop me from short-changing myself from having healthy relationships. I had to make some tough decisions in my life about who I hung out with and even who I was going to marry.

Jesus taught me to disassociate love with physical intimacy. He didn’t promise to remove my desire for it, but to learn in the midst of yearning for it that He is trustworthy. That He is the one to run to, not into the arms of another man.

Today, God has blessed me with a marriage – not so that my needs will be fully satisfied, but so that God Himself can express selfless intimacy through my husband.

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