by Leah Martorana
I grew up in church and had a pretty fantastic childhood. I had wonderful parents who loved me unquestionably. They took me on amazing vacations and we had a cozy little home on a quiet street where I had lots of friends. I attended a Christian school where we had Chapel every Thursday morning. I remember hearing testimonies of teens that struggled with drugs, alcohol, sex, and rebellion before they found relationship with God. That wasn’t me and it always struck me that these teens knew something I didn’t know. Their connection with God was somehow deeper.
Years later, I realized, I didn’t fully understand the love of God until I experienced a significant second chance of my own.
My story is simple and repeated over and over in the hearts of young girls everywhere. I fell in love. It happened so quickly I didn’t consult anyone…not my mom, not my friends and especially not God. It was an incredible feeling. I was so happy and I didn’t want anyone to ruin it. It took no time for me to make this relationship the number one priority in my life. Before I knew it, I was in over my head and making choices I never thought I would. It started small and it happened gradually.
Making excuses about being home late… that turned into lying about where I was. That turned into sneaking out of the house. That turned into compromising purity and standards I never thought I would.
Fast forward seven years and I had completely given my heart away and hurt a lot of people in the process. Deep down I knew that I had settled and compromised and because of this I was overwhelmed with guilt and shame. But I struggled because I felt this boy loved me. He had so many great qualities and so many things going for him! Why couldn’t it just work? Couldn’t we fix it somehow?
It was around this time that I read something that was so profound and life changing. It made realize it wasn’t about the boy but more about God and me.
I wrote these words in my Bible:
“Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone, to have a deep soul relationship with another. But God to a Christian says, “No. Not until you are satisfied, fulfilled, content with being loved by Me alone. Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, will you be capable of the perfect human relationship that I have planned for you!”
And the good news….
“And when you are ready, I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than you would ever dream. You see, I am working at this very moment to have you both ready at the same time. Until you are both satisfied completely with me you won’t be able to experience the perfect love. And dear one; I want you to have this most wonderful love. I want you to be in flesh a picture of your relationship with me and to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting beauty, perfection and love that I offer you with Myself. Know that I love you utterly. Believe and be satisfied.”
Those words were a wake up call. After reading them, I felt I had a glimpse of the depth of God’s love for me. I realized I had shut him out and it was time to put things in the proper order. I ended my seven-year relationship and began chasing after God.
It was amazing what happened next. Just as promised, He “surprised me with a love far more wonderful than I had ever dreamed”. This time around God was number one in my life and that made everything different. I viewed this relationship as a second chance. A chance to do things right.
We involved our mentors, friends and family in our relationship. We set boundaries together and talked about our standards. People who loved us kept us accountable.
Within a year we were married and we stood pure and shameless in front of our family and friends and listened to the words I wrote in my Bible just a year earlier….
“And dear one I want you to have the most wonderful love…”
Leah Martorana has been married to her husband, Mark, for 5 years. They have a son named, Maxwell, who they welcomed to the world in January of 2012. Leah is the co-leader of Beautiful Moms at Grace Family Church. When not home with Max she works as a “Wellness Warrior” helping companies promote healthier lifestyles for their employees. She also enjoys anything creative, from cooking to crafting.