At times I regret having those experiences. I look at my friends who haven't dated much and wish they had, and I envy them. Or I look at my friends who married the first guy they dated seriously, and I think, wow, you're fortunate. But this is my story, and I have to own it. I have experienced loving and breaking someone's heart, and I have experienced loving and being the one left with a broken heart. I know what it's like to risk with someone, and then to fall flat on my face. I know what it's like to hang on with someone when things are rocky, because of that love. Yes, these experiences come with some baggage - evidently because I am still working through residual fears and difficulties trusting - but they have also taught me how to love and how not to love. And they have pointed the way for me to see and experience the truest of loves - the love that comes not from a man, but from God alone. Could I have done things differently? Absolutely, and it would have been nice if I had at different points. Still, I don't live with regrets, but I do learn from those experiences that have taught me about love.
And when I feel in the midst of that poker game, it's a yellow light of caution to me: Be wise, Amber, but don't be afraid. Love is risky, there's no way around it. But the real kind of love doesn't run from the risk of pain or rejection. Because slowly, slowly I'm learning. I can be rejected by a man, but never by God. The former rejection may wound for awhile, but the latter truth will always heal and remind me that I am forever His. With this knowledge I can love wisely and courageously in the present and leave the future to God.