What is Love?
There are no words or are there too many? Most days, I can’t tell. Always seeking, never knowing. I sit here, in a space I so desperately wanted – overwhelmingly needed. I’ve spent my whole life hiding from who I am. Never knowing I was meant to have my own identity – my own voice. Always filling the void of shame and abandonment with distraction, chaos, and accomplishment. Seeking love wherever I could earn it. Confusing temporary gratitude for everlasting love. Reminded in abundance that love – conditional love – is not real and can be stolen away without notice.
I never knew a love that wasn’t punished for “misbehaving.” Relationship after relationship. Friends. Family. Lovers. Allowing me to bow down. Feeding into my need to be needed. Taking and taking. Me – graciously giving all of myself to anyone and everyone. Listening. Understanding. Making every effort to be the best me I could be – in return for recognition – a job well done. A sprinkle of attention – a knowing. “If I immerse myself in the needs of others, they’ll never see how much I need; how terrified I really am.”
There was never a time I didn’t question the actions – or worse – inactions of others. That’s the way conditional love works. It is given and taken swiftly. Leaving behind a whirlwind of promise and defeat. Drowning you in the energy and understanding that “not being good enough,” WILL NOT DO. To be loved, one must perform and ultimately conform. Bending and distorting until you have no reflection or recognition of who you are. Fully embodied by the needs of others – shapeshifting from environment to environment.
Who am I?
A life of confusion and exhaustion. Who am I? Am I daughter? Wife? Mother? Friend? Failure? Pathetic? Too Needy? Shameful? Broken? These are all reflections of who I’ve been, not who I am or was meant to be – THIS I KNOW! Oh, but how do you rebuild? Rewire? Return to the place God planted you to begin with? I find myself fumbling through the wilderness often; in and out of seasons of Winter and Fall – blessed by beautiful seasons of Summer and Spring. Beautiful gifts, every one of them! I wouldn’t trade a single season I’ve been through; especially these past five years. I couldn’t tell you if our life has been more difficult or not. What I do see, is that for better or worse, things are simply different.
I see growth – understanding – evolution. There was a time when I would have been completely blinded by the cold dark seasons of life, but now I am too aware of too to sit idle. I do my absolute best to lean into the lesson of this season – the longest winter of my life. Blessed by momentary seasons of reprieve – a shining light of hope for what life will be when I am free from the pain. I will take my Father’s hand and allow Him to show me where I got lost. Where those who were given the gift of raising a child of God, fell short. All the while, showing me how He has made the best of it.
I am daughter of The King
He has taken every situation, unwanted, unintended or self-inflicted, and He has sheltered you from the worst of it while leading you back into His arms. Not the arms of others – the arms you so desperately wanted to feel around you when you felt cold and dreadfully alone. Those you thought you could acquisition love from – in any form. Filling the gap of neglect with acknowledgments and smiles. Forever hiding from the disappointment, disgust and disdain. You will not find yourself in their eyes. You cannot know who you are by seeking yourself in the mirror of another.
So, I seek God, or He seeks me. That’s’ what I’m told. That’s what I know! No matter how much I plot and plunder on my own, forever seeking control of my own life – NEVER achieving such. He is always there! Whether I see it, feel it, or know it means very little. Because I know, if I stop and make myself do what it is He has tasked me to do, I will witness His blessings. Big and small and ever so fleeting – God gifts us small moments of grace, favor and understanding. Precious flashes of wonder and awe. Shining bright in the darkness – a reminder.
I am student of the Master
Stay on the path. Know that you are not alone, that He is with you always. Guiding you through the storm. Keeping you safe and warm. Teaching you. Growing you. Showing you. Pointing you to who you were always meant to be. Purpose is not found in labels. Love is not found in acceptance and accolades. You feel like you’ve lost everything – abandoned once again. Left to carry the burdens and sufferings of the world all on your own. Made to sit with your own burdens and sufferings. But you’ve lost nothing – nothing that wasn’t worth losing.
God has used this long season of winter in my life, to start stripping it all away. The labels, the miscalculations in love, and the need for acceptance. The journey down this path has been rough and exhausting. Friends and family fighting against who I am now – who I should have always been. Turning their backs on me when I could no longer bow down; no longer martyr myself for others. I tried and continue to this day – a lifelong habit, I’m sure I will struggle with forever. A habit that God is breaking me of. Stripping people away; pruning the relationships in my life.
I am stronger in His counsel
Leaving me stronger and wiser, in his comfort and counsel. Sitting quietly and patiently, waiting and allowing Him to guide me to Godly relationships. Balanced and healthy relationships. No agenda. No judgment. No expectations. He is forever testing me in this area. I gain momentum, I follow His path but then I find myself sliding into old habits – bad habits. Seeking the attention and gratitude of others – forever needing to be needed. Never able to live up to the commitment. Always struggling with my own needs and neediness. Lost and out of balance. How do I learn to love myself without guilt or condemnation? How do I set boundaries? How do I protect myself for the greater good?
You see, not only am I on a journey of self-discovery, self-love, and self-acceptance – I’m on a journey to find balance. Trying to learn how to live with the pandemonium that is chronic pain and traumatic pain responses. How to manage my days, my weeks, my life, to live the best life, I can. To keep the myself focused on the journey at hand. Never losing sight of my Father or my destiny. It’s in the moments of chasing love and acceptance that I open the door for the enemy. Allowing him to point out every wrong within myself and others – incessantly harping on one’s failures and absolute unworthiness. Bathing me in a sea of shame and fear. It’s in these moments, that I must focus – I must have balance.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalm 1:3
Photo by Rowan Heuvel