BECOMING

Have you ever been in a relationship that left you feeling disappointed?  Used? Unsatisfied? Hurt? Mistreated? Forgotten? Left out? Under- appreciated? Un-noticed? Judged? Or misused?

Maybe this stems from a parent who abandoned you, a sibling who rejected you, friends who disappointed you, a spouse that violated your trust or family members who felt more like strangers. Although this might look different for many of us, the reality is, we’ve all experienced relational disappointment at some time in our life. It’s that soul crushing experience that leaves our expectations unfulfilled and our hearts broken and half empty.

I’ve realized in the last several months that one of my biggest struggles has come from expecting far more from others then they were willing {or capable} of giving and because of this I’ve found myself stuck in the darkness of relational disappointment.

‘I thought they would understand.’

‘I thought they would have support me.’

‘I thought they would have been there for me.’

‘I thought they were dependable’

‘I thought they were loyal’

‘I thought they were a Christian!’

‘I thought they could be trusted’

My list could go on forever, and your list might look different but these are a few from my own personal experiences.

I love deeply, I’m loyal and I give my whole heart and mind to things and people regularly. My general expectation is that others would meet that same need for me and the standard would be reciprocated but far too often the reality has been something totally different and at times the results have been earth shattering to me.

My list of ‘I thought’ quickly turned into phrases like;

‘I should have known better’

‘They’re all the same’

‘I knew it’

‘How could I have been so stupid’

‘This is why I don’t let people in’

And so on and so on. Feelings of brokenness, regret and frustration overtake my mind and cloud my judgment. Before I know it, I’m surrounded by a sea of ‘should have, could have, would have’s [&] ‘they will never fool me twice’ thoughts.

Unfortunately relational disappointment is real and no matter how awesome a person is, they are still just human and they will disappoint you. The key is getting through this disappointment better, not bitter.

Through the brokenness, through the emptiness, through the hurt and through the pain I have realized that maybe, just maybe the ‘friend’ I was searching for, the relationship I was missing isn’t actually missing at all. Maybe what I’m looking for is just hidden within me. Maybe the longing I had was really a longing to see the woman deep within me revealed. Maybe the disappointment that I faced wasn’t because of what others couldn’t be, but rather an underlying feeling of what I should be and couldn’t seem to express.

Could it be that the friend I’ve been looking for all this time was hidden deep within me?..

Could it be that what I was looking in others was actually nestled deep within my own soul?..

The person who loves and encourages me, the one who motivates and inspires me, the one who sees the best in me and pulls it out. The person who is trust worthy, faithful and kind, fierce and strong, wise and courageous. Could it be that that person is within me, waiting to be discovered?

The world needs more love, more joy, more hope, more peace, more encouragement, more inspiration, more consistency. Could it be that you are the very expression of those things that this world is missing?

After countless disappointment and endless frustration, I realized something. If I couldn’t find her, I would be become her.

I would be the very expression of all things lovely that I desperately wanted to see within my friends, my family and my community. I would wait no longer to find it, I would simply be it.

While I am waiting, so is the world… I couldn’t find her, so I became her.

SHE IS

Lately I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed and slightly stressed about life. I’ve been thinking about all the things I need to do (or should stop doing), my personal ‘to do’ list has become a ‘to dread’ list and I’ve just been feeling different. Things that shouldn’t bother me, do and things that use to bring me joy, don’t. I began to reflect on a blog I wrote called Surely shortly before my first daughter was born. The Lord had strengthened me and enlarged my faith so much through that post, but today, I didn’t feel as strong as I did in that season.

Knowing that God is the same, I can admit the only difference between then and now must be hidden within me. Acknowledging that and realizing that these feelings and my perspective would take my life in a direction I did not intend to go, I’ve decided to make a very conscious decision to start my days earlier and fix my focus before life fixes it for me.

For me this process has been waking up before my daughters and having my first cup of coffee with Jesus. In the peaceful, quiet, stillness of my home I’ve been intentional about fixing my heart and mind heavenward before life gave me an opportunity to do otherwise.

This particular morning I decided to go back to the good and faithful Proverbs 31 woman. I love this piece of scripture because it embodies a woman that I do not yet know personally, yet my heart feels close to her. She inspires so many women and yet in her day to day duties, she probably had no idea anyone was watching her, let alone that people would be talking about her all this time later.

