At 20–What I Wish I Had Known//Maggie & Heather


Hello friends,

In light of Valentines day being justttt around the corner we[your Tidewater Cru staff ladies] wanted to share things we wished we had known in college about dating, relationship, love, and purity.  Today is day 1 of 3…enjoy!

[Maggie McNeely]When I was 20 I was in my first real relationship. I had “boyfriends” and guys I was interested in in middle school and high school but this was my first real boyfriend. And this is what I wish I had known:

I wish I had known that kisses didn’t mean he loved me.
I wish I had known that staying up past midnight talking to a guy is ALWAYS a bad idea(for me).
I wish I had known that just because we were both Christians didn’t mean it was a “Christ-centered” relationship.
I wish I had known how to have hard conversations when they were needed.
I wish I had known to let go of him rather than staying in an unhealthy relationship.
I wish I had known that depending on him for my worth and value would leave my heart shattered in pieces when we broke up.
I wish I had known that healing takes longer than you want it to and you shouldn’t force the process.
I wish I had known how important it was to have someone holding you accountable for boundaries in the relationship that we set up and crossed… instead of pushing my friends away.
I wish I had known how deeply loved I was by Jesus and how much healing he provided for me.
I wish I had known that being single didn’t mean there was something wrong or flawed about me.
I wish I had known not to settle just because I wanted someone to love and care for me.
I wish I had known that seasons of singleness are also a gift from the Lord.

I wish I had known all of those things, but I didn’t and because of that relationship I learned so much. I’m glad God used it to shape me more into the woman of God he wants me to be, and to teach me that my identity is in Christ who loves me deeply and knows me completely.

[Heather Persing] //forever Tidewater alumni staff:)

It’s easy to look back now and see a lot of ways I would do things differently, but I would say the one thing I wish I would’ve known and experienced back then was that Jesus really is the one who satisfies. I spent so much time and energy in college thinking, talking, and dreaming about relationships. We’re made for relationship so in some ways I think that was normal, but deep in my heart I believed I would finally be fulfilled when I was dating/engaged/married. The problem with that is I was always looking for the next thing to satisfy me. Once I was dating, I wanted to be engaged. After I got engaged, I couldn’t wait for marriage. Now that I’m married, there’s several other life stages that I can find myself believing will finally bring true life. It’s a cycle that never ends. This also doesn’t give much room to sacrifically love who God brings in your life. It becomes all about me and how my needs are being met instead of laying down my life for someone else. Marriage is great, and it’s brought a lot of joy into my life; however, Jesus calls us to something much more beautiful than even the best marriage–he calls us to himself. He is the only one who can truly give us what our hearts so desperately need and crave.


I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10



//check back tomorrow for day 2 of 3//




The Hope of Later//Heather

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrew 12:11

I love the contrast in this verse—in the moment BUT later.

We so often forget about later and just focus on this moment. It’s not surprising though, is it? We’re surrounded with Carpe Diem, eat drink and be merry, and of course YOLO.

But living for the moment leaves little room

for the difficulties and experiences that seem unpleasant. And discipline? No thank you.

This verse so eloquently and concisely explains why read the Bible more, spend time in prayer, exercise, finally share with that friend, and so many more are on our New Year’s Resolution list every single year. It’s because these things are painful.

You might be thinking, okay obviously exercise is painful (at least when I do it) or maybe even sharing the Gospel with a friend can be painful in a socially awkward kind of way but praying or reading my Bible more? I don’t know about that.

Here’s the thing though, for these things to actually happen we have to give up something else. Something in our lives has to change if we want to change. Maybe it’s more sleep—getting up earlier so you can have time to read and pray before class. Maybe it’s time you usually spend relaxing and watching the Flash (okay or your TV show of choice). Maybe it’s the long trek to the gym when it’s ten degrees outside and all your roommates are still warm in their beds. Discipline is painful because it costs us something. You and I will not change and grow by continuing in the same habits as before.

BUT later.

Discipline is unpleasant at the time but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. As Christians, even though it is easy to forget, we are living for so much more than this moment. We have the hope of eternity. We have the hope of later. This has the power to shift our eyes from just this moment to the grand scope of God’s plan. With the Holy Spirit, this has the power to move us from who we wish we were to more of who God has called us to be.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

How is God calling you today to look past this moment and live for later? How will you let discipline yield its peaceful fruit of righteousness in your life today?

He still loves you. always.//Heather Persing

If I’m honest, sometimes it’s easier for me to be affected by a Parenthood rerun than it is for me to be moved by the Gospel. I don’t know if you can relate to crying over the Bravermans every week, but my guess is there are other things that capture your heart more than Jesus. Maybe it’s your boyfriend (or your desire for one) or the pursuit of perfection physically or your friends or getting the right grades. We all have affections that can tug our hearts away from the One who should be our first love.
Last week I gave a talk at WVU’s Cru, and in it I asked a few questions. I wanted to share them with you here, and I pray they move you towards Christ today. I hope that your heart is shaken by the unfathomable love of our Creator as you reflect on these questions. But if not, pray to the Lord that He would break down your hardness of heart and once again open your eyes to the beauty of the Gospel that has saved us.
Think about how you felt when you thought about yourself in your darkest, most shameful moment?
What does it do to your heart to know that in that moment when you deserved to be rejected, Jesus came after you?
What does it do in your heart when you realize that Christ was rejected so you could be accepted, that he was punished so you could experience his reward, that he was stricken and afflicted so you could be made whole, that everything you rightly deserved he took on so you didn’t have to.
He knew all that it would take to fix your brokenness and bring you back to him, and he still chose to do it—for you.
These questions are to help us remember the beauty of the Gospel, and even when they fail to move our hearts, it is a reminder that we can call out desperately to the God who loves us to make the Gospel alive in our hearts.
I hope you join me in meditating on these truths today. Jesus loves you at your best, He loves you at your very worst, and He loves you in the mundane. Let that bring meaning to your day as well as hope for your heart.