There weren’t any boundaries with girls. We got physical. That was how it was with all my relationships. There were no boundaries until my senior year in high school. The girl that ended it was an Atheist when we first started dating.
Our relationship was fine until I graduated. The week after I graduated, she decided she would go on a trip with some of her old friends from middle school. It was a church trip. A week later she came back, and she had been saved. That changed our relationship quite a bit. Things we used to do were now wrong. We couldn’t do those things. That didn’t sit well with me. That relationship was a struggle for the rest of the time. It ended the day before my college career started. It was pretty rough. I didn’t know what I was going to do.
I got a Bible from one of my childhood friends and started to read it. I just poked around with it trying to see if anything would jump out at me. Nothing really did until the same friend said, “Hey, I know you’re down after the breakup.” He invited me to come to The House (www.thehouseutc.org/), a student ministry on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I was like, “I don’t know.” I was rooming with three of my best friends from high school who were Atheists. I came to college with every intention of living the college life, especially after the breakup, just as I had lived the high school life: throwing parties, drinking, hooking up with girls, and doing drugs.
I started to realize how much I didn’t want to do that. My friend asked me if I wanted to join a Core group, which is a group that meets two hours once a week for one year whose only topic is God. I wouldn’t have wanted that, but I said yes not knowing why I did. People would pray out loud at the meetings. That freaked me out, so I decided to practice praying in my dorm. I wanted to be able to pray, but I didn’t want anyone to laugh at me. I didn’t really know what a prayer looked like. My prayer was a prayer to ask what prayer is. God helped me through that, and by the end I was excited to pray.
Right before final exams, one of my roommates was lying in bed and said, “I don’t want to live anymore. I’m going to kill myself. I’m not going to take these exams. I’m going to kill myself because nothing matters.” That really shocked me. I didn’t know what to do. I think that was the first time I really prayed hard for something to happen. We ended up helping him. He went for professional help. I was still really scared.
I didn’t date for a year. I was still really scared of being in a relationship because I had taken advantage of girls and was afraid I would fall back into the same pattern. After the year of not dating, I tried to date but still wouldn’t pursue anyone because I was scared that if I pursued hard enough then she might like me. Then I would have to be in a Christian relationship. I’d never been a Christian in a relationship. I didn’t want to fail.
A couple of days before Valentine’s Day I was at a concert. A girl was there that had led worship at The House, but I had never had a conversation with her. God gave me the courage to ask her out for a date. I went to my friends and said, “I really feel like God just told me to ask this girl out.” They said, “Do it. Do it.” I said, “No, maybe not. Maybe I just made that up. Maybe he didn’t say that.” They were like, “No, do it.” I didn’t even know if she had a boyfriend. I didn’t know anything about her. I asked her out, and she said yes. So we started dating. It’s been nine months now. I’m excited to see a relationship, especially a marriage, knowing that it is centered on God, and that if there are any troubles that would make us want to call it quits, He can help us through stronger than before.