Victoria knew something was wrong when her obsession with a boy caused her to contemplate suicide
The line between harmless crush and unhealthy infatuation can be thin.
Victoria Zambia vividly remembers a night when, watching television with her parents, she saw an advertisement for a deodorant a boy she liked sometimes wore.
She remembers running to her room and crying all night about how deeply she "loved" him and how he did not care.
She says she refused to eat and barely slept thinking about him on more than one occasion.
At this point you could say Victoria had crossed the line from mere desire to intense passion and obsession.
After three years of longing after this particular boy she did eventually go out with him and had her first kiss at age 14.
When he sought to keep their relationship a secret, she agreed, because at least she finally "had" him.
But he stopped talking to her sweetly and eventually the relationship "fizzled out". Then he started dating her best friend instead.
"I remember comparing the pain in a diary to being stabbed in the throat with a spoon," Victoria says.
"It wasn't until I started contemplating suicide, that I realised this wasn't a normal crush and something was genuinely wrong with me."
In her quest to get over him she says nothing worked, neither willpower nor self-help books nor her mother's council.
Eventually Victoria realised she needed to turn to God for his supernatural help, hoping He could either "make him fall in love with me, or help me forget the whole thing".
Victoria's parents were Christians but she says she only thought about God because she had learned He would decide her fate, whether she went to heaven or hell.
"He was just another someone I needed to have happiness in my life," she says.
But she was very conscious of her own human imperfection, which is why the promise of God's grace (undeserved love) appealed to her.
"From experience I knew that if being good was what I needed to do to get into heaven, I wasn't getting into heaven because I just wasn't good," she says.
"I needed the judge (God) to have mercy on me, and I needed someone to take my punishment in my place.
"The explanation of grace and what Jesus did, [dying for me] on the cross, prompted me to live for a King who loved me enough to sacrifice His own Son for me instead of living for a boy who only seemed to notice me if I dressed provocatively or texted past a certain hour of night."
Victoria says she prayed and begged God for forgiveness for turning her back on Him, and praised and thanked Him for Jesus' sacrifice that would allow her into Heaven even though she had "messed up so much".
"I still get sucked in from time to time," she confesses. "But I no longer depend on the approval of men for my sense of self-worth. My identity is firmly rooted in Christ choosing to die for me."
She says she has less hate and far more compassion in her heart, and her unhealthy sentiments towards men have been healed.
"[God] has helped me see me, men, and Him for who we are," she says.
"I now know I am a girl who Christ sees as precious and whom He has called His own. I know nothing in the world, not any amount of male approval or acceptance, will satisfy, but real and final satisfaction is in Christ.
"I am no longer overly caught up in male attention, and I can be realistic in my expectations of men knowing some time or another they will let me down and hurt me, not deliberately but because of their sinful condition.
"There is freedom, acceptance, genuine affection and love in Christ," Victoria concludes.
"He is tormented by your pain and your desperate search for love and it grieves Him that your heart is being ripped apart. He is continuing to desperately and fiercely love you.
"He is willing to wait for you. Do yourself a favour— what have you got to lose?"•