A devastating break-up led Kahlia to re-examine where true love is found
Kahlia Thomas recently married the man of her dreams but it was in the midst of teen heartbreak that she learnt an important lesson about love that helped turn her life around.
At 16 she remembers falling head over heels for a boy who did share her values. "I was so desperate to feel loved, that I told him I loved him after we had only been dating a few months," Kahlia recalls.
"Before too long, I was putting this guy first in my life and depending on him for my worth, security and identity."
She stopped attending church with her parents because her boyfriend thought it was "a bit stupid" and admits that she discarded her values about physical intimacy.
"I was desperate to feel loved and accepted, so delaying sex did not seem that necessary. I gave myself away, physically and emotionally," she remembers sadly.
After dating over a year, Kahlia's boyfriend broke up with her suddenly, leaving her broken hearted.
In search for life meaning and purpose that she knew God had to offer, Kahlia attended a Christian conference with a friendly classmate.
She agreed to go only because she wondered; "Apparently Jesus died for my sins but why couldn't God just say 'you're forgiven' and then ignore any bad things I do? After all, no one is perfect and God is forgiving, right?"
At the conference Kahlia realised that her sins (wrongs against God) had a huge cost and that she needed to make herself right before Him.
"I acknowledged that God is perfect and good, and that I was guilty of offending Him greatly by turning away from Him and putting my own selfish desires first," she explains.
"Jesus claimed to be God and rose from the dead to prove it. I realised that because Jesus lived a perfect life, His sacrifice in my place was and is the only way that my sins can be forgiven. I decided to follow Jesus, knowing that I am a sinner prone to failure, yet trusting that God will change me and grow me in my Christian life."
After the conference, Kahlia began excitedly telling others about God's forgiveness and promise of everlasting life with Him.
"I am so glad that God has rescued me from my sins. I have been freed from the burden of trying to earn God's approval through good works. Yet, because I know that I am so undeserving of God's forgiveness, I am eager to obey Him.
"I have peace! There is no need to worry, because I know that whatever happens, nothing will separate me from God's love."
Following the conference Kahlia began dating a fellow Christian named Glenn.
Since they both had their identity, security and satisfaction in God, Kahlia says, "We were happy to take things slow and build our relationship on friendship. We did not need physical intimacy to feel secure and happy."
The couple were married in June last year and now spend their weekdays sharing God's love with university students.
"Our desire is to obey God and put Him first in our lives. We are both sinful people, but we believe that God will help us to have a good marriage. Jesus is a great example for us to follow," Kahlia concludes.
"Because of my faith in Jesus, I am challenged to humbly put Glenn's needs above my own, rather than expecting Glenn to satisfy me completely and meet all of my needs. Only God can do that!"•