Today's post was written by Bethany Webb. Bethany is a junior Communication Studies major at Samford University. She desires to work in youth girls ministry to help young girls be grounded in the Word.

Love at first sight. That’s where my love story begins. It’s the greatest love story of all time. For it was before I could love Him back, before I could even speak His name, that He began to pursue me. For He loved me while I was still in my mother’s womb. He saw me and loved me. He knew me. He made me – such a loving Creator. He was creating me so that He could love me.

My Beloved’s pursuit for me began at an early age, right when I began to see the evil and hate in the world. Just like boys chase little girls around the schoolyard hoping for a kiss, so He chased my tender heart till He had captured it. Still, I was young then and did not fully understand the extent of His love. I barely grasped that, to win my heart, He had sacrificed His home, His Father, and even His life. Nevertheless, He was not discouraged by my infantile affection, but waited patiently for my heart to mature.

In the same way that two lovers find joy in learning about the other and revealing their personality and wishes to each other, so my Lover took joy in disclosing His character and will to me. He sent me letter after letter showing who He was and what He does. He then turned around and listened ever so intently as I shared my desires and my hurts and my joys. He was the most attentive listener. Yet, for some reason I still held Him at a distance. Though He never once betrayed my trust or left me, I selfishly refrained from committing to an exclusive relationship and giving Him everything. I loved learning about Him and telling Him about myself, but I still held part of me back, fighting the deluge of love He promised.

I soon learned that I had other lovers – lovers that promised excitement and pleasure. It was then my whoredom began. I began giving my heart to other lovers. I prostituted my soul, myself. I deserted the Beloved who had created me, pursued me, and loved me. Whenever my other lovers failed to meet their vows, I would turn to Him for comfort, yet none there did I find. When my other beaus left my heart emptier than when I first began, there was no True Beloved to fill it back up. I began to believe He had deserted me. He was never there when my lovers broke my heart. He was never there to give me the love I needed, I desired, and for which I was created.

Angry one night, I lashed out and accused Him of leaving me. How could He who supposedly loved me more than anyone turn His back on me? Where was He when I needed His love the most? At first, there was no answer. Then, just as Romeo surprised Juliet under her balcony, I felt my Lover return to me. I realized then that He had never left me, never stopped pursuing me. Instead, I had left Him and ran away as fast as I could. He had been waiting below my balcony the whole time, waiting for me to look down and invite Him to climb up the lattice.

Ashamed, I felt unworthy of His love, unworthy of my Beloved who had given everything for me. Why should He take me back when I had cheated on Him? I was dirty, used, beaten down by my worldly lovers. He was perfect, beautiful; He deserved better than me. While those thoughts were still running through my brain and infecting my heart, my Beloved reached out and touched me, gently. He spoke tenderly to me. “I chose you before I spoke the earth into being. No star, no flower, no creature holds My heart like you do. I gave everything for you, so that you would feel My love instead of shame. I spilled My blood so that your heart would be full. You are beautiful because you are loved by Me.”