Well, I feel like crap. I mean, I knew it was coming. I knew it. I knew that it would hurt, that I would consider going back a thousand times, that everything in me would kick and scream and holler until I gave in. In my mind, I had few questions about the way things would go.

And yet it still felt like a ton of bricks. It still seemed as though my breath would never come back, as though all my greatest fears were coming to a head at once. It still felt as if there wasn’t anything outside of the moment, as if all the world held its breath for one horrible minute and stared as I made a decision and took a leap.

I speak of one of the hardest decisions of my life… the decision to let Carrie go.

By far the most frustrating part of the entire ordeal is that I don’t think I was incorrect in doing so. It was the best decision. In fact, I truly believe that in the long run, it benefits her more than it does me. Even so, though, I find myself in agony. Why, Lord? Why do I serve you with everything I have and get this kind of pain as a reward? Why can’t I feel good about a decision designed to glorify you with my love for another? Why did I struggle so much just to say it, when ending the relationship was the most loving thing I could do? I don’t understand. I don’t understand why the pain has to be associated with the good things too. I don’t see why it has to be so hard on her, when in reality she loses far less than she gains. Why can’t I understand?

The fact of the matter is that we were great together. Her support, my strength. Her servanthood, my leadership. Her desire to love others, my desire to seek God.

So you ask, of course, why? The answer to that is a hard one. It certainly wasn’t anything she or I did. Neither of us has interest in anyone else, and neither is discontented.

However, I promised God, Carrie, and myself (in that order) that I would do my best to handle things in a godly manner every step of the way, and I think this is the manifestation of that promise. Why?

First, and most important, I cannot guarentee we will get married. I don’t know what it is to be married, obviously. Not knowing means that we would be taking a huge risk if we tried to go “all the way.” I mean, we’ve never gone for more than a few weeks as close friends when we’re together. How can I know for certain that we would be fine long term? We’ve never even had a serious fight. Carrie deserves to enjoy college life, to get to know guys without them feeling nervous about messing with someone else’s girl. She deserves to feel comfortable doing what she wants to do, to not have me “looking over her shoulder”. She deserves more out of college than she would be able to get with me in the picture.

Second, I am afraid that I am beginning to allow our relationship to intrude on my relationship with God. No doubt, she has affected that relationship in many ways, all of them good. For the first time, though, it’s starting to get in the way. This is my fault, not hers, but it is still something that needs to be fixed. I realized recently when planning for next summer that instead of planning around God’s will for my time, I was planning around seeing her. It could very well be possible to recalibrate my focus and get back to God without ending things, but I don’t know that I have that kind of character and moral toughness.

Third, the more I look at the world of politics, the less I like the idea of bringing someone else into it. Especially at the lower levels, the hours are long, the work hard, and the pay bad. To ask someone to follow me into that world would be, I think, irresponsible.

Finally, I still struggle greatly with believing that I can have value in this world. I do not want to ask someone to follow me if I cannot take care of them and be certain that they are provided for. Yes, I understand that relationships go both ways, but that doesn’t absolve me of my responsibility to look out for her interests above mine. She will have great value for someone in a marriage relationship someday; I have yet to be convinced that I will do the same. Until I am, I am going to be very cautious.

Please don’t think from all this that this decision was a cold, logical one made in the space of five minutes. The truth is that I agonized over this for days. I cried. I struggled. Who wouldn’t? Carrie is one of the most valuable people I have ever met in my entire life, and I’ve called myself a fool a million times for letting her go.

Carrie knows me better than anyone. I could convince anyone and their mother that I was happy, but she is always able to know something is wrong. She remembers details like nobody I’ve ever known, reminding me of things like my brother’s birthday and CCF meetings that I was supposed to go to. She can listen forever or talk forever, whichever is needed. She has a smile that could make the lowliest of peasents feel ready to take on the world. She serves people without considering her own needs and desires, serves until it hurts, serves until there’s no reason left to serve… and then does it again. More than all that, she loves God. She loves him despite her family’s general apathy towards Christianity, despite her friends’ pursuit of other things, and despite her occasional frustrations with people in her church. She loves him despite struggle and hardship. She loves him despite pain.

Parting with her is nothing less than agonizing.

Despite all this, though, there is a beautiful side. Beautiful in that we can be proud of our relationship. Beautiful in that we never, NEVER crossed the lines of sin in our physical relationship. Beautiful in that she has made me a far better person, and hopefully the same is true the other way around. Beautiful in that God was honored and glorified in our relationship, and nobody can deny it. Beautiful in that we were a shining example of all that a Christian relationship can be. I am better prepared for life and for future marriage because of Carrie.

Looking down the road, I know that the only responsible thing I can do is let her go. I’m going to hurt, and she’s going to hurt, but it is the only way. God MUST be first, and I believe with all my heart that this decision is a reflection of my desire to make that true in my life.

The next days and perhaps even weeks will be tough ones for us, so I would appreciate your prayers. This has been the hardest decision I’ve made, and will take some getting used to. Through it all, remember this. 1 Samuel 12:24 says, “But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.”

God has done some fantastic things for Carrie and I, and it is incumbent upon me to thank him for that and to press on in my relationship with him because of it. Though I am in great pain today, I know God will honor this choice.

Don’t be afraid of closeness, dear reader. I would not be half the man I am if I had.

And Carrie, if you read this, I truly do and always will love you.

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