As I read, I began to write;

–          She is valuable

–          She lacks nothing

–          She is consistent

–          She is wise

–          She is an investor

–          She helps others

–          She is considerate and compassionate

–          She is a hard worker

–          She is resourceful

–          She is business savvy

–          She is diligent

–          She is prepared

–          She faces life like a boss

–          She gets her hands dirty

–          She is brave

–          She is wise

–          She is well articulated

–          She is fearless

–          She is resourceful

–          She likes beautiful things

–          She brings honor to her husband

–          She represents the Lord well

–          She takes care of others

–          She also takes care of herself

–          She is confident

–          She fills her life with things that have purpose

–          She is authentic

–          She is loved

–          She is honored

–          She is rewarded

–          Because she fears the Lord, she fears nothing else.

When I came to the end of the passage I felt the Lord whisper to my heart ‘Look at all that she is. There is no mention of what she is not’.

For me this subtle whisper gave me hope, gave me peace and gave me permission to exhale. I am constantly fixated on growth and progress which means often times I can fixate on what I’m not, what I need to fix and where I’m lacking. Yet here I read scripture after scripture not about what she doesn’t do, but rather all about what she does do.

This passage focuses on the strengths, not shortcomings.

I’m reminded this morning to focus on what I can do, what I should do, who I am, who I will one day be, and not on everything I’m not.

This women wasn’t perfect, she couldn’t have been, none of us are but she focused on the right things at the right time and because of that, she was successful. She knew whom she served and because of that, she knew who she was. Did she face confusion? Insecurities? Doubt? I’m sure but unlike many of us, it’s likely that she faced it and moved on. Those things may have been a speed bump on her journey, but they surely would not become a road block. She got over it, she moved on, and she focuses on important things, fruitful things an d because of that, she is a hero to women who never even knew her.

Today I’m encouraged to face ‘it’ but to move on. I hope you are too.

YOU TOO ARE LOVED

It’s amazing how quickly time passes us by. To think just one short week ago I was sitting in the hospital with my little one, staring intently at her, in awe and wonder of her beauty.

Reuben had left for church, the room was quiet and I just sat on my hospital bed staring at Savannah, admiring every last detail of her.

“Savannah, I love you so much!” I said with tears welded up in my eyes.

“You are amazing. You are gorgeous in every way! Savannah you came OUT OF ME! You are a special piece of me. I hope you get everything that is good from me, and bypass all the bad. Savannah, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you! To keep you safe. To keep you happy and healthy. I promise you baby, no harm will come your way as long as I can help it! You are a treasure, straight from heaven& I will always hold you close and dear to my heart. There is nothing you could ever do that would make me love you any more or any less. My love for you is limitless and unconditional. You have my heart baby girl and that will never, ever change.

Tears running down my face it suddenly made sense.

God loves me.

He really, really loves ME. It felt as if during that time I spoke over my daughter, God began to speak the same words of affirmation over me. In that moment, as close as she felt to me, I felt to God. I knew that He held me close, and sustained me in every way necessary.

Years of church, loving God and knowing He loved me suddenly made more sense than it ever had before.

GOD LOVES ME!!! Not because of what I have or haven’t done, not because I love Him or because He has to, He loves me just because I am His. I am a piece of HIM!

As I looked at my daughter, I felt such an overwhelming feeling, I literally felt swaddled in love. The new found love for my daughter as well as this revelation of God’s love for me rushed through me, over taking and filling every last empty part of me.

It’s hard to understand this love.. Even as I look at her, I think of my husband and how many years it took for us to truly, love each other the “right way”, I think of all the people I’ve encountered whom I wanted to love, or should love, but just couldn’t. Love hasn’t always come easy for me. It was something I knew but at times, the reality escaped me. And now, suddenly, in a split second, it made more sense then it ever had before!!

It’s amazing how one moment, one touch, one look, one encounter could change all of that. In one single instant, it all made sense.

I feel like with this revelation, another piece of heaven has opened up over my life. I am now not only aware, but convinced that God’s love for me is like no other love I will ever know. It is real, tangible, unearnable and irrevocable.

I am His. And He is mine.

It is my hope and prayer that in someway, God’s love for you will be exposed in a real, tangible way as well. Maybe you have children, and you can relate to this, maybe you don’t. Either way, I know that God is big enough to meet you in this moment, in the exact way you need Him to and speak to your heart in a way that will make sense to you, just to show you that you too are loved. You too are cherished. You too hold a piece of God’s heart within you that He will always love and hold dear.

You too are loved.