God’s messages are pretty amazing. His timing is always perfect and the way he guides me to understand him is so personal that at times I find it overwhelming. This week has been a very reflective time for me. Maybe because it’s a new year, which is a wonderful opportunity to think about how far you’ve come; or maybe it’s because I have had more free time than usual and my mind tends to wander. God keeps putting “the choice of love” on my heart, and if there is anything I have learned in the past year it is that when God wants me to write about something, I better write or it will nag at me until I do!
One of the gifts this blog has given me is that women from all over, in all different situations, have opened up to me about their struggles, their loss, their pain. It is very humbling that any one would feel compelled to let me in on their intimate stories and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share God’s healing powers with them. When others confide in me, I obviously feel compelled to tell my story; and it’s funny to me how my perspective has changed over the past year. When I look back, I see a beautiful mosaic of human hearts who have chosen to love me. That image is burned into my mind so much more than the pain of the one person who chose not to love me.
I think about the people who have loved me for so many years, who rallied and stood beside me during the darkest times. Who watched me fall and break and slowly die inside and who never left. They lived through the late night phone calls, they planned outings, they provided couches to sleep on. They never judged when I wanted to be alone, or couldn’t be there for them the way they deserved. They sat there and listened while I word vomited my hurt again and again and again. They had signed on for this friendship many years ago when we were younger and life was easier and now, when the going got tough, they never faltered. Living through this ordeal with me was hard work, and they chose to love me anyway.
And then there are those precious humans who didn’t know me before. Who had to meet me when I was broken and insecure and beyond difficult. Who took me, just as I was, and accepted my flaws. Who had to see all the ugly parts of me. Who had to live through the aftermath. When I was too weak to pretend to be ok, when the smallest incident could send me sobbing, when I hated myself too much to care about life…they loved me anyway. God only knows what those select few beautiful hearts saw in me, why they didn’t run screaming for the hills. They didn’t sign up to be the ones to help put me back together, but here they were, helping me rebuild. They didn’t question my sadness. They accepted my clinginess. They talked me off of the ledge when I became overly dramatic. They had to deal with the scars, and they still chose love.
The other important thing to remember is that not everyone has a family who chooses love. I do. I have a family who surrounded me in a coat of love from the beginning and who still loves me through every set back, difficulty, and life decision. A family who let me grieve at my own pace. A family who taught me how to move forward and who lovingly pushes me when I need motivation. A family who fought when I didn’t have the energy and stood when I couldn’t get up. That kind of love isn’t always a guarantee, but for me it was.
When I think about all the people who chose to love me when they didn’t have to I am overwhelmed with gratitude and humbled by their hearts. I am also thankful to the God who gave them all that extra love to give to me. I stand amazed that I feel more love now than I have ever felt in my entire life…and I don’t even have a husband! I don’t have that person who has vowed to shower me with love, but the love has still come. This choice of love that we all have is so powerful. It can do so many things. It can change the world. It can change a heart. It can change a life. It has certainly changed mine.
Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”